DIGITAL DABBLINGS #7 – WrestleMania Week & Marathons End

By William M. Noetling, PWTorch Specialist



SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, isn’t it? Well, maybe for some. For me as a WWE fan the weekly shows between the last PPV and ‘Mania are pretty much a bust; you know nothing interesting is really going to happen once all the matches are announced, so I give them a pass until the week before the event. In the Topps WWE Slam App though big things have been happening over the last couple of weeks, not the least of which was the 2017 revamp of the overall App design and the release of an all new base set of cards along with the retirement of the 2016 base set.

After 8 months of the same base card set, Topps finally released the 2017 version with a completely revamped design, utilizing the same exact color variants. There are only 151 cards this time around separated into Raw, Smackdown, Legends, NXT and 205 Live groupings. One change is that they have removed the card count from the backs of base cards.

New to the base set are recent additions like Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas, James Ellsworth, Eric Young, Fandango, Curt Hawkins, Ember Moon, Jack Gallagher, Jinder Mahal, Anderson & Gallows, Akam & Razer, and Mickie James. New legends base include Trish Stratus, Billy Gunn, Yokozuna, Farooq and Batista. It’s interesting to compare who is still active on the roster and who didn’t get 2017 base cards, Darren Young I’m looking at you. The 2016 Base set officially sold out on Monday, March 27, though the awards for set completion are still available. The awards for 2017 complete sets have not been announced yet.

Along with the new base set is a new “launch week” set of cards which is almost exactly the same as the first launch week set with a free card each day of the first week of release. This time the setup though is slightly different in that the additional cards available in packs do not contain the free cards. Last time around they were and many collectors were upset about that. There are once again two different awards, Shane McMahon for the 7 free cards, and the Undertaker for the 11 additional cards. The deadline is 8:00 PM ET on March 31.

Also released with 2017 revamp was the first video card in the game, from a set called “Famous Finishers” and it features about 10 seconds of full audio and video of Randy Orton’s RKO Outta Nowhere on Seth Rollins at WM 31. This card was actually given to every player for free and Topps has not yet announced when the remainder of the set will be released. This is a very cool addition that was requested by the players when the Topps Focus cards were released in NHL Skate. I wish the video had included the actual pinfall count though. I also can’t wait for the rest of this set to hit, because this is exactly the kind of technology that digital trading cards should have.

Speaking of WrestleMania, I guess there’s a pretty big event coming up this weekend? Of course you know Topps is going to flood the app with all sorts of related content for the big show and the NXT Takeover special as well. They started dumping content into the app a week or so ago with the WrestleMania Logo card set which will feature 15 WM logos with this year’s being an award. Obviously there will be a second set of these. I passed because they’re just the logo with nothing on the back about the event at all. If they had a write-up I probably would have collected them.

They also released a “Mr. WrestleMania” 4 card set featuring Shawn Michaels in only two variants, which is unusual. Except that they did the two variant thing for the second series of “Flight” which was recently released. Also odd because the first series of ‘Flight” has three variants.

As to what more content Topps will be releasing, that’s still their tightly held secret. If I had to guess I’d say there will be a base set along with sigs and other content similar to the previous big PPV sets for both major events this weekend. I wouldn’t be surprised if either Programs or Legends return. I’d also think that some sort of separate Hall of Fame commemorative set will happen as well. Once again most of the premium content will be behind a paywall, but if ever there was a time to invest in the game, it’s now. WrestleMania is the biggest event of the year and Topps will likely throw out all the stops to produce popular content to keep it’s vocal fan base happy.

This is also the last week for 6 of our 7 daily marathons, and the scramble to complete sets along with the inevitable crush of WM content is going to put a hurt into most player’s coin savings. I only have about 700K saved as of this writing, I would have had more, but the 3 card St. Patrick’s Day set took a chunk out. I had to collect that set, it featured Becky Lynch and Finn Balor (along with Sheamus).

The final two Red Queen of the Ring cards will undoubtedly be the hardest to procure, Week 29’s Natalya is already up to $3.99 on ebay. This week’s release regardless of who she might be is bound to go for that much or more. The other open variant set, Red Hall of Fame will also send collectors scrambling for the final card, just like they did in week 10 and 20. Since the last couple of weeks of issues haven’t sold out the odds on the final week’s cards end up being much higher than usual. Thankfully Topps will most likely give us a couple weeks to actually obtain the last couple cards needed, as they haven’t announced the award deadlines yet.

The Monday Marathon Set “Masters on the Microphone” still has another two weeks to go, so don’t concern yourself with finishing yet if you’re collecting. You’ll have plenty of time Topps’ track record in other games would indicate that they’ll take at least two weeks to start new Marathons.

Lastly they recently held another Live Signature session with Bayley and Charlotte Flair, and the choice of those two women gave their fans a huge boost and these cards are ultra hot currently. The first session with Dean Ambrose and Zack Ryder gave fans a big old “ho hum” attitude, but this time around the popular ladies sold out the tickets in record time. In addition to the 40 live inscription tickets each performer has a 50 card Signature Relic, a 250 Purple signature with inscription, and a 750 Green signature. Prices on the secondary market are quite high for the card count, the Greens are running $3-8, Purples $10-20 and the relics from $40 and up. Oddly the Purple signatures are not sold out but there are no packs available to purchase.

Next time we’ll start a chronological look at every insert set in the game, first up: Week One, Aerialists, Charisma, Excellence of Execution and more.

PS – I’ve actually been to a WrestleMania, the 2000 event in Anaheim where Triple H walked in and out the champion. It was disappointing. But I did see the Triple Threat Ladders Match between Edge & Christian, The Dudleyz and the Hardyz, so that’s something. And I still own the program.

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S ARTICLE: DIGITAL DABBLINGS #6 – The Best (and Worst) of Topps WWE SLAM!

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