Sunday, June 24, 2012

Preview: 2012 Topps Wrestling

Schedule Release Date: September 26, 2012
Box Configuration:  7 cards per pack/ 24 packs per box
SRP: $48/box

Box Break:
1 Shirt Relic
1 Autograph or WrestleMania XXVIII Mat Relic

My Thoughts:
We are finally getting our first peak at the 2012 Topps WWE base set which is set to be released in September. Currently boxes are preselling at $48 and each box includes 24 packs. You will pull 2 hits, a shirt relic and either an autograph or WrestleMania relic.

This is a 90-card base set and the backs of the cards contain bio/write ups by wrestling legend Mick Foley. Each base card will also have a number of parallels; Blue, Gold, Black (#/50), Platinum (1/1) and Printing Plates (1/1). There is also a 6-card autograph parallel and 21-card relic parallel which uses the base card designs with either a sticker auto or shirt relic added. The original auto checklist includes Triple H as a signer but his auto has since been removed from the checklist. You will notice that the base card design is the same as the 2012 Topps Baseball and while it does work with wrestling it feels lazy, we should expect more from Topps’ designers.

An interesting addition is the Sketch cards, the checklist has not been released, but the cards are illustrated by Jerry Lawler. I have to admit, I did not realize that Lawler is a professional illustrator and an accomplished painter. He has worked on a number of comic books (including cover art) and he has been to a couple of Comic Cons as an illustrator. If you are a comic art/book fan or just appreciate illustrations or even art overall, you really need to take a look at his work it is just amazing.

The Diva Kiss cards should do well, back when Fleer was producing (2001-2003) WWF/WWE cards they released a couple of "Kiss" autograph inserts and they are still selling quite well even 10 years later. TriStar has included "Kiss" autographs in a couple of their TNA releases over the last few years and while they do not sell as high as the Fleer WWF/WWE versions you have to take in to consideration the popularity difference.

What will draw the interest of the collectors is the nice selection of insert sets, including autographs and relics, there are 12 inserts sets plus sketch cards. The sets include:

Hall of Fame: 35-card checklist containing a nice selection of WWE Hall of Famers- Sadly one of my favorite HOF’ers George “The Animal” Steele is not on the checklist.

Hall of Fame Autographs: A 12-card parallel version of the HOF set

WWE Divas: A 15-card checklist made up of the Class of 2012 Divas

WWE Divas Autographs: A 9-card parallel versions of the Divas set

First Class Champions: A 20 card checklist of WWF/WWE Champions through the years from Sgt. Slaughter and the Iron Sheik to John Cena and CM Punk
Top Class Matches: Punk’s Picks: A 10 card set where CM Punk picks his favorite matches

World Class Events: A 10 card set with Pay-Per-View posters

WWE Divas Kiss Cards: 10 cards where a Diva signed the card with a kiss

WWE Dual Autographs: 5 autograph cards signed by 2 personalities/wrestlers that have a connection

WWE Shirt Relics NAME: A 21-card checklist containing a relic from the wrestler. The set is built using the base card design. There are Black (#/50) and Platinum (1/1) parallels.
WrestleMania XXVIII Mat Relics: 25 cards in the set and includes a piece of mat used at WrestleMania 28, all 25 cards depict a wrestler who had a fight that night.
WWE Sketch Cards: No checklist has been announced, but each card will be a 1/1 sketch completed by the WWE’s own Jerry “The King” Lawler

Small checklist makes it easy for set builders

Nice selection of inserts/parallels

Sweet sketch cards

Diva’s Kiss Cards


Lazy 2012 Topps Baseball design re-used

Autograph stickers

I would put this set at a healthy 3.5/5 easily, it is a nice set and with its size set builders will have ease completing the set. It does loose half a point because Topps reused the 2012 Baseball base set design which is disappointing.

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