With wrestling comes belts, action figures, collectibles and also… video games. There have been some good, and some truly awful wrestling video games released since the very first game released in 1987, titled Microleague Wrestling, released for the Commodore 64 and PC. Games have evolved drastically over time and today we’re going to be looking at some of the best wrestling video games of all time. So without further ado, here are our top 10 wrestling video games of all time.
10 Smackdown v Raw 2007 (2006)
This was the first WWE game that was released for the Xbox 360 and it was certainly a hit amongst fans. New and improved graphics compared to 2nd generation console games, as well as an all new grappling system which allowed players to direct their opponents where they wanted made for a more realistic game. New introductions also included interactive hotspots which allowed players to interact and fight in the crowd, and interact with the ring steps and ring ropes.
9 Smackdown v Raw 2006 (2005)
This is a biased pick as it is one of my personal favourites. The main reason being the first ever general manager mode to be released for a game. The GM mode on this game is in depth and really pushes you to have the best roster and matches possible, taking care of all of your superstars and making sure they’re all happy whilst trying to beat the AI opponent every week, with a certain degree of difficulty. To a lot of wrestling video game fans it was probably the only stand out feature of this game, but it’s a bloody good one, if you want an in depth GM anode that will get you hooked, this is the game for you.
8 WWF No Mercy (2000)
This is the first entrant on our list released exclusively for the N64. This game features many improvements from wrestling game predecessors such as a championship mode which allows players to take part in various storylines, almost like a career mode. It also had a much more in depth create mode allowing players to customise their characters much more. However, the main selling point for this game was the gameplay. The game had a wide range of moves which could be executed with little fuss as well as cool finishing moves which made matches enjoyable to play.
7 WWF Warzone (1998)
Our second N64 entry, this game was also released for the PS1 and Gameboy. For 1998, the graphics of this game are what puts it over which set it aside from any game of that era. Similar to No Mercy, the game had an in depth create a wrestler mode as well as multiple matches to play within a very decent multiplayer mode. The gameplay again is very speedy and is a good hook for people wanting a simple but effective wrestling game to play.
6 Smackdown v Raw 2010 (2009)
With the graphics improving year by year, this was one of the last wrestling entries for the PS2 but it was a good one. One of the key pluses is a stacked roster, some of the greatest of all time were active at this point and it made for some amazing dream match possibilities for the all new story designer mode. The Royal Rumble match also got a complete overhaul which made it far more interactive. Going back to the SvR 2007 grappling system was a plus, the create a move set and the abundance of moves also made the create modes much more interesting. A really easy menu to navigate too and a My WWE menu which allowed you to sort through all your superstars with ease was a anther selling point. A solid game all round.
5 WWF Smackdown! 2: Know Your Role (2000)
A terrific sequel to the also great WWF Smackdown game, Smackdown 2 was the market leader standard bearer of wrestling video games in this era. The first game which really gave you a deeper create mode, Smackdown 2 allowed people to customise their appearance, moves and even stables with a lot more depth than ever before. The season mode offered players a chance to compete over several years, although storylines became repetitive, players would have to progress to unlock various superstars and move sets which made the mode more challenging but in a good way. Gameplay was very simple and always made for entertaining matches. If you can cope with the long loading screens, you’re in for a treat!
4 WWE Smackdown! Shut Your Mouth (2002)
Now we’re getting into the top tier of wrestling games. Shut Your Mouth really advanced in graphics from its predecessor, Just Bring It. Superstars looked more like themselves than ever and the season mode was the main selling point here. A terrific concept in which you looked through a first person perspective of your character, navigating your way though the backstage areas and interacting with superstars was a fun addition. Also the mode itself allowed you to play through about 2 years of excellent storylines, some of them mirroring the real life ones in 2002, especially the NWO storyline which was a lot of fun. The season mode also allowed you to do the inaugural WWE draft and gave you choices which impacted storyline trajectories.
3 WWE 2k14 (2013)
The first entrant for the 2k series of games, and as usual with a lot of things in life, the first is always the best. The newest entry on our list so far, 2k14 is a diverse, and all round great game to play. The in ring wrestling is excellent, with fast paced matches and and abundance of cool moves to do, you can really invest yourself in having an exciting in ring match with plenty of diversity. 2 more selling points were the 30 years of Wrestlemania mode which allows you to relive some of the all time great Mania moments, also the very diverse Universe mode. This mode is essentially a big upgrade to the old GM modes but with far more free reign and actual storylines and cut scenes for you to set up, you have free reign to set things up how you like. If you’re buying this one though, buy it for the Xbox 360 as the reviews for the PS3 are not as favourable.
2 Fire Pro Wrestling (2018)
This may be a controversial entry for some, but my god this game is a lot of fun to play. First and foremost, the graphics are not there, they are out of date simplistic graphics, but if you can bypass this, you will have a hell of a time playing. The gameplay itself and matches are incredibly fun, with a vast amount of moves to do including moves from evey promotion, like NJPW, WWE and old school moves. A great feature is the ability to essentially create any wrestler that ever existed with the wide array of moves in the game, probably the most of any wrestling game previous. Another reason to buy this one is the different amount of match types you can play. As this game is created for NJPW fans, there are Dojo, Barbed Wire and Death matches which are a lot of fun. If you’re looking for an alternative to the traditional WWE games, give this a try.
1 Smackdown! Here Comes The Pain (2003)
This won’t be a surprise to many. The best wrestling game of all time is Here Comes The Pain. A universally acclaimed game, the main reason is the highly advanced gameplay, more advanced than any wrestling game that came before it. The actual gameplay was far more updated, with an all new grappling system that was far more in depth than its predecessors. Also the limb targeting system was a big plus, allowing players to see the amount of actual damage they’d inflicted on a particular body part. The submission system changed to a button mashing one too which actually gave people the chance to escape a submission as apposed to just giving up and losing a match you needed to win. The wrestlers looked more like themselves than ever, and it was just far ahead of its time. Probably the most stacked roster of all time was a huge plus for the game. Like other games, it had a diverse create mode with plenty of customisation. This game still stands up today, so do yourself a favour and go and buy it!
Author: Alex Bakothanasis