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Box Break: 2017 Topps WWE Then Now Forever (Hobby)
Total cards: 166
Base set: 98 of 100
Bronze parallels (1:2 packs): 12
Silver parallels (serial numbered to 25, hobby exclusive): 1 (Mark Henry)
John Cena Tribute cards (1:6 packs): 4
Finishers and Signature Moves (2 per pack): 48 of 50
Hits (2 per box): 2 (Dean Ambrose Autograph serial numbered to 99, Shinsuke Nakamura Mat Relic serial numbered to 99)
Topps WWE Then Now Forever serves as the second series to 2017 Topps WWE, which was released last spring. In many ways it is like a traditional traded or update set in football or baseball: there are 100 cards in the base set, many of which are wrestlers who debuted or returned after the earlier product was released, or wrestlers who switched brands. Some of the wrestlers appearing in this set include Tyler Bate, Akira Tozawa, Kurt Angle, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy and Aleister Black.
WWE Then Now Forever is a basic product that delivers two hits per hobby box, including one autograph and one other hit, which could be a shirt relic, mat relic, kiss card, press plate or Commemorative Championship Medallion. The only insert set for this product is a 50-card Finishers and Signature Moves set. A 20-card Roster Update set is available only in $10 Walmart packs and includes the first cards of NXT wrestlers like Vanessa Borne, Kona Reeves and the Velveteen Dream. There are 10 cards each of the cross-brand John Cena and Daniel Bryan Tribute sets.
There are 35 different autographs in the set, including Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Kurt Angle, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Aleister Black, Ruby Riot, Kassius Ohno and Lex Luger. Rare triple autographs are serial numbered to 10 and include some cool combinations like Bayley/Sasha/Charlotte, Rollins/Reigns/Ambrose, Wyatt/Orton/Harper, Undertaker/Kane/Bryan and Undertaker/Goldberg/Lesnar. All autographs, except Triple H and Stephanie, are signed on stickers.
The Commemorative Championship Medallions focus on the WWE Cruiserweight Title belt and the belts of NXT. There are 20 mat relics from the 2017 Royal Rumble, 10 more mat relics from NXT TakeOver: San Antonio, 19 shirt relics and other memorabilia cards. There are nine kiss cards and 10 autographed kiss cards.
To get a good feeling for 2017 Topps WWE Then Now Forever, I opened two boxes: a 24-pack hobby box and a Walmart blaster box. Hobby boxes can be found for around $50 and deliver pretty solid value for the price. The two hits in my box were a Dean Ambrose autograph serial numbered to 99 and a Shinsuke Nakamura NXT TakeOver: San Antonio mat relic also numbered to 99. My son groaned when he saw the Ambrose autograph; it’s amazing how much worse his already terrible signature gets as the years go by.
The hobby box delivered almost an entire full base set (98 of 100 cards) with no duplicates and almost a complete Finishers and Signature Moves insert set (48 of 50 cards) with no duplicates. If you’re a set builder, you’ll appreciate the effort that went into minimizing duplicates in this product.
The $20 Walmart blaster box delivered one hit, a Kevin Owens Commemorative Championship Medallions NXT Title serial numbered to 50. I also got the final four cards I needed to finish the base and Finishers sets.
WWE Then Now Forever is what you’d expect from a $50 Topps product, which is a good thing. There’s not a lot of risk on a $50 hobby box that delivers an autograph, a second hit and most of a full set. You don’t need to pull a rare, low-numbered card just to feel like you’ve gotten your money’s worth.
Like 2017 Topps WWE, Then Now Forever utilizes a base design that is similar to 2017 Topps Baseball products. It’s a very clean, simple design that is popular with collectors. The only knock is that the serial numbered parallel cards can be difficult to tell on first glance; make sure you look at the bottom right corner of the front of the card to tell if it’s a color variation, and check the back for a serial number.
At a time when more and more sports and non-sports trading cards are delivering less and less for a higher price tag, it’s refreshing that Topps is still able to deliver a traditional $50 hobby box with two guaranteed hits. If you’re more of a gambler, check out a more high dollar product like 2017 Topps WWE Undisputed or 2017 Topps WWE Legends, which was just released this week.
The hobby box reviewed in this column was provided by Topps. The retail blaster box was purchased at Walmart.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PRIOR COLUMN: COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Looking at the Wrestlers from Remco’s 1980s AWA Toy Line
PWTorch Collectibles Specialist Michael Moore can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MMooreWriter.