The 10 greatest pro wrestling cards
Millions (and millions) of fans watch pro wrestling every week on television, but many won’t admit it. That’s OK — it’ll be our dirty little secret. But there’s no doubting that people are interested in the pop culture phenomenon that’s part sport, part soap opera but wholly entertaining for many.
How much interest is there in pro wrestling? A lot. If the DVDs, video games and countless other items don’t tell you that, consider this — there are two companies producing wrestling cards these days. That’s more than you can say for a few pro sports.
On Sunday, the traveling caravan known as World Wrestling Entertainment makes its biggest stop of the year in Houston for WrestleMania 25, so we figured now’s the time to examine 10 classic cards that should be in any serious wrestling collection.
1. Hulk Hogan — 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter Autographs
Let me tell you something, brother, there’s nobody bigger in WrestleMania history than Hogan. And in the last decade of card sets only a handful carry as much weight as the 2006 Allen & Ginter baseball release. Included as a “world’s champion” for wrestling, Hogan signed just 200 of these cards, which sell for roughly $150.
2. Ric Flair — 1982 Wrestling All-Stars Series A
“The Nature Boy” is among several legends in this set, which was sold through a mail-in offer in The Wrestling News. It’s basically the first standard set of wrestling’s sports entertainment era (1980s to today), and it will make more than a few fans say “Woooooooo.” The 16-time world champion’s first card books for only $15, but you can expect to pay as much as $50 online — if you can find one. A PSA 10 copy sold for $250 last summer after his retirement match at WrestleMania XXIV.
3. Triple H — 2002 Fleer WWF All Access Off the Mat Autographs
WWE Chairman Vince McMahon’s son-in-law is a 13-time world champion and one of the company’s most recognizable stars. That said, he’s not an easy signature to obtain — and this is his only certified autograph card. There were reportedly only 100 of these signed (on event-used WWE ring mat) and most online dealers want upwards of $250 for one.
4. John Cena — 2008 Topps WWE Heritage IV Autographs
Cena is the face of WWE today with multiple title reigns and a pair of action movies (the latest, 12 Rounds, opened March 27) to his credit. While he is a workhorse in the ring, he’s an even bigger machine when it comes to promotion. Want an example from the hobby? He’s signed for every Topps WWE Heritage set to date. This card might be the rarest, though, as it’s only found in single retail packs (not boxes) sold exclusively at Walmart stores. And it’s found at a rate of 1:264 packs.
5. Trish Stratus — 2001 Fleer WWF The Ultimate Diva Collection Signed With a Kiss
Here’s one more dirty little secret about wrestling: The women sell as well — or better — than the guys. This set included autographs and lip prints and is led by Stratus, who retired as a seven-time champ in 2006. Only 50 of these were released (though unnumbered copies exist), and they sell for upwards of $400 online.
Who else made the top 10?
Check out the April, 2014 issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly where we continue to examine the best cards to add muscle to any wrestling collection — a crash course in wrestling card history.