24 May 2015

2014 BBM True Heart Women's Pro Wrestling

I'm back with another installment of BBM True Heart Women's Pro Wrestling cards. This time I will highlight the 2014 set. This set is packed out randomly rather than being released in a boxed set. I've taken a scan of the box top here, which features some of the more popular wrestlers and a preview of a base card and a couple of the kiss mark cards that are inserted randomly in the print run.

The back of the box features a checklist and shows a few more base cards as well as this year's autograph design. One big change in the autographs from 2013 to 2014 was a switch to a paper coating rather than a glossier coating. Some of the 2013 autographs have spots and runs where the ink didn't hold on to the paper, and the 2014 cards are changed to alleviate that issue. I also folded down the sides of the box for this scan to show that several more wrestlers are depicted on the box. I believe the pictures are all cropped versions of the images used on their base cards.

The pack design is a condensed version of the box lid. The foil is a little different than most foil packs we get baseball cards in here. It's more plastic and stretchy, so it's harder to tear the packs open cleanly.

The base cards feature a single posed photo of the wrestler in their ring gear with either a red, yellow, or blue background. The card backs feature an action photo and biographical information.

In the upper left of the scans is Kyoko Inoue, who is famous for being the first woman to win a men's title in Japan. Apparently her distinctive face paint is trademarked.

In the upper right is Yumi Ohka, who it appears is wearing the Wave Single Champion belt, which she held at the time this set was released. She also wrestles in America for an independent promotion called Shimmer, based out of Chicago.

The wrestler with the assault rifle is KANNA. She is relatively new, and it is hard for me to find a lot of information about her because there is a very famous female Japanese wrestler named Kana out there, and most web searches for KANNA bring up a bunch of links to pages about Kana.

In the lower right is Command Bolshoi, a wrestler who debuted in November 1991 and has managed to keep her true identity hidden for 23 years. That's quite a run of secrecy. 

The cards are printed on pretty thin stock and are also quite glossy. That combination has made them curl quite a bit, so they are difficult to line up on the scanner and stacks of them rock back and forth on the table. Cards from 2013 and 2015 seem to be printed on stock of similar thickness, but they don't have the warping issue that the 2014 set has. Maybe the type of card stock or the coating on the cards is the main cause.

I am not 100% sure, but I think the wrestler in the upper left is an alternate identity of Command Bolshoi. I could be mistaken. I have seen some references to Dotonbori Scheuermann when Googling the name from the checklist, but there isn't a clear link to a wrestler profile or something concrete. I just like the little crustacean logo on her mask.

In the upper right is Ayako Hamada, who is another wrestler who has done work in America, wrestling for Total Nonstop Action and in the Shimmer promotion. I am covering some of the same wrestlers here as I did in the 2013 set rundown, as I guess I am already keying in on favorites.

In the lower left is another masked wrestler, this one wielding a wand of some kind. She is known as Fairy Nihonbashi. You can see on the back of her card that her height and weight are shown as ranges rather than set values, as fairies can change size.

In the lower right is Akane Fujita. I can't find a lot of information about her.

On the left side of the scan are two cards featuring the same person in different guises. On the top left she appears as Misaki Ohata, and on the bottom left she appears as Yapper Man #3.

On the upper right is a wrestler whose name Google translates to Mizu-haaya. She also appears to go by the name Ryo Mizunami. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to translating and interpreting the information I find.

In the lower right is Lin Byron, who also competes as the masked wrestler Ray, which was her original ring identity. Ray debuted in 2003, while she appeared as Lin Byron in 2010. That wraps up the individual base cards in the set, which make up cards #1-113 in the checklist.

Cards #114-117 feature teams of wrestlers, as shown in the top two cards in these scans. In the upper left is a tag team called Classic Gals, made up of wrestlers Shuu Shibutani and Cherry. Shuu Shibutani retired from wrestling this month.

On the upper right are Las Aventureras, a team made up of Ayako Hamada and Yuu Yamagata. They held the Wave Tag Team Championship immediately after the Classic Gals, and kept the title for 270 days from October 2013 to July 2014, the longest reign so far in the history of that belt. They held it again from October 2014 to March 2015.

Cards #118-121 are some kind of subset, but I am not entirely sure what it's all about. It appears to be some sort of special photo shoot with the wrestlers featured in ring gear on the front and (kind of) street clothes on the back.

I say that they are wearing street clothes, but I am not certain that most folks run around in schoolgirl outfits in their daily lives, unless they are actually schoolgirls. I don't really know.

Cards #122-123 are Hall of Fame cards, featuring wrestlers who retired during the 2013 season. Shown here in the lower right is GAMI, who called it a career after 23 years in the ring.

The final card is a checklist, which has a picture of famous wrestler Kana on the front. She is the one who keeps popping up on searches for KANNA who I talked about above. Kana is reportedly one of the best wrestlers in the business, and she's got a pretty distinctive look to her face paint. And that does it for the base set.

It looks like I've opened three boxes of 2014 cards, with each box producing 5 autographed cards. There are also autographed Polaroids out there and a couple of cards featuring wrestlers' lipstick prints, but I didn't pull any of those.

I don't think there is any significance to the one blue ink autograph I got, as all the cards are serially-numbered to around 90 each. I've heard that there are special autographs with different ink and extended inscriptions, but I haven't actually seen any of them.

The autographs use the same photos as the base cards. As I mentioned at the top of the post, the 2014 autographs have a much less glossy finish than the 2013 autographs, which had a tendency to smear and bubble because they didn't absorb the ink all that well.

I did pull one dual autograph featuring the tag team Plus Minus 2013, Mio Shirai and Misaki Ohata. Mio is a very popular wrestler and has recently announced that she will retire after the 2015 season. Misaki Ohata / Yapper Man #3 was discussed earlier in the post.

That's about it as far as 2014 BBM True Heart Women's Pro Wrestling cards. I still have a lot of gaps in my knowledge, but this is a fun set to collect and I have a good time looking things up to put these posts together.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Some of those autographs are amazing pieces of art. They should come to the states and teach "how to sign your signature" seminars to our athletes.