20 Best Wrestling Games Ever Made

It’s WrestleMania season once more, which signifies that tens of millions of wrestling followers around the globe are making ready themselves for the best spectacle in sports activities leisure. Time to don the tights, placed on the masks, and shine the championship belt. 

For these diehard followers who aren’t fairly able to enter the ring or bounce off the highest rope, there have at all times been wrestling video games – these digital experiences that enable them to step into their favourite famous person’s boots, whether or not or not it’s the Hulkster or the People’s Champion or Stone Cold.

These 20 wrestling video games are the best possible the style has to supply:

20. WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011

2010 | Yuke’s | PS3, PS2, PSP, X360, Wii

The ultimate recreation within the long-running SmackDown sequence is definitely the most effective within the storied franchise, with new physics that make hardcore matches much more enjoyable – even when they’re not terribly sensible. This was additionally the primary WWE title to characteristic a Universe mode, which has develop into a staple of the video games to at the present time, though it does really feel somewhat primitive right here. But the most important concern with the sport is that it simply feels prefer it’s all been carried out earlier than, which isn’t an enormous shock provided that that is the 12th recreation to bear the SmackDown title. SmackDown vs. Raw 2011 remains to be value testing for those who’ve solely performed a handful of the video games within the sequence, however most different followers have loads of different favorites forward of it.

Further Reading: 15 Underrated Wrestling Games

19. Pro Wrestling

1987 | Nintendo | NES

While the WWE (then WWF) and WCW launched video games for the NES, they have been thought-about to be fairly horrible, even by 8-bit requirements. Thankfully, Nintendo was there to fill the void of high quality sports activities leisure titles. Pro Wrestling doesn’t characteristic any licensed wrestlers, but it surely does have strong simulation gameplay that even in the present day beats out another wrestling video games available on the market.

18. WWE 2K17

2016 | Yuke’s | PC, PS3, PS4, X360, XBO

After a disastrous debut on current-gen programs, Yuke’s appears to be lastly righting the ship with extra balanced gameplay, improved triple risk and ladder matches, and the return of favourite match varieties like backstage fights. The roster of WWE 2K17 can also be large, that includes tons of present stars and fan favorites, although there are some notable omissions like Hulk Hogan. But what actually holds the sport again is the dearth of modes.

The MyCareer mode is uninteresting, and WWE Universe has barely modified lately. Showcases have been eliminated, with solely a Hall of Fame showcase out there as DLC. While the gameplay is heading in the right direction. Yuke’s wants so as to add one thing extra to the sequence within the subsequent few years to make it a championship contender.

Further Reading: The Shortest Matches in WrestleMania History

17. Saturday Night Slam Masters

1994 | Capcom | GEN, SNES

Capcom has at all times made nice preventing video games, however so far, Saturday Night Slam Masters is its solely foray into the world {of professional} wrestling. Characters are bigger than life, that includes the artwork of Fist of the North Star creator Tetsuo Hara, and the motion is quick and livid, that includes particular strikes and finishers. It form of appears like Street Fighter, however you must pin or submit your opponent. There aren’t some other wrestling video games on the market fairly prefer it.

16. WWE Day of Reckoning 2

2005 | Yuke’s | GCN

Before THQ began placing the SmackDown sequence on each platform recognized to man, the as soon as nice writer had totally different WWE franchises on every console. While the PS2 was house to the SmackDown sequence, the GameDice acquired a pair of WrestleMania video games and two Day of Reckoning titles. Day of Reckoning 2 is definitely the very best of these titles, with a easy grapple system, a number of the finest graphics of the period, and a narrative mode that’s simply plain enjoyable.

Further Reading: The History of WrestleMania Battle Royals

15. WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game

1995 | Midway | GEN, SNES, SAT, PSX, 32X

Picture Mortal Kombat with the WWE license. That’s mainly WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game. The title options the identical digitized graphics because the early Mortal Kombat video games, however as a substitute of bleeding (which might really match the sport simply wonderful), random objects related to every wrestler fall out of them after they’re hit. Bret Hart “bleeds” hearts. Seriously. WWF WrestleMania is a somewhat goofy relic of the ‘90s that holds up remarkably properly. Just be warned that this was a interval when the WWE roster was extraordinarily gentle on expertise. Legends like The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels are joined by questionable additions like Bam Bam Bigelow and Doink the Clown.

14. WWF Wrestlefest

1991 | Technos Japan | Arcade

With house consoles missing any serviceable wrestling video games within the early ‘90s, WWF followers needed to head to the arcades to scratch the online game wrestling itch. WrestleFest had shiny, cartoony graphics, good for the period. And whereas the roster was small, it was rattling close to good, with legends like Hulk Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior, and Mr. Perfect to select from.

