27 February 2019

Chasing 'Rowdy' Ronda Rousey

I wish I could come up with a clever title for this blog post, but I'm drawing a blank. A few months ago I decided it was time to add a Ronda Rousey autograph to my collection. My initial plan was to go for a Topps Chrome autograph, but the ones I saw were all sticker autographs that lacked eye appeal.

I eventually settles on this 2016 Topps UFC Top of the Class autograph, numbered # 15 / 25. It's a sticker autograph, but the design of the card hides the sticker pretty well, and her signature is all on the sticker. I was pretty happy with that, and I was glad to finally add the autograph of one of the biggest names in MMA to my card boxes.

A little more recently, a Rousey collector listed a bunch of their collection on eBay, with some fairly reasonable prices. I added several to my watch list, but didn't really want to commit to buying another Rousey autograph. The seller reduced their prices at the same time an eBay Bucks promotion was going on, though, and I caved and bought an on-card Ronda Rousey signature. This one comes from 2013 Topps UFC Knockout, and is numbered # 78 / 99.

Later I got to thinking that it would be nice to have a Ronda Rousey WWE autograph card in my collection. There are rumors that she might not be with WWE for all that long, and I didn't really want to miss my chance to get one. She's got a few sticker autographs out there, but I noticed that I could get an on-card signature in the recently-released 2019 Topps WWE Transcendent Collection. I won this auction for about the cost of a group break spot, which I think is a pretty good deal for one of the bigger names in the product. This is the Purple parallel of her autograph, numbered # 09 / 10. 

The card does have a scratch on the surface on the left side, but I can live with that. It is funny to me how I am looking for things to complain about on an autograph card of one of the bigger names from one of the highest-end products, when as a teenager in collecting I would have gone absolutely nuts if I'd pulled a relic or autograph card of even a semi-star. Things have changed a lot over the last 20 years.

I may be done with Ronda Rousey autographs now, but we'll see what the future brings. I am pretty happy to have a couple of nice examples from her UFC career, as well as a pretty big card from her time in the WWE.

18 February 2019

Two Reverse Boxes of 2018 Topps Legends of WWE

Topps has put out a Legends set for the WWE each of the last couple years, and it's a pretty decent product. I thought about buying a box of it, but then I decided this might be a good product to build a reverse box for. The idea behind a reverse box is that you put the money you would have spent on a box toward buying single cards you like from the product, basically custom-building the contents of a box on the secondary market. By buying this way, you remove the chance of hitting something really big, but you also remove the chance of opening a box that doesn't match your interests.

Based on my understanding, each box of this product contains 12 packs with 5 cards apiece, for a total of 60 cards in a box. Of those 60 cards, 12 are parallels and 4 are hits, with three of those hits guaranteed to be autographs. Boxes run about $95 at the moment.

You won't complete a base set or either of the insert sets from two boxes of the product, but I went ahead and bought a complete set and split the cost 50/50 between my two reverse boxes. The base set has 70 cards in it, and features plenty of big names, like Andre the Giant and Jake "The Snake" Roberts.

The first insert set is called Identity Crisis, and it features 20 cards of wrestlers who switched personas during their careers. Here are a couple from my first reverse box.

There is also a 10-card Women's Division set, with cards for many of the bigger names from the female side of the roster.

I was able to get 7 numbered parallels for each of my reverse boxes, mostly from one big lot. These four are all Silver parallels, serially-numbered # / 50. I was especially happy to get The Rock. I think Kane was a single I got because I could combine shipping with some of the hits I picked up.

This Tatanka is a Blue parallel and is numbered # 08 / 25. It also came from the same lot as the other parallels.

The inserts have parallels, too. Cardboard Connection lists Identity Crisis and the Women's Division set as part of the base set. I don't know. They are numbered differently than the base set, so I consider them to be inserts. 

I picked up a whole Bronze parallel set for just a little more than my regular base set cost me, so I split off the Women's Division inserts as my remaining parallels for the reverse boxes. Here are the first 5 cards in that checklist. 

I was able to land some pretty good cards for my hits. The Mankind autograph is a Blue parallel, and is numbered # 04 / 25. The Mark Henry card is a Hall of Fame ring manu-relic with an autograph. That one is numbered # 79 / 99.

The other two hits from this reverse box were a base Jake "The Snake" Roberts autograph and a John Cena relic card. These base hits have print runs of 199. I like that many of the wrestlers included their nicknames on the autographs for this set.

Here are some more base cards to start off the second reverse box. It's fun to see some of the older guys in a set like this.

Here are a couple more of the cards from the Women's Division checklist. I guess I am showing all of them in the Bronze parallel sections of these boxes, but it probably won't hurt anyone to see Miss Elizabeth and Trish Stratus more than once.

And a couple more Identity Crisis inserts, this time Randy Savage and Razor Ramon / Scott Hall.

Next up are a few more Silver parallels. The Kurt Angle was purchased separately, and all of the other numbered parallels here were part of a lot. I hope no one faints at the sight of "Ravishing" Rick Rude. 

That lot also contained a Gold parallel of D'Lo Brown and a Blue parallel of Diamond Dallas Page. I haven't looked at a lot of breaks of this stuff, but I think my reverse boxes did pretty well as far as parallels go.

And a couple more numbered Identity Crisis cards, including my favorite of the bunch, "Macho Man / King" Randy Savage.

Now we've got the second half of the Women's Division Bronze parallel set to close out the parallels. Let's see what I got as the hits for this box.

First up is a nice Iron Sheik relic / autograph. This is the Blue parallel, and it's a Christmas Card, numbered # 12 / 25. I also managed to get my hands on a Trish Stratus base autograph for what I felt was a reasonable price. There was a Silver parallel out there for a bit more, but I couldn't fit it into my reverse box without breaking the price limit.

I had to get a "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan card for my collection when I saw that he covered the cards in his name, nickname, and a 'HOF 2011' inscription. Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboats autograph is one I'm still chasing, but I did manage to land his relic card among those included in a lot.

That rounds out the cards I picked up for my reverse boxes, but I've snagged a few other to go with them.

This trio of autographs includes a Blue parallel of Alundra Blaze and base autograph cards of "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and Big Show.

I also got a trio of relics. DiBiase makes another appearance, along with Matt Hardy and Kevin Nash.

This is a pretty fun product, and I enjoyed building reverse boxes of the product. There are a lot of big names in the product, but the hits also include a lot of wrestlers you can pick up on the cheap. Rather than take that risk, I was able to get complete base and Bronze sets, some really nice parallels, and hits featuring the wrestlers I really like. I may pick up a box of this stuff some day, but for now I am pretty happy with building my own boxes.