Thursday, December 27, 2012
This year's list of wrestling-related deaths includes "Freebird" Buddy Jack Roberts, Rip Hawk, Red Bastien, Joe Blanchard, Mike "California Hippie" Boyette, Chief Jay Strongbow, Dick Woehrle, Doug Furnas, Siegfried Stanke, Dara Singh, Gorgeous George Jr., Savannah Jack, Hans Schmidt, Rita Cortez, Brad Armstrong, David Deaton, Mike Graham, Gordon Nelson, "Hangman" Bobby Jaggers, and the original, male, Awesome Kong.
Roberts was also part of a trio that shot to even greater heights in wrestling history--The Fabulous Freebirds. Along with Michael P.S. Hayes and the late Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy, Roberts tore up rings in the NWA, AWA, and even briefly the WWF, but it was their feud in WCCW with the Von Erich family that has become stuff of legend.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of 2012's wrestling losses, but simply a chance to relive a handful of memories provided by these folks. We offer our sincerest condolences to the family, friends, and fans of all of 2012's fallen heroes.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
With all of the cliches aside, it's time to get to the awards themselves. Although tweaked after the first year, I think that the five categories are now firmly established and shall be for years to come. A few surprises? A few upsets? A little bit of bias? Of course! That's why they're the J\/\/ Awards!
2012 Best Figure
The most controversial J\/\/ Award is always Best Figure. Although the list of companies from which the figures are licensed is shorter than ever, the quality of product is still very high. Uniqueness is as big of a deciding factor here as design.
Mattel's WWE Elite Jerry "The King" Lawler wins "The Joshie" for 2012 Best Figure. Seeing as that I was not a fan of the initial prototype pictures, this could be considered somewhat of an upset. The figure, just released in the past several weeks, is a perfect blend of design. The figure captures "The King" in his WrestleMania XXVII attire, a look that already blended the Lawler of yesterday and today. This is the first Mattel representation of Lawler and is part of their Elite line which comes packaged in a very attractive "window" box. Add it all up and you can only come to one verdict: "Long Live The King!"
2012 Best Publication
A lot can fall into this category. Books. Magazines. Pamphlets (yes, Tito Santana, I'm looking at you). If it's printed material about wrestling, it's up for consideration.
Inside Wrestling/The Wrestler Magazine wins "The Joshie" for 2012 Best Publication. The award becomes more of a "Lifetime Achievement" this year as 2012 is sadly the final full year for the publication. Beginning as individual titles more than forty years ago, countless fans grew up quenching their thirst for the sport of wrestling through these magazines. Bloody covers, top ten ratings, and several generations of professional wrestlers made these titles unforgettable for almost six decades.
2012 Best Buy (Non-Figure/Publication)
What in the world of wrestling gave fans the most bang for their buck? In 2012 that buck had to be stretched further than ever. The best result from that is what we're looking at here.
The 2012 TNA Lockdown Fanfest wins "The Joshie" for 2012 Best Buy. Autographs and photo ops from dozens of Impact Wrestling's greatest, not to mention the two biggest names in wrestling history, all for around $200? Sold. Hogan. Flair. Angle. Hardy. RVD. Roode. Storm. Bully Ray. Devon. I could go on. TNA truly knows how to put on a "Meet & Greet." For those of you familiar with the world of fanfests and conventions, you know that the value is phenomenal. The only competitor for this year's award would've been a 2012 version of Greg Price's annual Legends Fanfest. Sadly, this year's version was canceled, but I'm sure the 2013 edition in Charlotte will make next year's running.
2012 Best Product Line
Anything that has continual releases throughout the year can be considered here. That being said, I can see the most repeat wins taking place in this category in the future.
Mattel wins "The Joshie" for 2012 Best Product Line. This perhaps could be the biggest surprise for frequent readers as I'm often very critical of Mattel's handling of the WWE license. Not everything that they do pleases me, although it isn't always their fault. Other issues such as distribution most certainly are. When looking at 2012 as a whole, Mattel has put out some pretty impressive product. From creating a very appealing new package design template that was rolled out line-wide to some fun and unique exclusives such as Build-A-Figure, the Mattel/WWE tag team had a helluva year. Seeing some of the product that will be hitting in the first quarter of next year, Mattel may capture yet another "Joshie" to match their 2010 and 2012 wins.
