If you wish to support the Waffling Taylors, and the other shows in the network, you can over at Ko-fi.com/jayandjaymedia. However, supporting us is completely voluntary and not required at all.
Another way to support us is to shout out about us on social media or give us a rating on your podcatcher service of choice. The more people who listen to the show, the more shows we can do.
Because of the nature of the subject, there might be a few words or phrases that you’re not happy with little ones hearing. For instance, at 1 hour, 10 minutes and 48 seconds, Squidge says:
I’d rather just kick the crap out of someone, to be honest
From 1 hour, 16 minutes and 5 seconds onwards I talk about two pro wrestling games which have two very dark endings. Please take this as a trigger warning.
At 1 hour, 18 minutes and 44 seconds I say:
A wrestler have a match with themselves and a blow up sex doll.
Please remember to listen responsibly.
Due to the nature of the games that we discussed in this episode, we decided to use a whole bunch of inside baseball style wrestling terminology
check the end of these show notes for a link to a glossary, if you’d like to know what they all mean
But before we could talk to Mike about his team’s new game, we wanted to talk about the games we’d been playing recently.
We decided that since this episode of the podcast was all about Pro Wrestling, we’d create our very own promo in the style of the nWo, with our own Pro Wresltling stable: the New Waffling Order
strangely enough, it uses the same initials… coincidence?
featuring parodies of our favourite wrestling promos, and more than a few references to real events in the history of the podcast
because the best promos have real heart in them
Pro wrestling, whether you like it or not, has become one of the biggest pieces of 20th century American culture to be exported across the world. Whether it’s just a mixture of pantomime (or a soap opera for our non UK listeners) with a live stunt show, or performance art is not up for debate in the episode.
Pro wrestling (or Sports Entertainment as one particular company would have you call it) has had its fair share of video games. From the classic “Pro Wrestling” on the NES (which was the third is a series of games released for Nintendo’s grey box that could), to Arcade classics like WrestleFest, and from WCW vs NWO Revenge on the N64 to the car crash that was WWE 2K20.
We’re not going to talk about which game was best
but we are going to talk about our favourites, what makes them our favourite, and whether there has been any games which are able to eliminate all others in the Battle Royale, and take the title of World Heavyweight Champion of Gaming.
With that being said, we wanted to discuss our favourite pro wrestling video games. They could be for any device
console, arcade, whatever
but we had to explain why they are our favourites - whether it’s because of the roster, the gameplay, a certain mechanic, whatever.
After a few moments of figuring out who would go first, Squidge jumps in with an absolute classic AKI title:
And his reason for choosing WCW vs nWo Revenge was:
mainly because you could play as a ninja
By the way, AKI have since rebranded as Syn Sophia - the more you know, I suppose.
In my opinion, “Revenge” was a wonderfully fun arcade brawler. It allowed you to start playing almost instantaneously, in fact it was designed specifically to force you do that - and not just because there were no loading times because of the cartridge based media.
The B’s pick
For The B’s pick, he takes us on a nostalgic journey through his history with pro wrestling as a whole; telling us how he dipped into and out of watching the shows as a teen, before walking away from it for a while, only to come back to it in his early 20s.
His first pick is:
Whilst the first Smackdown game was a breakout title, WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role was the real star of the show. It was also the game which won Yuke’s the license to keep making WWF
later rebranded to WWE because of some pandas
games right up until 2K19. I mean, if that’s not impressive, then what is?
Where the AKI games on the N64 perfected the arcade, pick-up-and-play style, the Yuke’s
yes, the official branding has an apostrophe. It bugs me, too
games perfected the simulation side of things.
I think that game probably got the most use on my PlayStation One until the end of my PlayStation One basically
My first pick wasn’t because of the roster choice
even though it was bloody good
It wasn’t because of the gameplay
again, it was bloody good
It was because of a single feature: interruptions and run-ins.
