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The Prime 10 WWE Video games of All Time

For the average wrestling fan, turning to WWE’s games is a safer way to live out your sports entertainment fantasies than, say, jumping off the roof of your garage through a flaming table. Since the late 80s there’ve been well over 50 such games that have averted countless such ill-advised* attempts to be a pro

The Prime 10 WWE Video games of All Time

For the typical wrestling fan, turning to WWE’s video games is a safer approach to stay out your sports activities leisure fantasies than, say, leaping off the roof of your storage by a flaming desk. Because the late 80s there’ve been properly over 50 such video games which have averted numerous such ill-advised* makes an attempt to be a professional wrestler at residence, all carrying the WWF/E banner. And whereas it’s as tough to parse out the incremental enhancements from one 12 months to the subsequent as it’s to kick out of a Tombstone, right here’s an try at narrowing down the ten finest WWE video games of all time.**

To start out with, we didn’t ebook this record all by ourselves with out consulting our roster. The IGN viewers participated in a Face-off, giving us a capability crowd’s value of knowledge to work with. There are a handful of surprises and no small dose of nostalgia for the Perspective Period that confirmed up within the outcomes, however with out additional ado or wrestling wordplay,*** let’s ring the bell.

Each IGN WWE Sport Evaluate Ever

10: WWE SmackDown! Vs. Uncooked (2004) – 65%

At quantity 10 with a win proportion of 65% in our Face-off, we discover ourselves within the heady days of the mid-aughts with 2004’s WWE SmackDown! Vs. Uncooked. The sport represents a reasonably main shift for WWE as properly. The Perspective Period was coming to an finish and the foolish Invasion storyline was getting smaller within the rearview mirror. In the meantime, the model break up between Uncooked and SmackDown that occurred just some years prior was standard sufficient to gamble on rebranding the SmackDown sequence of video games.

The Clear and Soiled mechanic was a bizarre little blast as properly, giving even the kayfabe-iest followers an opportunity to lean right into a gimmick and be rewarded for it. In the meantime, the stare down and take a look at of energy model mini-games, together with a bra and panties match spanking mechanic that snuck in on the tail finish of the Perspective Period’s affect, supplied a bit of extra of what the stay wrestling occasions featured on TV. You possibly can additionally create your own belt in a Create-a-Championship mode for when creating your self in a wrestling sport simply isn’t sufficient.

The Royal Rumble of WWE video games, SmackDown! Vs. Uncooked at quantity 10 appears like the brand new man within the promotion that lasts for a good run within the ring, however finally you neglect he was there by the subsequent pay-per-view.

9: WWF SmackDown! (2000) – 65.6%

Counting right down to quantity 9, we return to Y2K and the beginnings of what grew to become the WWE 2K sequence, with WWF SmackDown! It was a welcome change from earlier entries on the PlayStation that went again to the extra arcade model motion we knew from the N64 video games which, to not give an excessive amount of away, may do a run in and assault this record with a chair right here in a couple of spots.

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SmackDown! can be a bit of infamous for the issues it removed. With no commentary, you needed to wrestle to a weird mixture of inventory house-adjacent music and a gradual hum of fan noise (it was actually a bit of aggravating…) whereas the weird non-entrances for the wrestlers in entrance of matches felt like a wonky corner-cutting measure greater than a artistic alternative.

On a private be aware, nonetheless, the hardcore and metal cage match had been an absolute should of an inclusion. What are we even doing if, on the peak of the Perspective Period, we don’t have unimpeded violence on the menu. I believe I acquired injured simply watching the TLC matches with The Dudley Boyz, The Hardyz and Edge and Christian.

All that to say, it’s a strong sufficient approach to kick off a brand new sequence. It is a sport that will’ve had 2 memorable spots throughout a Royal Rumble earlier than getting dumped over the ropes by the fifteenth entrant instantly, so touchdown at quantity 9 on our record feels proper.

