The term "Worst wrestling trading card series ever" gets thrown around.... well, actually, does it get thrown around that much? I'm not sure. But rest assured the column below will bear out that this particular series takes the cake in terms of errors and hilarity.
The cards were produced in 1986 by a company called "Monty Gum" (which sounds like a decent name for a jobber, come to think of it) and are less than half the size of a traditional trading card. They were also produced on flimsy cardboard (even more flimsy than your traditional baseball or hockey card from that era) with no graphics or text whatsoever on the reverse, just flimsy cardboard backing.
The front has a "Wrestling Stars" logo that looks like it was designed on Broderbund Print Shop in 1983 (and yes, I realize the package displayed above calls it "Super Wrestling Stars" along with some Arabic-looking text, but I'm going with "Wrestling Stars" given that's what is on the physical card). Each card is numbered, includes a large photo of a random wrestler and, sometimes, the actual correct name of the wrestler.
For example, check out cards number 75 and 100 of "Konga, The Barbarian". True, that was the name he used early in his career (possibly without the comma separating his first name and descriptor. I mean, what else was it going to be? Konga, The Dental Hygenist?).
But here's my bigger question: why are cards 75 and 100 ABSOLUTELY IDENTICAL?!?! It's not even that great a picture of Konga, The Carpet Cleaner!!
Think that was just an error created by whomever was running the dot matrix printer at Monty Gum? Think again.
Eagle-eyed wrestling fans may notice that the photo to the left of this text isn't actually The Road Warriors but rather, Road Warrior Animal and manager Precious Paul Ellering. I mean, it's close and everything, but it's not the legendary tag team.
What's funnier is, Monty Gum took several more stabs at Road Warriors cards, and I don't believe one of them was remotely correct. Sometimes you got Ellering and Animal. Sometimes it was just Animal. Sometimes it was just Hawk and the bottom half of some undetermined grappler:
It could be worse. You could be 60's and 70's grappler King (no relation to Prince) Curtis Iaukea, who didn't make the cut of his trading card because he happened to be lying on the mat at the time the picture was snapped.
Just playing devil's advocate here.... but how do we even know that King Curtis was in this match? How do we know it isn't, say, Konga, The Sous Chef preparing to receive the bionic elbow? We can see most of the referee.... most of Dusty's disgustingly bloody face... even Dusty's skin blotch.... the only one we can't see if the guy who is apparently in the match.
Perhaps King Curtis had gone to the WWF by this point to manage Kamala and Sika and call Hulk Hogan "The Great Bengal Tiger" in promos, and thus threatened the good folks at Monty Gum if they dared to use his likeness?
By the way.... nice "crimson mask" there, Dusty. I can't believe anyone would want a trading card of themselves in circulation looking like they need a blood transfusion.
Oh, wait.... I stand corrected.
Photographer: Hey Sarge! Sergeant Slaughter!
Slaughter: What do you want, maggot?
Photographer: Can we take your picture?
Slaughter: Sure, I guess.
Photographer: Can we take a picture of you with a dumb look on your face and blood coming out of literally every pore in your head?
Slaughter: No, just wait until I get cleaned up backstage and then...
Slaughter: Hey, what the hell?!?
Photographer: Sorry about that.
Slaughter: Take it again. That's an order!
Photographer: Whoops, sorry. I'm out of film in my camera. Already took two identical pictures of Konga, The Barbarian.
Hmm.... I can't put my finger on it but something seems "off" here.
Oooh, wait! I've got it! That's not "Muhammed" Ali at all! That's really Mike Tyson!
Okay, it's not Iron Mike, either. It's Sylvester Stallone, and clearly this is a screen-grab (or pre-historic equivalent) from Rocky III.
I love how this is also referred to as Hulk Hogan & Muhammed Ali (not "versus"), as if they're two best buddies hanging out together, and not Hogan trying to choke the ever-loving shit out of Rocky Balboa.
What's interesting (besides the fact that it should be spelled Muhammad Ali) is that, in the previous card of the collection, the label is "Hulk Hogan & Muhammed Ali" and it's Hogan, Liberace and the legit Ali. Perhaps the folks at Monty Gum couldn't tell apart Liberace and The Greatest?
