Welcome to the inaugural Friday Five post! Simply put, the Friday Five is a weekly post where I throw out a list of five that could cover any number of subjects. As it’s Wrestlemania weekend this week and I’m not sure it will be any good, this week’s list will be…

Five worst wrestling games I’ve ever played?

Legends of Wrestling

#5 – Legends of Wrestling (Gamecube)

The Legends of Wrestling series had some good ideas and nice features (I do like the idea of it’s career mode, playing through the regional territories) but it was hampered by publisher Acclaim.

Firstly, Legends of Wrestling used a modified version of Acclaim’s wrestling game engine, first seen in WWF Warzone. The problems with this were two fold – 1) WWF Warzone came out in 1998 so the engine was pretty dated by 2002 and 2) The engine wasn’t very good in the first place, unless you like entering multiple commands to execute simple moves against confused AI opponents. The WWF Warzone game engine had begun with Warzone, then WWF Attitude (a game I rented and thought “£40? Nah…”), ECW Hardcore Revolution (a game I actually bought…it’s basically like a ECW mod of WWF Attitude) and ECW Anarchy Rulz (a game I’ve always wanted to try because I never learn). By Legends of Wrestling, the dated and buggy game engine was painful to play.

Secondly, Acclaim made the mistake of trying to update wrestling legends to appeal to modern fans. Classic wrestlers had modern movesets, which makes no sense to me. Watching Tony Atlas bust out a crossface completely took me out of the game….


Backyard Wrestling

#4 – Backyard Wrestling (Xbox)

There is an old Latin proverb that I consider to be sound advice – “Never buy a wrestling game that doesn’t have a ring in it.” I dodged a bullet with WCW Backstage Assault, but took a chance of Backyard Wrestling. In my defence, it was a fiver from Dixons. I think the store assistant was surprised I paid it, to be honest.

When I got home, I delved into a wrestling game that was basically a sloppy 3D fighting game with lots of Irish Whips, some wrestling moves and some Tony Hawkesque point scoring for using weapons. I slogged my way to the end, through repetitive match after repetitive match, then I hit the disc with a barbed wire wrapped kendo stick…no, that’s a lie, I traded it in.

Again, a novel idea, but the execution was dreadful. Compared to the brilliant Def Jam: Fight For NY, Backyard Wrestling was a joke….


WWE Raw 2

#3 – WWE Raw 2 (Xbox)

A strange one this…everything about WWE Raw 2 should have been great…good roster, good graphics, able to rip theme music from CDs, a detailed season mode….

Yet it wasn’t…it just didn’t feel right. The wrestlers felt off, with a lack of impact on moves and an almost ‘fawning’ style of movement. The controls didn’t feel right either. Imagine if aliens replaced one of your loved ones with a clone…I feel like WWE Raw 2 is the wrestling game equivalent…

I could be wrong, but WWE Raw 2 felt like it was designed by people who weren’t big wrestling fans or had little experience in programming wrestling games.


WWF Steel Cage Challenge

#2 – WWF Steel Cage Challenge (Master System)

I made the decision to get Mortal Kombat for my Master System for Christmas 1993 and in hindsight, it might be the greatest decision I’ve ever made. Why? Well, Steel Cage Challenge was garbage, even by the low standards of 80’s and 90’s wrestling games. Little blobs that kind of look like who they should be wander around, hitting all the same lame moves on each other. Simply mash the buttons and you win.

It’s the little inaccuracies that bother me though. I know it’s a 8-bit wrestling game from the early 90’s, but we deserved better than;

  1. Steel cage matches where you can win by simply climbing to the top of the cage
  2. Bret Hart’s blue boots
  3. The Master System’s rendition of entrance themes..Shawn Michaels’ theme is practically a different song.
  4. No ring apron in tag matches, so your partner stands on the floor.
  5. No finishing moves

Maybe I’m being harsh, but look at Tecmo World Wrestling on the NES…it came out in 1990 and blows Steel Cage Challenge (and all of the early WWF games, to be fair) out of the water.


Simpsons Wrestling

#1 – Simpsons Wrestling (PS1)

Actually, ignore #2 – the best decision I ever made was renting this piece of rubbish instead of buying it. £35 quid and my dignity saved…thank you Blockbuster!

I love wrestling and The Simpsons, so I was salivating when I heard about Simpsons Wrestling. I remember booting the disc up and being disappointed almost straight away. I’m not sure what I was expecting…Fire Pro with Simpsons characters? What I got was a cheap, nasty fighting game, taking place in the largest wrestling ring in recorded history and complete with poor soundbites. Winning matches was just down to button bashing and jumping on people’s heads….it was absolute rubbish. It may be the only game I’ve ever returned before the rental period was due to expire…I think I had it for five days and returned it after two….

So there’s my list of the worst wrestling games…what are the worst wrestling games you’ve ever played? Let me know in the comments!