8: WWE SmackDown! Vs. Raw (2007) – 65.8%

For our eighth choose with a 65.8% win price that’s not even a full proportion level increased than our quantity 10, we leap forward to the 2007 version of WWE SmackDown! Vs. Uncooked. Touchdown on the Xbox 360, it’s the primary WWE sport for a seventh technology console, and instantly took benefit of these candy, candy joysticks. The analog management system launched within the sport made the motion extra practical the place essential grappleman ways like throwing a man into the viewers are involved.

Maybe essentially the most practical a part of the sport although is how moist Triple H is on the quilt. This can be my very own bias, however nothing says “2007 within the WWE” fairly like a soaking moist Triple H screaming on the apron, child oil from his hair streaking down both aspect of his chest, having undoubtedly simply spit half a bottle of Crystal Geyser onto the entrance row. It was a sticky, greasy time for the WWE in these days and “soggy Triple H” as the quilt picture for this sport makes essentially the most sense. In truth, the sport may’ve gotten bonus factors in our Face-Off for being an even bigger spotlight for wrestling followers than the precise wrestling occurring in 2007.

That 2007’s SmackDown! Vs. Uncooked made this record appears like extra of a testomony to one thing being the primary. Looking back it isn’t spectacular for something extra notable than being our first probability to play WWE video games on seventh gen consoles. It looks as if that nostalgia might’ve been the tie-breaker between this sport and the video games that completed eleventh or twelfth, only a proportion level or two behind it.

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So to sum up, Moist Hunter 2007 within the quantity eight spot is just like the time Diamond Dallas Web page entered the Rumble to advertise his yoga program. It’s good to see a man whose higher days you keep in mind.

7-6-5: A Triple Risk Match of The Rock’s Catchphrases

Earlier than we transfer on to the subsequent few picks, I wish to keep in mind how stupidly standard The Rock was within the Perspective Period. That most likely goes with out saying, however don’t neglect that in the true world of Decided End result Grappling, SmackDown as a model was principally The Rock’s spinoff present. Like if The Rock went to be a radio psychiatrist in Seattle whereas Stone Chilly saved operating the bar in Boston.**** Having popularized “laying the smack down on sweet asses,” the sport sequence moved on to borrow extra of Dwayne’s utterly over verbiage for the subsequent three video games within the sequence, which additionally occur to be the subsequent three spots on our record. As a result of I’m, frankly, a bit of confused as to how that occurred, I’m going to speak about them in a single outsized phase. So for our numbers seven by 5, we’ve acquired Know Your Function, Simply Carry It and Shut Your Mouth.

7: WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role (2000) – 67.7%

So going again to when the WWE was coasting by the height of its recognition, at quantity seven, profitable 67.7% of its match-ups in our Face-Off, is WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Function. Dropping simply months after its predecessor WWF SmackDown! in 2000, the sport had choices galore. Whereas earlier wrestling video games featured them, Know Your Function had the primary correctly superior Create-a-Famous person mode. Crafting your individual gimmick full with individualized taunts actually will get what being a wrestling fan is all about: telling your self “I might try this with out critical damage” and believing it.***** Know Your Function, which now that I give it some thought is a thematically excellent subtitle for a sport with the primary correct Create-a-Famous person mode, supplied you the prospect to show you perceive how one can be a wrestler.

6: WWF SmackDown! Just Bring It (2001) – 67.8%

A 12 months later in 2001, WWF SmackDown! Simply Carry It dropped one other of The Rock’s mic gems to herald the return of commentary to the motion. However whereas it was the primary SmackDown sport to characteristic Michael Cole and Tazz speaking you thru the matches, it was the final to characteristic the WWF branding earlier than the World Wildlife Fund landed a frog splash from the highest rope of a courtroom. Whereas Simply Carry It additionally contains six- and eight-man match codecs, these had been subsequently ditched for over a decade and a half, and the sport is the meat of a SmackDown sandwich. It’s a midcard gimmick match within the forgettable stretch of a pay-per-view destined to be outshined by the primary occasion. Or, to proceed my thread of Royal Rumble allegories, a Mark Henry/Huge Present confrontation close to the midway level of the Rumble the place they by some means get rid of one another as a result of no one else is robust sufficient to get them over the ropes.

