So, WWE 2K22 releases imminently, and fans are wondering what to expect. The delay of more than a year makes this an eagerly-anticipated title. Yet there’s also a feeling that not a great deal has changed, giving us the typical WWE annual release. This makes me wonder how WWE and 2K could update the formula, with one possibility being biannual releases of its main franchise. But what could they do during the years in between? That’s where we have the concept of this article, as we consider the 10 best retro WWE videogames ideas.
Like it or not, many wrestling fans love nostalgia, and a videogame is a great way to relive memories. Yet recent WWE 2K games are shying away more and more from honouring the past. Furthermore, WWE 2K Battlegrounds, despite including many legends, chose to go sideways rather than backwards in terms of a direction. Yet we have seen Legends Of WrestleMania and All-Stars in the past, so retro games are a real possibility. Not forgetting that Showcase mode and pre-order DLCs for modern games almost always focus on the past. So, if WWE and 2K wanted to embrace the target audience of older fans, it could lead to real success. But what are the best concepts for potential WWE games focusing on yesteryear? We have picked out ten ideas!
10 Best Retro WWE Videogames Ideas
1. Golden Era
The first of these concerns the most fondly-remembered era of them. This is the period between 1984 and 1991-1992 within the WWF/WWE. It was a time when Hulkamania was running wild and the company was incredibly successful and popular. Furthermore, many of the most famous matches and moments in history happened during this era. We have seen extracts from this era represented in previous games, mostly those involving WrestleManias of yesteryear. But to have a dedicated game with a roster of 100+ from this time period would be sensational. Better still, with the exception of Jake Roberts and possibly Ric Flair, WWE currently has access to all of the key players. Or they could at least include virtually everybody of note from that time period without many headaches.
Now, the potential downside is whether WWE feels that its Golden Era would succeed in 2022. There are wrestling fans in their 20s and even their 30s who won’t know many 1980s stars. To me, this is partly why recent WWE 2K games have clamped down on including stars from the ’80s. However, there’s still a large demographic of older fans who wish to relive those glory days. In fact, some online mods of previously-released wrestling games look amazing. So, imagine what a full-on licensed WWE game could do with a huge roster, vintage arenas, infamous match types and more. Add to that a potential Season mode and even a GM-style mode, and this could be an all-time classic.
2. Attitude Era
When it comes to famous wrestling eras, the other “biggie” that comes to mind is the Attitude Era. We did get several classic games during the Attitude Era itself, with WWF No Mercy as the obvious example. Furthermore, WWE ’13 (somehow released almost a decade ago) was in many ways an Attitude Era game. However, the current console generation needs that standout wrestling game for fans to relive forever. And with the current WWE lacking in star power and iconic moments, a trip down memory lane could be the answer. As with our first example, there are so many characters that could feature in the game. You obviously have your Austins and Rocks, but don’t forget your Gangrels, Al Snows and Hardcore Hollys. Hell, even the Mean Street Posse could participate!
Other than Attitude having already received some attention in the past, the other issue concerns available stars. Right now, Chris Jericho, Big Show, Matt Hardy and Christian are all a part of AEW. Jeff Hardy is highly likely to join those names very soon, possibly as soon as tonight’s Dynamite. Add to that some question marks about other key players, and the Attitude game roster could end up suffering. But that’s not to say that fans won’t get this opportunity again in 4-5 years’ time. So, this would be amazing, but I feel that we need a few more years for this to have any chance of happening. Yet it’s still amongst the most likely of our retro WWE videogames ideas.
Major Retro WWE Videogames Ideas
3. Ruthless Aggression
Now we come to a fun example. At the time, the Ruthless Aggression era was viewed as inferior to Attitude. The product wasn’t as popular, nor were the key players. And some storylines were just awful. However, the in-ring action was often very good, and there were plenty of legendary moments amidst a star-studded roster. With WWE spotlighting this period in recent times, many now look back upon this time as a vintage era. And fans in their late teens and early 20s are more likely to remember John Cena, Batista and others in their primes. Therefore, this may be the most realistic era to get the full videogame treatment.
However, WWE may feel that this is unnecessary, and not just because they currently have no plans for secondary releases. If you look at rosters in recent WWE 2K games, you will find most of the major stars from the era. And for those that aren’t there, you will find that they’re in other promotions right now. Nevertheless, this could be the basis for a truly awesome game, especially if 2K revived the gameplay style of Ruthless Aggression-era games. Could you imagine a title that essentially serves as a Here Comes The Pain remaster in the modern climate.
4. Monday Night War
This is in some ways similar to our second option, but with one almighty twist. The 1995-2001 ratings battles between the WWF and WCW arguably saw wrestling reach its peak. And while the Attitude Era was spectacular, WCW during its heyday was equally must-see. A game like this could bring together the two companies for a once-in-a-lifetime videogame experience. Yes, we have the nWo, Sting, Goldberg and others in recent WWE games. But those characters blend into the WWE world rather than offering a sufficient dose of WCW nostalgia. So, imagine a game that acts as a 50/50 representation of the two companies during that time.
Better yet, imagine the potential for a GM mode with Raw and Nitro competing simultaneously for ratings. Roster jumps were a highlight of that time period, yet some moves could never have happened in reality. Yet in a videogame, you could have peak Goldberg invade Raw or Mankind interrupt an episode of Nitro. Again, contractual issues with many star names could preclude this one from happening. However, fans have clamoured for a game like this for years, if not decades now. And I would personally prefer to see this over an Attitude-only game.
