The arrival of 2017 Topps WWE NXT this week marked the certified autograph debut of aspiring WWE star Tino Sabbatelli and just his third cardboard appearance, too.
But it’s far from the first time he’s sat down to sign autographs for a card company.
What? Keep reading …
Tino Sabbatelli is Sabby Piscitelli, a former Oregon State player who was a second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in 2007. He played in 45 games for the Bucs over four seasons before also suiting up for the Cleveland Browns and the Kansas City Chiefs before hanging up the cleats. His final stat line includes 158 tackles, a fumble recovery and five interceptions for 144 yards (84 of those on one play in 2008) in 66 games played.
He’s been deep in WWE’s developmental ranks — aka NXT — since 2014 and was part of the crop of aspiring wrestlers profiled during Breaking Ground, a 10-episode documentary series that takes fans behind the scenes to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla,, as well as into their lives.
Before this new wrestling set arrived, Sabbatelli was found on a single U.S. insert — a card found in the 2017 Topps WWE Roster Updates set — and then one in the UK-released Slam Attax gaming set. The Roster Updates cards are only found in hanger boxes of this year’s flagship so those who rip hobby boxes heavily won’t even have one. Piscitelli, on the other hand, appears on more than 150 different cards from back in 2007 when he was an NFL rookie. He’s got more than 20 formal Rookie Cards and 29 different certified autographs — ink in everything from Select to National Treasures.
For the most part, his past NFL cards aren’t that expensive right now — pocket change for basic cards to around $15 for the rarer autographs over on COMC.com, for example — but I’d expect there to be some added interest if he breaks into the WWE’s top ranks. He’s not alone with past football experience in the NXT ranks but he’s made it to WWE cardboard first.
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