The transformation of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling continues on a weekly basis as the company is under new leadership in Hulk Hogan (Am I writing in kayfabe? I’m not sure.) and there’s been an influx of new talent as the familiar names evolve.
One such evolution (Oh, wait, is that a WWE-exclusive word?) is with long-time TNA main-eventer A.J. Styles, who is now managed by “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. The 16-time world champ’s flair for being a limousine riding, jet-flying (… long-time fans know the rest) is being applied to Styles — so much so that the TNA champion is nearly emulating Flair in his demeanor — just short of some “wooooos.”
Fans who watched Thursday night’s TNA iMPACT! show were subjected to a promo where Styles was introduced to an array of fine custom-made suits in preparation for a champion’s vacation, and Flair got in a chuckle-worthy “Space Mountain” reference in within miles of the “other” Orlando, Fla., landmark.
And the third wheel in the promo? She’s someone that collectors might recognize — she is one of the Topps Rip Girls, Rachael Tinsley.
I did a double-take as I watched the video above — but I wasn’t sure why. I didn’t recognize the model for this week (after all, there are so many when “The Nature Boy” arrives … even though he’s 60 years old) but I knew the voice from somewhere. (Proof that I have seen way too many Topps TV videos … )
It wasn’t all that surprising, though, once I figured it out. You see, Topps’ Rip Parties — where boxes of cards are opened by several collectors and the contents are filmed with the Rip Girls as co-hosts — are most-often filmed at Big League Cards in Casselberry, Fla., just outside Orlando, which is also where TNA films its television shows at Universal Studios.
Might this new gig become a recurring role for the 22-year-old, a break from her “day job” (not really) filming box breaks with The Rip Master? Probably not, but, hey, plenty is changing in TNA Wrestling these days — maybe she’s the next TNA Knockout? (Knockout is the organization’s marketing term for its female competitors, by the way.) Maybe she’ll end up on her own TRISTAR TNA trading card — just as a fun jab at Topps, the trading card licensee for World Wrestling Entertainment.
But does it make Tinsley’s 2008 Topps Finest Topps TV autograph a card that wrestling fans might now place on their wantlists? Probably not, but you never know…
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Graded Card Investor. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.