Ah, wrestling and video games. It just sounds like a match made in heaven.
Alas, the pairing hasn't always been a smashing success thanks to concepts and ideas that should've just never been paired together.
We've already talked about WWE Video Games of all time, but what about games not under the WWE brand? Sure, there have been some great games like Fire Pro Wrestling Returns, but that's for another list at another time. Instead, it’s time to focus on the worst of the worst with the worst wrestling video games ever released.
**Note: This list doesn’t include a single WWE video game. For the list of worst WWE video games ever, follow the link here.**
The game looked incredible for its time, but that was really the only thing enjoyable about TNA Impact. No one had a full entrance, every wrestler felt exactly the same in the ring, the moves were a pain to pull off, the single-player storyline was awful and the list goes on and on.
It was the worst game ever, but after one playthrough of the career mode – that felt more like a campy, made-for-TV “drama” than a video game story mode – it was tough to have the urge to pick up the game ever again. And I still don’t get the weird hunchback pose that every wrestler seemed to have.
ECW Hardcode Revolution
After WWE left Acclaim in the dust for greener pastures, the developer was left to make games for ECW. What fans got was a run of titles that were as obsolete as a payphone in 2016.
Even the most basic controls were difficult to learn, which never bodes well for the success of any game, let alone a wrestling one. The visuals couldn’t compete with those of the current WWE offerings, and the game just had no substance worthy of wanting to play over and over.
In the end, it was WWF Attitude re-skinned with ECW wrestlers. I can't think of anyone who bought this and was happy about it.
In the late 1990s, Electronic Arts had no business making a wrestling video game. Unfortunately, WCW wanted a game so bad that they gave EA the license after the prior holder left to make WWE titles using the engine that made WCW/NWO World Tour and Revenge.
Every wrestler had the same hard-to-learn move set that made the game boring to play. The graphics weren't even that good, either.
Fire Pro Wrestling 360
Fire Pro Wrestling is a franchise that is beloved by both gamers and wrestling fans. The series features some of the most basic yet fun gameplay, and often allows for customization that cannot be rivaled by any other title.
Unfortunately, the ball was dropped in a big way with Fire Pro Wrestling 360. An exclusive title for the Xbox 360, FPW 360 saw players use their Xbox Live Avatars as competitors to fight against their friends, and that was it. There was no substance to it, the gameplay was boring and it just wasn’t fun in any sense of the word. I think this should be the last time we talk about this game…ever again.
Celebrity Death Match
Celebrity Death Match was a fantastic show almost 20 years ago. Unfortunately, its transition to the digital realm just wasn’t very good. In fact, it was downright horrendous.
Nothing about Celebrity Death Match was appealing. What the game turned out to be was a poor attempt at recreating the show in video game format while making it nearly impossible for anyone to simply pick up and play. What made it worse was the fact that it took everything fun about the show, and made it as boring as a day at your grandparents' house with nothing to do.
Backyard Wrestling (Franchise)
I'm lumping in both Backyard Wrestling games here because they were equally just as terrible. Awful gameplay, graphics and concept just has this screaming NO to anyone who even considered buying it.
“Wrestlers”, if you want to call them that, always appeared to be floating, and every move feature blood splattering everywhere. Who thought this would be fun?
There is nothing redeeming about this title. If you really want to know why it's so terrible, just go watch five minutes of gameplay. Of course, you'll be wanting that five minutes back once you realize just how dreadful the game really is.
The Simpsons Wrestling
This game is included simply because “wrestling” is in the title. What this game was, however, was an utter abomination that took place in what was supposed to resemble a wrestling ring.
There was no way to pull of combo attacks, and the game looked like it was put together with construction paper. It was nothing more than a button masher, and that shouldn't be what your wrestling game solely entails.
And nothing about Homer or Barney beating up little Lisa sounds remotely fun.
WCW Backstage Assault
A conversation that probably happened:
“Hey, I know what we can do for our next WCW game!”
“Let’s have backstage matches!”
“You mean like add it as a new match type?”
“No. It is the match type.”
“What about the ring?”
“Psh! Ring? We don’t need no stinking ring.”
It’s really hard to believe that decision makers at a company thought having a wrestling game with no actual semblance of wrestling was a good idea. But, then again, this is a game for the organization that gave fans the classic Judy Bagwell on a Forklift match.
What do you think was the worst non-WWE wrestling game of all time? Let’s talk about it in the comment section below, and on the Fightful.com member-only forums. It’s free to register, and a great place to talk about the industry that we all love!