Last week I showed off some Stardom wrestling cards I purchased from eBay, and today I'll be showing a package from the Puro Central Shop. As a short recap, Stardom is a women's wrestling promotion in Japan. They don't participate in the annual BBM True Heart wrestling card sets, but in 2015 and 2017 they released their own trading cards. The 2015 cards were available for a long time, but after the news broke that Stardom wrestlers Kairi Hojo and Io Shirai signed contracts with WWE, both the 2017 and the 2015 packs quickly sold out.
I was able to buy some 2015 packs before they were gone, and I'll post about my pulls from them at some point. I wasn't able to get any of the 2017 packs from the Stardom store, but I bought a quartet of singles from the Puro Central Shop, which sells all kinds of Japanese wrestling goods. The main card I was chasing was the Alpha Female in the upper left. She is also known as Jazzy Gabert, hails from Germany, and competes in MMA as well as wrestling. She has another individual card in the set, as well as some tag team cards, but I was only able to get this one. I also picked up cards from a few other names I recognized.
Here are the backs of the cards I picked up. The fronts of the cards typically show posed shots or photos of the wrestlers during their ring entrances, while the backs typically have an action photo. That isn't the case every time, but that seems to be the usual pattern. The 2017 cards are pretty similar in design to the 2015 cards, outside of the addition of the year on the set logo.
In a pretty cool move, the owner of the Puro Central Shop sent me a pack of the 2017 cards along with the ones I ordered. I don't know that I deserve that kind of honor because I tend to be a bit of a cheapskate when ordering from him (or anyone, really), but I surely did appreciate being able to rip my own pack of 2017 cards.
These were packaged similarly to the 2015 cards, with a paper insert inside of a team bag. The difference is that the 2015 cards were additionally packed in a gold foil envelope that was stapled shut and then placed in the team bag, while the 2017 cards were just slipped inside of the paper insert and put in the bag. The red stars on the checklist denote autographed cards, which are numbered as part of the set. The autographs are either made in differing quantities, or the collation really sucked from order to order, as the Puro Central Shop got several of the same wrestler in the packs they opened, and every pack they sent out also featured the same autograph. There's probably some lucky collectors out there who got only Kairi Hojo or Io Shirai autographs in their packs.
Each pack has ten cards in it, and here are the fronts of the nine non-autographed cards I pulled. There is pretty good variety here, with some homegrown stars, a tag team, some guests from out of the country, and a tournament victory card.
Most of the wrestlers have more than one card in the checklist. Some of them have what I would categorize as wrestling cards and modeling/idol cards. The idol cards have posed photos on front and back, like the cards above featuring Jungle Kyona, Kris Wolf, and Starlight Kid.
My autograph was Toni Storm. The glossy coatings on these cards mean that most of the autographs I've seen are smudged / streaked / faded in some way. BBM's True Heart sets moved to matte finishes on their autographs a few years ago (2014 maybe?), but Stardom's printer probably printed all of these cards on the same sheets and treated them all with the same coating. The only thing really separating these from the look and feel of a regular card is the white box where the signature goes and the 'SIGN CARD' designation under the set logo on the front.
I don't know a lot about Toni Storm, but this is a pretty cool card. Not all of the packs have autographs (maybe), although it seems like the 2017 packs are more likely than 2015 packs to contain an autograph. I haven't opened enough from either year to make a definitive statement on that, though.
I am glad that I was able to get a few of the Stardom cards in various ways, especially since they are now sold out and will probably be impossible to find after another month or two. I don't have any hope of completing a base set from either year, but it would be cool to find all of the Alpha Female cards that are available. She doesn't have an autograph in the set, so that should make the search a little easier.
Much thanks to Puro Central Shop for the bonus pack of 2017 Stardom cards, as I wouldn't have had the opportunity to bust a pack of these otherwise. As always, the card collecting community has proven to be more generous than I deserve. I am planning on sending a couple of these cards out to people who I know are fans of particular wrestlers, so maybe that will keep the karma flowing a little bit.