Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sting, Hulk, & NXT Highlight Topps WWE 2015

 With each set that is released, I tell myself "no more." The cards are usually fairly nice, but do I really need another box of glossy WWE cards taking up space? If they were matte finished "retro" styled Heritage cards it would be a different story, but we haven't seen those since 2012. Topps seems to be following a pattern of two regular and one chrome set per year. I am able to resist the latter (the rehashed chrome sets do nothing for me) but I always end up with the other two sets in one form or another.

For WWE 2015 I opted to go with a blaster box. Those are the $20 boxes found in retail stores. Wal Mart is the place to pick these cards up. In each jumbo pack, there is a coupon for $3 off of a blaster box. Wal Mart's jumbo packs and blaster boxes also include exclusive Sting cards and a chance at Sting autograph cards. If you're a fan of "The Vigilante," it's the only way to go.

The base set is, as usual, very basic. This is not one of the years where the design particularly excites me. It isn't bad, but it just doesn't stick out very much either. You get your basic helping of WWE Superstars, Divas, and Legends as well as other on-air talent. Any time that Tony Chimel gets a card is a plus. I will say that it's cool that Topps takes their WWE product just as seriously as their main sports releases by releasing them in the same design as their baseball sets.

The main subset that you'll be seeing the most of in a pack or box is titled "Crowd Chants." There are seventy cards in this subset, with ten cards for each of seven different chants ranging from "One More Match" to "You Still Got It" and yes, the one that makes so many of us cringe, "This Is Awesome." It's a new and different idea that allows cards for a wide array of stars.

NXT is back once again with its own subset. You have to believe that the hottest "brand" in WWE will soon have its stars integrated into the main product. I'd like to see Topps take the risk and release an entirely separate NXT set, but who's to say if that will happen. I think it'd be a great seller, and if they're worried about not having "main roster" talent involved, just throw some NXT Alumni cards into the set. Sadly, this subset is limited to just ten cards, but includes the NXT rookie card of Hideo Itami, formerly known as KENTA.

As always there are relic, autograph, and even "Diva Kiss" subsets (the latter featuring the Topps returns of Lita and Trish Stratus), but the hardest subsets to complete without those "pull" extras are tribute sets for Sting and Hulk Hogan. Both sets feature great vintage photographs of the two legends, and the Sting cards are exclusive to Wal-Mart, as mentioned above. The Sting set is a whopping forty cards, while the Hogan set will ultimately be forty, but just ten are included in this particular set.

The Commemorative Championship Plate cards that debuted in 2014 are back this year. These cards are well-designed and honestly are a bit more attractive to me than most relic cards with a bland shirt or mat swatch. You can argue that Bruno Sammartino shouldn't be on a card with the current design WWE Championship and so on, but Topps simply isn't going to create plates for every design that each championship has gone through, not to mention rights issues in doing so. My blaster box pull was the Nikki Bella Divas Championship Plate card. I don't need to once again go through what a female "pull" means as far as being more desirable, so I'll leave that to you, eBay, and the creepy collectors. Nonetheless, I was satisfied with that, especially after using the $3 coupon for the box itself.

If the Topps WWE sets are your thing, you'll probably enjoy this set. If you're more of a pick-and-choose collector, I could see skipping this set. It might be more interesting to try and complete the Sting set, as so many of those images will never again see the light of day on a trading card. I think that many collectors will be disappointed in that NXT's established talent such as Sami Zayn, Charlotte, and Bayley are nowhere to be found. Maybe an individual set isn't out of the realm of possibility after all. With word of a "high-end" set titled "Undisputed" coming from Topps, the company may just be looking to step outside of the box with WWE. In any event, it's WrestleMania season (which you can read my thoughts on in the latest entry of my other blog, JoshCulture) and these cards will sell.

But if there's one card that we can all agree should be here, it's the gentleman who rounds out the base set with card #100. A legend in every sense of the word, it's hard to say which of his many personas should have been included. Soul Train Jones. Vincent. Shane. Curly Bill, perhaps? Regardless, he is here in all of his glory, and as much crap as he gets from fans, I'll always have a soft spot for the guy. If you do pick up some of these cards and luck upon pulling him from a pack, never leave home without it. You may be at a convention, home show, RV show, subway platform, public library or McDonalds, and there will be standing with a smile, the one and only Virgil...

No comments: