Friday, July 3, 2020

Signed Trading Cards: The Great Kabuki, Russ Francis, & Rockin' Robin

I'm with some more through the mail additions and my first foray into a custom card.

The Great Kabuki

I mailed these cards to Kabuki at his restaurant in Japan.  I mailed them on May 11, 2020 and got them back on June 19, 2020.  I think that, that is pretty damn good turn around.

The card in the middle is from the 1997 BBM Sparking Fighters set and the cards on the outside are from the 1986 Monty Wrestling Stars set.  Now I just need to find Sunshine and ask her to sign the card as well.

I mailed Kabuki the three cards and he signed them plus sent me the two 4 x 6 photos and the sticker pack.  That was unexpected and very cool!  I also sent him $5 for return postage not knowing how much it would be.

Russ Francis

The card on the left is from the 1975 Topps NFL set and the card on the right is from the 1985 WWF O-Pee-Chee Series 2 set.  I had only mailed Mr. Francis the NFL card, he sent me the WWF card.

Russ is a second generation wrestling star.  His father Ed Francis was the promoter for 50th State Big Time Wrestling Hawaii from the 1960's thru 1979 when he sold the territory to High Chief Peter Miavia.  Russ played football in the NFL for the New England Patriots (1975 - 80 & 87 - 88) and the San Francisco 49ers (1982 - 87).  He wrestled full time in the AWA for a spell and is a former NWA Hawaii Tag Team Champion with his brother Bill Francis.  He competed in the WrestleMania 2 NFL vs. WWF battle royal.  He was one of the final 4 men in the match with Andre the Giant & The Hart Foundation.

Rockin' Robin

This is a custom card of my design that I had made by D'Elana's Cards, you can find them on instagram.  I mimicked the NWA Wonderama design and I wrote the biography that appears on the back of the card.  I sent Robin three cards asking her to sign one and to keep the others for herself.  She sent me back two signed.

Custom cards is not something that I thought I would do but Rockin' Robin is an autograph that I wanted to add to my collection and she's never had a trading card released before.  I've had a few others made up and I've mailed them off, If I get them back you know I'll share them here.

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page, check out my weekly podcast The Wrestling Insomniac on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network and while your at it pick up my book over at Amazon in Kindle or Paperback.

Until next time!!

Friday, June 26, 2020

The Wrestling Isomniac Book Review

Last night, I came home from work with one goal in mind: to play as much Dirt 4 as possible. My fiancĂ©e is out of town and I had a six uninterrupted hours of video gaming on my schedule. I quickly prepared myself some dinner before plopping down on the couch and booting up my Playstation 4. 

While my game was loading, I looked over at my end table and noticed my copy of The Wrestling Insomniac. It was delivered Sunday morning and  I took a few minutes to browse through the book, admire the photos and the craftsmanship before placing on it on the table. It had remained there untouched for the past two days and I thought to myself, "I really oughta find some time to read through that." I looked up at the Dirt 4 loading screen and thought about how I had wanted to play some rally cross all day and so I selected my Career Mode to get on with my evening.

Then the guilt got to me.

Michael Labbe, founder of this website, is one of my best friends. I know he put a lot of time and effort into crafting this book and I owed it to him to read it sooner rather than later. I set a goal to finish the book by the weekend and I decided I would read it between load screens of my video game.

I read the introduction and then I raced a race. 

Then I read the first chapter and raced again. 

The read three chapters and raced again. 

Then I read three more chapters and raced again.

I should note that my game had fully loaded between all of these reading sessions. I was bombarded by the menu music, but that didn’t faze me. I was enthralled with the written word. I couldn’t get enough and I just kept reading. I finally pull myself away from the book when I realized I was sick of hearing the same song over and over but after another race I read some more. That's when I decided to turn off my game and the next thing I knew I had read the entire book.

I thought about writing a massive review nitpicking the book and highlighting everything, but I think the story I told above is the best recommendation I can give. If you are visiting this site, you know that Michael is a talented writer. You know that he has an amazing ability to seek out the forgotten history of wrestling and present it in a way that makes you want to learn more. The Wrestling Insomniac is a collection of some of Michael’s best blogs first read here on He’s added updates for each post and laid out the book so that it’s well paced and easy to read.

Reading The Wrestling Insomniac makes you want to go watch wrestling. His chapter on the WWF’s big blue cage made me want to watch matches from that era. The breakdown of the history of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship made me want to find those random matches that occurred following the breakup with TNA and before Billy Corgan got involved. The chapter on Goldberg’s losses made me want to find a playlist on YouTube with all of them so I could witness them for myself.

The Wrestling Insomniac is a love letter to wrestling. I do not know of a bigger fan of wrestling than Michael Labbe and his passion and love for the sport bleeds out onto the pages of his first book. Am I baised? Definitely, but what you probably don’t know is before I wrote for The Wrestling Insomniac I was a fan. It was/is my favorite wrestling site. I enjoyed it so much I felt like I needed to reach out to the creator and express my appreciation. Little did I know that one simple email would lead to me writing for site and the formation of a great friendship. But if it wasn’t for the engrossing articles and crazy statistics I would have never sent that email and the truth is The Wrestling Insomniac (both the book and the website) represent the wrestling stories that I like to read. It’s about the forgotten or misremembered wrestling history, the “Oh My God That Actually Happened” moments, and one man’s lifelong passion for the squared circle.

So yes, I highly recommend The Wrestling Insomniac get your copy today on Amazon.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Signed Trading Cards: Ricky Steamboat, Gerald Brisco, Tony Schiavone, & Stan Hansen

Some more through the mail success!

Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat

I recently was lucky enough to get add two more cards to my collection of Steamboat signed cards bringing my total to six signed cards.  The precious four consist of three WWF cards and a WCW card.

The card on the left is from the 1986 Monty Wrestling card set and the card on the right is from the 2019 Starrcast II card set.

He did respond to a few questions I had in my letter to him.  He considers his greatest match of all time to be at Wrestlemania III against "Macho Man" Randy Savage.  His greatest match with "Nature Boy" Ric Flair to be from Clash of the Champions VI April 2, 1989 in New Orleans, LA Steamboat defending the NWA World Championship against Flair inn 2 out of the 3 falls match.

For those wondering below are the other four cards signed by Mr. Steamboat are 1985 O-Pee-Chee series 2, 1987 WWF Topps, 1991 Classic GamesWWF set , and 1992 WCW Magazine.

Gerald Brisco

The card on the left is from the 2001 Fleer Superstars card set and the card on the right is from the 2008 Topps Heritage IV WWE card set.   I was surprised to find out that Brisco's first ever trading card is from the 1998 Comic Images WWF Superstarz set.

Tony Schiavone

The card on the left is from the 1988 NWA Wonderama set and the card on the right is from the 2019 Starrcast II set.  I already have two cards signed by Tony, a different NWA Wonderama and a WCW card.  I'd love to get David Crockett to sign this card as well.

Stan Hansen

I'm so super excited to add this card to my collection.  Mr. Hansen is a living legend in Japan and one of my favorites to watch.  I just love his bad ass style.  This card is from the 2011 BBM Legend of the Champion card set.

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page, check out my weekly podcast The Wrestling Insomniac on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network and while your at it pick up my book over at Amazon in Kindle or Paperback.

Until next time!!