The grapple-heavy gameplay might additionally lead into quite a lot of totally different strikes, a precursor of wrestling video games to come back. THQ launched a remake of the sport with a contemporary WWE roster on the iPhone in 2012. Console variations have been deliberate, however sadly these have been scrapped when the corporate filed for chapter.

Further Reading: Why WWF WrestleFest Is the Best WWE Game You’ll Never Play

13. WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007

2006 | Yuke’s | PS2, PSP, X360

The 2007 version of SmackDown vs. Raw took a tough flip towards simulation, with a compulsory stamina bar that required gamers to take breaks after a number of massive strikes. That really didn’t take away from the enjoyable although, as this model additionally added the flexibility to take matches into the group for some hardcore motion. While the gameplay has its followers and critics, it’s arduous to argue with the standard of the roster on this version. It’s the final WWE recreation so far to characteristic Kurt Angle, who will likely be inducted within the WWE Hall of Fame this yr, and it’s most likely the final WWE recreation that may ever characteristic Chris Benoit.

12. Tecmo World Wrestling

1990 | Tecmo | NES

Early online game consoles had loads of hassle simulating professional wrestling, however Tecmo World Wrestling got here fairly darn near feeling like a contemporary wrestling recreation. Each of the ten characters, largely primarily based on Japanese skilled wrestlers, had greater than 20 strikes at their disposal, and notably highly effective strikes have been featured in cinematic replays. An announcer on the backside of the display screen even supplied fairly strong commentary. More than 25 years later, Tecmo World Wrestling stays the most suitable choice on the market for old fashioned players trying to get within the squared circle.

Further Reading: 100 Best Royal Rumble Moments

11. Virtual Pro Wrestling 2

2000 | AKI Corporation | N64

AKI’s N64 wrestling video games are held nearly universally in esteem by players. But what few North American players know is that Japan really acquired utterly totally different variations of those video games, with Virtual Pro Wrestling 2 simply being the very best. The title options no WCW or WWF license (though just a few of the wrestlers will likely be recognizable to western followers), however has extra strikes and customization choices than what was out there within the North American N64 video games. The language barrier is low for this one, so for those who’ve performed WrestleMania 2000 and No Mercy to loss of life, it’s properly definitely worth the import.

10. WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role

2000 | Yuke’s | PSX

While N64 wrestling video games strove for realism, PlayStation WWF video games have been nearly having a very good time. SmackDown! 2 featured juggle heavy gameplay and emphasised a number of finishers to place your opponents away. These matches won’t look something like what the WWF placed on TV each week, however dammit in the event that they weren’t enjoyable. The graphics are fairly dated now (as just about all PS1 video games are), but it surely’s nonetheless simple to see from this early title why the SmackDown video games had such a profitable tenure.

Further Reading: A History of Forfeited WWE Championships

9. WWE All-Stars

2011 | THQ | PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, X360, 3DS

With WWE the one wrestling firm repeatedly lending its license to video video games now, there are sadly few choices on the market for players who need extra arcade-like grapplers. At least THQ put out one title to cater to this group earlier than going out of enterprise.

All-Stars encompasses a terrific roster of each trendy wrestlers like John Cena, Randy Orton, and CM Punk, in addition to greats of the ‘80s like Randy Savage, Ted DiBiase, and Roddy Piper duking it out in matches that repeatedly characteristic superstars leaping 20-30 ft within the air. The Path of Champions mode is slightly gentle on options, however the Fantasy Warfare mode, which imagines what it could be like for present WWE wrestlers to tackle legends of the previous, full with prolonged video vignettes, is properly definitely worth the worth of admission.

8. WWE ‘13

2012| Yuke’s | PS3, X360, Wii

The transition from the SmackDown sequence to the present annualized WWE sequence was slightly underwhelming, with WWE ’12 simply feeling like a prettier SmackDown recreation. WWE ’13 is the place the franchise discovered its personal identification. A extra competent Universe mode is current right here, however the actual star is the Attitude Era story mode, which takes gamers by means of greater than 60 matches throughout what most take into account to the very best time within the WWE’s historical past. Rarely is a wrestling recreation value taking part in for the story mode, however WWE ’13 is the exception.

Further Reading: Why WWF Summer seasonSlam 1991Was the End of an Era

7. WCW/nWo Revenge

1998 | AKI Corporation | N64

It’s arduous to imagine now, however there was a time within the ‘90s when WCW practically put the WWF out of enterprise. Part of the explanation for that was the extremely fashionable New World Order storyline, however even exterior the NWO, Ted Turner and Eric Bischoff had put collectively one of the unimaginable rosters in wrestling historical past, together with Diamond Dallas Page, Chris Jericho, Goldberg, Raven, and The Giant (higher recognized now as The Big Show). Of course, everyone knows how issues ended for WCW, however Revenge stays a beautiful playable glimpse of the rival that almost destroyed Vince McMahon’s empire.

