I've never hidden the fact I'm a wrestling fan, in fact I think most people know me as being a big fan. A couple months ago I used an email account to get a free trial to the Network to watch Wrestlemania. I was filled up with many other great options too including a NXT PPV and I even got to watch Elimination Chamber as well. Though by the time my trial ended, I had seen enough wrestling for a while, especially since I haven't watched a lot of the current product in recent months. Sure I CAN watch Raw and Smackdown each week, but I don't build my schedule around it like I have in the past. Going into this week I thought about getting the Network again so I could watch the biggest show of the year, but the card didn't really excite me. Add in the fact that I have no real desire to watch NXT, though I've liked what I've seen, and also that the Hall of Fame which had many deserving people inducted this year, didn't make me go "I MUST SEE THIS NOW!"
Well, all that changed a couple days ago. I have multiple email accounts and some I don't check for months at a time. They are mainly used for junk purposes, but I do check them because at times I do get some good stuff. Boy, am I glad I did. I got an email from WWE, which is common. It seems long ago I signed up for some sort of account on their website and they sent me mail all the time. Usually I ignore it, but this time they wanted me to get the WWE Network in time for Mania. I thought, I'll do it if its free, but I'm not going to pay. Again, not because I'm cheap (I admit I am), but more because of no real emotional attachment to the current product outside of a couple guys. However, I clicked on the email figuring I would be disappointed, but I wasn't. As I read the email they indeed offer me a free trial to the Network. It appears I signed up to WWE website before the Network even began, and I never used this address before. So now there are no excuses, I figure I'll do it. Though I kept reading. Sure I'll have to pay $9.99 once my trial ends, but I just need to cancel by June 26th before charges appear.
Wait, what? June 26th? Like the end of June? It's only the end of March (when I got the email), what did I miss? Well, it appears I'm not just getting 1 free month of the Network, I will get 3 free months of the Network, and I think it includes 5 or 6 PPV's including Wrestlemania, and the weekend events. No way I will pass that up. I think it also covers Money In the Bank which might be the only other PPV in the next few months I'd care about watching, so this works. If you never had the network, its great because it has every PPV from WWE/WWF, WCW, and ECW. It also has old Raw, Smackdown, ECW On TNN, WCW Monday Nitro, and more in archives. In fact I only mainly watch the old stuff. After I signed up and watched the Hall of Fame ceremony last night I've already watched 2 WCW PPV's, and a Raw episode from 2001 when DDP first appeared (as the man stalking Undertaker's wife). As I type this, I am watching NXT Takeover and was happy to see a familiar face in Eric Young (who I met once and is nice), and a surprise appearance from Kassius Ohno (who I remember as Chris Hero in Ring of Honor who tagged with some guy who now tags with Sheamus). I have zero hopes for this PPV, but its live wrestling and a chance for me to see Bobby Roode later, so its good.
Tomorrow though is the big draw, its Wrestlemania. To be honest I'm not real excited for any of the matches outside of A.J. Styles vs. Shane McMahon, but there are some big names on the card including: Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, The Miz, John Cena, The Undertaker, Triple H, Seth Rollins, and two exciting women's matches, a battle royal and more. It's stacked, but nothing I must see. However I will watch it because why wouldn't I?
So far I've wrote a bunch of words, I need some pictures to balance it out. As I stated above, I prefer the old stuff on the network, so why don't I show some NEW, old product? I recently got a package from Dacard World and one of the items is wrestling related, so let's see what it is.
Holy crap, an unopened box from 1998? Yes indeed! Also look who is on the front of the box, none other than the man who is going to wrestle at Wrestlemania tomorrow, GOLDBERG! Another great thing is that the set was produced by Topps, which I think did a good job with the WCW sets, and wouldn't make WWE sets again until after WCW closed shop. Since this box is 19 years old, I was a bit concerned because these cards were super glossy and they stuck together, however you'll see that most came out ok though. Let's take a look at the cards, including all the cards from the first pack I opened.
