23 March 2016

2012 BBM True Heart Woman's Professional Wrestling

I've had a surprising percentage of baseball card posts lately, so I felt a need to break away from that a bit and cover something else. That means it's time for another set of BBM True Heart Women's Pro Wrestling cards. This time I'll be showing off the 2012 set. I picked up the set on eBay quite some time ago, but I don't think I've shown it here on my blog yet. I probably should do up a set of links so that it's easier to navigate between the different True Heart set breakdowns on my blog, since I didn't do the proper thing and post them in an orderly sequential manner.

I didn't open any of this product on my own, so I found a photograph of the box top online. Based on the description down at the bottom center, we can see that this was released in packs rather than as a boxed set. Each box has 20 packs and each pack has 7 cards. It looks like autographed Polaroid photos were available in addition to regular autographs.

These sets tend to be quite colorful, and 2012 is no exception. Each wrestler gets one photo on the front of their card. I think they are all posed shots with the wrestlers in their ring gear. The card fronts feature their anglicized names, which is something that more recent sets have moved away from. I like the anglicized names, as it makes things easier when trying to identify a new wrestler. I like cards that show wrestlers with props, like Gami counting that stack of money.

The card backs feature photos that appear to come from the same photo shoots as the pictures on the fronts. It seems like most sets feature action photos from wrestling matches on the card backs, so this is somewhat a departure from the norm. They also contain the usual demographic and affiliation data as well as a short paragraph.

I try to scan photos of mostly the same wrestlers from set to set as a continuity thing, but sometimes I think that leads me to say the same things from post to post, like that Kana is now in the WWE or that Command Bolshoi is one of my favorite Japanese wrestlers. I think I've only got one autograph from this set, a Command Bolshoi auto I picked up from a Japanese wrestling shop's online store. Lin Bylon (usually written as 'Byron') is the unmasked alter ego of Ray, the wrestler who was recently diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.

The horizontal cards have horizontal backs, too, with the same information as the vertical cards. I've noticed that some of the card backs have ribbons around the wrestlers, but I am not sure if they actually tossed the ribbons out and took the picture or if they added the ribbons digitally. In the actual matches they usually do the ribbon thing during introductions and often they get hung up on the wrestler's mask or limbs and there's an awkward moment while they get untangled.

I always like to see the championship belts displayed on the cards, both on wrestling and UFC cards. Io and Mio Shirai are always fan favorites. There are 117 cards total in the set, with the first 105 being base cards of individual wrestlers.

Not a whole lot to say about these card backs, except that Mio's mask creep me out a little bit. Maybe it's the ears. Mio has a 2 / 14 birthday, which means I probably need to track down some of her cards for buckstorecards. I actually had some set aside for a long time, but then I lost track of them in one of my big reshuffles. Come to think of it, Lin Byron / Ray also has a 2 / 14 birthday.

Speaking of Ayako Hamada, there she is. Dash Chisako also appears to be wearing her Super Bowl XXIX t-shirt in this card, something that I've noticed in the last couple of write-ups. I'm not sure what Kairi Hojo's pirate theme is all about, but there's probably a back story to it. She wears the pirate get-up pretty often (maybe always?) so this isn't a one-time deal. I'm also not sure about the people in the skeleton suits. Maybe they're her ghostly crew?

Again, not much to say here that I haven't already said. I really should get on a studying regimen so I can learn to read these card backs. It's one of those back-burner things that just never gets done. It is interesting to note that the wrestlers' blood types are listed on the cards. Apparently blood type is a big thing in Japan, kind of like star signs might be viewed here. Each blood type has personality traits associated with it and you can get horoscopes for your type.

Rabit Miu is another favorite wrestler of mine. She's one of the shortest wrestlers at 4' 7" tall. She wrestles with a lot of energy. I talked about Ray's alter ego, Lin Byron, up near the top of this post. Of course I can't find it now, but a few days ago Leon posted a picture of what her chin looks like after a match. I'd always wondered if those masks are uncomfortable to wear, and that pretty much answered it. She was all marked up. It takes some additional dedication to be a masked wrestler.

You might note that Ray is listed as having a different birthday than Lin Byron, and also that the year is omitted from the listing. The date at the top is the wrestler's birthday and the date further down is the wrestler's debut match.

As with most of these sets, there is a Hall of Fame subset (cards 106-108) and a Tag Team subset (cards 109-117). Some sets have checklists or additional subsets featuring glamour or casual photography, but this is not one of those sets. I had a request in my 2010 rundown for a Bull Nakano scan, so here it is. I think she was channeling Marge Simpson with that hair.

The tag team on the lower left is Kana and Mio Shirai, who made up the team Triple Tails.S, which is what they named themselves after Io Shirai left their three-person Triple Tails team. On her card back it appears that Bull Nakano had a run-in with a windstorm at some point.

That about does it for the 2012 version of BBM's True Heart wrestling set. I think that also finishes up every set that I've been able to acquire so far, so there won't be any more for me to post about until I 1) acquire one of the sets I am missing or 2) the 2017 set releases. I've still got a few odds and ends related to Japanese wrestling, so I might still have some posts left in me, but not any full set overviews.


  1. One thing I've always like about Joshi Wrestling is their very unique autographs. I'd love to watch some matches in person as the variety of characters looks like it'd be very entertaining. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Some of their autographs are really cool. It would be cool to attend an event. One of the joshi promotions, Stardom, did a couple of events in California last year.

  2. Love these True Heart posts. I think Io Shirai is my fave.

    1. I like collecting these cards, so I will try to keep posting about them.