The Then Now Forever release, essentially series two for the flagship release of Topps WWE cards, rounds out the year’s big four releases. It’s not just the base set that continues the same numbering as previous releases. There are also many tribute sets adding additional cards to earlier sets. These are usually exclusive to some store or type of pack.
The base set contains a mix of Smackdown, Raw, 205 Live, NXT, and Legends to round out the wrestlers featured. It features many debuting athletes, along with the flagship rookie card for Ronda Rousey. You also get the regular complement of parallels, to go along with insert subsets paying tribute to the 25th anniversary of Raw and Hall of Famer Rowdy Roddy Piper. Each box advertises two hits, including one autograph.
Much like the growth in the WWE Women’s Division itself, the trading card release is also getting a higher profile. In years past, we’ve seen a retail release, but now we’re seeing a full hobby release.
The set itself doesn’t seem to have changed very much, though,
with a small roster set, as well as a Matches and Moments set featuring Raw, Smackdown Live, NXT, and the Mae Young Classic. We also see insert sets focusing on the Mixed Match Challenge, Power Couples, and the first women’s Royal Rumble. We’ve also come to expect the usual assortment of relics from a WWE release, including pieces of the mat from various events, t-shirt swatches, and manufactured relics of the Women’s championships over the years. Each box contains 24 packs with 7 cards per pack and advertises 2 hits per box, one of which is guaranteed to be an autograph.
Topps WWE Heritage follows a similar pattern to baseball, but it is not quite as constrained. While baseball follows year by year, 50 years in the past, baseball seems to skip around a little bit not. In recent years, we’ve seen 1985 style, leading to 1986 and 1987. This year, however, they skip 1988 and go right to 1989. They even add in a little surprise.
While it was in the middle of the junk wax era, the 1989 Topps design is still pretty popular for it’s clean layout. It really brings something to this release. The base contains 110 cards, plus an additional 9 updated roster cards, found only in retail. The original design for team leaders is including as an insert set consisting of tag teams and stables. We also see a small insert set for 2017 Rookies. Perhaps the best part is an insert set I didn’t expect. The set features legends on the Topps Big style from that period. It really adds something to the set, with a design that doesn’t feel as overused as a lot of the others.
This release again servers essentially as a second series for the flagship WWE release from earlier in the year. It is a 100 card set continuing after the earlier release as 101-200. We also get to see a familiar insert set in Finishers and Signature Moves, which we just saw in the recent Women’s Division release.
There is one minor complaint I have about the release, and now I
wonder if it may not be more common than I had originally thought and I just never noticed. The cover art for the hobby box/packs features John Cena, Finn Balor, and Alexa Bliss. They’re all very high profile names for the WWE, so they make a lot of sense, right? Well, they would, if they were included in the set. None of these have base cards in this release. Yes, Cena and Balor are both included in the common Finishers and Signature Moves insert set, but Alexa Bliss isn’t in that one, either. She is only featured in Kiss Cards, which are 1 in every 913 packs, and roster update cards, which are Walmart exclusives. It just strikes me as odd to put someone on the cover, who is very unlikely to be included in the box.
Unlike the recent NXT release, this one is a true retail exclusive for Walmart. The blaster box has a similar configuration to the NXT retail offering, with a single pack inside, but this one offering 81 cards, including one hit. The set also follows with same base insert format with a 50 card roster set, and a 50 card Matches & Moments set, broken up between NXT and WWE.
This looks like a fun set, combining current women wrestlers and future stars from NXT, with some legends from past years.