Wrestling and video games are a pair that should go together like lamb and tuna fish, or, for those of you who don't get the reference, spaghetti and meatballs.
The games not only allow fans to put themselves into the game as their own superstars, but also create the dream matchups that they want to see.
With WWE 2k17 on the horizon, we thought it would be the perfect time to take a look at the best WWE video games of all time. Take note that we are only focusing on WWE video games this time around meaning games like WCW/NWO Revenge, Fire Pro Wrestling Returns and Total Extreme Wrestling are not eligible for this list.
With that being said, let’s jump right into it with a game that was loads of fun despite it being nothing like the wrestling games fans see today.
WWF WrestleFest (1991, Arcade)
Back in the late 1980s/early 1990s technology, obviously, wasn't where it is today in terms of video games. Wrestling was in a boom period, but fans had no way to really enjoy it whenever they wanted other than what was shown on TV. Enter WWF WrestleFest.
The game featured tag team and single matches, impressive graphics and commentary and gameplay that you can still enjoy to this day. It also happened to be the first game to feature the Royal Rumble match. Sure, it was a button masher, but all arcade games were back then.
Smackdown Vs. Raw (2004, PS2)
The original Smackdown vs. Raw title hits this list because of the introduction of online play. For the first time ever, fans were able to challenge others from the comfort of their couches. Sure, only singles matches and bra and panties matches were available for online play, but it was the clear start of something much bigger in terms of connectivity.
The game also was the first to have a voiced-over story mode as well as much-improved graphics.
WWF Attitude (1999, PS2/N64)
This game may not have aged well, but the additions Attitude gave to the genre can't be overlooked. Featuring a roster of over 40 playable characters – a feat that was huge at the time – Attitude was the first game that allowed players to have a legitimate Royal Rumble match with 30 different supertars.
The in-depth career mode as well as its nice list of exhibition matches made Attitude a must have when it first came out.
WWE 2k14 (2013, Xbox 360/PS3)
Before the travesty that was WWE 2k15 on PS4 and Xbox One, 2K Sports released what many consider to be the best recent entry for wrestling video games. WWE 2k14's creation suite was top of the line, allowing players to create finishers, entrance videos, championships, shows and more.
Universe Mode allowed more customization than ever and the Wrestlemania Showcase mode allowed fans to relive the greatest matches in Wrestlemania history.
Smackdown vs. Raw 2006 (2005, PS2)
SvR 06 was the last PS2 exclusive wrestling game, and it ended the era with a bang. Improved visuals, a brand new General Manager mode that allowed players to draft rosters and compete for brand domination, and a solid -albeit linear – story mode led to hours of fun with this game.
WWE All Stars (2011, PS2/PS3,Wii,DS,Xbox 360)
Likely the most “controversial” inclusion on the list, WWE All Stars was a step away from the “serious” games at the time and brought back the arcade feeling of old.
The game was designed to be an over-the-top representation of wrestling, and it worked like a charm. Every match was fun, and it felt like a spinoff fighting game that anyone could pick up as opposed to a title with a steep learning curve. If you've never checked it out, WWE All Stars is a title that's highly recommended.
WWE Day of Reckoning (2004, Gamecube)
After miserable showings earlier in the lifespan of the GameCube, THQ finally delivered a home run on the console with Day of Reckoning.
It may feature a smaller roster size compared to the Smackdown counterparts of the day, but the gameplay engine was near flawless. The trade off ultimately sat well with fans who still like to go back to this game 12 years after release. The story mode was engaging and fulfilling, and, quite frankly, better than anything put out since. It even set the stage for the sequel a year later.
WWF Smackdown: Shut Your Mouth (2002, PS2)
Speaking of great stories, we get down to the final three that all include excellent single-player career modes.
The career mode featured the newly implemented brand extension between Raw and Smackdown, allowing players to define their career by becoming dominant on the show of their choice. The option was also open to ultimately switch shows to prove how good you really were.
Shut Your Mouth also introduced fans to moving freely around the arena, and fighting anywhere you could possibly get to. It led to hours of fun even with the severely slow load times of the PlayStation 2.
WWF No Mercy (2000, N64)
Branching storylines, deep wrestler customization and an engine that many still tout as the best to ever be built – The AKI Engine – No Mercy closed out N64's run as the top Nintendo console in a big way.
New match types like TLC and Tables matches were added and the roster was absolutely massive. There's a reason why the game sees mod support to this day on a near yearly basis, it's that...damn...good.
WWE Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain (2003, PS2)
Featuring a roster of nearly 70 playable characters, Here Comes The Pain allowed players to take anyone they wanted into the game's story mode. In the ring the game played better than anything up until that time, and made the backstage environments feel more destruction than its predecessor, which we'll get to later.
The introduction of matches like first blood and the Elimination Chamber put Here Comes The Pain over-the-top as a video game