For most of the years I collected wrestling cards, I focused on mainstream products, like WWF/E products released by Topps or Panini, and AEW cards created by Upper Deck. It’s only recently, like the past two years, that I’ve started collecting indie wrestling cards, such as the 2018 All In game, GCW cards, or more recently, the wrestling card game ARW. And it was even more recently that I started dipping my toes into the waters of custom wrestling cards.
Custom wrestling cards, unlike those sold by Topps, Panini or Upper Deck, are usually unlicensed cards created and sold by an unaffiliated artist or seller, or sometimes the wrestlers themselves, so the quality (and legality) can vary widely, but when custom wrestling map creators do it well and have the cooperation (and permission) of wrestlers, what they create can rival or even surpass the quality of some of the most popular wrestling maps. artistic.
Some of the most popular custom wrestling cards are those produced by the Podcast on the major figures of the fight crew, in partnership with Too sweet antiques. Too Sweet Antiques creates limited edition relic and autograph cards of Matt Cardona, Chelsea Green, Brian Myers, Swoggle and Smart Mark Sterling. These are high quality wrestling cards that often commemorate specific moments in the ring, such as an autographed double relic by Sterling, “with the shirt and tie worn by the world’s most famous wrestling attorney event. from AEW Dynamite Fyter Fest 2022,” or a recent Matt Cardona Wedding Auto Relic, “with the blood and cake covered pantyhose from GCW Homecoming Part II.” And yes, Too Sweet Antiques has also created a Chelsea Green wedding card.
The first custom wrestling cards I bought were a pack of Podcast on the major figures of the fight autographs. This was a deck of cards that paid homage to the legendary WCW/NWO Topps autograph cards. At the time of the sale, a number of wrestlers in the set remained a mystery, besides the Podcast on the major figures of the fight crew, but I was so impressed with the look of the set and the possibility of some big name mystery wrestlers, that I decided to buy a pack, and was glad I did, when I opened my deck of cards and saw that I received autographs from Matt Cardona, Danhausen and one of my favorite wrestlers and podcasters, Colt Cabana.
But while the Major struggle clique and Too Sweet Antiques may be leading the charge in terms of legitimizing custom wrestling cards, there’s a new name on the block that’s making big waves among wrestling card collectors.
Addicted to professional wrestling recently released their first pair of wrestling cards, a 2022 Rookie of the Year set, featuring Billie Starkz and Nick Wayne. The Billie Starkz and Nick Wayne cards were sold in both autographed and base (unsigned) versions, and each was lovingly designed by Beau Jay (@itsbeaujay), an artist who made a name for himself designing custom trading cards and posting them for everyone to enjoy on Twitter. The Pro Wrestling Junkie cards may not be the first cards designed by Beau Jay, but they were some of the first I had seen on sale, and when I saw that Starkz and Wayne, two of the most successful independent wrestlers young and popular in America, had each signed a limited number of these cards, I knew they would not be available for long. You can still see what these cards look like on the Pro Wrestling Junkie website, but they’ve all been sold out for weeks.
Starting a wrestling card business by having your new cards signed by two of the top independent professional wrestlers is a great way to make a name for yourself in the wrestling card world. So I asked Pro Wrestling Junkie a few questions about their new product.
The main man behind Pro Wrestling Junkie is Gilbert Rodriguez, who also runs a celebrity autograph company called TeamAyeee Autographs, which organizes exclusive private signings of celebrities such as MJF, Paul Walter Hauser and Ralph Macchio, to name a few. Gilbert is from New York and runs Pro Wrestling Junkie with two of his friends, Griffin and Sean. Gilbert says he’s been a lifelong wrestling fan, even wrestling a decade ago, and remains close friends with several professional wrestlers, such as AEW’s Santana and Ortiz. Gilbert collected wrestling cards as a child and like many of us stopped collecting for many years, but eventually got back into collecting wrestling cards. Gilbert said wrestling cards “are more popular than ever” right now, so “it’s a great time to start a card company.”
Pro Wrestling Junkie kicked off with Billie Starkz and Nick Wayne’s Rookie of the Year cards, and it followed with another indie wrestling superstar, the beloved EFFY known for GCW among other promotions. EFFY cards also come in autographed and basic versions, but Beau Jay designed a different card for each, so it will be hard for EFFY fans not to buy both. Gilbert said Pro Wrestling Junkie has five cards lined up so far, with Beau Jay designing each card, meaning there should be at least two more to come, but wouldn’t reveal any future names. “We certainly have great ones! ” he said. “I travel to a lot of shows and watch a lot of wrestling. … It can be either a rising star, or a popular person, or an underrated person.
Gilbert said what separates Pro Wrestling Junkie from other wrestling card companies is the passion they have for the wrestling business. “We created this company for the fans and the wrestlers,” he said. “We’re not here to make a quick buck. The future looks bright. We are working hard on trading cards and cool designs with [Beau] Jay.” And if the cards that follow look anything like their first three cards, featuring Billie Starkz, Nick Wayne, and EFFY, the future for independent, custom wrestling card collectors certainly looks bright.