Of all the professional wrestling legends featured in wrestling trading cards, one name that has been conspicuously absent from recent products is Raven. Now wrestling fans and collectors alike can rejoice that Raven, true to his outsider persona, has finally received his own independent trading card release, available exclusively from Beau Jay. At long last, fans of Raven can order a hand-signed, on-card autograph card of Raven, which includes a red base version of the trading card, as well, for $58. The autograph cards are individually numbered to 100, so supplies are limited, and they are expected to sell out.
Raven is a WCW/ECW/WWE/TNA legend who warrants little to no introduction, but just who is this wrestling card artist he’s chosen to collaborate with? I previously highlighted some of Beau Jay’s wrestling card art when I wrote about his collaboration with Pro Wrestling Junkie, for which he designed wrestling cards of independent wrestling stars such as Billie Starkz, Nick Wayne, and Effy.
Since the publication of that article in October 2022, Beau Jay’s impressive wrestling card checklist has continued to grow. At the time of this writing, in addition to previously mentioned creations, Beau has designed wrestling cards for Matt Cardona, Brian Myers, Allie Katch, Charles Mason, Chris Bey, Cole Radrick, Delirious, Marcus Mathers, Masha Slamovich, Akira, and MJF. Jay even designed the first ever “Blood Print” cards of Joey Janela and Matt Tremont, which feature a bloody fingerprint of each wrestler, in addition to their autograph and likeness.
Within a relatively short period of time, Beau has arguably become the most exciting and in-demand independent wrestling card artist around, so who, exactly, is he?
“I am a wrestling card designer from Melbourne, Australia. Yes, accent included!” he told SlamWrestling.net.
Up until about three years ago, Beau’s life was spent touring Australia and the world as a disc jockey, and while he still DJs and holds a summer residency at Paradise Club in Mykonos, everything changed after he became involved with card design.
“I never actually studied design on any level and never had an interest in it growing up,” Beau said. “I had a lot of mates later on in life who dabbled in design and I was fascinated by watching them piece projects together, so that caught my eye.”
In 2019, he started studying how to design via online courses and YouTube tutorials. “In terms of teaching myself things, I am a pretty slow learner and a heavy critic of my own work, so it took some time to be confident enough to start putting myself and my work out there. But here we are!”
As far as his interest in trading cards is concerned, Beau said he’s been “collecting trading cards since the beginning of Pokémon, so roughly 27 years. For most of that time, it was Pokémon and AFL (Australian Football League) cards. Pokémon cards roped me in and I’m glad they did. These days, I am very particular with what I collect, but it’s a bit of everything within my interests.” Beau Jay said he’s actually a big fan of Seinfeld and Seinfeld collectibles, but I think the Pokémon influence can be seen in his sensational and colorful wrestling card creations.
Funnily enough, Beau wasn’t allowed to watch professional wrestling growing up, until about the start of the Attitude Era. “Looking back,” Beau said, “I am so glad that is when I started watching because it is, by far, my most favorite era of wrestling.” Like many young fans of wrestling, he became “too cool for wrestling” in his later teen years, and was too busy with school, music, and outdoor activities to follow wrestling.
He revisited wrestling in his mid-20s, but he couldn’t get into it; however, that changed about five years ago and he’s very much back into it now. “Not so much the major companies,” Beau said, “but the local/independent stuff is really cool. I respect their grind and there are plenty of awesome up and coming stars in the making.”
This is evident in the cards he’s designed.
During the COVID-19 lockdowns in Australia, Beau started creating his own trading cards, as he found he didn’t like what was already out there. He thought, Why don’t I just make my own and that way I have what I want? A few of his friends saw the cards he designed and asked if he would do some for them, as well, so he did some custom jobs and then he thought, Well, I may as well try and make something of this.
After he joined some wrestling card and action figure groups, he posted some of his wrestling designs online. Then things changed. “It was about a month later that Too Sweet Antiques hit me up to work on some cards for them. I was fortunate enough to design cards for Matt Cardona, Brian Myers, Smart Mark Sterling, Swoggle, and many others through that collaboration, so I am very thankful to Jeff and all of those lads for that. That was my gateway into where I’m at now.”
Beau tried to explain his creative process. “If I have an idea, I know what I’m doing. Of course, I tweak things and play around with the design but I have a general idea of what I want to do,” but if he doesn’t know where to begin, “it’s a lot of trial and error, taking inspiration from wherever and working it into my own design.”
Beau looks at trading card design very much like how he looks at music production. “Sampling, a lot of back and forth, revisiting. I don’t really think there is anything complex about what I do but it seems to work for the most part, so I am happy with that.”
When Beau is collaborating on a project with a wrestler or trading card company, each and every collaboration plays out differently. “It really depends on what the client wants,” he said. “It’s sometimes incredibly hard to get a response from anyone I contact when trying to secure a collaboration, but Raven was the complete opposite of that. He has been a joy to communicate with and I’m glad he was happy with the result.”
With a growing checklist of professional wrestlers as impressive as Beau’s, one has to wonder, who is his dream collaborator? “Well, I can tick Raven off this list, and that is huge for me,” he said. “I would say another three pro wrestlers I’d really love to work with are Lita, Mick Foley, and Kurt Angle.”
But he adds to that, “My overall dream is to just be successful in terms of bringing the wrestling card community unique releases that they may not see anywhere else.”
In addition to Beau’s new Raven cards and his continuing partnership with Pro Wrestling Junkie, Beau said he does have additional releases planned for 2023. He can’t announce them quite yet, but if anyone wants to follow his work or stay up to date with releases, they can follow him on Instagram and Twitter or sign up for his mailing list at beaujay.com.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A clarification was made to this article post-publication in regards to referring to Beau Jay as just Beau.