Wrestling video games are almost as old as gaming itself, and it's not hard to see why. Think about it, sports entertainment is full of colorful jacked-up characters, captivating storylines, and signature moves, all the trademarks of a good fighter. With companies like WWE, WCW, and TNA (and maybe AEW) recognizing this, we've managed to get some unforgettable licensed titles, while publishers like Capcom saw this as an avenue to make some truly creative games.
So, with that in mind, we want to look at The 10 Best Wrestling Games Of All Time, Ranked.
10 WWF Attitude
Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment
Developer(s): Acclaim Studios Austin, Crawfish Interactive, Sculptured Software
Platform(s): PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, Game Boy
As far as wrestling games in the late 1990s go, WWF Attitude is the best. Taking the mold War Zone presented a year earlier, Attitude released in 1999 feeling smoother than anything we played in 3D before. With a multitude of wrestling stipulations, some really grainy voice work, and a pretty decent single-player mode, this title was everything a wrestling fan of the Attitude Era could want.
The game plays like a typical fighter. Players press button combinations to pull off different moves, which is a little different than what we've become accustomed to recently, and admittedly, doesn't hold up as well as one would like, but for it's time, it was a lot of fun. Not only that, it's the first game to feature Gangrel's iconic entrance where he rises from a firey stage, so that's pretty cool too.
9 Legends of Wrestling II
Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment
Developer(s): Acclaim Entertainment, Sculptured Software, Powerhead Games
Platform(s): PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Game Boy Advance
If only we could have a wrestling game that let players take control of legends of the business as they hop from territory to territory as they build their reputations in a pre-nationwide WWE world. Oh, we already have that in the Legends of Wrestling series. Allowing players to take control of absolute megastars like Abdula The Butcher, Terry Funk, Eddie Guerrero, "Flyin'" Brian Pillman, and Hulk Hogan, there's a massive roster to choose from. That's without mentioning the create-a-legend mode too.
In this game, players can choose a territory to work. Here they will have special storylines and feuds to play against and some are pulled from real-life, meaning Jerry Lawler can actually participate in his iconic feud with Andy Kaufman! Now, we're not going to say that should be an instant sell on any self-respecting wrestling fan, but we're going to imply it heavily.
8 WWE Day Of Reckoning II
A (mostly) single-player WWE game with a focus on story, Day Of Reckoning II was the perfect alternative for GameCube players looking for something different than what WWE offered on the Xbox and PlayStation 2. In this title, players create their own wrestler and level him up as they go through the ups and downs of a WWE career. They can make decisions, change brands, win titles, and work their way up from the bottom of the barrel to main eventing WrestleMania.
To make things more interesting, the game is pretty difficult. With a sort of rock-paper-scissors style chain system, Day Of Reckoning II was something interesting for its time. Mix in some fantastic visuals for its era, and this game could be one of the biggest sleeper hits on Nintendo's lunchbox.
7 Fire Pro Wrestling World
Publisher: SPIKE CHUNSOFT
Developer(s): SPIKE CHUNSOFT
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, PC
We get it, Fire Pro Wrestling holds a place in many gamer's hearts. It was a fun non-WWE game with real-life wrestlers from around the world, but Fire Pro Wrestling World edges out its predecessor just a little bit. To start, you can play as Kenny Omega, arguably the best wrestler in the world.
Aside from that, however, the game refines that classic timed combat style that puts a heavy emphasis on strategy over anything else. This is the thinking man's wrestling game, and it's completely different than anything we've ever played.
6 WWE: SmackDown Vs Raw 2007
Platform(s): PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Wii
SmackDown Vs Raw 2007 was one of the most ambitious wrestling games in its time. With an absolutely loaded roster, a revamped combat system focusing on the right analog and context-sensitive moves, and a storyline for every character, there was a lot going on in this game. In reality, this was the test subject for what the next decade of WWE games would play like, but there was something different about 2007 that made it really worthwhile. Building up a created star had never been this fun, and unlocking Legends through challenges was never more rewarding, plus, each storyline felt like it could have been lifted straight from TV.
It almost felt like real wrestling fans worked on this one. Yuke's really got it right, and in a way, few WWE games really came close to the love this one got.
5 WWE '13
Platform(s): PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii
WWE '13 was part of the "gimmick" era of WWE games. Yet, none of them did it better than the 2013 entry in the series with its "Attitude Era Mode", which replaced "Road To WrestleMania" from other titles. In this, players are given 35 superstars from that iconic age in wrestling, and THQ worked with WWE to build video packages highlighting the most important moments from that time. This mode allows players to act out specific moments from this era too. Whether it's Mick Foley's missed flying elbow at WrestleMania 2000 or performing a Sharpshooter on Bret Hart at Survivor Series 1997 as Shawn Michaels, there are a plethora of historical objectives to work through. Whether you're new to WWE, a lapsed fan, or a long-time viewer, this game is the most accessible to anyone who likes pro-graps.
4 WWE All-Stars
Developer(s): THQ San Diego
Platform(s): PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Wii, Nintendo 3DS
WWE All-Stars is a fantastic stand-alone game, that somehow didn't get a sequel. Yet its arcade-style combat, over-the-top visuals, and general bonkers presentation make it one of the best WWE games ever made.
Throwing realism in the trash and lighting it on fire, this underrated gem has players take control of more jacked up than normal superstars who can leap tall buildings to portray an elbow drop or pull off sick combos to inflict damage on the enemy. Not only that, the roster is a fresh mix of new and old, giving players of all stripes someone to choose from.
3 WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game
Publisher: Midway Games
Developer(s): Midway Games, Sculptured Software
Platform(s): Super NES, Saturn, PlayStation, PC, Mega Drive/Genesis, 32X, Arcade
WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game is unlike any wrestling game that's come before or since. Instead of treating this title like a realistic (given the technology used) experience, this game is an over-the-top fighter with some insane combos. Whether that is launching a character in the air for a Tombstone, or Doink The Clown literally electrocuting his enemies in-ring, this game is bonkers. We're sure players in 1995 had no idea when they played this in arcades or their home consoles, but there's no doubt they had a blast while doing so. It's a shame we only got one entry in this series, however. The game was so fresh considering what was on the market at the time, that there's no doubt it breathed new life into the genre.
2 Saturday Night Slam Masters
Platform(s): Arcade, Genesis, Super NES, FM Towns Marty
Capcom made a wrestling game. That should be enough to sell anyone on this title, but if that's not enough, we can continue. Giving players a legitimate backstory for Final Fight's Mike Haggar, this game allows players to take control of seemingly-real wrestlers as they fight around the world. With both singles and tag team bouts, there are two different game modes that play completely differently from one another, giving the game tons of replayability.
Where Saturday Night Slam Masters really excels, however, is its roster. Sure we mentioned their likeness to real-life stars, but each fighter is different enough from their inspired stars that they feel completely new and fresh. Each character had a completely different fight-style and their move-sets complimented whatever way gamers wanted to play.
1 Def Jam: Fight For NY
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer(s): Syn Sophia, EA Vancouver
Platform(s): PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube
If you've never played Def Jam, you need to fix that. Expanding from just wrestling into kickboxing, boxing, and mixed martial arts on top of the good old fashioned graps, Def Jam: Fight For New York lets players step into the shoes of several rappers like Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Xzibit, and Sean Paul as they beat the heck out of each other.
Yet, underneath that starstudded cast, there's a really good fighting game. With different combat options, there's a lot to choose from, and the tight controls feel super satisfying. Not only that, but the sound design meshes perfectly with gameplay, allowing the player to feel like they're really dishing out pain with each strike.