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INSIDE THE ROPES SPECIAL REPORT    
Time to Play the Game

October 12, 2006

by the Canadian Bulldog    
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Welcome, everyone, to another EXCLUSIVE, JAM-PACKED and HIGHLY PIXELATED edition of Inside The Ropes. I'm tropical storm front Canadian Bulldog, and we've got a very special report for you this week. 
 
You see, we are only a few short days weeks months years away from World Wrestling Federtainment Corporation Limited Incorporated Limited's next video game release, SmackDown vs. Raw Yet Again. So I thought to myself "What better time for me to look back at some of the greatest wrestling video games ever made? Okay, possibly right before the game is set to be released,

but seeing as I've already started it, why not now?"

So without further adieu, here are: The 10 Best Wrestling Videogames Ever! EVER!!!

 

(10) WWF WrestleMania
(1989; Nintendo, Commodore 64)

This was the granddaddy of 'em all. Finally, all you stupid marks could create your own dream matches, such as Hal Kogan vs. Andrew The Giant, even though it happened a few times beforehand and, frankly, wasn't all that great to begin with, or The Honky Tonky Man vs. The Honky Tonky Man In A Different Colored-Outfit.

This game had everything: finishing moves that somewhat resembled how their originators would perform them if they were paralyzed from the neck down; lame MIDI songs that sounded like wrestlers' themes performed by a seven year-old on his first Casio keyboard; a "shades of red" system to explain how angry each player was, a grueling 6-man tournament for the prestigious WWF World Championship.

But most of all, it had feet, fireballs, sunglasses and crosses that would float near the north end of the ring. Just like in real life!

(9) World Championship Wrestling
(1990; Nintendo, ColecoVision)

At the beginning of the 1990's, just about everyone was getting their own video-game license (see also "Hunt, Duck"; "Blob, A Boy And His"). The same was true of the fine folks at the National Wrestling Alliance (not yet Tits & Ass).

I remember, back in the day, scanning video-game rental stores for MONTHS trying to find this hot, up-and-coming release that had only been hinted at in wrestling magazines. So imagine my absolute joy when I finally stumbled on it, and was able to play as such top NWA stars as Captain Mike Rotundoa, Kevin Solomon and "Dogfaced Boy" Rick Styner.

This was the game where you could pre-select your wrestlers' holds ahead of time, so that you can give Nature Guy Ricky Flare his patented "Jumping back kick drop" or Lex Lugar his world-famous "Flying brain twist". And of course, the absolute highlight of the game was eventually meeting the feared WCW Master (Andrew The Giant under a hood) who would terrorize his opponents by constantly choking them.

(8) WWF WrestleFest 
(1991; Arcade, Apple IIc)

The Notorious D.O.G. wasted many a quarter during his youth on this arcade classic. It essentially had two modes: a tag team challenge that you could never win, and a Royal Rumble challenge that you could never win.

Still, we all tried. Oh, how we tried. I often chose The Bad Boss Man because he was able to withstand Drill Sergeant Slaughter's dreaded "Noogie" finisher without the machine asking me for another quarter. I thought for sure that with my tag team partner The Alllllllllllll-timate Warrior by my side, we would have made mincemeat out of the unplayable tag champions Road Warriors Hog and Mammal.

(7) WWF Super WrestleMania 
(1992; Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Intellivision)

This game was worlds better than plain old Regular WrestleMania, in that the theme songs sounded as though the kid composing them had upgraded his Casio to perhaps a Yamaha DX-7.

Otherwise, it was essentially the same game. True, there were more modern grapplers, and the ring actually had four sides now, but it wasn't as though any of the wrestlers had different finishing moves yet.

There was one neat innovation: the Survivor Series mode in which only one of your tag team partners would hold the tag rope; the other two would go off and do drugs or something until you or your partner wanted to tag out.

Nonetheless, it was voted the "best game featuring Poppa Shango" two years running by Nintendo Power magazine, so they must have been doing something right.

(6) WCW SuperBrawl
(1994; Super Nintendo, Dreamcast)

I'll be honest; the only thing I really remember about this one was the SWANK "choose your wrestler" screen (pictured above). Among some of the catchphrases that could be heard when The Hollywood Squares of Atlanta came to life:

  • "No second chance…"
  • "I'm BAAAAAAAAAAD!"
  • "Who wants Vader?"
  • "A thirst for high impact."
  • "The sexiest man alive…"
  • "Woooooo!"
  • "I ain't the lady to mess with (wh00t~!)"
  • "Who's got painkillers?"
  • "I'm comin' to get YOU!"
  • "BANK ON IT!!!"
  • "Owwwwwwwwww!"
  • "Vince, PLEASE hire me!"
  • "Creative says they have nothing for me."
  • "I need a hooker…"
  • "Joe's gonna kill you!"
  • "Ten years of my life working for this piece of shit company, and what do I have to show for it?"

