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   Fri, March 28, 2003



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WrestleMania card set reviewed
By STEPHEN LAROCHE -- SLAM! Collectibles


Even if you can't make it to WrestleMania XIX in Seattle, you can still experience the best of what the WWE has to offer with the release of Fleer's latest wrestling trading card effort.

On the heels of their earlier releases, it would seem as if the only way to go with this line is up. Sticking to a formula that seems to work, WrestleMania XIX is a product that appears to be a new experiement in the way Fleer produces wrestling cards.

Complete at 90 cards, WMXIX has all of the wrestling personalities you've come to love and hate. The first part of the set looks at 75 of the people you tune in to see each week and that's a good thing. The only real drawback is that the photography is sometimes blurry or dark, and that takes away from the overall impact of the cards themselves. This product line appears to be going through some changes and it's hard to say how this will impact future sets.

The first change people will notice is the switch to a more traditional trading card stock. The fronts are still glossy, but the backs do not have any sort of UV coating. It's not a big deal and is actually a bit of a welcome change.

Secondly, the text on the back is pure kayfabe. Most wrestling fans won't care, but those of us who love the behind-the-scenes dirt will groan after reading some of the cards. It's obvious that the WWE wants to control what they're putting out there, but when you release something like the All Access series less than a year ago and switch to that style of writing... it's not a move in the right direction.

That being said, enough with the negatives and let's focus on this product's benefits. It's a small set that can be easily completed out of a box and that's something both card collectors and wrestling fans can appreciate. The 15-card Multiple Mania subset is a nice touch as well and it shows superstars who have made it to the big show (pardon the pun) on more than one occasion.

Instead of traditional insert cards, Fleer released a bunch of memorabilia cards in packs of WMXIX instead. This should prove to be a positive move and with four different types to collect, bet on secondary market action being hot for some of them.

Some of the biggest names make up the WrestleMania Flashback series and the cards are absolutely cool. Whether it's a Hulk Hogan, Rob Van Dam or Steve Austin piece, you can be sure that whatever one you get will find a home in your collection. Title Shots look at some of the WWE's greatest champions and contain a single swatch of event-worn memorabilia. Expect to find a card from either one of these sets in each box (1:48 packs respectively).

Mat Finish cards come once per box on average, but there's nothing common about them. Several of the most popular wrestlers are on an attractive design that also house a piece from an actual WWE ring canvas. You can't get any closer to the matches than that!

Finally, the fun ends with the two-card Diva Las Vegas set. Dawn Marie and Torrie Wilson were involved in a horrible storyline a few months back involving Torrie's father, Al. Wrestling purists hated the angle, but they can benefit from these nice serial-numbered memorabilia cards. While no odds were given, there's enough of them out there to make fans happy.

The bottom line with Fleer's WrestleMania XIX product is that it is fairly solid despite some changes. Wrestling fans will enjoy putting a set together and there's no better way to get closer to the action outside of a ringside seat. Check with your local card or hobby store as to availability and try a few packs out before taking the plunge on a box.

Box Breakdown

Box One

Total Number of Cards in Box: 117 (114 regular, 3 inserts)
Set: 90/90
Duplicates: 24
Damage Report: A handful of card exhibited slight corner damage.

Inserts

  • Mat Finish (1:24): 1 (MF-T Trish Stratus)
  • Title Shots (1:48): 0
  • WrestleMania Flashback (1:48): 1 (WF-SCSA Stone Cold Steve Austin)
  • DIVA Las Vegas (#'d to 1,350): 1 (DLV-DM Dawn Marie)

    Box Two

    Total Number of Cards in Box: 118 (116 regular, 2 inserts)
    Set: 90/90
    Duplicates: 26
    Damage Report: A handful of card exhibited slight corner damage.

    Inserts

  • Mat Finish (1:24): 1 (MF-H The Hurricane)
  • Title Shots (1:48): 0
  • WrestleMania Flashback (1:48): 1 (WF-KA Kurt Angle)
  • DIVA Las Vegas (#'d to 1,350): 0

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