Wrestling is weird. Video games can be weird. When the two paths cross, weirdness is bound to happen. Here are the top 15 weirdest inclusions in wrestling video games.
For this list, I’ve chosen not to include any content from unlicensed wrestling games, as they aren’t based on a real promotion with real wrestlers, therefore they can make their game as weird as they like. Furthermore, I can only include content that I’m aware of from games I have played. With that being said, let the weirdness commence.
- Turok – WWF War Zone
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was a game released in 1997, and it had absolutely nothing to do with wrestling. However, that didn’t stop developer Acclaim from sneaking him into their 1998 game, WWF War Zone.
Admittedly, there are less weird characters featured on this list, yet Turok places low as he is not obtainable by normal means in the game; he can only be unlocked via a Gameshark device. So if you ever played as Turok in WWF War Zone, you were a naughty little bastard.
- General Adnan – WWE 2K15 and 2K16
I wonder how many people who played WWE 2K16 were scrolling through the roster to see who they could play as, got to the G wrestlers, and asked themselves, “Who?”
General Adnan was the manager of Sgt Slaughter during his heel run, and Col. Mustafa (aka The Iron Shiek); he only competed in ONE match during his time in WWE (a handicap match against Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warror in 1991), and nobody could give a single shit about him. So when he was included in a DLC pack in WWE 2K15, it was a bit of a strange choice, the commentators in-game even reference how little they’ve seen him in the ring, and Jerry Lawler doesn’t even know what his finisher is. When even the game itself is burying him, you know he’s a pointless inclusion.
The next year for 2K16, Adnan was brought back as part of the set roster that comes with the game, however, due to his racism scandal and subsequent firing by WWE, Hogan wasn’t included in the game, therefore you can’t even re-enact the one and only WWE match that Adnan was in! It’s clear that 2K were including DLC wrestlers from 2K15 as they could easily copy their character models and movesets, and thus boost the roster numbers for 2K16, giving the impression of a better, larger roster. Even so, the decision to include someone who 90% of players won’t even remember, and who absolutely no-one has the desire to play as, is a bit of a weird one. Just look at his face, even he’s confused that he’s in the game.
I will give Adnan some credit though, he does have one hell of a moustache.
- Masked Man and Tony – Smackdown vs. Raw 2009
We all love a good unlockable – a hidden bonus to reward us for our hard work and in-game success. So when we all found out that Masked Man and Tony were secret characters in Smackdown vs. Raw 2009, we all clambered to the shops to pre-order it so we could play as these two icons, right? No? Just me? Oh wait, that’s right, Masked Man and Tony don’t fucking exist.
Both of these characters were unlocked by playing the Road to Wrestlemania mode – Tony was a soldier who was friends with John Cena, and Masked Man was, well, I’ll let you work that one out for yourself.
What makes the inclusion of these two generic superstars so weird is that WWE games have only ever traditionally included their own roster, and when they do chuck in an occasional joke characters, they’re someone who is employed by WWE, or someone that at least has some kind of loose connection to something used on WWE television. However, in this instance, they made the most generic CAWs imaginable, and passed them off as hidden content – how mundanely weird.
- Blistering Brimstone Match – ECW Anarchy Rulz
The ECW Playstation games were nothing special; just a simple re-skin of WWF War Zone, except for one big difference – you could actually kill people. Obviously ECW had to step it up a little in their video games to keep up with their extreme image, but perhaps murder is a tad bit too far.
The Blistering Brimstone Match was ECW’s virtual version of the infamous Inferno Match, except instead of burning your opponent, you throw their carcass into the brimstone, and watch as their body completely incinerates in a gulf of flames. Hours of fun.
- Candice Michelle’s Magic Wand – Smackdown vs. Raw 2007
During the story mode of SVR 2007, during a feud with Edge, there’s a rather memorable moment where Candice Michelle approaches your male character, waves her magic wand, and you suddenly turn into a woman emblazoned with the colours of the American flag. Despite the fact you’ve still kept your masculine voice, the world’s biggest love machine, Viscera, wants you to unzip that beautiful brown tracksuit of his, and possibly have the worst night of your life.
But guess what? It’s all a dream! Turns out Candice Michelle hit you over the head so hard, you were knocked out, and the whole thing was just in your head. Isn’t wrestling great?!
Now, since this is just a dream sequence, it places quite low on the list, yet if they actually tried to include magic in the game, this entry would be much, much higher.