5: WWF SmackDown! Shut Your Mouth (2002) – 70.3%

Two years after Know Your Function, the SmackDown! Collection lastly completed The Rock’s signature catch phrases with Shut Your Mouth in 2003. It’s one other incrementally higher sport within the sequence, with a bump within the graphics so the wrestlers appeared extra just like the wrestlers and, whereas I personally love having the ability to climb and leap off the jumbo tron, it’s attention-grabbing to search out this sport together with its two predecessors occupying all three spots in the course of our record. Maybe it’s a nostalgia factor and these years had been the primary nearly all of IGN’s viewers acquired into wrestling video games. It is also that this stretch of the sequence will get blended up with each other so all of them form of break up the vote. Regardless, SmackDown’s early 2000s entries generated some fond recollections. Like how perhaps you possibly can’t keep in mind which Rumble it was that Kane eradicated himself when the orderlies tried to take him again to the insane asylum, however you possibly can slender it right down to a few years window.

4: Wrestlemania 2000 (1999) – 70.7%

Arguably the primary formally nice WWF sport, dropping in 1999 (a 12 months that may very well be thought of the excessive watermark for professional wrestling’s recognition), Wrestlemania 2000 received over 70% of its matchups in our Face-Off. It’s additionally a sport that makes me really feel secure saying that N64 stuff was all unimpeachably nice whereas additionally taking no follow-up questions on the matter.

Whereas it was the primary time you may edit the Superstars, and the concept of placing Chris Jericho in Shane McMahon’s tracksuit could be well worth the worth of the cartridge simply in case it was attainable, the really unbelievable factor about this sport is how the event of it mirrored the enterprise of the time. The Monday Evening Wars weren’t actually a contest anymore, with the WWF lapping the WCW in recognition by 1999. It will be one other two years earlier than the McMahons straight-up purchased the competitors, however the rivalry between the 2 corporations prolonged into the online game area within the late ’90s.

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WCW/nWo Revenge from developer AKI and writer THQ was a very beloved wrestling sport from 1998, so the one pure response could be for WWF to ditch Acclaim and swoop in to accomplice with AKI and THQ. The consequence is kind of the identical sport as the favored WCW/nWO Revenge, simply with wildly extra standard Superstars from the WWF roster. The large database of transfer units and customizable choices within the create-a-wrestler space that already existed within the sport’s engine from the WCW title truly made it attainable to imitate the WCW wrestlers that acquired left behind, which is such an on-brand center finger from the WWF to their on-the-verge-of-vanquished competitor. It was a pile on after the bell had already rung.

So far as the precise sport goes although, it laid a sturdy groundwork for subsequent titles, together with the one which landed at primary on our record. Form of just like the man that’s already feuding with the champ coming into the Rumble within the twenties someplace. You simply know he’s going to finish up profitable to allow them to sq. off at Wrestlemania.

3: WWE 2K24 (2024) – 71%

WWE 2K24 received 71% of it’s match-ups in our Face-Off, incomes it a spot on the rostrum on this Prime 10 record, which is wild contemplating the place the sequence was just some years in the past. WWE 2K20 was such a trainwreck that they only mentioned “nevermind” in 2021 and began from scratch for 2k22. So, if 2K20 was the tip of a heel flip angle earlier than a wrestler takes a bit of day without work, 2K22 was his return to the lively roster constructing as much as his title run in 2K24.

With a extra dependable basis constructed with the 12 months off, 2K24 was the third 12 months in a row that has been about layering the bells and whistles again into the gameplay, and because of this 2K24 feels full in a approach that WWE video games simply haven’t in a really very long time.