6. Fire Pro Wrestling Returns

2005| Spike | PS2

There’s a large variety of players on the market who would argue that Fire Pro Wrestling Returns is the very best wrestling recreation ever made. While WWE video games have solely lately cracked the 100-wrestler roster quantity, Fire Pro Wrestling Returns options greater than 300 wrestlers from promotions around the globe. And you may create one other 500 wrestlers on prime of that.

Forums across the internet are full of ideas for making the proper variations of your favorites. Then you may see how they’ll truthful in your individual promotion or legendary Japanese loss of life matches. Fire Pro Wrestling Returns could not have the flash of different wrestling video games, and the depth could be an excessive amount of for some, however for the toughest of the hardcore wrestling fan, it’s the one title they’ll ever want.

Further Reading: 25 Weirdest Moments in Wrestling Games

5. WWF WrestleMania 2000

1999 | AKI Corporation | N64

Just a yr after AKI introduced the struggle between WCW and NWO to the N64, the studio launched the most effective wrestling video games ever made. Using the identical polygonal figures as WCW/nWo Revenge, WWF WrestleMania 2000 brings a HUGE roster of superstars, full with entrance themes and distinctive animations, to the 64-bit console in addition to all the match varieties you’d ever need and PPVs, together with the most important present within the wrestling enterprise. But WrestleMania 2000 is extra than simply presentation and options. The recreation boasts the most effective story modes ever made.

4. Def Jam: Fight for New York

2004| AKI Corporation | GCN, PS2, PSP, XBOX

AKI Corporation was really engaged on a WCW recreation in early 2001 when the promotion was purchased out by the WWE. Coincidentally, round that point EA was on the lookout for a companion for a preventing recreation primarily based across the Def Jam Recordings label. While the primary recreation is nice, the sequel, Fight for New York, is superior in each approach.

The recreation performs like a quicker, extra cartoonish model of the N64 wrestling video games, however with a bunch of rappers. Danny Trejo and Carmen Electra are there too for some motive. Sadly, the third recreation within the sequence (not developed by AKI), Def Jam: Icon, didn’t attain the identical heights, however I believe just about everybody would welcome one other sequel.

Further Reading: A Look on the Undertaker’s First Year on the WWF

3. WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain

2003 | Yuke’s | PS2

One frequent criticism of present WWE video games is how they inflict arbitrary guidelines on the participant within the title of realism, or to take care of WWE’s PG picture. Older WWE video games used to permit for inter-gender matches and had extra choices for hardcore choices. They included stuff like inferno matches, the place the objective was actually to set your opponent on fireplace. In Here Comes the Pain, you could possibly really throw your opponent off a constructing, hitch a experience on a helicopter, after which carry out an elbow drop off of the helicopter. It’s the kind of ridiculousness that Broken Matt Hardy might solely dream of, and simply makes this the most effective wrestling video video games of all time.

2. WWE 2K14

2013 | Yuke’s | PS3, X360

Part of what made the WWE franchise’s transition to current-gen so disastrous is that the sequence had nearly achieved perfection with WWE 2K14. The story mode featured greater than 40 of the best WrestleMania matches of all time. That meant the inclusion of wrestlers from Big John Studd by means of Goldberg for the final word WWE roster. Even a lot of the main members of the NWO have been out there by way of DLC. Add in gameplay that was smoother than ever and a Streak mode that allows you to both conquer or defend the Undertaker’s legendary WrestleMania streak, and also you simply have the very best wrestling recreation in years.

Further Reading: The Worst WWE Royal Rumble Moments in History

1. WWF No Mercy

2000 | AKI Corporation | N64

Nearly 20 years later, there nonetheless hasn’t been a wrestling recreation that tops No Mercy. AKI was on the prime of its recreation right here, crafting a superbly paced and accessible recreation with depth that followers are nonetheless mastering. Seriously, there are tons of mods on the market for players trying to embody present WWE and NXT superstars on the roster. But even with out these mods, No Mercy stays infinitely replayable, with an enormous roster, tons of match varieties, and the deepest create-a-wrestler mode ever made.

It’s arduous to pin down anybody factor that makes No Mercy the very best wrestling recreation ever made, however the builders at Yuke’s can be well-advised to spend a while with it whereas engaged on the subsequent WWE recreation.

Chris Freiberg is a contract contributor. Read extra of his work right here.

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