Thursday, September 5, 2013

2013 TNA Live Set Feels A Bit Like A Rerun

I've had good luck with the various TNA trading card offerings over the years.  A 1 of 1 Hulk Hogan autograph and a Sting autograph top the list of "hits" that I've pulled, so I have nothing to complain about as far as the past goes.  However, with the newest TNA product from Tristar, I feel that the overall design and feel has just been done too many times.  Are my feelings biased because of a rather unexciting series of hits in this particular box?  It's possible, but let's take a look at what the TNA Live set has to offer the masses and you just might agree.

This set is actually already about six months old.  Since I had a rather "ho hum" feeling from previews of the set, I decided to wait until boxes were reduced in price a tad until I acquired one.  Although Tristar makes no claims to it, recent boxes of their TNA product have contained a complete set amongst the packs.  TNA Live is no different, so at the very least you should be able to build the 99 card base set with the purchase of a hobby box, in addition to seven hits.  Those hits include three autograph cards (one will be a multi-autograph), one memorabilia relic, one short-print card, and two parallel cards.

As I mentioned above, I was less than thrilled with the hits in this particular box break.  To be fair, I'm also hard to please.  If there isn't a Hogan or Sting autograph in the box, I'm going to be more toward the disappointed side.  They're the autographs that everyone wants.  They're the ones that, for those who care, will bring the value in the future.  While the Bobby Roode's, Gail Kim's, and even Jeff Hardy's of the world are out scribbling thousands of signatures each weekend at TNA Live events, Hogan and Sting are not.  That isn't to say that myself and tons of other collectors are starving for Hogan and Sting autographs, but those are simply the ones that you are mainly looking to pull from a TNA box.

I'm not one to believe in internal "power plays" over merchandising, but it is rather funny that the first three cards in the base set are Hogan, Hogan, and Hogan.  Yes, the Hulkster, Brooke, and Hulk and Brooke together are cards #1, #2, and #3, respectively.  If you've read this blog before, you should automatically know that I don't have a problem with that.  I'm a fan of the Hulkster, although not necessarily in his current role, and I don't even have much of a problem with Brooke.  She may not have much business being a focal point of storylines, but she's a more believable promo than Ziggler, the Internet darling.

The whole roster, as of a few months ago, is nicely represented here.  Similar to Tristar's previous offering, TNA TENacious, the base set has a bit of an identity crisis.  Some cards are studio shots while others are action shots.  I've always been a fan of in-ring posed shots, and there are actually quite a few here.  Folks who have not seen a card release in awhile such as D'Lo Brown and Al Snow return in this set, and there are cool "group" cards for the TNA referees and Aces & Eights.  Even Tommy Dreamer makes a cameo receiving a beatdown at the ill-fated Brooke Hogan-Bully Ray wedding.

As usual, we're presented with some nice rookie cards including some Gut Check competitors.  A personal favorite of mine, Taeler Hendrix, makes her debut as do Kenny King, King Mo, Joey Ryan, and Sam Shaw.  Sam who?  I must've missed that week of Impact Wrestling.  I could forgive Tristar for giving a card to someone who totally fell below my radar, but then I noticed that Jessie Godderz has two cards in the set.  If it weren't for his brief association with a talent like Tara, I wouldn't have a clue as to his identity either. 

In addition to Gut Check, several other subsets are featured within the base set including "TNA Then & Now."  This subset features several Impact Wrestling stars pictured as children.  These cards can produce some amusing comments and actions at signings.  This time around Gail Kim and Tara's cards are sure to produce some "ooh's and aah's," but the TNA Parents Association didn't seem to dig too deep when fishing for early photos of Brooke Tessmacher, Robbie E, and Mickie James.  No "Beautiful Baby" contest winners amongst those three, folks.

Overall, I'd recommend to wait until the price drops even further on these cards.  While there are some cool rookie cards, all could be obtained individually.  Tristar is very big on autograph cards and other "hits," and that is definitely the market that they try to focus on.  They know that many are, sadly, buying the boxes just to score a big "hit" and make some money.  This has caused the company to get very complacent on the base cards.  I'm still begging for a "Heritage" style set.  Obviously they couldn't use classic designs like Topps does, but I'm sure that they could produce a very vintage looking set, without gloss, for the many fans who prefer such styles.

The next TNA series from Tristar is to be called "Glory."  This set, coming in October 2013, will feature on-card autographs.  Any Topps WWE or Tristar TNA product that has featured autographs have utilized autographed stickers that are then applied to the cards.  On-card autographs, which are obvious right on the card, are popular with collectors across the board and the set should be a hit based on these hits alone.  While they'll definitely be something to look out for, I doubt that we'll get an item quite as amusing as the TNA Live Hector Guerrero card.  Not since the 1988 Wonderama Ole Anderson "Dancing Queen" card have we had such an unintentionally (?) hilarious photo inserted into a set.  "Latino cheesecake?"


Anonymous said...

I really thought you would of had a blog about Wrestling related football items today. Not sure how much is out there except for pics.

J\/\/ said...

I don't do football. At all.