Who would be disappointed for the first card you see in a box being the Macho Man Randy Savage? It is one of the sticker cards which I should be able to finish with ease since there are only 10 cards in the set and 24 packs. I'm sure I can finish the entire base set too, but you never know. The next card was Sting, and this pack is fire. Sure it was Wolfpack Sting which had the worst face paint Sting ever wore aside from the Heath Ledger Joker look during his TNA run years later, but still, its a Sting card. Next is Kanyon, WHO BETTER THAN KANYON? NOBODY! I always liked Kanyon, and I thought for sure he would be a big star even after WCW went under, but for some reason WWE didn't know how to use him, or maybe did it on purpose. Some claim he wasn't given a chance in WWE because he was gay. I wouldn't doubt it especially at the time, but it would be a shame if that was the case.
The next card I pulled was actually the British Bulldog. If I made a Top 10 favorite wrestlers ever Davey Boy Smith would be on the list, likely in the top 5. One of my favorite matches ever is his match with Bret Hart at Wembely during Summerslam. I loved everything about his character even after he traded his tights for jeans later in his career, and his music to me is only upstaged by Macho Man's as one of the best. This pack featured 3 of my top 10 favorites ever, this pack could not be beat. Even when I saw the last card of the pack was Lodi, I wasn't disappointed. You must know that I was WCW all the way, and I liked almost all the wrestlers, including Lodi. However one of the reasons I got this box was because I use to have some of these cards long ago, and one of the only ones I remember having was Lodi. I held out hope I would one day build this set, and when I saw this box, I knew now was the time.
So now you saw the first pack I pulled, let's see what I got overall. We'll start with the stickers.
GOLDBERG! GOLDBERG! GOLD...I don't care, he is one of the few I never liked. I think it stemmed from pushing him to much too fast, also I rooted for heels more, and because most of his matches were squash matches and he was already older when he started wrestling so his shelf life wasn't very long to begin with. It's partially some of the same reasons I didn't like Batista either, but minus the squash matches. At least they built him a bit more. Also I didn't care for either ones personalities. Anyways, its nice to get a sticker card like this when Goldberg is relevant again. Speaking of relevant, DDP just went into the WWE Hall of Fame last night, so it was cool to see this care again too. Sure he started wrestling when he was older too, but he was already in wrestling so I was familiar with him. Plus I loved his gimmick (so much so I just watched him fight the Booty Man in 1996 pre-NWO.
I already mentioned Macho Man, and I'll talk more about him in a bit, so we'll move on to Sting. I just didn't like the red face paint. I didn't mind what he did in the ring, I just hated the face paint. Then again, when I think of my favorite Sting, it was surfer Sting. Next is Hollywood Hogan, and eh, not much to say. I used to be a fan, got tired of him, liked him a bit when he turned heel because it was fresh, then tired of him again. Last in this batch is Kevin Nash, and I also have a love/hate feelings about him as well. At the moment, I'm more indifferent, but do enjoy his interviews. He's laid back and calls it likes he sees it.
LET ME SPEAK ON THIS! I can't say much about Konnan, I never was a fan, but I did like a couple of his moves. He is also one of the few that is still active I think. I know I hear his name a lot, but not sure if he wrestles. I think he is a manager in Impact Wrestling these days, but since I don't watch them anymore (part by choice, part because I don't get the channel) I don't care.
Bret Hart I forgot was in this series. I know this was a 1998 release but I always forget the timeline of when he came to WCW. Its not hard to remember but it surprises me that Bret Hart was actually in WCW for 5 years. It seemed like a year or two at most. Its easy to remember because he left WWF after the Montreal Screwjob in late 1997 and was involved in the worst match in Starrcade history, which was also the supposed Match of the Century between Hogan vs. Sting, a match Nick Patrick forgot to count fast screwing everything up. Next is Giant, apparently not The Giant as he was always billed. A few months later he debuted in WWF as the Big Show where as of tomorrow he'll compete in a match at Wrestlemania. I've always been a fan, so I was happy to pull this card (mainly because its one step closer to completing the set, but I also got an extra or two also). Lastly is Lex Luger who is much like Hogan to me, I liked him at one point, but got stale as the years progressed, mainly due to him turning face and heel every week.
