DIGITAL DABBLINGS #27 – Who are the Elite?

By William M. Noetling, PWTorch Specialist


Way back last year I took a look at what I thought, at the time, were the “elite” cards in the game, you can find that article here: https://www.pwtorch.com/site/2017/08/20/digital-dabblings-15-elitism-live-sigs-summerslam/.

This time let’s take a look at the overall “Elite” performers in the WWE Slam app currently.  Now who determines who the elite performers are? That’s simple, YOU do! For the last couple of years I’ve run a series of surveys, the latest of which is up and running and can be found here: https://goo.gl/forms/SwxuqTOD8q8Laa7t2.  These are designed to give you, the player, a say in who you think are the most collectible wrestlers in the game, stars who’s cards who you genuinely think are worth more than other performers.

Today I’m taking a look at the first two surveys in the series, 2016-2017 and 2017-2018.  Once I have a decent amount of results on the current survey I’ll share those with you as well, though I may mention the current results (though there’s less than two dozen responses thus far).

First a bit about the survey criteria:  In the first survey the categories were pretty simple, Main Roster Men, Main Roster Women, NXT Men and “Legends”.  Since that survey of course there have been more than a few changes to both the game and the rosters. Notably NXT performers moved up to the main roster, but also just as notably, some performers retired (Paige) and some unretired (Daniel Bryan, Nikki Bella).  In the latest survey I’ve added an “announcers and authority” section, and in the second survey the Cruiserweights were added.

Here’s the Main Roster Men’s Top 10 for both years:

Main Roster MEN

2016 – 2017
2017 – 2018
Rank
Name
Vote %
Rank
Name
Vote %
1
AJ Styles
93
1
AJ Styles
71
2
Seth Rollins
81
2
Seth Rollins
67
3
Finn Balor
77
3
Finn Balor
67
4
Kevin Owens
75
4
Roman Reigns
42
5
Undertaker
72
5
Brock Lesnar
39
6
Brock Lesnar
70
6
Shinsuke Nakamura
39
7
John Cena
67
7
Dean Ambrose
33
8
Dean Ambrose
63
8
Undertaker
31
9
Randy Orton
61
9
John Cena
29
10
Triple H
60
10
Braun Strowman
29

What do you notice there?  Well the top 3 men in the game have not changed since the beginning, and in fact during early voting on the most recent survey, the top 3 still haven’t changed, though currently Finn is running a bit ahead of Seth.  These three guys are bankable, and clearly the most popular men in the entire game. AJ Styles is perhaps the best all around professional wrestler working today, there’s really no doubt about it. Ratings are always higher when he’s on the card.  At number 2 Seth Rollins is a workhorse who puts butts in seats and sells cards. Finn Balor is one of the most charismatic babyfaces in WWE, if his recent record doesn’t really show a positive won/loss ratio.

The next 7 places though, that’s a whole different story.  Year 1’s #4 Kevin Owens has dropped completely out of the picture.  Remember during the first year of Slam, KO was the Universal Champion for quite a while, but hasn’t had the same impact on storylines since, that and an oversaturation of his cards in game took him off the list.  Undertaker dropped three slots, unsurprisingly due to his lack of appearances on TV or PPV. Brock moved up a slot most likely due to his Universal Championship win at Wrestlemania 33, though the percentage of survey takers selecting him dropped by over 30 points.  John Cena oversaturation clearly had an effect in the game, he dropped two slots and over 40 points. Dean Ambrose moved up a slot but also lost percentage points.

Triple H and Randy Orton both fell off, while Shinsuke Nakamura and Braun Stroman were added.  Shin was #1 on the first year’s NXT poll as he hadn’t been called up yet.

Main Roster WOMEN

2016 – 2017
2017 – 2018
Rank
Name
Vote %
Rank
Name
Vote %
1
Becky Lynch
85
1
Alexa Bliss
81
2
Sasha Banks
82
2
Becky Lynch
69
3
Bayley
81
3
Charlotte Flair
67
4
Paige
73
4
Paige
62
5
Charlotte
72
5
Asuka
60
6
Nikki Bella
63
6
Sasha Banks
56
7
Alexa Bliss
50
7
Nikki Bella
48
8
Carmella
24
8
Carmella
44
9
Eva Marie
24
9
Bayley
39
10
Stephanie McMahon
21
10
Mandy Rose
29

Here we see the rise of Alexa Bliss going from #7 all the way up to #1, and in fact she’s still number 1 today.  Her cards tore through the game as soon as she won her first title at TLC in 2016. Being on top of the Women’s division for most of the last two years will do that.  Her cards almost always trade or sell at a premium. Basically Alexa Bliss is a license to print money.

The previous #1 Becky Lynch is still a solid performer and still extremely popular, despite not having a title to her name SINCE that TLC in 2016.  Meanwhile Sasha and Bayley, two previous darlings of the division have fallen on harder times. Paige retained her #4, but won’t be appearing in this section of the current survey due to her retirement and move to General Manager of Smackdown.

Asuka moving from NXT to the main roster precipitated her rise to #5, and she’s still right there in the current survey.  Of course the biggest newcomer who isn’t recognized here yet is Ronda Rousey, and she’s currently running just behind Alexa and Becky for the top spot.