WWE 2K24 constructed on the strong basis of its predecessor by not solely sharpening and bettering each characteristic throughout the board, however including far more than maybe anybody anticipated for an iterative WWE sport. Ambulance and Casket matches had been a welcome change to the grappling motion, and the return of particular visitor referee mode – the primary time we’d seen it in over 10 years – was as shocking as Shane McMahon flipping Austin twin birds when he placed on the black and white stripes himself.

There’s recency bias with this one, positive, however WWE 2K24 does really feel like a feature-complete wrestling bundle, an accolade beforehand reserved virtually completely for our high two on this record.

2: WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain (2003) – 77.3%

Now we have to leap again to the run of profitable WWE SmackDown! Video games for our quantity two spot with 2003’s follow-up to Shut Your Mouth, the equally threatening Right here Comes the Ache. Profitable over three-quarters of its Face-Off match-ups, it might need been the most effective of the SmackDown! bunch earlier than the sequence modified to 2K.

The Elimination Chamber confirmed up in a sport for the primary time, as did the Bra and Panties match (though the aforementioned spanking mechanic that unlocked a reduce scene of the 2 feminine wrestlers kissing must wait one other 12 months). The sport additionally featured Legends for the primary time, with all-timers displaying up like Rowdy Roddy Piper, Sgt. Slaughter and The Iron Shiek. That you just couldn’t pit The Undertaker’s Lifeless Man gimmick towards George The Animal Steele in a Bra and Panties match feels each not shocking and like a missed alternative, nonetheless.

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The factor that provides this sport a long-lasting legacy although must be its profession mode. It had an RPG really feel to the locker room maneuvering. Gamers had been free to speak to extra individuals backstage and chart a course on your Famous person that felt a bit of extra off the rails. This sport is the face that takes a very good long term by the Rumble, the one you wish to win the entire thing, however comes up brief ultimately by just below three proportion factors.******

1: WWF No Mercy (2000) – 80.5%

So right here comes the payoff to my TLC match remark from approach again in quantity 9. On the record of issues that tug on my wrestling nostalgia strings like a determined Bubba Ray Dudley attempting to unfastened a tag group belt 20 ft above the ring, the highest two are grimacing by ladder matches and huddling in entrance of a really small tube TV with three pals, Swanton bombing from the highest of a ladder on an N64.

WWF No Mercy has been a benchmark for wrestling video games for greater than 20 years now and at only a tick over an 80% win proportion, we’ve acquired the proof that it continues to be everybody’s favourite (or extra precisely, at the least 4 out of 5 individuals’s favourite). As a part of the category of the N64 period (on which I’ve already made my emotions clear), additions just like the ladder match and backstage brawls introduced extra of what was standard in-ring on the time, whereas the create-a-wrestler perform continued to develop and a profession mode that branched in all types of instructions was an apparent improve over Wrestlemania 2000.

There’s one thing about that mixture, catching every part that was wild in regards to the peak of the Perspective Period and channeling it by simple to get grappling mechanics, that has made this sport extra enduring than each different one on this record. Modders are nonetheless actively including new wrestlers to the playable roster and even AEW Struggle Ceaselessly was an try at recreating No Mercy’s magic.

The sport wasn’t excellent (it chugged as quickly as 4 gamers confirmed up) however it nailed an important factor: capturing the essence of a wildly standard time in wrestling historical past, which is why we expect it’s among the finest WWE video video games ever made.

What do you suppose? Agree with this record? It’s form of yours truly, on account of you guys voted within the Face-Off, however be at liberty to disagree with it down within the feedback anyway!

*significantly, don’t fucking yard wrestle

**on this case “all time” refers back to the final 40-ish years, which remains to be some time, however within the grand scheme of issues it’s solely 4 a long time and “of all time” is generally simply right here for a budget warmth

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***needed to sneak yet one more in and didn’t really feel like deleting this promise

****yep, it’s 100% precisely like that

*****my gimmick was named “Boastful” Dandy Blaine, and he was a vicious and muscly heel, similar to me

******I’m conscious Royal Rumbles aren’t scored on a proportion level foundation

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