Photographer: Hey, Mr. Allen?
Greg Valentine: Not even close.
Photographer: Sorry about that. I asked my boss what pics to take for our crap-ass trading card series and he said "Get one of Greg Allen, time." I'm not sure why he said the word "time" like that, but here we are.
Greg Valentine: My name's Greg Valentine, you idiot!
Photographer: "Allen - Time." Is that kind of like Hammer Time?
Greg Valentine: Right! "The Hammer". That's it!
Photographer: Perfect, Hammertime Allen. Would you pose like you're in the middle of taking a dump with blood pouring down your nose?
Greg Valentine: I keep telling you! It's Greg...
Photographer: (Click). Perfect! Thanks for your time, Mr. Allen!
Greg Valentine: One day, when I'm wrestling in kids' backyards, I'll be able to look back on this moment and laugh.
Wrestling Stars's leading edge photography rears its ugly head again here in card # 34, featuring Kevin Von Eric Eric Flair.
For beginners, it's Ric Flair. I know that, you know that, everyone knows that. Hell, even the common misspelling of "Rick Flair" would be preferable... that way you're not thinking it's, I don't know, my brother-in-law Eric or something. You know? What's even funnier is that they have "Rick" Flair in several other cards, so it's not like there isn't a decent point of reference.
Second, what proof is there that Kevin is competing against Eric/Ric/Rick Flair? Sure, it could be Naitch, but it could also be the blond locks of Buddy Roberts or Jeff Jarrett. For all we know, Kevin Von Erich could be sneezing into a large-size mop.
WHAT'S WITH THE ZOOM LENS HERE?!?
Finally, this one isn't even Kevin Von Erich vs Eric Flair or Kevin Von Erich & Eric Flair. It's just two random names, listed side by side.
You're telling me that, if absolutely nothing else, the proofreader couldn't have caught the missing ampersand?
Speaking of Von Erichs and overall laziness... this.
This is CLEARLY the same picture chopped up into three different cards! I mean, you even numbered them in order so it doesn't take a puzzle enthusiast to crack this particular case. At least replay the Konga, The Golfer situation where the two identical cards are separated by some space! COME ON!
And by the way, you've neglected to identify two Von Erichs (David and, I'm going to say... Eric), which is pretty spectacular considering this particular section only shows FIVE OF THEM! Wrestling Stars seems to be soooooo into listing multiple people in a single card; why did they drop the ball here?
The Von Erich screw-ups continue (haven't these poor people been through enough?) on card # 23. Clearly, the dumbass photographer took pictures of existing posters (I believe they're from a magazine called "Superstar Wresling Poster Spectacular" or somesuch that were produced by the Apter Mag folks) and somehow deemed them "trading cards". When did THIS become a thing???
I can't say explain how angered/amused I am about this development. These are not trading cards! Look, I can do the exact same thing:
So.... I think I've saved the best one for last.
Let's get this out of the way first: the folks at Monty Gum can't spell the word "Jim". Or, for that matter, "Gin".
So, once you get past that dose of illiteracy, you have to deal with the fact that Cornette (neither Jim or Jin) are displayed prominently on the card.
You can see (what I would assume to be) Cornette's sleeve, tennis racket and part of his hand in the lower left-hand corner of the frame. And that is truly the only connection on this card to The Louisville Lip.
Had you written "Bobby Eaton" (or Bondy Easton, whatever) on the card, no one would have gone home upset. You could have even written "The Midnight Express" (Midtime Experts) across the front, too, since technically, you see portions of Eaton, Dennis Condrey and manager Cornette on the card.
But Cornette on his own? WAS HE TAKING THE PHOTO AT THE SAME TIME OR SOMETHING???
I mean, even the balding jobber being blooded by The Hand Of Cornette would be a better substitute....
And finally.... this column wouldn't be complete without me including a selection of the homemade "Wrestling Stars" I made in the early-1990's on my personal computer, using a CD of clip art and hand-drawn pictures of wrestlers. But what's important is that I never, EVER, betrayed the principles used in the original Wrestling Stars series: