I never really watched for the wrestling though. I liked the funny skits and angles they'd run on shows, especially when new wrestlers made their debut and they were ridiculous like Skinner, or the Shockmaster. It was truly like a male soap opera. Skits like Paul Orndorff, Roddy Piper and Bob Orton beating up a guy and making him cry on the streets of NY were classics. What made it great was that Gene Okerlund pretended to be serious, while you could clearly see he was about to burst out laughing.
I didn't really care about wrestling though unless Ric Flair or the Ultimate Warrior were wrestling. With Flair you could truly appreciate the story he told in the ring. He was so good, he made anyone he got in the ring with look like a million bucks. Yeah he took the same bumps over and over, but it didn't matter who was on the other side of him, they looked like and eventually became a star. Heck even at nearly 60 he is better than some of the younger guys.
The Warrior was a different animal. It wasn't about the finesse, it was about the sheer energy and the beating he would lay down. You knew when that pounding music hit, someone was going to be a quick and decisive beat down. He was my favorite to watch, and I truly admire that he left the sports entertainment world on his terms while others became slaves to drugs and other vices and unfortunately are no longer with us.
As I got older and the WWF introduced Divas such as Sunny and Sable, and as a red-blooded male, I started paying a bit more attention to them as opposed to the dudes running about the ring in their Speedos.
But then something else happened. Really good female wrestlers started making their way onto the show. Wrestlers like Lisa Marie Varon (a.k.a Tara/Victoria), Lisa Moretti (a.k.a. Tina Ferrari/Ivory), Amy Dumas (Lita) & Chyna. They changed the game and created a whole new reason to watch the show. Chyna was so good that she crossed over and effectively competed in the men's division.
After WCW was purchased it seemed to be more about getting nice-looking divas to be eye candy for the show, that was until TNA (now Impact) Wrestling came along. TNA put together a very competitive women's division and they just kept adding talent. I have to be honest when I say that I watch the show for the knockouts. It's much easier on the eyes to watch them wrestle. Another reason I like Impact is because I tend to favor the underdog. I despise monopolies and think without competition things grow stale.
When I heard that TriStar was going to begin making TNA Wrestling trading cards I was hooked. They did a great job out right out of the box. I purchase and collect all of their TNA products. As TNA kept adding top notch talent to their roster, TriStar has been stellar at getting them into a product as soon as possible. From Kurt Angle, Mick Foley, Jeff Hardy, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Mickie James, RVD, and Mr. Anderson, Tristar made sure that they all were in sets shortly after they were signed by the company. It has made each set they release more impressive and collectible than the previous one.
One of my goals is to complete the basic autograph checklist from each of their sets. One of the more unique sets they've released came out in 2009 and it is titled Knockouts. The set is all about the women of TNA and there are two versions to collect. The basic version contains a 90-card set and several autographs. A second variation is available in hobby only format that includes some additional more revealing images, extra autographed cards as well as autographed and lipstick print baseballs and lipstick imprint cards.
Below are the autos I have collected as I attempt to put the complete set together. All of them are pulled from packs or acquired via a trade. The Angelina Love is a 1/1 and the SoCal Val is #'d to 75. The remaining cards are all the basic autographed versions. I do have a few duplicates if anyone is up for trading. The ones I need are KA-3 Christy Hemme, KA-4 Dixie Carter, KA-5 Jacqueline, KA-7 Madison Rayne, KA-8 Raisha Saeed, KA-9 Roxxi, KA-10 Sharmell, KA-14 Traci Brooks & KA-25 ODB.