(So, we’re only at number 11, and people have been burnt to death, and a woman has made a penis disappear with a magic wand, and it only gets weirder from here…)
- Fulfil Your Fantasy Match – Smackdown vs. Raw 2006
Now, considering the way women were sadly treated on WWE television back in 2005, and the fact Bra and Panties matches had already been brought into their video games two years prior, the Fulfil Your Fantasy Match didn’t come as much of a surprise. Still, it is pretty fucking weird.
First you choose two women, what costume you want them to wear (nurse, school girl, or French maid), and then you try to undress your opponent whilst surrounded by a chair, pillows, and a bed. Once one woman’s torso of pixels is revealed, the words “Fantasy Fulfilled” appear on the screen, and you feel like a terrible, sick little pervert that needs a good shower and an evaluation of your life.
Although it’s not the most offensive portrayal of women I’ve seen in a wrestling video game (check out the Rumble Roses series for that), it’s sad and disturbing to see women like Lita and Trish Stratus, who at this point had spent years honing their craft to be credible wrestlers, had been reduced to what is essentially a playable soft porn film. Also, who was this actually for? Who actually bought the game to indulge in this?
Women’s wrestling has come a long way in the last eleven years.
- Crab Elbow – WWF No Mercy
Your wrestler walks from side to side on the robes whilst simultaneously waving their arms about, before diving off and dropping an elbow – do I need to say more?
- Invisible Man – WCW Mayhem
WCW Mayhem is not worth your time – it’s boring, lacking in content, it has character models uglier than your mam, and the controls are worse than the sight of Naked Mideon. It’s not even bad in an entertaining way like WWF Raw for the original Xbox; seriously, avoid at all costs.
The only slight bit of novelty this game has is the ability to play as someone who is completely invisible. Yep, not even an outline; there’s no way of knowing where the fuck he is or what he’s doing.
The invisible man can be ‘found’ (HAHAHAHA!) in the game’s CAW mode, so although you have to assemble him yourself, he is in the game, meaning you can make more than one if you have too much time on your hands and you completely hate yourself.
Forget Metapod vs. Metapod, Invisible Man vs. Invisible Man in one of the worst wrestling games ever made, now that’s the greatest battle of all time.
- The Majority of the WCW Thunder Roster
In 1999, hardly anyone gave a shit about WCW anymore. Not even Inland Productions, the developers of WCW Thunder, gave a shit about WCW judging by this game. Along with an already sizeable WCW roster, Inland decided to just bang in any old character they could think of because, let’s face it, nobody could give a single fuck – there was a praying mantis, an astronaut, robots, an ant called Adam, and even the whole development team. At this point, WCW games were known for having a few original, cartoonish characters included, but not to this extent. They even had a space arena, and USO show arena that made the wrestlers dance. It was like if CHIKARA made a game, before CHIKARA even existed.
If anyone who worked at WCW actually took one look at this game and approved it before release, I will be shocked.
- The Sit-Out Tombstone Piledriver – WWE 2K16
Another entry from the newest game on this list, WWE 2K16 featured a Showcase Mode which allowed you to play through the career of Stone Cold Steve Austin, from his days in WCW up until his retirement – it was fantastic. Austin was even the cover star for the game, and all of the game’s advertisements were based around The Texas Rattlesnake, despite the fact he hadn’t wrestled in over twelve years by this point. So don’t you think it’s a bit weird that in a game so heavily focused on Austin’s illustrious career, 2K decided to introduce the move that almost finished it?
In 1997, during a match with Owen Hart, Steve’s neck was broken by a botched Sit-Out Tombstone Piledriver, which dramatically altered his in-ring style, and caused him to have neck problems that would eventually end his career six years later. Since that match, the move has understandably been banned from WWE, and to my knowledge, had never been included in a WWE game up until 2015. Considering they were so focused on celebrating Austin’s wrestling career, and the match with Owen Hart wasn’t even included in the game, it seems weird to me that they would choose to include a move that had such a horrible impact on both Steve’s neck, and his career.
- Head – WWF Attitude
Want to give a small child nightmares? Force them to watch footage of Head from WWF Attitude.
Al Snow’s head came to live and started wrestling, it’s truly terrifying.
- Druids! Druids Everywhere! – Smackdown vs. Raw 2011
Another entry courtesy of our good friend, the Road to Wrestlemania mode. One the roads in this edition of the SVR series involves a superstar of your choice attempting to break The Undertaker’s (at the time) intact illustrious streak. Whenever somebody tried to break the streak for realsies, Undertaker would utilise his ‘supernatural’ powers in order to intimidate his opponents (remember when he possessed Josh Matthews? Lol), and in this game, it’s no different.