WWF Raw had this wonderful feature where, during a Wrestlers entrance
for those who don’t know, in pro wrestling each wrestler has a pre-scripted entrance that they act out over their theme music
could be interrupted. This allowed you to beat up your opponent whilst they were on their way to the ring. In pro wrestling this is seen as a heel
move, because you have a distinct advantage over the opponent; and the match doesn’t officially start until all wrestlers are in the ring, so the rules don’t apply.
Run-ins are essentially the same thing, but they happen during a match and are usually done by a friend of the heel
every wrestling match in history is always heels vs baby-faces (good guy)
Also, because the Xbox allowed you to rip your own CDs, you could have completely custom intro music for your created wrestlers. You still had to use either the intro video of another wrestler or some stock footage of the logos and such. But the custom intro music was a game changer
if you’ll pardon the pun
Leaving the very latest title in the series to one side
because it was an absolute car crash
Squidge’s second pick was an interesting one:
He chose WWE 2K19 for a number of reasons:
the controls are on point
the default roster and DLC
the community creations
Arguably one of the vest features of pro wrestling games is that the majority of them feature a Create A Wrestler
mode, and the more modern titles allow players to upload their CAW creations to the web. This allows other players to play as them. It also allows players to play as pro wrestlers that weren’t licensed for the game - such as the roster from the new promotion: All Elite Wresling
arguably the WWEs biggest rival at this point, and a promotion which doesn’t have a licensed video game… yet
The B also brings up Austin Creed’s
youtube channel “UpUpDownDown!”
because a lot of the current pro wrestling stars actually got a start by playing wrestling video games.
He also brings up an interesting new way fo tattoo artists to make a lot of money on the tattoos that they design for pro wrestlers: licensing them out, and charging money on a per-game basis. Can’t secure the rights for the tattoos for another season of games? I guess they’re not going to be in the next game
which is something happening in other sports, like NBA 2K20
The B’s Pick
Remember at the beginning of the episode when I said that pro wrestling is like a soap opera? Well, it’s more like a comic book story
and no pro wrestling game reflects this more than The B’s second pick:
WWE All Stars is what happens when you realise the comic nature of the product and dial it up to 11. Which leads us into a discussion of the larger than life nature of the product, with a quote from Vince McMahon along the lines of:
It’s super hereos. I want to create larger than life comic book heroes, super heroes on screen that battle out the forces of good vs evil
or something like that
but it was a lot of fun, that was the main point: it was fun and in your face. And it just felt very different
You’re going to think that I stole Squidge’s idea here, dear reader
are you a reader if you’re listening to the show and reading these comments?
but the way that we record these types of episodes is that we each go away and come up with our own lists and reasons then discuss them on the podcast. Which is why my second pick was:
It is stupidly easy to play
It helps that I was a fan of the WCW product at the time - this was the middle of the Monday Night Wars, after all.
Me bringing this up leads us into a discussion of the many different N64 pro wrestling games, and the difference between the products produced by the different companies at the time.
Reducing the entire pro werstling video game canon down to six games would be an impossible task, so we each brought a few honourable mentions to the discussion.
If that doesn’t lighten the mood, I don’t know what will.
My final honourable mention was:
Whilst WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game itself doesn’t immediately stand out from the crowd - it’s a standard brawler, with rotoscoped action - the thing that makes it stand out are the endings. The whole point of the game was to beat all of the other wrestlers with your chosen hero, and after you’d beaten everyone you were treated to text based endings.
Before I show you the ending text
because I refuse to type it out, on moral and ethical grounds
it’s worth remembering that things don’t tend to age well in the pro wrestling world, least of which when it comes to the WWF/WWE. Without further ado, here is Shawn Michaels’ ending from WWF Wrestlemania The Arcade Game, presented as three separate screens:
Over To You
So what are your top pro wrestling games? If you’re not a fan, then that’s fine. Would you be likely to try out some of the pro wrestling games that we mentioned in this episode?