Wrestling and video games should be a perfect pairing, right? I mean, it’s fighting in a virtual world. What can go wrong with that?
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. With over 100 games released within the genre, it should come as no surprise that there are trainwrecks scattered throughout a catalog of great games.
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I’m Mike from Sports Gamers Online, and these are the 10 Worst Wrestling Games Of All Time. For this list, we take a look at games that range from the buggy and bland to the downright terrible. With so many to choose from, however, we limited this to major console and PC releases only so that means games like WWE Aftershock and WWE Betrayal don’t make the cut. Also, we decided to leave The Simpsons Wrestling out of this because…well, then the list would be too obvious.
10. Wrestlemania 21
After two years away from the console, WWE games returned to the original Xbox in 2005 with Wrestlemania 21.
The game saw numerous delays before launch which should’ve been a warning sign to fans. Unfortunately, many still bought this clunky title just so they can get their wrestling fix on the Xbox.
The gameplay was slower than anything we had ever seen, there were numerous game-breaking bugs and online play was limited to just single matches. No matter how hard you tried to enjoy the game, it was just too buggy to get any valuable time with it.
The only reason this isn’t higher on the list is that the game’s storyline was a good one and the voice acting wasn’t too bad, either. Also, the visuals still hold up today despite it being a 15-year old title.
9. ECW Hardcore Revolution
After WWE left Acclaim for THQ, the now-defunct developer was left with a wrestling engine but no promotion to build for. Enter ECW, a promotion that finally got a national TV deal in 1999. Fans like myself were excited about finally getting to play as wrestlers like Sandman, Tommy Dreamer, and others.
That excitement quickly turned to disappointment after ECW Hardcore Revolution hit store shelves.
The controls were difficult to learn, the visuals couldn’t compete with those of the WWE offerings, and the game just had no replay value at all. In the end, it was just WWF Attitude re-skinned with ECW wrestlers.
8. WWE 2k15 (PS4/Xbox One)
WWE 2k15 was the series’ debut on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and it was, without question, the worst generation jump ever for a wrestling series.
While fans expected massive improvements over WWE 2K14, 2K and Yuke’s had other plans. Instead of a deep, immersive game, fans got a watered-down and boring experience.
I mean, 2K had to release a list of all the features that weren’t in the game just to make sure people didn’t get too excited. The list ended up being longer than the features that did make it. There was no Create-An-Arena, Create-A-Finisher, or Create-A-Story. And the career mode? Well, it was just a boring lather, rinse, repeat mode that left you being told there was nothing to do. Seriously, you’d go weeks without having a match because the GM “had nothing for you”.
7. WCW Mayhem
Back in 1999, EA decided it was time to get into the “rasslin” business when it picked up the WCW license.
Despite it being an unknown area for the studio, EA took the license of the second-largest wrestling promotion in the world and decided to put out a game. Yet rather than take their time with making it right, fans were given an extremely rushed product.
Every wrestler had the same move set, that was not only hard to learn but made the game repetitive and boring. To top it off, the graphics looked early PS1/N64 era bad as opposed to anything pushing the limits of what the systems could do.
But don’t worry, this wasn’t even the worst WCW game EA put out.
6. WWE 2K20
Some may see its inclusion as recency bias, but WWE 2K20 launched as broken as a playable game could be.
From the glitches to the crashes, WWE 2K20 sees a once-great series fall to lows its never experienced before. Visuals look like they’ve gone 10 years in the past, modes are boring, and it’s a microtransaction-filled grindfest that just isn’t fun for anyone.
The game has been universally panned and could become one of the most hated WWE titles of all time when it’s all said and done. The only reason it’s not worse on their list has nothing to do with it as opposed to everything coming up after.
5. WWF In Your House
With a roster of only 10 wrestlers and a handful of matches to choose from, WWF In Your House was one of the most boring games on this list.
The gameplay wasn’t awful, it was just repetitive, even for mid-90s standards. At the end of the day, this was just a generic fighting game slapped with WWF visuals and awful commentary. If you played this game, it was either borrowed from a friend or rented from Blockbuster…more likely the latter.
4. WWE 2K18 (Switch)
Overall, WWE 2K18 wasn’t a terrible game. Did it have its issues? Absolutely, but there was still fun to be had with it. That being said, this awful, awful port to the Nintendo Switch left no fun to be had whatsoever.
The game ran like a potato on the hybrid console with terrible framerates , lower-quality visuals, and awful response time. It was though that porting the game over from the more powerful consoles took away 75% of the game’s ability to run. It was damn near unplayable, and a waste of everyone’s time and money.
3. Backyard Wrestling (Franchise)
When professional companies say “don’t try this at home”, it should go for video game developers too. Backyard Wrestling as a series is another great example of just because something can be done, doesn’t mean it should.
The game had some of the worst gameplay in a wrestling game and looked like it was designed with a potato. Every move had blood go everywhere, and the wrestlers often looked like they were simply floating around.
Nothing about this game suggests it should’ve been made. Likely the only reason it saw the light of day is due to the era it came out in. After all, back in the early 2000s, any game that could be made was probably going to get a console release.
2. WWF Royal Rumble (Dreamcast)
Where to begin.
WWF Royal Rumble was a con disguised as a video game. What fans expected to be the first Dreamcast exclusive wrestling game turned out to be just a port of an arcade game. It had just two game modes and a small roster which lead to the same people coming out in a single Royal Rumble match. The game was just a button-masher where wrestling moves, even finishers, did absolutely nothing to determine the outcome.
There was just no reason for anyone to own this game…ever.
1. WCW Backstage Assault
Vince Russo must’ve been behind this…
I can’t even imagine how this game came about back in 2000. Someone legitimately had to suggest to a group of executives that the best thing for the new WCW game was to have it only feature backstage matches.
I mean, seriously, how does someone with any sort of mind think that releasing such a limiting game would be a good idea? I get that it was around the time that WCW was heading towards failure, but, at least give fans something to remember the company by with a good game, you know?
What do you think is the worst wrestling game of all time? Let us know in the comment section below, and subscribe to SGO on YouTube.