1987 Topps WWF
At the time these cards were produced, the World Wrestling Federation was riding high on an unprecented wave of popularity. WrestleMania III had broken all sorts of records, Saturday Night's Main Event was in full force, the whole enchilada. Topps could literally do no wrong with this particular card set.
Case in frickin' point - Topps dedicated an entire trading card to "Frankie", the macaw that accompanied Koko B. Ware to the ring.
Now.... I didn't want a trading card of Frankie, you didn't want a trading card of Frankie and literally no one you've ever crossed paths would want a trading card of Frankie. For what possible reason? People who collect trading cards of macaws may exist, but I'll be honest in saying I don't want to know anything about them and the freakish habits they may have.
Still the fatcats within the Topps Corporation were adamant that they were giving us Frankie. I can hear them now, puffing on their cigars and sitting around at a board meeting, laughing. "Screw it! We're going to give them a card of the stupid wrestling parrot. What are you they going to do - stop watching wrestling?"
The back of the card, of course, had all the pertinent Frankie statistics, such as that he hails from the jungles of South America, weighs "as light as a feather" and that is catchphrase is "Polly wanna kick your ass!". I may have made up the last stat.
Speaking of wrestling personalities that no one ever gave a crap about.... Outback Jack!
In a scene that could have only been created for the purposes of a Topps trading card, the pride and joy of Humpty Doo, Australia is surrounded here a group of "Australian Aborigines" while wearing Kamala facepaint for some reason.
If I were Topps, I would have taken it a step further, suggesting this group found Jack as a newborn baby abandoned in the wilderness and raised him like their own, a la Tarzan.
Wait, wasn't that also the exact same backstory for Akeem The African Dream?
We finally take a break from Marlan Perkins in Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom long enough to see an actual wrestler in an actual wrestling ring, and it turns out to be.... Danny Davis?!? What the hell?
Not to suggest that Dangerous Danny didn't have crazy heel heat around this time (because he certainly did), but I was hoping to see people here who might just headline the next WrestleMania. Instead, all I've seen so far is a random collection of birds and jobbers.
Two things I remember about the brief wrestling career of Danny Davis: the announcers (and WWF Magazine) used to focus on the fact that he had "quite an impressive physique underneath the referee garb." And don't get me wrong.... he's in better shape than, say, me (as was Frankie B. Ware), but it's not like Paul Orndorff had anything to worry about. Plus, they dressed him in a glorified referee outfit, so what was the point?
The other thing I remember them saying was that he knew how referees worked, as though this was some major advantage over, say, Outlaw Ron Bass or other WWF heels. But referees in wrestling are generally portrayed as the most inept and clueless beings on the planet, so how was this in any way an advantage?
Then we at least graduated to the mid-card to see Hercules getting some jabroni to submit in his backbreaker. But wait, that's no jobber! BAH GAWD..... THAT'S MICK FOLEY!!!
Sure enough, I did some digging and, in November 1986, while working as "Jack Foley", the future WWE Hall of Famer lost to Herc. Start watching from 2:10 in the video and you'll know Ol' Eagle Eyes Bulldog is right.
So I guess the question is, do I hold in my possession the rookie card of Mrs. Foley's Baby Boy? I suppose the folks at Beckett would have to decide for certain, but until I hear otherwise, I'm saying yes. HAVE A NICE DAY!
A big component of this set were the WrestleMania III cards, which made perfect sense. It was the WWF's biggest show by far and had a ton of iconic, memorable moments, such as Hercules slapping his full nelson on Billy Jack Haynes, Ricky The Dragon Steamboat choking out Macho Man Randy Savage en route to capturing the Intercontinental Title and.... The Natural Butch Reed beating up some jobber???
From what I recall, at WrestleMania III, Reed tangled with Koko B. Ware (accompanied to the ring by Frankie). Whom, to the best of my knowledge, wasn't some caucasian jabroni. It's not even Tito Santana, who interfered at the end of their WM3 match (he was wearing blue trunks and attacked Slick).
I think the folks of Topps may have screwed this one up. Error card much?
One fun fact, though.... if you look really carefully, you'll see Reed delivering his so-called "belly buster" to a young Triple H.
Just kidding. I just figured after discovering Mick Foley, you stupid marks would believe anything I said.
You may also find it interesting to see the very first inductee into the prestigious Canadian Bulldog's World LJN Wrestling Figure Hall of Fame, the one and only King Kong Bundy, represented in this set.
Sure, he's fallen off quite a bit from his glory days of competing against Hulk Hogan in the main event of WrestleMania 2, not to mention that he's facing off here against fellow CBWLJNWFHOF inductee, Corporal Kirchner.
But he's clearly LEVITATING in this card, which is worth the price of admission alone. I want to see Danny Davis try a move like that!
Wow - I'd clearly forgotten all about the "television set" cards, which last appeared in the 1985 collection and are roughly the equivalent of the "locker jokes" sketches from You Can't Do That On Television - one-line zingers that weren't funny to begin with and, at best, produce a good groan or two.
And just as a side note... after looking up the YCDTOT clip, I was compelled to find out what the cast is doing now; obviously I have waaaaaay too much free time on my hands. Remember Moose? She's 51 years old and owns a digital content company in Toronto.
Where the hell was I?
Well, I suppose most of these hilarious zingers speak for themselves, but I keep reading Jimmy Hart's comment to Honky Tonk Man and thinking of the classic Simpsons quote: "Smithers, are they booing me?" "Uh, no. They're saying 'boo-urns'! 'Boo-urns!"
Finally, I thought I'd close with one of the card backs. Like virtually any other Topps trading card ever created, the back contains important statistics and factoids. Most of them in this series - even the one about Frankie - went on for several sentences.
Then we get to Andre The Giant's, which reads: "Andre The Giant turned on WWF Champ Hulk Hogan and tried to take his title in WrestleMania III."
THAT'S IT?!? He's the second card in the series, the largest athlete of all time and a huge crossover celebrity and you come up with one freaking sentence?
Even Jack Foley got more respect here.