Pro Wrestling is the best wrestling game on the NES. It has the best roster of wrestlers, and in many ways, it is ahead of the other wrestling games.
The game isn’t saddled with a licensed property, like WWF or WCW, so it could be its own thing. However, it was given a generic name and lacks some of the recognition that one of those licenses would have given it. It is a trade-off for the developers.
The roster of wrestlers is pretty great! My personal favorite is Starman. He might be the most recognizable wrestler in the game, as most others aren’t as memorable. Not for lack of trying, however.
TLDR: Pro Wrestling is the Best Wrestling Game on the NES and one of the Better Games on the Console.
Pro Wrestling would be hugely important in wrestling games. While there wasn’t a sequel to this game, it did pave the way for the Fire Pro Wrestling series.
The developer, Masato Masuda, created the game while working at a TRY company. This company merged with another company to create Human. Masuda would later create Fire Pro Wrestling while at Human.
Pro Wrestling shares many similarities with Fire Pro Wrestling. The game does an excellent job of simulating a pro wrestling match. It is also very grapple-focused and has a more advanced system for performing the moves.
There isn’t a story mode for this game. However, in the single-player mode, you try to unify the championships of two wrestling promotions. It is a nice addition and something you might not expect to see in a game from the mid-80s.
This is as close to a story mode as we would get. It lets the player fill in the blanks and create their own story. It is a somewhat effective way of doing things.
While there isn’t much to this mode, it is challenging enough to take some time to complete. You have to win five matches to get their first title shot, and then you need to win ten games for the unification match.
The game has a one-player and a two-player mode. I know that sounds groundbreaking, but the game has several advantages over WWF Wrestlemania. It has a better single-player mode, and each character has a broader set of moves.
The roster is something else. I think some of them are based on real wrestlers, but I haven’t found anything to support this. Here is a list of the wrestlers in the game:
- Fighter Hayabusa from Japan
- Giant Panther from the U.S.A.
- Kin Corn Karn from Korea
- King Slender from the U.S.A.
- Starman from Mexico
- The Amazon from Parts Unknown. I’m guessing he is the Ultimate Warrior’s neighbor.
There is one more character in the game. If you reach the unification match, then you’ll face Great Puma. He is the game’s main boss and one of the more difficult boss characters in an NES game.
The single-player mode is excellent. There are two parts to it. The first has you trying to get the Video Wrestling Association (VWA) Championship. The champion is King Slender unless you choose King Slender as your character. If you did, then Giant Panther is the champion.
To get a shot at the title, five matches. However, some versions of the game have a bug requiring King Slender to win more than five matches. I didn’t encounter this bug, and I’m unsure how to tell the game versions apart.
After winning the VWA championship, the second part of the game starts. You must defend the title in ten consecutive matches to get a shot at Great Puma, the Video Wrestling Federation Champion.
It is a surprisingly deep game for the time. As good as the single-player game is, I wish the two-player game had been better.
The two-player mode is a two out of three falls match without a time limit. Each player selects a character to play as. The game prevents selecting the same character, probably because there are no pallet swaps or alternate outfits for the wrestlers.
I wish there were more game modes, but there were limitations to what the developer could do. In many ways, the gameplay in Pro Wrestling over-delivers. This isn’t an easy game to beat, but it is an enjoyable game to play.
This is the best wrestling game on the NES. It is a bright and colorful game with much more going on than WWF Wrestlemania did.
Besides the two wrestlers, you have the referee, a cameraman, and a crowd watching the action. The screen scrolls with the action, and you can move around the ring.
The moves look good and are nicely animated. The only thing I don’t like about the game is the flashing that happens when you win. The ring flashes a little, and it causes a strobe effect. This won’t bother most people, but it bothered me.
The most notable thing about the visuals comes on the win screen. Because translation wasn’t all that important to companies in the 80s, we’re given the phrase, “A Winner is You!” If you ever wondered where this came from, the answer is Pro Wrestling.
It is a great-looking game. Pro Wrestling has a style I wish the WWF and WCW games had copied.
9/10. I might be ranking this game a bit high, but I had so much fun with Pro Wrestling. It is somehow cartoonish and grounded. It resembles pro wrestling in the early 90s, with a mixture of goofy characters and more realistic wrestlers. Doink the Clown and Ric Flair would fit into this game seamlessly.
- Pick-up and Play
- Great Controls
- Good Single-Player mode and Two-Player mode
- Lack of Tag Team matches
- No stipulation matches
- Small roster of wrestlers
This is one of the many video games I wish I had played as a kid. It is miles ahead of WWF Wrestlemania, and I think my friends would have also enjoyed it. It looked more like a pro wrestling TV show and did a better job of letting the players build a story for the game.
While this game is well known today, there was a time when you had to know someone who knew about it. Some people tend to forget about this now that we have the internet, and information about any game is a Google search away.
Pro Wrestling game would have been a hidden gem for me when I was collecting retro games in the 90s. I hadn’t heard anything about it, and there wasn’t a way for me to learn about the game until I bought and played it. It is a spectacular game and one that I enjoy returning to from time to time.