By Michael Moore, WrestlingTradingCards.com Contributor
When Pro Wrestling Torch Editor Wade Keller sent out a call looking for new writers in January 2011, I decided to shoot him an email. I had spent the previous 10 years as a full-time newspaper editor and contributing writer to publications like Beckett magazines, Pro Wrestling Illustrated, Tuff Stuff Sports Collectibles and more.
Wade and the Torch offered me an opportunity to combine my main writing interests. I felt like I could provide a unique perspective and fill my own little niche. At the time, there weren’t a lot of professional writers who specialized in feature-length articles on pro wrestling trading cards, toys and collectibles.
I knew there were stories just waiting to be told: people with massive collections, fans who had interesting anecdotes about a particular item, wrestlers who had collections of their own and so much more. For 10 years, I made a lot of contacts and was fortunate to help a lot of collectors share their stories.
One of the earliest and most important contacts I made during the last decade was with Tony Vela and David Porto of WrestlingTradingCards.com. Tony contacted me in 2011 and asked if I’d help spread the word about WTC. I was immediately drawn in by the work the two men had put into the project; WTC was obviously a labor of love. I wrote a feature article about the site, and WTC became my main point of reference for many years.
WTC remained somewhat dormant for several years, but remained one of the best resources available for wrestling trading card collectors (and writers). Any time I was trying to find information on known variants of a card, an early magazine ad that advertised a particular set of cards, or if a particular wrestler had a certified autograph, I knew just where to turn.
I was excited when I heard last year that Tony and David were looking to update WTC. The site is an invaluable resource, and it’s great to know the site will keep going.
A few weeks back, I mentioned to Tony that I was mulling wrapping up my long running collectibles column with the Torch. My decision was not based on any changes the Torch had made over the last decade; I simply felt I didn’t have anything left to offer the Torch after 10 years. Tony asked if I’d consider writing for the new WTC, and I was intrigued.
Over the last decade, changes in technology and social media have made it easier for people to tell their own stories. In 2011, there weren’t many (if any) podcasts dedicated exclusively to wrestling trading cards or action figures. Now it seems like there are more wrestling podcasts than there are wrestling fans.
While many of today’s social media platforms had some sort of presence in 2011, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok have all become a much greater part of collectors’ lives. In fact, all of those platforms together have helped collectors forge a community that didn’t exist 10 years ago. In 2021, collectors know who to reach out to on Twitter if they’ve got a question about a particular card. Thanks to Instagram, collectors of every level can curate their own trading card galleries. Fans hesitant about forking over a couple hundred bucks on a box of wrestling cards can check out box breaks on YouTube to decide if they’ll get any sort of return on such an investment.
In many ways, WTC is the hub of that community. It’s the place where all collectors can gather to access checklists, learn about the scarcity of a certain Topps WCW set, or find out what the heck was up with all those errors on the 1986 Monty Gum Wrestling Stars cards. Thanks to the invitation from Tony and David, it’s also a place where I’ll be able to share stories with collectors about the hobby they love.
I spent 10 years writing for the Torch, making friends and learning about the hobby. I hope to spend the next 10 doing the same with WTC.