2012 Future Holy Grail
This is the item or line that people will be enjoying for years to come. Wrestling memorabilia from this year that will stand the test of time...
Topps WWE Heritage 2012 Trading Cards win "The Joshie" for 2012 Future Holy Grail. I've been talking about this set for months and when it finally hit my hands, I was more than impressed. Nearly everything here blew me away, and I'm not the only collector who felt that way. I've already put together several base sets and yet I still find myself tempted to pick up more packs for subsets and hits. I'm addicted, and I think that feeling will carry on for years over this set. I will admit that this is one "Holy Grail" award that I'd like to be proven wrong about. If Topps can come up with another Heritage set in the future that would top this, I'm all for it.
The envelopes are open. The world now knows just what the gold in wrestling memorabilia was for 2012. Agree? Disagree? "Like" our Facebook Fanpage and send some feedback! You can also see every J\/\/ Award winner from each year in a special gallery!
It's been a fast paced and fun year. Thank you all for reading, enjoying, and maybe even learning over the past twelve months. We'll be back next week for the final entry of the year, but until then...
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Although a couple of great looking Ryback figures are in Mattel's plans for 2013, they all have yet to be released. A few weeks back, pictures taken by yours truly of prototypes of the upcoming Ryback figures were seen right here on the blog. Clad in his signature singlets and with a scowl of destruction on his face, these figures will be ready to dominate any WWE ring...just not this Christmas. That is unless a parent decides to plunk down a pretty big wad of money for a Skip Sheffield figure.
With the WWE Universe getting more and more behind the monster known as Ryback, secondary market price for the Sheffield figure has begun to rise...fast. Between fans who previously snubbed the figure that are now suddenly wanting it as well as holiday gift giving time approaching, it's a bit easier to understand the demand. Little Jim...err...Johnny may want a Ryback, but is paying $80 and up really worth it?
The verdict? Wait. Ryback is coming...with a vengeance. But what if you're a parent who has a child that won't speak to you unless a Ryback figure is under his or her tree? What can I do but offer some simple parenting advice? Feed them more...soap.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
I've made it no secret that I have wanted a new Topps WWE Heritage set for awhile now. Although a few regular WWE series have had Heritage subsets of solely legends, I wanted a complete set full of both current and past stars utilizing designs commemorating the trading cards of yore. This past summer we learned that not only would this happen, but it would actually pay homage to a classic wrestling trading card set design, that being the 1985 Topps WWF series.
The box and packs, in lieu of TNA-contracted Hulk Hogan, star the one and only Andre the Giant. Andre even gets his own ten-card subset which highlights his career once he became exclusive to the WWF. Previously unpublished shots from WrestleMania III and the 1987 Survivor Series shine in this subset, which is also based on designs from action cards in the '85 and '86 sets.
Curiously, such regularly featured acts like Vickie Guerrero, Heath Slater, and Michael Cole are not included in the base set while Aksana, Cameron, and Naomi are out in full force. More curiously is how legends who are obviously not contracted for cards are handled when popping up in photos used. While Slick shows up in an Andre the Giant subset card, Mr. Fuji is blurred from a Yokozuna "Superstars Speak" card in which Fuji's "quote" is used on the back. Neither man is signed to be used for the cards. There is also an error card in the finishing moves subset. Ted DiBiase's "Dream Street" card is mistakenly labeled 86 instead of 37. Don't fall for unscrupulous dealers trying to get more for this particular card.
Blaster boxes (including a relic card) and jumbo packs have been showing up at national chain retailers. Single packs are just slowly starting to follow at retail. There's no doubt in my mind that Topps will want this product in the stores soon in time for stocking stuffer ideas. Dusty Rhodes, Eve Torres, and Howard Finkel in your stocking this year? Could happen...if you will.