For almost as long as there’s been a World Wrestling Federation, there’s been a licensed video game featuring the biggest stars.
The early WWE games had the likes of Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant front and center and bore the name of events such as WrestleMania. Later, games expanded into the whole roster and brought the Royal Rumble and SummerSlam to people’s homes. Whether in an arcade in the eighties, an 8-bit machine of the early nineties, or the powerful consoles of today, wrestling has delighted many video game fans.
The WWE has always had the big names; for many, it is seen as a major license. Even today, the WWE 2K series is hugely popular, and the branding is seen across other platforms, also. WWE Mayhem, described by Touch Arcade as free to play on iOS and Android, brings the fun to mobile users, whilst WWE SuperCard is a digital card collection game bearing the superstars of the squared circle. It’s not the only non-action game popular on mobile either; there is an online slot game at Gala Spins named WWE Legends Link and Win, which features the company logo and stars such as Macho Man and Booker T. WWE Champions is another trading heavily on the stars but putting you in control of them on Android.
All of this underlines the hunger for WWE-themed games, but what of the other wrestling games that don’t have Vince McMahon’s fingerprints on them? We know AEW will be bringing a new video game to the table soon, but that’s only the latest in a series of great wrestling games that may have gone unnoticed because they weren’t WWE. Well, we’re here to correct that by highlighting the best non-WWE video games of all time.
Fire Pro Wrestling World (PlayStation 4)
Fire Pro Wrestling World is thought by many to be the finest instalment of the Fire Pro Wrestling series. It has incredible depth and features many matches and game modes, including a promoter mode. There are thousands of wrestlers you can download and play as, all of which look like their real-life counterparts and act like them as well. It’s been described as one of the most in-depth wrestling games ever.
WCW/NWO Revenge (Nintendo 64)
By today’s standards, this game doesn’t look pretty, and it does feel a bit of a cheat to feature a game with so many of the biggest WWE stars, such as Hollywood Hogan and the British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith. However, putting those things aside, this is a solid game engine which might not look so hot in 2022, but it still plays like a dream. The winning element here was the competitiveness of the games. Thanks to a great reversal system, counters, and fluid countermove controls, fights ebbed to-and-from, back-and-forth, giving a really satisfying gaming experience.
Action Arcade Wrestling (PlayStation 4)
Action Arcade Wrestling is an indie game that had big ideas and pulled them off superbly. Graphically, it looked unique and took the cell-shaded inspiration from shooter Borderlands but applied it to in-ring action. Subsequently, it looks incredible and feels a little tongue-in-cheek, but it’s no parody game; it is a fluid gaming experience with plenty of depth. It offers gamers deep customisation and arcade features such as power-ups. It’s not a simulation but an arcade-style game that harks back to the early nineties but employs the latest technology.