It's been awhile since I've posted anything of meaning on the blog. It's been awhile since I've posted anything wrestling/WWE related. the last WWE related post was a box break and it seemed to do fairly well in the "click department" so I decided the other night that it was time to do another box break post. This time around I busted a hobby box of the new WWE Chronicles. This is an anthology type release, the first for WWE. The Chronicles set in itself isn't new as Panini has been churning out the set in other sports for a few years now. While much of the same formula still exists for it's debut in WWE, there are some small changes made.
While trying to figure out the layout for this post and which cards pulled from the box to share, I realized that the newly created checklist for the set on TCDB was absent of any card images. I decided at that point that I'd scan every card I pulled and upload them to the TCDB site and do a play by play breakdown of each pack. Needless to say it took a few hours to get everything prepped and ready, but it was fun. I miss blogging at times so this was the perfect excuse to blow the digital dust off the somewhat dormant blog. Now, shall we take a look at the contents of the box?
Now if you aren't familiar with any of the Chronicles sets that Panini has released, the basic idea of the set is the sets within the set. What I mean is Panini uses designs from across their brands and sports to make one large set. There is a "base" set, who's design really hasn't changed since the set's inception in 2017, but this set ditches the individual numbering of each design as it's own set. Instead you have set that is numbered 001-400, which the first 100 cards being the "base" Chronicles set. Other brands featured in cards 200-399 include Absolute, Black, Certified, Contenders, Elite, Flux, Illusions, Legacy, Luminance, Origins, Optic, Phoenix, Playoff, Prestige, Rookie & Stars, Score, Spectra and XR. The last 100 cards feature brands such as Crown Royale, Gala Rookies, National Treasures, Noir and one One. With the exception of the Gala Rookies, these final 100 cards are serially numbered to /99. Gala are numbered to just 8 copies each. Man, is that ever a sharp stick to the eye of set builders?!
Speaking of set building, I think I've decided I'm just going to aim for the first 300 cards for my set. While I'd love to pick up those final 100, it's going to be pretty tough to to build the partial set. Hobby boxes only yield 6 packs, 8 cards per pack. With a Panini product you know there will be a ton of colored parallels so the 48 cards you get in each Hobby box won't get you very far. In fact, I was surprised at how many different parallels my box yielded. More on that later, shall we move onto pack 1?
This is the "base" set if you will, the first 100 cards feature this basic Chronicles design. If you've seen any other Chronicles set before, then this design should look familiar. Parallels and autos do exist of all 100 cards. The checklist for this part of the set is quite diverse and features NXT, current and Legends.
Shoooosh please! Chad Gable's new tag line may be a tad irritating, but I like that a talented, smaller guy is getting the push that he is. While I like him teamed with Otis as part of the Alpha Academy, I really liked Chad and Jason Jordan as a tag team.
I'm not a huge fan of Panini's Legacy brand so I could take or leave these if I'm being honest. There are only 10 total cards that use this design and as the brand's name implies, all of the wrestlers are retired Legends.
The Trish Stratus card hails from the chrome Phoenix set which features 25 different wrestlers from across the years. These don't particularly scan well, but look beautiful in hands. These are also some of the best looking parallels in the set.
Optic is a chrome version of the annual Donruss set. I found that scanning these also can be tough, but again look great in hand, especially this blue Prizm parallel. I was glad to pull a card of good ole' "Mean Gene"...I can just hear Hulk Hogan's voice in my head.... "Let me tell you Mean Gene"! All of the blue parallels are numbered out of /99.
Origins gets a big thumbs up from me. Illusions, not so much. Origins has a simple, artistic look while Illusions has a very busy look that hurts my eyes. Plus I'd take Orton over Theory any day of the week!
The Contenders design has never been a favorite of mine and I disliked the cards in the 2022 Chronicles baseball set (which I'm also working on building), however for whatever reason this design works with wrestling. It also doesn't hurt that its a card of AJ Styles!
Certified has a mirror like shine finish to the card front. The design stays true to the Certified brand, looking better in hand than on screen. Aoife Valkyrie just recently made her debut on NXT programming so I was little surprised to see her included on the checklist. However I don't understand the hype associated with her debut thus far.
What's this, another parallel in the same pack? This time we have a red parallel of the legend himself, Andre the Giant. Red parallels are numbered out of 199. This is another that I almost missed because the red foil blends in well w/ the bronze color used on the Legacy cards. I'd also like to mention that the photo selection for most of the cards is rather good. Here we have Andre getting ready to slap the chest of "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Can't you already hear the slap and see the giant red hand print he'll leave on Savage's chest?!
I'm only familiar with the XR design thanks to the last two years of the baseball Chronicles set. XR cards are printed on a slightly thicker cardstock and feature a foil front like Certified. There are a total of 20 XR cards in the set.
Flux I believe started as a NBA set, which is why I wasn't all that familiar with it. These cards are printed on a chrome stock, but feature monochrome images of the player, or wrestler in this case. I don't think they look all that great, yet they still intrigue me. Like with the other chrome cards in the set, these didn't scan all that well. There are a total of 25 different cards with the Flux design.
Early in my pack ripping I hit my first of two guaranteed autographs. I'll have to admit that this card of Imperium member, Giovanni Vinci didn't move the needle too much. At least he has a cool auto. Keep reading to discover who or what the last hit was.
Hey, this Josh Briggs card looks awfully familiar?! MVP, Montell Vontavious Porter...he may not have had a lot of ring action in 2022, but did receive his fair share of television time as Bobby Lashley and Omos' manager.
