27 February 2016

2011 BBM True Heart Women's Pro Wrestling

Here is another BBM True Heart Japanese Women's Professional Wrestling set I picked up a while back on eBay. This is the 2011 edition, with 99 cards on the checklist and the usual assortment of autographs. You can see an example of the 2011 autograph set in my recent Command Bolshoi autograph timeline post.

I found this picture of the box art online. It looks like 2011's cards were inserted in packs rather than sold in box set form like the 2010 set, so I guess than is when the transition from box set to packs was made. I'm not sure why this set carries the Hall of Fame designation when other sets do not. The Hall of Fame subset in this checklist is much larger than in checklists from other years, so maybe that's the reason. 

This year's set has anglicized names on the front of the cards, something that would go away in 2013. I appreciate having the names somewhere on the cards in both formats, as it helps me to figure out who is who. Over time I've learned to identify many of the wrestlers by appearance, but it can be a struggle to identify new wrestlers or masked wrestlers that I'm not familiar with. I've mentioned this a few times, but Kana is now with the WWE's NXT promotion as Asuka.

The backs of the cards show the usual information. You get some demographic stuff and a small paragraph of descriptive text. Some day I will be able to read these, but today is not that day. Most of the card backs have a picture from some sort of in-ring action but others have posed shots or casual shots.

I try to scan the same group of wrestlers for each year because 1) they tend to be my favorite wrestlers and 2) it (hopefully) makes it a little easier to follow the design changes from year to year. Command Bolshoi is one of my favorites, but Io Shirai and Mio Shirai are pretty popular universally among the Facebook group and forum wrestling fans. Mio retired in 2015, so she got a Hall of Fame card in the 2016 base set.

At the time this set was released the wrestlers in this grouping kind of represented the old guard and the new upstarts. You can see that Command Bolshoi debuted in 1991 and Meiko Satomura debuted in 1995, while the Shirai sisters made their debuts in 2007. Now they are all veterans and there are plenty of newer wrestlers filling out the various promotions' rosters.

Dash Chisako's Super Bowl XXIX shirt makes another appearance, and I am still not certain of the significance behind her wearing it. I like cards with props on them, like Tomoka Nakagawa's torn-up folding chair. I also like cards with wrestlers displaying their championship belts. Everyone knows you're the champ when you've got a massive belt or two.

I've always wondered how wrestlers choose their ring gear and how they source more of it. Is there like a wrestling costume warehouse store? You see a lot of wrestlers who wear the same costume for a while. Do they just have one and get it cleaned (or not) for multiple years at a time? Do they buy four or five costumes all at once? What if they get bigger or smaller or tear their costume? Can they just go pick up something similar off the shelf? So many questions.

This set has a very large Hall of Fame subset at the end of the checklist. Most Hall of Fame subsets cover just the wrestlers who retired during the previous year, but this one seems to have everybody in it. Cards # 62 - 96 feature single wrestlers of note, while cards # 97 - 99 feature tag teams. It must be nice to have so many belts that you need attendants to carry them all.

There aren't any checklist cards in the product, so I assume the checklist was printed on the box somewhere. I haven't been able to find out why the Hall of Fame subset is so large in this set. I can't find any evidence in English of a Hall of Fame committee or building or anything coming into being. For now it's a mystery.

That does it for the 2011 BBM True Heart Women's Pro Wrestling card set. It's probably not my favorite of the True Heart sets, but it's still pretty cool.


  1. I like the Hall of Fame cards better than the regular ones. Too bad Hamada didn't get more of a chance in TNA, I really liked her.

    1. The Hall of Fame cards do have a better design/color scheme than the base cards.

  2. The Shirai sisters have a new fan in me ;)

    1. Wrestling talent is just one of the reasons they are so popular among the fans.