So that is the sticker set, not a bad set, but I'm a bit surprised Roddy Piper wasn't included in the set as he has a card in the base set. Also missing is Scott Hall which was very vital in WCW history but became a mere footnote as the years went by. I also am perplexed at no inclusion of Ric Flair or even someone like Rey Mysterio, Raven (who may not been in WCW when this came out now that I think about it), or even Chris Jericho or Chris Benoit.
Let's look at the base set now. This will be fun, much more fun than that finish to that triple threat tag match NXT just put on. I was hoping Johnny Gargano would be victorious as I've been a fan since he even was famous to most, when he was in Prime Wrestling in Ohio.
The lone Scott Hall card, is in my mind one of the worst cards in the set. Sure its cool to see him perform the Outsiders Edge, but I just don't like this card. Though I will say I liked the NWO card designs more than the WCW ones. Next is a card of the Announcers. Mike Tenay got on my nerves but liked his knowledge. I guess they did that because Tony Schiavone admits freely he wasn't a fan of the cruiserweights. I do like Tony though, and now that he has a podcast, and I have the WWE Network I can watch some of the stuff they talk about each week to refresh my mind before listening. If you're a wrestling fan, you must check out his views from WCW on his podcast. He pulls no punches. Next is a card of Kaz Hayashi. I liked him and while it didn't introduce me to Japanese Wrestling (Jushin Liger did that years earlier), I liked that I got a variety of wrestlers from around the world.
Next is Ric Flair, and the only thing I'd change about this card is I want to see who he was doing the knee drop on. Otherwise a nice card. Gene Okerlund gets his own card and it wouldn't bother me except he is also featured on the back of the Announcers card so no real need for his own card. That also means no photo of the other announcers including Larry Zybysko and even Dusty Rhodes, if you will. Ernest Miller was entertaining as a commissioner, but he did nothing for me in the ring. Still I never hated his TV time even in the ring, but I wasn't made if he his segments cut. Lastly in this batch is Eric Bischoff, who I will never apologize for liking. Sure he made it easy to hate him on and off the camera, but on-screen he played a heel to perfection.
I'm writing a lot so I'll cut down a bit and show more pics. I like the Arn card, and The Disciple card might be the best of the set to be honest. I already mentioned Kanyon and Lodi, so let's check out the Nitro Girls. I thought these cards were done well, and I remember having both of these cards before and really liked the Kimberly card. Um... ahem... moving on. Um... okay, paragraph break while I collect my thoughts.
So this Rey Mysterio, Jr. card might be the last of two things. It might be the last time he was referred to as Jr. (which is what I still call him), and it might be the last WCW card he had with a mask on. I know the Embossed set that came out in 1999 had him unmasked. One of the only knocks I have on Bishoff is his insistence of unmasking wrestlers. Especially Juvi and Psicosis. Lastly is Jimmy Hart. I guess it works, not much to add.
I had the Sick Boy card before too, so that's good to have again, though as you can see, some of the gloss came off and it peeled the card a bit. The Chavo card is good but it features Eddie more than Chavo which pretty much is the story of Chavo's career. I like this card of Psicosis, and a nice cameo I think from La Parka who I don't remember having a yellow outfit, and also doesn't have a card in this set. Next is Bulldog, and next to him is Wrath. Wrath is a good card to have because he went to college in Missouri so he actually fills a collection I have and since I got a double, its even better. Following him is Ultimo Dragon, who was another guy I always liked. I was a fan of the cruiserweights, and unlike Mean Gene, I never doubted El Dandy. Though I did doubt the Villanos and a few times Silver King, who none have cards in this set (but I might have had ones in the 1999 set, I know King did, as Hector Garza). Bottom row is Luger, Sting, and Hogan, and not much to add aside from Luger's card another candidate for best card of the set. It shows his face, his opponent (I think Brian Adams), and it shows his finisher. Can't beat that. Sting's is much the same (he's facing Hogan), but again, hate the face paint. Hogan isn't using a finisher on Lex Luger, but his card isn't bad either.
Let's look at the back of the cards. As you can see, I think Topps did a fine job with these cards, and has nice bios for each of them taking up most of the card, and also featuring a nice photo too.
WAIT, is that... Jay Leno?
Yes, yes it is. He had one wrestling match, and he got a card. That match was in August, so this set had to come out in the last quarter of 1998 and likely before December or else The Giant wouldn't have gotten a sticker. So now we see the back of his card, how about the front?
It's on the bottom left, and is also from his one match. It wasn't a great match, but it would have been cool if they have a card showing Kevin Eubanks giving the Diamond Cutter. BANG! The other cards include Disco Inferno, Steve McMichael, Bishoff and Arn again for some reason, and three who have passed on. Eddy Guerrero (I forgot they billed him as Eddy for a while before going with Eddie), Curt Hennig, and Miss Elizabeth. She is the only woman in the set not being a Nitro Girl. I don't know why Woman wasn't included, but oh well. I was never drawn to Liz like everyone else, but I thought she was pretty and I think the card is really nice.
Juventud Guerrera was much better masked, but I always liked him. Aside from Booker T, and Kevin Nash (and Juvi) the rest are no longer with us. Rick Rude got his well deserved induction into the WWE Hall of Fame last night, and Roddy Piper and Randy Savage are already in. As for Chris Benoit, well, he'll never make it in. Was he a great wrestler? Yeah he was but I always preferred Dean Malenko better. However it was the whole killing his family thing that tends to make WWE distance themselves from him and the reason he won't go in. There are many conspiracy theories, and while some may seem to make some sense, some are just outlandish. Kevin Sullivan DID NOT KILL BENOIT AND HIS FAMILY!
Here are more cards, and I think I scanned them all. I thought I did, but I guess I didn't, I remember A.C. Jazz another Nitro Girl had a card, and after counting it looks like I'm about 20 or so short. That being said, I did finish the set, so I got all the cards and even got a few doubles. Aside from the Savage, Piper, and the top right card, I remember having all these cards. My favorite is Spice, who was also my favorite Nitro Girl. I heard she's a chiropractor and actually has been even during her WCW days, so if I ever go back to one, maybe I'll look her up. Too late, I already did, but not much, I didn't want to be a stalker.
So there you have it a full box of 1998 Topps WCW wrestling cards. I was very happy with the outcome and only wish some of them didn't peel a bit. I thought they did a great job with the cards, and I paid 22 bucks for the box, and I'm happy with that. In fact it was the most I paid for a box in this shipment. What else did I get you ask? Well, take a look.
Four boxes and a pack of Benchwarmers card for a shade over 50 bucks I think is a great deal. Since I am more or less boycotting 2017 Topps, I bought a box of 2016 Bunt cards, which might be my next post. All these cards will be shown except the Opening Day cards which I might not have scanned and nothing too much of note but it did get me halfway to completing the set. It will be fun showing off these cards.
Earlier I mentioned if I made a list of top 10 Wrestlers. Well before I got the WWE Network (which as I type is showing Bobby Roode and Nakamura in a good match), I was at Walmart and spotted a WWE DVD section, and grabbed a couple DVDs for 3.74 each. Both of guys who are in my top 10 list.
Yes, just about 1.25 a disc for a Shawn Michaels collection featuring all his Wrestlemania matches. I haven't watched it yet, but I know it will be good. If I didn't have the Network, I think I'd be watching this tonight.
Most don't dispute HBK's moniker as Mr. Wrestlemania, but CM Punk does. So if Michaels isn't Mr. Wrestlemania, who is according to Mr. Brooks?
MACHO MAN! OOOOOHHHHH YEAH! This one I was going to get even if it was 5 bucks or maybe even 7.50. I've already watched the documentary and aside from a couple spots (not sure why they began it with his death, and also Hogan said some stupid stuff), it was pretty good. At a later date I'll watch the matches. Overall I think both were fine additions to my collection.
So I will wrap this up, and get ready for Wrestlemania tomorrow night and also the beginning of MLB too, and I think it might be a busy week. I hope you enjoyed reading this, and have a great weekend.