Charlotte Flair, who didn’t even make the list in the first survey, shot to #3 and that’s where she is on the current list too.  No doubt the Queen has her fans.

NXT (Combined for first year, Male for 2nd)

2016 – 2017
2017 – 2018
Rank
Name
Vote %
Rank
Name
Vote %
1
Shinsuke Nakamura
88
1
Adam Cole
79
2
Asuka
80
2
Aleister Black
60
3
Samoa Joe
66
3
Johnny gargano
48
4
Hideo Itami
26
4
Pete Dunne
35
5
Austin Aries
26
5
Drew McIntyre
31

Comparing the two NXT polls would really be a waste of time since the entire top 5 from the first survey moved on to other rosters (or even federations in Austin Aries case).  Hideo Itami is now on 205 Live, while the top 3 are on the main roster. The second year survey though, those guys are all still in NXT except for McIntyre. In fact the top 3 from the second year survey are still currently the top 3 in the current survey.

NXT WOMEN

2017 – 2018
Rank
Name
Vote %
1
Peyton Royce
77
2
Billie Kay
73
3
Ember Moon
65
4
Kairi Sane
49
5
Nikki Cross
37

I didn’t run a separate Women’s section for the first year’s survey, so we have no results to look at there.  For the second year though, once again the top 3 have moved to the main roster, though don’t really appear in the top 10 of Main Roster Women on the current survey.  Kairi Sane and Nikki Cross are still in NXT and are #1 and 2 in the current poll.

Cruiserweights on 205 Live

2017 – 2018
Rank
Name
Vote %
1
Neville
64
2
Enzo Amore
46
3
Hideo Itami
30
4
Cedric Alexander
25
5
TJP
23

205 Live didn’t exist when the first survey was conducted, and the Cruiserweight division hadn’t been established yet.  For the second year though, Neville was on top, with the now departed Enzo Amore as a distant second. In the current polling, Cedric Alexander has taken the #1 spot away from the now #2 Neville who has been injured and off TV for quite a while.

LEGENDS

2016 – 2017
2017 – 2018
Rank
Name
Vote %
Rank
Name
Vote %
1
The Rock
84
1
The Rock
61
2
Stone Cold Steve Austin
81
2
Trish Stratus
55
3
Shawn Michaels
75
3
Shawn Michaels
55
4
Daniel Bryan
66
4
Stone Cold Steve Austin
53
5
Eddie Guerrero
66
5
Lita
51
6
Macho Man Randy Savage
63
6
Kurt Angle
45
7
Sting
63
7
Ric Flair
45
8
Ric Flair
62
8
Brie Bella
43
9
Bret the Hitman Hart
57
9
Edge
41
10
Edge
55
10
Bret The Hitman Hart
41

This section of the survey fascinates me to no end.  In the game itself Legends have a unique place. A lot of players collect legends, but they usually stick to one or two favorites, and even then they won’t go out of their way to acquire them.  Legends cards are never as valuable in game as active performers, but still a solid legend, like our reigning champion The Rock will trade higher than your active mid or lower card guy or gal. Trish Stratus didn’t have cards in game for the first survey, so she wasn’t eligible, but it’s safe to say she’s got a huge following.

Daniel Bryan moved off of the Legends section and back to the main roster in the new survey after he’s unretired, though he’s nowhere near as popular with current players.  His wife Brie was added to the Legends section for the second survey, but is back on the main roster for the current survey thanks to the Women’s Royal Rumble and her possible appearance at Evolution.

So what’s the takeaway from all of this information?  Well, people who you might THINK are popular really aren’t all that.  On the male’s side it’s pretty straight forward, beyond the top three guys there isn’t much distinction in the rest.  In fact in the current survey only those same top three have more than 50% of the vote. Everyone else is basically an also-ran.  So should you pay top dollar for a Brock card that’s the same CC as a Seth, Finn or AJ card? Probably not. Brock isn’t any more valuable, and in fact might be more difficult to trade, all things being equal.

On the women’s side though, it’s a bit trickier.  There are clearly more player collections that are strictly women than men.  The top four women in the game, Alexa, Becky, Charlotte and Ronda, are all solid investments.  After them the second tier of Paige, Asuka, Sasha and Bayley are all strong, but not as solid. Card values for their top cards would also fall right into line here.

On the Legends side, it’s more interesting to look at who’s not in the top 10 than who is, namely Goldberg and Ultimate Warrior.  Both men get cards regularly; Warrior is often an award or included in sets, but he just doesn’t warrant those inclusions. He’s so polarizing a figure that for every fan there’s at least one detractor.  Goldberg never really resonated with WWE audiences like he did the WCW audience, and while his most recent run in WWE was easily his best showing since the old streak days, it still didn’t give collectors a thrill.  Other performers like Bret Hart, Edge, and Ric Flair all have solid followings and still garner attention in the app, but unless it’s Stone Cold, The Rock, Trish or Lita, Legends just aren’t that popular.

So check out the latest survey and have your say in who you consider to be the elite in the app.  Click here: https://goo.gl/forms/SwxuqTOD8q8Laa7t2.

Don’t forget you can find me in game at GRENDELSEN, and I’m always happy to trade or answer any questions you might have.  Leave questions or concerns here and I’ll see you next time.

My Collecting Blog – The Budget Collector

The Daily WiLL – http://willaday.blogspot.com/

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