Moving on with retro WWE videogames ideas, this is very unlikely to happen, but it’s still an idea worth considering. Though the Nitro years represent the apex of WCW, the company still has a rich history beyond this. And not just from when World Championship Wrestling came under Ted Turner’s control. The roots of WCW date back to JCP as well as the old-school days of the NWA. Therefore, a WCW game could run from the Lou Thesz days into the Brisco-Funk-Race-Dusty years into the heyday of the Four Horsemen. Then, you move into the rise of “Surfer” Sting, WCW’s initial expansion and then its iconic moments from the late 90s.
Now, WWE is extremely unlikely to release a full-on videogame focusing on the history of WCW. Furthermore, it’s very likely that most modern fans have never heard of mid-carders from this company’s lineage. Hell, they may not have even heard of Lou Thesz or Harley Race. Add to that potential licensing issues concerning the NWA brand, and you have a project that’s a non-starter. However, we do often get WCW-themed DLC in WWE 2K games, so clearly, there’s some interest there. A Showcase mode seems the most likely option, though even this would probably negate anything prior to the 1990s.
More Retro WWE Videogames Ideas
If a WCW-only game is unlikely, then an ECW-only game is a virtual impossibility. First of all, the star names from the brand are generally less famous than those of WCW. Other than Rob Van Dam, Paul Heyman and The Dudleyz, most ECW names may garner blank expressions from today’s fanbase. Then, you come to the fact that the original ECW wasn’t part of WWE, so why would Vince McMahon’s company give the brand its own game? Especially since ECW’s actual videogames didn’t achieve much success during the height of wreslting’s popularity. And then you have the bloodshed, violence and sexuality that largely defined the product.
Therefore, don’t expect an ECW-only game. However, I feel that there is at least enbough content to make for a fairly entertaining, if not riotously entertaining, title. There are plenty of names from WWE’s history that plied their trade in ECW. Then you come to unforgettable characters that peaked in ECW, such as Sabu and The Sandman. The matches themselves would be a spectacle to play out in virtual form if there weren’t any restraints. And the match types could be absolutely chaotic as well. So, there’s less than 1% of this ever materialising, but I would pop for an ECW-only game. Even a Showcase mode seems unlikely, but for old-school ECW fans, there’s always the chance to dream.
Far more likely is WWE looking to once again pay homage to its greatest creation. We had Legends Of WrestleMania, which I loved despite its limitations. Then 2K14 covered its first 29 years to overwhelming positive feedback. However, each of these games only focused on the major players rather than the supporting cast, so to speak. Sure, it’s great to relive Hogan vs. Andre, but don’t forget Mania moments further down the card. These range from two Doinks to Kane’s endless saga involving Pete Rose to classic Money In The Bank matches.
Simply put, when you look to cover close to 40 years of history, there’s tons of things to highlight. And this means literally hundreds of potential characters ranging from the first Mania in New York to Mania 38 in Dallas. If this were to happen, I feel it would be a follow-up to 2K14’s 30 Years Of WrestleMania. Namely, a one-off mode picking out specific moments rather than covering the true history of the extravaganza. Nevertheless, many fans are still hoping for that comprehensive tribute to the Showcase Of The Immortals. Hopefully, one day, we get it. But until then, it merely sits amongst the best retro WWE videogames ideas.
8. Hall Of Fame
At first glance, this may sound like a bizarre idea. Who wants a game that relives Hall Of Fame ceremonies from over the years? But that’s not what this is about. Instead, this game concept would include all of the inductees that we’ve seen from 1993 to the present day. But there would be contemporary arenas for them, ranging from 1970s MSG to modern-day venues. And you would get a ton of names that you might not get in other games due to their HOF status. I’m talking about Gorilla Monsoon, the Von Erichs, Bruno Sammartino and more.
To me, this is probably the easiest concept to create because many HOF inductees appear in WWE games anyway. This is simply a way to make sure that all inductees receive the spotlight rather than just your Austins and your Hogans. And some sort of Gauntlet mode where you look to defeat each member of every class one-by-one sounds pretty fun. If nothing else, this could be a cool idea for a DLC Showcase mode based on similar modes in 2K16 and 2K17.
Final Retro WWE Videogames Ideas
9. History Of Raw
It’s surprising to consider that no WWE game has truly covered the history of Raw. We’ve had snippets of Raw moments, particularly during the Attitude Era mode in WWE ’13. However, this is a show that has aired for almost 30 years now. There are hundreds of iconic moments, even if they’ve reduced in number since the advent of the three-hour era. And yet there has never been a game that covers Raw’s lineage from the beginning onwards.
So, let’s imagine that for a second. You could have the original Manhatten Center set-up, along with the famous “R-A-W-” aisle. Then, you get the iconic Attitude Era stage, along with those of the Ruthless Aggression and HD eras. Then, you could move towards the present day, with authentic theme songs and roster included for each. Speaking of which, there is a potential cast of 200, 300, even 500+ you could pick from on the roster. Hence why this is amongst the best retro WWE videogames ideas. Make it happen, WWE!
10. Legacy Of WWE
Last but not least, I come to the most ambitious suggestion: a game that tracks WWE’s entire history. Okay, I’m not talking about literally everything that WWE has ever done. But let’s have a game that spotlights key moments from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s. You could start with the primes of Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales and