Topps has a European division that offers some things we don't get here in the Unites States, or that were discontinued after short runs in the US One of these offerings is the 'Attax' line of trading cards. These have a game element to them, with the most popular product being the soccer-branded Match Attax cards. You can get them on the US Topps website, but I don't really know of any American collectors who collect them. A while back there was a baseball Attax set, but again, there didn't seem to be a lot of interest from American collectors and the brand went away. Other versions include Marvel Hero Attax, Top Gear Turbo Attax, and Star Wars Force Attax.
The wrestling version of the set is called WWE Slam Attax, and it looks like there have been nine iterations of the product released, with a set appearing approximately annually starting in 2009. Apparently the first couple of sets were available in America, but they stopped distributing them here after a couple of years. The sets are: 1st Series; Evolution; Mayhem; Rumble; Rebellion; Superstars; Rivals; Then, Now, Forever; and TakeOver. Although the soccer and wrestling cards are part of a game, it seems that most people are in it for the collecting aspect. Each release typically includes a starter pack with a basic 9-pocket album, and there are chase foils and other special cards with limited seeding.
I thought it would be fun and different to chase an overseas WWE set, so I found an eBay seller in the UK who would ship them here to the US. I watched a couple of box breaks online to get an idea for what to expect. The seller I found had three boxes of TakeOver (released in September 2016) in stock, and I also ordered a starter pack to get the binder and other promotional material. Shipping was pretty expensive, but the box prices weren't too high and it balanced out.
The boxes were pretty beat up by the time they arrived. Each box contains 36 packs, with 8 cards per pack. There is a foil card in each pack, with Limited Edition foils falling one per box and a Gold Metal Championship Belt relic falling very rarely. MSRP on the packs is pretty cheap, with this product being marketed at budget-conscious collectors and kids, probably the same marketplace that chases Panini's sticker offerings.
The package was inspected by Customs on the way to my house. They opened up one of the boxes of cards and taped it back up with their green 'Examined By' tape.
Within that box they also cut open one pack, which they helpfully sealed back up with their tape. There were eight cards in the pack still, so they didn't take any souvenirs that I am aware of.
Here is the starter pack inside of its polybag. It includes a collector binder, a pack of cards, a gift card for a store I can't buy anything from, and a couple of other items.
This big poster folds out and explains the rules of the game along with a playmat, it shows some of the cards you can pull, and also features a complete visual checklist of the set.
The binder is pretty basic. There are enough pages to hold the set if you double the cards up back-to-back in the pockets. The front and back covers are sheet protectors for the inserts that are included in the package.
I accidentally scanned the poster instead of the front cover for the first photo. If you replace the words 'Game Guide' with 'Collector Binder' it is basically the same picture. The back cover features some contest and festival information.
The inner covers feature another checklist. The set has 299 cards in the basic set, plus 5 limited edition cards and 1 metal belt relic.
Here are some of the other items in the starter pack. There is a gift card, a transparent pack of cards with the Limited Edition Brock Lesnar/Dean Ambrose card on front, and a Championship card stand. Apparently there are stands featuring other WWE belts available in other packaging, like collector tins and blister-packaged multi-packs. I didn't get any of the tins or multi-packs, so I don't have any other stands.
The final inclusion in this package is this Wyatt Family sheep mask, for people who are into that kind of thing. The instructions say to have an adult help me put it on, but I think I would be embarrassed to ask any of the adults I know for help with it.
There are three different pack designs, each with a selection of different WWE stars.
The back of the pack contains seeding information. The Red Foil cards are slightly more common than the Gold Foil cards. NXT Graduate/Title Belt cards are pretty common, and the Metal Belt relic is apparently so rare that it doesn't even get odds.
This may or may not be the contents of the first pack of cards I opened. You get to see most of the basic card types here. Each wrestler has a logo appropriate to their era. The NXT Graduate cards are foiled. There are Tag Team cards and Signature Move cards. The only things really missing here are some of the other foil types and an Objects card. Each card features numerical ratings for use in the game, as well as a number of stars for use as a quick reference as to the wrestler's quality.
The card backs repeat the logos from the fronts, as well as the star ratings. The game rules say you can use this to help decide which card to play against your opponent, as cards are played face-down.
The first 16 cards in the set are the Gold Champion Foil cards. Those same 16 cards are repeated for cards 17-32 as Red Champion Foils. You can see by the ratings on the bottom that the Gold Foils are better. I believe Gold John Cena is the only 100 - 100 card in the set. I pulled a fair number of doubles in my three boxes, and the only card I was missing from the basic set was the Finn Balor Gold Champion card. I was able to source one pretty easily, with the cheapest option being from an eBay seller in Germany.
The backs of the Champion Foils are the same as the backs on any other card, but they are more likely to have a 5-star rating.
Cards 33-48 make up the NXT Graduate set. These are printed on foilboard, and feature wrestlers who came up to the WWE through the NXT developmental promotion.
Cards 49-56 feature various title belts, which don't do anything in game terms. The rules say, though, that you can raise the stakes of a match by putting a belt on the line.
Cards 57-88 feature wrestlers' Signature Moves. The wrestler's name takes center stage, with the name of the move in the upper corner and the usual Defence - Attack and Star Ratings. In game terms, I think these are treated the same as a wrestler card. I am not too concerned with that, as I am more collector than gamer. There is a prescribed type of gameplay (Wrestlemania Rules) that mandates selecting only a certain number of cards from each subset, with Signature Moves being one of those.
Cards 89-177 make up the WWE subset, featuring current wrestlers. There are plenty of long-time favorites in this subset, along with other wrestlers that have come along more recently. I do like the card design on these, with a foreground posed photo and an action shot in the background. The cardstock on all of these cards is pretty thin, to the point where you might try to peel a corner back and see if they are stickers. This is a budget set, though, so that is to be expected.
Cards 178-208 are NXT wrestlers, with a fair number of names I am familiar with included. 209-216 are the NXT Rookies, who are the newest of the new wrestlers.
Cards 217-275 are the Legends subset, with wrestlers that people of my generation might be most familiar with. I know the Iron Sheik is pretty popular among bloggers, but there are many others here who you might feel some nostalgia for. The big notable exception is Hulk Hogan, who still hasn't been accepted back into WWE products after the racist comments from his sex tape went viral. I don't think Andre the Giant is in the set, either.
The Tag Teams subset fills out cards 276-295 in the set, and there are four Objects (Ladder, Steel Chair, Table, Trash Can) that fill out the end of the set with cards 296-299. There are five Limited Edition foils in the set. I had hoped to pull most of them between my starter kit and my boxes, but there was a double and so I only wound up with 3 of the 5 from my break. I was able to get the final two from a UK eBay seller without spending too much money. There is also an error in the base set. Some versions of Kalisto's card feature a picture of another masked wrestler, Sin Cara. I don't know how many of each version there are, but I got some of each in my break.
I also didn't get the Roman Reigns Commemorative Championship Plate card in my break, but I found a seller with one at a relatively reasonable price. That probably closes out my chase of this set. It would be cool to get the tins and remaining championship stands, but the cost of doing so outweighs the benefit. I have all of the cards that are available, and that's the main thing.
I will be interested to see if there is another set released for 2017. If I can find a good source for boxes, I might go ahead and try to put this product together every year.