10 REASONS WHY THIS TOPPS WWF TRADING CARD  SET FROM 1985 IS THE MOST GLORIOUS THING EVER!

1) It doesn't get much more 80's than this.

 

One quick look at this picture of Brutus "Not Quite A Barber Yet" Beefcake and you immediately know what decade you're talking about.

 

Between the Chippendales-esque bow tie, sleeveless vest, metallic wrist wraps and leopard-skin trunks, we are safely in the land of Q*Bert, Rubix Cubes, Ghostbusters and (Basic?) Reaganomics. The in-your-face font announcing the wrestler's name against a Pac Man yellow backdrop doesn't hurt, either.

 

Brutus Beefcake - professional wrestler? Or the newest bass player for Duran Duran?

2) Stats A-Plenty

 

Forget the lifetime ERA of your favorite baseball player, the Pro Wrestling Stars collection went above and beyond, baby!

Not only do we get the basics here about George "The Animal" Steele, we're told interesting background on the guy, such as the fact that he is strange and the wrestles like an animal.
 

3) Jobber Cards!

 

While we at Merchandise and Memories certainly appreciate the inclusion of such a... random wrestler, I've got to wonder what strain of powerful 1980's blow the folks at Titan Tower were snorting when they decided that, of all people in the World Wrestling Federation at the time, Moondog effing Spot needed his own trading card?

 

What's even stranger is that Spotty 2 Hotty isn't even posing for the picture! Someone at ringside just happened to amble by and snap a shot of Spot near the ropes, looking somewhat dazed and not at all drug-influenced.

4) Caption Cards

 

Ever wonder what two wrestlers are talking about when they're in the ring? Judging from these cards, apparently they're working on hilarious one-liners.

 

Still, these Caption Cards were the perfect opportunity for grapplers to exchange insults with each other, talk about what makes them so great, or crack a joke.

 

Heh heh - blisters.

5) Puzzle Cards

 

I feel as though this was another 1980's phenomenon, at least in the world of trading cards. You'd turn over the back of a card, and instead of stats or what have you, there would be an extreme closeup of Hulk Hogan's left hand.

 

This may not seem particularly useful, but collect all 10 of the pieces and you've got Hulk Hogan measuring someone (or possibly no one - it's hard to tell) for a punch to the skull, brother.

6) Horrible Racist Stereotypes

 

While professional wrestling had been playing off Xenophobia for years, this was perhaps the first time it was written down.

 

Here, we read about Mr. Fuji (who is dressed on the front side with a sword, headband and karate outfit) and learn about his mastery of "Oriental fighting arts."

7) Matches you thought you'd never see

 

Yes, this picture of Rowdy Roddy Piper strangling a bug-eyed Junkyard Dog is awesome, but beyond that.... who even knew this match had taken place? Remember, this was before monthly pay-per-views (or, um... any pay-per-views) and it wasn't as though each of the WWF's syndicated programs were teeming with competitive matches.

 

Same with a handful of others represented on these cards, including Hulk Hogan vs. Antonio Inoki, David Sammartino vs. Topps favorite Moondog Spot and JYD vs.. Mr. Fuji.

 

Rarities indeed.

8) Find out what wrestlers do in real life!

 

Wrestlers are just like you and I, except for the steroids and what not. 

 

Whether it was Hulk Hogan punching through a boom box with a boxing glove because he doesn't like that particular kind of music (which seems perfectly rational), Classy Freddie Blassie talking to The Iron Sheik with a sword in his mouth, Junkyard Dog crouching down inside of a trash compactor, or Wendi Richter dressed up as a 50's diner employee for some reason, this set really helped to peel back the layers of our favorite Pro Wrestling Stars.

9) Sticker Cards

 

These were a serious bonus - stickers you could peel off and affix to your Trapper Keeper to proudly display (unlike today) that you were a wrestling fan.

 

There were a bunch of them to collect, too, ranging from a bug-eyed Junkyard Dog to Hulk Hogan decked out in an American Made t-shirt that was probably designed at a local mall in Venice Beach to the aforementioned Wendi Richter as 50's diner waitress. Plus there was.... well, this.

I'm not sure who thought the idea of a shirtless Captain Lou Albano with, let's say, lard all over his man-boobs would sell cards... but damned if it isn't now a treasured part of my collection today.

10) The Twin Hogan Card Debacle of '85

 

Look at these two cards closely - is there ANY difference between them besides the color of the backdrop (and the fact that I scanned one on a slight angle)?

 

No, there isn't. Topps only gave us 66 cards in this collection, so there's no reason they couldn't have given us a different picture (especially given that this was the Hulk Hogan ROOKIE CARD!). 

 

Or at the very least, Topps could given us a character card of their second-biggest star at the time.... ANDRE THE GIANT! While Andre is represented in a handful of action shots, he doesn't have his own character card like this. So apparently they had room for Magnificent Muraco, Moondog Spot and the like, but not The Eighth Wonder of the World. 

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Wrestling Merchandise and Memories podca
Wrestling Historian Mike Rickard