Part way through, you turn up to Raw to discover that everything has mysteriously turned dark. Wandering around backstage, you realise that the only people are druids. Your opponents for the night? 14 druids. The audience? Druids. Music courtesy of? You guessed it, druids.
Upon winning the match, the darkness subsides and the druids vanish. Turns out you just won a regular battle royal, yet the thought of your upcoming encounter with the Undertaker has been playing tricks with your mind.
Creative, but weird.
- Fred Durst – Just Bring It!
Everyone’s favourite Nu Metal dickhead, Fred Durst (from the band Limp Bizkit), made a confusing appearance in the 2001 game, Smackdown Just Bring It!
At the time, Limp Bizkit’s song Rollin’ was used as The Undertaker’s theme song, which is the only possible reason why they would bother including Durst in the game, but still, why? He’s a real person who has absolutely nothing to do with wrestling; at least Head was actually part of WWE, even if it was just an innominate object.
Who thought this was a good idea? Who actually thought this should be an idea in the first place?! 2001 was a confusing time.
- Revenge Mode – Wrestlemania XIX
Based on first appearances, Wrestlemania XIX looks like a pretty standard wrestling game with no clues that it’s out of the ordinary in any way. Although, as the saying goes, don’t judge a book, or this case a game, by its cover.
It appears to be just like it’s predecessor, Wrestlemania X8, a simple wrestling game that mainly revolves around WWE’s biggest show of the year. However, once you begin to play Revenge Mode, it appears that things are a little difference.
Revenge Mode is the main attraction of the game, taking the place of the traditional story or championship modes, except instead of playing for titles, you play to destroy Vince McMahon’s empire – literally.
Revenge Mode begins with your chosen superstar being fired by Big Vincey himself; this is where the revenge comes in. With the help of Stephanie McMahon, you travel to various locations in order to ruin the preparation and construction of Mr. McMahon’s flagship PPV, WrestleMania. You destroy WWE property, blow up a skyscraper, crash a WWE barge, wrecking cars and buildings with just your bare fists, all without a wrestling ring in sight. But Vinny Mac isn’t very happy about it, so he sends hordes of WWE Superstars and random employees (construction workers, security guards, etc) to try and stop you; there are even boss battles with the likes of Bartender Bismark, Agent 999, and the Master Builder. As we’re not in the squared circle anymore, a simple three count will no longer suffice – the only way to eliminate your opponents is to pretty much kill them. I’m not even exaggerating, you have to beat them down, and then proceed to either throw them off skyscrapers, or throw them into deep water so they drown. There’s even one level where the objective is to throw your opponents in front of moving cars. Once you’ve caused millions of dollars in property damage and become a mass murderer, Vince finally agrees to face you at WrestleMania XIX. Yes, in the main mode of a wrestling game, there is only one actual wrestling match, and it’s the easiest, most anti-climactic final boss in wrestling video game history.
Revenge Mode is unlike any mode in any wrestling game that I’ve ever played – it essentially turns the game into a Beat ‘Em Up. It’s so ridiculous and cartoony (sumo wrestlers and secret agents try to prevent you from destroying fixtures in a mall, it’s fucking crazy) in a game that seems to be so serious and mainstream at first glance. Although it is most definitely weird, it’s more than worth your time.
Honourable Mentions –
Red and Green – Smackdown vs. Raw 2010: they were in the games for years to show previews of the moves, and they were finally playable in SVR 2010. I legit marked out when I unlocked these. Weird yet wonderful.
Ho – Various: One of the Godfather’s ‘special friends’ has made a few appearances in WWE video games over the years, most notably WWF No Mercy, where she cost $500,000. Godfather must have been raking in some serious Smackdown dollars.
Announcers and Managers – Various: Many announcers and managers have popped into the squared circle in many different games, most famously in WWF No Mercy. It’s always fun to go one-on-one against Michael Cole and punch his stupid face in.
- Zombies, literal zombies – Smackdown vs. Raw 2009
For the final entry, we take a trip back to SVR 2009’s Road to Wrestlemania mode once again.
In Undertaker’s branch of the mode, the team of Finlay and Santino (confusingly named Nu School, as they had a combined age of 84 at the time), steal the Deadman’s beloved urn. Once he retrieves it, The Demon of Death Valley uses the urn’s magic to turn Santino and Finlay into, wait for it, zombies.
Yep, zombies. This isn’t a dream, or a trick of the mind, he shoot transforms them into zombies, complete with green skin and everything. They mindlessly follow his every demand until he gets bored of his undead army, and then turns his attention to The Boogeyman.
Green, mindless zombies in a wrestling game – it doesn’t get any weirder than that.
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