It’s been one year since Panini turned the world of wrestling cards on its head and released their inaugural set of WWE cards, 2022 Panini Prizm WWE.
At the time of release, and for quite some time after, hobby boxes of 2022 Panini Prizm WWE sold for well over $1,000, while single hobby packs of cards sold for $200 to $300 each. Wrestling card collectors, and other “stick and ball” collectors who came along for the ride, collectively lost their minds over 2022 Panini Prizm WWE.
Thankfully, cooler heads eventually prevailed, prices decreased, and now you can buy a hobby box for under $300, but the wrestling card hobby was dramatically changed by Panini Prizm WWE.
Now 2023 Panini Prizm WWE, the sophomore release, is available from hobby shops and online retailers, and relatively speaking, it’s a far more affordable product. Hobby boxes still contain 12 packs of 12 cards, with two autographs, 22 prizm parallels, and 12 inserts per box, yet boxes are already available for under $300 each. Some of the initial Panini frenzy has cooled off, compared to last year, but if you’re a fan of modern trading cards, wrestling or otherwise, Panini Prizm is the annual standard-bearer for many.
2023 Panini Prizm WWE looks and feels like a significant box of wrestling cards. It carries some real weight, with 144 sturdy Panini Prizm cards, and the box is reinforced with a lot of added cardboard that showcases the 12 individual packs in an impressive light. I admittedly didn’t open a hobby box of 2022 Panini Prizm WWE last year, I only dipped my toes into retail and fat packs, so I was genuinely excited to open my first hobby box of 2023 Panini Prizm WWE which came for review from Panini.
Whenever I open a new box of cards, I put a lot of stock into the first card I see, and my first card of 2023 Panini Prizm WWE was Razor Ramon. It’s a great looking photograph of Ramon, arms extended, head high, holding a belt with pyro erupting behind the “Bad Guy.” This card simply made me happy. My second card of the pack was Roxanne Perez, so we went from a legend to a rising star of NXT. Perez’s card didn’t have the rookie logo on it, even though she didn’t have a Prizm card last year, but she did have other Panini cards in 2022, so it makes sense to omit it, although I’m sure there’s some collectors who would’ve liked to see a Roxanne Perez Prizm rookie card. My first prizm parallel of the box was an Ivy Nile hyper prizm, then I pulled a blue MVP prizm out of 199. My first insert of the box was a Rob Van Dam Legends of the Hall card. This is a new insert set, and I really like the use of black and white photography on these cards. After that, I pulled a “Cowboy” Brock Lesnar card, which was just a fun card to see, showing Lesnar in a, dare I say, more playful light.
In my second pack, I started with an Austin Theory card, depicting him winning the Money in the Bank briefcase, and while it’s a great choice of photograph, the smaller format of a trading card doesn’t do it much justice, and Theory himself is very small in the picture. Next I pulled a John Cena base card, which is always a good card to have, then an Ivy Nile ruby wave prizm, so my second Nile prizm in back to back packs. Then I pulled a Boa red prizm numbered to 299 and a Top Tier insert of the Intercontinental Champion, Gunther.
In pack three, I pulled a base card of future Oscar-winning actor Batista, a Raquel Rodriguez blue wave prizm, a Brutus Creed silver prizm, a Razor Ramon Legends of the Hall insert, and a base Rey Mysterio.
Next pack, I pulled a base card of Montez Ford hitting a frog splash. Similar to the Theory base card, this is a more panoramic photograph, and Ford is quite small in the picture, so while it’s a creative use of WWE’s vast library of photography, I think I prefer a more traditional profile photo of the wrestlers. Next I pulled an X-Pac base card, a Raquel Rodriguez hyper prizm (my second Rodriguez in two packs), a Blair Davenport silver prizm, a Bayley Top Tier insert, and a Kiana James rookie, my first rookie card in the box. There’s notably fewer rookies in 2023 Panini Prizm WWE than there were in 2022 … since 2022 might have had an all-time great class of rookies, 49 rookies to be exact, with Bron Breakker, Carmelo Hayes, Cora Jade, and Grayson Waller, to name a few, while in 2023, there’s only ten rookies total on the checklist.
In my fifth pack, I pulled a great Vader base card, Sami Zayn, a Jinder Mahal ruby wave prizm, Nikki Cross purple prizm out of 149, an Ultimate Warrior Prizmatic Entrance insert, and base cards of Hulk Hogan, Bayley, Rhea Ripley, and Carmelo Hayes, so this pack had my favorite assortment of base cards, so far.
