It’s been a few months since I last wrote a full review of a new, mainstream, wrestling card product, but it’s not been for a lack of new products. Shortly after I wrote a brief review of Panini’s WWE Donruss Elite NFTs, they released 2023 Panini Donruss Elite WWE, Panini’s first new WWE product since the Panini/WWE lawsuit settled out of court.

Anticipation for a new Panini WWE product was high, which likely increased the price point for their new set of wrestling cards, so 2023 Panini Donruss Elite WWE was released on February 21, 2024, for about $250 per hobby box. This was more than what I cared to spend on a product I wasn’t too excited about, despite my junk wax affinity for Donruss, so while I skipped buying a full box, I got my fill of 2023 Panini Donruss Elite WWE by watching and participating in several breaks, where people “buy in” to a box for a chance at getting some wrestling cards.

While I didn’t collect a full set, I did manage to get a few pretty awesome cards, for not a lot of money, such as a John “Bradshaw” Layfield autograph, and this was enough to scratch my itch for this particular wrestling card product. 

jbl auto

Boxes and cards of 2023 Panini Donruss Elite WWE are still pretty widely available, and prices have decreased a little since release in February, so now may be a good time to buy this product, if you haven’t already.  

Soon after this, though, came one of the biggest and most anticipated wrestling card releases this year, 2024 Leaf Metal Legends Wrestling. This is a new set that was hyped up primarily because it included chances of pulling the first pack-pulled Dwayne Johnson autographs in years, and prices reflected the popularity, and scarcity, of Dwayne Johnson autographs. 

dwayne johnson auto card

Boxes of 2024 Leaf Metal Legends Wrestling initially sold for about $650 each, and for this price you received a total of seven cards, one autograph and six base cards (on average). Granted, every card in the box was numbered to a print run of ten or less, so each individual card was a low count parallel, but this price point is out of range for most, including myself, and a number of wrestling collectors shared this sentiment.

Still, I was eager to participate, and potentially hit it big, so like 2023 Panini Donruss Elite WWE, I watched some breaks, and feeling the rush one night, when I should have been asleep, I bought into one. I paid about $137 for one spot in a case break of 2024 Leaf Metal Legends Wrestling and got skunked. That’s right, I didn’t get one card. (Please don’t share this with my partner.) Granted, I knew the risk, but I still felt pretty foolish afterwards, so I chalked the loss up to “research” and moved on. You can’t win if you don’t play, right? The price of boxes has dropped about $100 in the month since it’s release, likely due to some of the most anticipated cards in the product, namely the Dwayne Johnson autographs, being pulled and sold on eBay already, but some of the low print base cards are already available for less than $10 each, if you know where/how to look, so maybe I’ll get my hands on some of these cards after this product cools off.

But if you thought 2024 Leaf Metal Legends Wrestling was expensive at $650 for seven cards, the newest Panini WWE product says, “Hold my beer.” Officially released on April 3, 2024, in time for WrestleMania XL, Panini Impeccable WWE was priced between $900-1,000 per nine-card box, but while Leaf Metal Legends contained one autograph and six base cards, each box of the premium 2023 Panini Impeccable WWE includes five autographs, three base cards or parallels, and one “unique insert.” This is one striking set of premium wrestling cards, the kind of set most modern wrestling collectors drool over, but it’s far outside of my price range, which is a challenge to admit in public, because some might read this and disregard me as a complainer or just being “a poor.” 

Josh Olsen, a poor, watching other people open Panini Impeccable WWE.

The closest I’ll come to a box of 2023 Panini Impeccable WWE is watching someone else break it. There will be breaks available to buy into, which will be cheaper than buying a full box, but they aren’t exactly inexpensive, either. The least expensive breaks of this product mean that few who buy in will even get one card, and you might only get one base card, which just isn’t worth the gamble for a lot of collectors. After all, when the card I really want is Tatanka, I’ll probably just wait until it shows up on eBay and get it there.

So, that’s mainly why I haven’t reviewed any new, mainstream wrestling card products lately.

There’s been some exciting, new wrestling cards from Panini and Leaf, but the price tag makes them unattainable for many collectors. For the few collectors who can afford it, or who don’t mind going into debt in order to buy wrestling cards, it’s been an exciting couple of months, but for those of us who prefer to go searching through the bargain bin at flea markets and estate sales, it’s been a time to look in from the outside with a little bit of FOMO. (Are people still saying that?)