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Topps’ WCW trading card sets from the late 1990s completely changed the wrestling trading card hobby. While WWF trading cards from Action Packed and Comic Images had offered a few autographs here and there, Topps’ WCW sets were built around a deep checklist of autographs of wrestling’s top stars.
The autographs from 1998 Topps WCW, 1999 Topps WCW Nitro and 1999 Topps WCW Embossed are some of the most prized cards in the history of wrestling. Autographs were randomly inserted about one in every two hobby boxes. Some of the most popular autographs from these sets include Bam Bam Bigelow, Curt Henning, Randy Savage, Miss Elizabeth, Hulk Hogan and so many more.
But in addition to a plethora of autographs of some of the biggest wrestling stars in U.S. history, the Topps WCW sets were also packed with signatures from some of Mexico’s top wrestlers. Here’s a look at five key luchador signatures found in Topps’ WCW products.
- Eddie (Eddy) Guerrero 1998 Topps WCW Autograph. Eddie’s Topps WCW autograph is the holy grail for many collectors of wrestling cards and memorabilia. Guerrero’s signature is very rare, and this is his only certified autographed trading card, aside from a cut signature that appeared in a WWE product last year. In addition to being extremely rare, Guerrero also has one of the most visually striking and appealing autographs you’ll ever see. If you’re lucky enough to track one of these cards down, be ready to pay anywhere from $300 to $500.
- La Parka 1999 Topps WCW Nitro Autograph. The man now known as LA Park has been one of Mexico’s top stars for three decades. His feud with Rush was one of the top drawing programs in Mexico in recent years, and his current run in Major League Wrestling has helped shine a new spotlight on his career. La Parka has one of the coolest signatures you’ll find: he signed each card “La Parka tu Amigo,” along with a sketch of a skull and scythe. La Parka’s Topps WCW autograph doesn’t pop up for sale often and usually sells for around $60.
- Psychosis 1998 Topps WCW Autograph. Psychosis was the foil for Rey Mysterio in several early ECW matches, and his flashy style and crazy mask helped him to stand out. He’s still a star in Mexico and some U.S. independent promotions, wrestling both as Psychosis and Nicho. His card is tough to find and usually sells for around $50.
- Silver King 1999 Topps WCW Nitro Autograph. Silver King’s name has been in the news recently due to his tragic death in the ring during a match with Juventud Guerrera. Silver King first appeared on WCW television in 1992 as part of the NWA tag team title tournament, and then resurfaced during Nitro’s boom period in the 1990s. He also portrayed the masked villain in the Jack Black film “Nacho Libre” in 2005. Silver King was a much bigger star in Mexico. In 2010, he donned his mask for a second time and changed his name to Silver Cain as he feuded with real-life brother Dr. Wagner Jr. Silver King’s Topps WCW autograph was one of the more common cards in the set, and pretty consistently sold for around $25. Following his death, however, the value of the card will likely increase significantly.
- Hector Garza 1999 Topps WCW Nitro Autograph. Garza was one of the few luchadores to appear on both WWF and WCW TV during the Monday Night War. Like many other wrestlers on this list, Garza was a much bigger star in his native Mexico than he was in the U.S. He was a big star in CMLL in the 2000s before joining Los Perros Del Mal during their invasion of AAA in 2011 and 2012. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012 and passed away in 2013 at just 43 years old. His extended wrestling family includes current WWE developmental wrestlers Humberto Carrillo and Garza Jr. Hector Garza’s Topps WCW auto can usually be found for around $40.
In addition to the luchadores presented in this top 5, other notable signatures included Konnan, Juventud Guerrera, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Cyclope (aka Halloween), Damien 666, El Dandy, Super Calo and Lizmark Jr.
If you’re looking to add these cards to your collection, be careful what you buy and familiarize yourself with the product. Some cards were produced but never inserted into packs, including Rey Mysterio, Davey Boy Smith, Booker T and Scott Steiner, among others. These unreleased cards sometimes surface on eBay or at local card shows. It’s possible that the wrestlers kept the cards and sold them themselves, instead of returning them to Topps. It’s also possible that some unscrupulous collector got his hands on unsigned cards and forged a signature. In addition, reproductions often surface on eBay on some of the bigger cards.
Cardboard Connection has a great reference site on the Topps WCW cards at https://www.cardboardconnection.com/complete-guide-topps-wcw-autograph-card. If you have questions about the authenticity of a card, seek out a knowledgeable collector on Twitter, Facebook trading card groups or forums on sites likeblowoutcards.com.
One more tip on tracking down these cards: make sure you try different spellings of a wrestler’s name when performing a search. Eddie Guerrero is identified on his card as “Eddy” and Psychosis was more commonly spelled “Psicosis” in Mexico.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PRIOR COLUMN: COLLECTIBLES COLUMN 5 COUNT: Wrestlers Who Share Terrible Signatures with Other Famous Athletes
Five Count is a new format for the Pro Wrestling Torch’s long-running collectibles column, which began in 2011. PWTorch Collectibles Specialist Michael Moore can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MMooreWriter.