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Wrestling fans who have been hoping for some new cards to chase certainly got their wish this week.
Topps and Leaf Trading Cards both released new wrestling products this week. 2016 Topps WWE is the company’s second WWE offering this year, following the popular 2016 Topps WWE Road to WrestleMania, while 2016 Leaf Signature Series is the first non-WWE wrestling product since 2015.
This column includes a review of 2016 Topps WWE. A review of the new Leaf product will be published soon.
2016 Topps WWE
Topps’s latest WWE product offers the usual two hits per hobby box: one shirt relic and one other hit, which could be an autograph, mat relic, press plate or commemorative medallion card. Hobby boxes contain 24 packs and cost about $50. Retail blaster boxes include eight packs and one hit for $20.
Big name signers in this set include Bayley, Bret Hart, Roman Reigns, Sting, Ric Flair, and John Cena. There are also Triple Autographs and Divas Kiss Cards.
The Shirt Relics set is made up of 32 cards. Each card includes a piece of a shirt worn by a WWE or NXT wrestler. The dreaded mat relics are back, featuring pieces of the mat from 2015 SummerSlam and NXT Takeover: Brooklyn.
Instead of Commemorative Belt Plate Relics or Hall of Fame Rings, 2016 Topps WWE features Perspectives Medallions — 24 cards of wrestlers who are either allies (heels) or enemies (babyfaces) of The Authority.
After several very strong WWE releases, Topps stumbles a bit with this product. The only real exciting new autograph is Asuka. Crews certainly has a big upside, but his “AC” autograph is every bit as awful as Dean Ambrose’s horrendous “DA” signature.
Topps is really starting to flood the market with autographs of top WWE stars, much like TRISTAR did with its TNA products from 2008 to 2013. For several years Topps showed great restraint by not including every wrestler’s autograph in every set.
However, since later 2014, almost every WWE product from Topps has included autographs from Reigns, Ambrose, Rollins, Cena and Bray Wyatt. Such an excessive supply certainly hurts the demand for and value of autographed cards of WWE’s top stars.
The Perspectives medallion cards are awful. The Authority has dominated Raw since 2013, and now there’s a card set defining wrestlers by their standing with the heel authority figures.
As a standalone product, 2016 Topps WWE is okay, but a step down from the last several products. The bigger concern is the glut of autographs and memorabilia cards that Topps is cranking out. Secondary market values of top wrestling stars’s signatures have softened, and will continue to do so if Topps keeps up this pace.
PWTorch Collectibles specialist Michael Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MMooreWriter.