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Bob D’Angelo

Bob is a longtime member of the Florida sports media, having served as a reporter and copy editor for more than 30 years. His true sports passion, however, is the history of the various games, exhibited by his in-depth book reviews and hobby of collecting cards and other sports memorabilia. He blogs for on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.

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Squared circle preview: Topps goes to the mat with 2013 WWE cards

Posted Nov 20, 2012 by Bob D'Angelo

Updated Mar 27, 2013 at 10:14 PM

Professional wrestling has come a long way since I was a kid watching “Championship Wrestling from Florida” in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Today there is much more glitz, it’s louder and can be a lot more profane, and there is more of a rock ’n’ roll stadium feel to the whole promotion.

It’s a recipe Vince McMahon Jr. introduced in the 1980s and honed into a marketing bonanza.

That’s nice for Vince. But I still preferred the grimy wrestling arenas and blue-collar wrestlers like Jack Brisco, Dory Funk Jr., Dusty Rhodes, Terry Funk, Ernie Ladd and Kevin Sullivan. And even Ric Flair (woooo ….).

Grimy arenas, yes. Grimy trading cards, no.

The biggest benefit I see for pro wrestling fans now are today’s really nice trading cards, complete with autographs and game-used relics. That’s exciting. No more of those 1991 WCW cards from Impel, which just looked cheesy to me — except for the cards of Flair, the Fabulous Freebirds and Missy Hyatt (Missy turns 50 next year — wow).

Tuesday, Topps released its plans for its 2013 WWE product, which is expected to hit stores and hobby shops on March 13. This should be an affordable, low-end, clean-looking product that still has some pop with the inclusion of autograph and relic cards. The suggested retail price of $1.99 per pack puts it in the buying range for kids, too, which is a market Topps (and other card companies) desperately want — and need — to cultivate.

A hobby box will contain 24 packs per box, with seven cards to a pack. Autographs are expected to be seeded one in every two boxes. Other hot cards of note will be Triple Relics, Diva Kiss cards and 1/1 printing plates.

The base set will contain 110 cards and there will be 90 Triple Threat inserts. The Triple Threats will be a three-tiered insert, as there will be three cards apiece for 30 WWE stars. The first tier cards should fall 12 to a hobby box, while the second should average about eight. There will be three third tier cards per hobby box.

Parallels will be issued in black and gold, with silver parallels limited to hobby boxes.

Sex appeal sells in pro wrestling. Old-timers will remember Gorgeous George’s valet, Cherie (who also was his second wife), or Miss Sherri, the valet for Bobby Shane in the 1970s. Younger fans will recall Miss Elizabeth, the “manager” for “Macho Man” Randy Savage.

Sex appeal also sells in trading cards. Topps is featuring a 10-card Divas Centerfold insert that will fall one in every 24 packs. The cards fold out to reveal a larger image of the featured Diva, a la Playboy. However, these centerfolds will be clothed.

Diva Kiss Cards return this year. These are lip imprints of some of the WWE’s star women, and it will be a scarce “relic” to find.

The men’s memorabilia cards will include Shirt Relics and SummerSlam 2012 Mat Relics.

Topps owns the license for producing WWE cards, and while I may pine for some of the old-school wrestlers of my youth, I am firmly convinced that the 2013 version of cards will be worth swooning over.

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