Next up we have a base Optic card of Kevin Nash...excuse me, Diesel. In the 90's and 2000's I was more of a WCW fan so he'll always just be Kevin Nash to me.
One the other side we have a Donruss Rated Rookie of Schism's "leader", Joe Gacy. Never card for this NXT guy much, but since they rolled out the Schism faction he and his creepy persona is starting to grow on me. The 10 card Rated Rookies checklist is quite good with some great talent currently on display in NXT.
Talk about a pair of boring wrestlers! It could only be worse if we had also pulled a card of Karrion Kross! This year's Absolute design is pretty nice. While the card subject isn't my favorite, it is a better (recent) photo of Goldberg.
The Elite cards feature a lot of silver holofoil coupled with another color, in the case of Omos it's red. At first I thought this was a red parallel, but nope, it's just card #248 in the set. 20 cards make up the Elite set.
I typically like Spectra, but the Spectra cards in the WWE set seem to fall a little flat compared to the same design in the baseball set. For starters these Spectra cards aren't printed on the same thicker cardstock that their baseball brethren are on. Perhaps its that and Theory on the card I pulled that bring this set down.
Black is a decent looking design as-is, but the colored parallels look great as the various colors look great against the holofoil black background and design. Here we have a Purple parallel numbered to /49 of AJ Styles...doesn't it look rather sharp?
I opened this box with my oldest daughter who has taken a liking to wrestling and wrestling cards. When I told her that "Cowboy" Bob Orton was Randy Orton's dad she was a little shocked. "It's time! It's time! It's Vader time"! RIP big guy.
I'm ready for someone to take the belt off of Belair and who better than another female powerhouse like Ivy Nile? Belair is sporting this year's Score football design, which is just decent at best when compared to previous years. Ivy is from the Rookie & Stars set. Both of these sets are comprised of 10 cards each and follow each other in the main checklist.
Past versus the present. I wonder who'd win a match between "Mr. Perfect" and Shinsuke?
By this time in the box I believe this was our third Red parallel pulled. The red surprisingly pops well on the Flux design which is aided by the Prizm technology.
When she fought in NXT UK she was know as Piper McNiven. She was repackaged a Doudrop when she was brought over the WWE main roster. I feel sorry for her and by the look of her face in this photograph she doesn't appear to be all that happy herself.
OK, the 5th pack is not starting off that good...sorry to all the man.soor fans out there. This new gimmick of his as part of the Male Models is just not working.
Alright Panini, you've redeemed yourself! A Red parallel of the new NXT Women's champion, Roxanne Perez! This young girl has been receiving a tremendous push ever since her debut. She was front and center of the recent Mandy Rose controversy and received a winning pin fall over the former champ a little earlier than planned from what I hear. Roxanne is a lot of fun to watch in the ring. I wonder how long it'll be before she gets called up to either RAW or Smackdown?
All ten of the cards from the Luminance brand feature a horizontal orientation and are some of my favorite photos in the set. Sadly this is the only Luminance card I pulled, but I've seen some of the others and they look great. Panini used a great image of Edris Enoff here. He and his partner, Malik Blade, make a up a good, young and raw tag team on the NXT brand.
I enjoy watching both of these talents perform in the ring so it's a little saddening that neither are on TV right now. Big E I understand, but Tommaso Ciampa has just disappeared. At least he got his first name back...although that's not represented on this XR card.
Rick Boogs is yet another wrestler that has been MIA and on the shelf for awhile now. He was last used as a glorified hype man for Shinsuke Nakamora, but I feel he's far more talented. Let's pair him up w/ Elias so the two can form a legit rock band! This Silver Prizm parallel of his Optic card is beautiful in hand.
My last pack in the box started off with two great retired legends in The British Bulldog and Greg "the Hammer" Valentine.
These Prestige and Playoff cards were the only ones pulled from the box. I give Prestige the slight nod in the design category, but both sport some pretty good images. Each of these brands are represented by 10 different subjects and follow each other in the numbering of the main set.
I believe this Spectra card of AJ Styles was the 3rd card of his pulled thus far. I'm not complaining.
Gable Steveson hasn't done much since signing w/ the WWE, but many think he's destined for greatness in the coming years. I guess only time will tell.
Now this I was not expecting. In the 5th pack there was a dummy thick card in the pack, but I also noticed there was a similar thick card in this pack so I didn't know what to expect. This National Treasures card is not part of the base set, but what a card it is! Numbered to /49 with an embedded piece of ring mat complete with a auto sticker. I've seen some really nice National Treasure hits on eBay already, but I'm more than happy w/ this card. This is a nice "upgrade" if you will over the first hit I pulled.
Why of course the very last card I'd pull would be another AJ Styles card! This makes the 4th AJ card and the 2nd Black parallel of his...all from the same box.
Overall I had a blast opening his Hobby box of WWE Chronicles. I'd love to open a 2nd box, but I'll have to wait to see how successful the breaks I run over in my Facebook group are this month! I believe there will be a retail component to this set released at some point, but judging from how I could never find much of Panini's other WWE sets at local retail I'm not holding my breath that I'll get to experience much of it.
Regardless, Panini has done a great job in my opinion at catering to both the player (or wrestler) collector and set collectors. There is a great checklist featuring wresters from all eras, lots of cool brands/designs and of course parallels and autos to chase. It also offers a challenge to set builders, like myself, especially if they want to go for all 400 cards. So far the set seems to have a good reception from fans and collectors alike so it'll be interesting to see if boxes hold their price (currently about $120) or if they'll slowly decline like Prizm, Revolution and NXT 2.0 boxes have.