WWF MAGAZINE TRADING CARDS
It was the mid-1990s and I had obtained my first credit card (and yes, it did say "Canadian Bulldog" on it). One of the first purchases I made, naturally, was a subscription to WWF Magazine.
Don't get me wrong - I'd be reading the official publication of the World Wrestling Federation for almost a decade before that, but there two reasons I became a subscriber: To save a few bucks each year off the newsstand cost, and because they had just introduced collectible trading cards for subscribers.
The cards were included as an insert to each month's magazine and essentially were a couple of flimsy piece of cardboard perforated along the lines so kids could immediately tear each card apart and destroy any value they had. I tried to be a bit more discerning, carefully separating each card by the left-hand edge, thus preserving the cards on an untouched page. They're still like that years later, but definitely not in pristine condition, say, if I wanted to get them PSA graded.
This was right in the middle of the New Generation era and many of the stars featured weren't exactly blue chippers, e.g. Duke The Dumpster Droese, Man Mountain Rock, Avatar and Mantaur. But I hadn't seen a WWF card series since the Classic set seemingly disappeared off store shelves (at least, here in Canada, where we receive only a quarter of most wrestling merch at best), so this was the next best alternative.
I don't mean to paint this entire series as bad; it really did depend on which issue of the magazine you're looking at and whom your favorites may have been from time to time. There were plenty of cards of Bret Hart, Alundra Blayze, The Smoking Gunns, Diesel, King Kong Bundy, The Undertaker and the like, showcasing some of the biggest names of this particular era.
In addition, the WWF Magazine cards gave a nod to history, acknowledging WWF Hall of Famers including Ivan Putski, Andre The Giant, George The Animal Steele and Chief Jay Strongbow (it's amazing to think about how much larger the HOF has grown over the years, but this was definitely in its earlier days).
Plus they highlighted vintage matches, such as the Razor Ramon-Shawn Michaels ladder match at WrestleMania X, Texas Tornado vs. Mr. Perfect at SummerSlam 1990 or Junkyard Dog vs. Harley Race at WrestleMania III.
Some months, instead of giving you a random mix of superstars, moments and legends, they offered a theme set, such as this one on The British Bulldog (no relation) or a Divas set of Sunny, Sable and Marlena.
Your mileage on these sub-sets may vary, depending on what you thought of that month's theme and whether you liked the concept... but I thought these were a nice way to mix things up and extend the life of the series a little bit longer.
One of the highlights of the WWF Magazine card set were the card backs. Instead of cramming them with boring statistics such as height, weight and hometown... the WWF Magazine crew really went for it, spreading their own brand of Federation propaganda as only they could.
Now... Vince Russo was a part of the WWF Magazine writing staff around this time, and you could definitely see his unique voice in certain areas of the publication (Vic Venom, Scoop Sullivan, The Informer, etc.), but I'm not entirely sure Vinnie Ru was the voice of these trading cards. We'll probably never know for sure... but some of these card-backs feel a little too corporate and not controversial enough to be his work.
Oh, and spoiler alert...despite Adam Bomb's bold prognostication on his trading card, 1995 was not, in fact, The Year Of The Bomb.