Schedule Release Date: November 28, 2012Box Configuration: 9 cards per pack/24 packs per box
2 Hits (Autograph or Relic card)24 Ringside Action subset cards
Topps did an amazing job recreating the original 1985 Topps WWF set and 1985 O-Pee-Chee WWF Pro Wrestling Stars sets. The Heritage set takes elements from both the Topps and the O-Pee-Chee (Canadian release only) sets and built on them in to one complete release. The modern set is significantly larger with a total of 273 cards (110 base cards, 55 Ringside Action subset cards, 60 inserts, 30 Allen & Ginter minis and 18 stickers) compared to the 1985 Topps set 88 cards (66 base cards and 22 stickers). The O-Pee-Chee set was released in two series, the first had the same exact 66 base cards and the second series had 75 new cards that were unreleased in the U.S.
The card design is nearly exact as the originals with the same white border, black divider and yellow or red splash with the wrestler’s names. The current incarnation uses a yellow splash for the modern wrestlers and a red splash for the old-school fighters. The checklist is made up of 43 current wrestlers, 12 modern-era wrestlers and 52 “vintage” wrestlers.
Some of the inserts, like Ringside Action and The Legend Speaks, are based on the O-Pee-Chee Series 2 release (including card design) but Topps put in a nice collection to make the release modern. The new inserts include Fabled Tag Teams, Family History and Andre the Giant Tribute. Toss in Allen & Ginter minis (does Topps really need to insert a mini insert in to every product?), Sketch Cards (courtesy of Jerry Lawler) and autographs and relics and there is a nice collection of cards that will be pulled from each box.
I started watching wrestling in the early 1980s; I still remember it used to come on Sundays at noon right after the USA Cartoon Express… damn I feel old. This release brings me back to the days as a kid when I would watch Junk Yard Dog or Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat take on The Iron Sheik or Nikolai Volkoff. Back during the days when good guys were always good and bad guys were always bad, now you never know how someone is going to act when they come out.
The autograph list has not been completed yet but a couple of wrestlers have been announced including Vader, Paul Bearer, Mean Gene, Papa Shango, The Godfather and Kama Mustafa. In case you are keeping track Papa Shango, The Godfather and Kama were all characters played by Charles Wright. That would be an interesting collection to put together.
One thing I want to point out is Jerry Lawler’s sketch cards; he is quite an artist and if you have a chance to take a look at his work you will be surprised. There will be 10 sketch cards, all 1/1, but Topps is also including Portrait versions (reproductions of the original sketch cards) of each card with the insert checklist.
Stayed true to original
Jerry Lawler sketch cards
The autograph checklist is still weak
Not sure if autos are sticker or on-card
More Allen & Ginter minis forced in to a Topps release
Rating:I would call this a 3 out of 5 release. The pricing makes it affordable for collectors to put together a set and with 2 hits per box you have a chance to pull something nice at a low price. It is also something that old school wrestling fans will dig.