The first card of my sixth pack featured Wendy Choo hitting Gigi Dolan with a pillow, a Kevin Owens base card, a Liv Morgan hyper prizm, then a Mankind blue prizm out of 199 and a Razor Ramon red prizm out of 299, which were a great one-two punch of prizm parallels. This was followed by a Shotzi Top Tier insert, a base card of the ageless R-Truth, and a great looking Charlotte Flair.
At this point, I’d opened half of my hobby box. I pulled some great looking cards, especially the various prizm parallels, but I wished there were more rookies in this set, and I was still waiting to see my two autographs. My seventh pack started with a Grayson Waller base card, a John Cena ruby wave prizm, a Kevin Nash silver prizm, and a Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat Legends of the Hall. It was finally at this point that I wondered if the name is an intentional play on “legends of the fall,” but I didn’t spend much time analyzing it. I then finished the pack with base cards of Seth “Freakin’” Rollins, looking sharper than ever, and a personal favorite, Typhoon.
Pack eight began with Bobby Lashley, bathed in lasers and lights, which is a very cool look, then I finally pulled my first hit of the box, a red Sensational Signatures autograph of ma.çé (fka Mace) numbered out of 99, and while it’s a fun card of a young talent, I have to admit it was a bit of a letdown, and I hoped that my second hit was a bigger pull, or of someone I’m a bigger fan of (or I will have to wait for him to become a bigger star). After that, I pulled a Montez Ford silver prizm and a Ken Shamrock Ring Royalty insert.
In pack nine, I pulled a Becky Lynch base card, which again uses a panoramic photo that would be better served on a larger format. Then I pulled another Raquel Rodriguez parallel, this time a hyper, my third Rodriguez prizm. Next came a blue Gigi Dolan prizm out of 199, a Steve Austin Prizmatic Entrance insert, a Thea Hail rookie base card, only my second rookie card in the box, and great looking base cards of Io Sky and Eddie Guerrero.
Pack ten started with a Gable Steveson base card. For wrestling card collectors into prospecting, Steveson was one of the biggest (and most expensive) rookies in the 2022 set, and here he has a second year card, and isn’t even on NXT yet. Next I pulled base cards of three big men, Sheamus, Omos, and Yokozuna, shown hitting a clothesline on Undertaker, and then I pulled a Cameron Grimes orange prizm out of 99, an Eddie Guerrero red prizm out of 299, and a Finn Balor Top Tier insert.
My eleventh pack started with possibly my favorite base card in the box, “Macho Man” Randy Savage. This is a beautiful, horizontal card, with Savage in his full “Macho Man” regalia, back to the camera, arms extended wide. I’m jealous of anybody who pulls a low numbered prizm of this card. After this, I almost couldn’t believe it, I pulled yet another Raquel Rodriguez prizm, a ruby wave, my fourth Rodriguez prizm in this box, one in every three packs. It was a veritable Raquel Rodriguez hot box! Next I pulled a Gunther silver prizm, Ultimate Warrior Legends of the Hall, and a Sol Ruca rookie, which meant my second autograph would/should be in my twelfth pack.
So, here it goes. I was hoping for some last pack magic. I opened my final pack and saw some white paper sticking out the side, meaning there was probably a redemption card in there, and knowing that a redemption typically means a main event talent, I decided to extend my suspense and slide it to the back of the pack. I pulled an X-Pac silver prizm and a Nikkita Lyons Top Tier insert, and then I revealed my final card, a redemption for a red Throwback Signature of the “Beast” Brock Lesnar. Love him or hate him, Lesnar is one of the biggest draws of the 21st century, a WWE and UFC legend, and this was my very first Lesnar autograph, a major addition to my wrestling card collection.
Overall, 2023 Panini Prizm WWE was a really fun box to open. Sure, I could’ve pulled a different (I hesitate to say better) first autograph, and I wish that I pulled some lower numbered prizms, and that not so many were of the same people, but the base cards look fantastic, I’m happy with the prizms I did pull, and I’m thrilled with the Lesnar autograph. It definitely helps that this box is currently priced at a more reasonable $250-300, which means while it may still be too expensive for some, it’s by no means a premium product (six cards for $500).
Ultimately, 2023 Panini Prizm WWE left me wanting to open more, and in the end I think that’s the best test of a box of cards.