(5) WWF War Zone 
(1998; PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Pong)

Finally, a game based on modern-day wrestling and storylines! Realistic moves and 3-D (the imaging technology, not the team) graphics. Plus numerous top WWF Superstars to choose from, such as Farooque, Ahmed Jackson and The Gangbangers, Mush and Trasher.

You could also, for the first time, create your OWN wrestler, particularly if you wanted them to look like an alien or kind of like Stoned Cold Steve Austen.

And of course, there were the hidden costumes and modes that we could finally find through the wonders of the Internet (Ign.com, Scoops Central, News From Dayton, etc.). If you wanted, say, Mick Farley to transform into Dude, Where's My Love?, no problem. If you wanted to Oren Heart to change into his Blue Blayzer costume and then die, sure thing. If you wanted Brent Heart to get screwed in Montreal, it was now all possible, thanks to video-gaming technology.

(4) ECW Hardcore Revolution 
(2000; Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Leapster L-Max)

This was, basically, War Zone With Different Wrestlers. That's about all I can say here.

Oh, and there was the blood factor. ECW video game wrestlers were bleeding. Constantly. And it wasn't always from places that you would expect them to bleed from -- for example, their boots. Or Road Kill's suspenders. Sometimes they bled from places you hadn't even hit them yet. E-C-Dub! E-C-Dub!

Still, something has to be said for a game that included The Fat Guy With The Neckbrace and one of ECW's sound crew as playable characters. If only they had wrestlers from Raw and SmackDown interfere each week, it would have been perfect.

(3) WCW Backstage Assault 
(2000; PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Newton)

This may not have been the sole reason WCW went out of business… but it definitely ranks right up there.

The year was 2000, and pretty much every episode of WCW Nitro, WCW Thunder and WCW Power Hour was focused on HILARIOUS backstage sketches featuring Norman Smiling getting attacked by Lanny Storm, Simon Diamond Page doing a shoot interview on his Homely Wife, and Chris Canyon pretending he was gay.  Thus, a game that captured all of that magic.

Instead of letting that pesky wrestling ring get in the way, this entire game took place in the washrooms, loading docks and exercise rooms of WCW arenas. To win the entire game, you had to kiss Big Sex Killer Kevin Nash's ass (not literally, although maybe) to land a plum spot on the booking committee and put yourself over to win the title.

(2) WWE Crush Hour 
(2003; PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, Bally Home Library Computer)

I never actually played this game, per se, but I imagine you have to race around in vehicles such as The Classic Old-School Ordertaker's hearse, Junkyard Doug's junkmobile, Hal Kogan's white Cadillac, and the stolen rental car Rikishi Phatu And Your Mother Too ran Austen over with.

(1) Legends Of Wrestling 
(2001; PlayStation, GameCube, Xbox, Atari 2600, GameBoy Advance, Palm VII)

 

Imagine if you could make a wrestling game that featured the hottest wrestlers, past and present. Then take most of the guys you might actually use, and replace them with shlubs like Fritz Van Erich, Magnificent Marino, Captain Lou Albino and Cowboy Bob Orton! ORTON! BAH GAWD, ORTON!!!

The roster aside and the lamest create-a-wrestler mode in video game history, this game had tons of innovative features, such as when a pin was broken up by your tag team partner, the count would continue once the referee cleared your partner out of the ring. Also the international arenas, helpfully decorated with Canadian flags and the like so you knew where they were, and sparsely-attended high school gyms to make guys like Cocoa Beware feel right at home. Gamespot Magazine called it "possibly the worst game ever with Ivan Koloff as a featured attraction."

So there you have it folks. The 10 best wrestling games ever! EVER!!! Be sure to drop me a line at bulldog@onlineonslaught.com if you disagree (as though it will make a difference). And remember, if you heard it here first, it's… Inside The Ropes.

E-MAIL THE BULLDOG    
BROWSE THE ITR ARCHIVES

CANADIAN BULLDOG  is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.


  
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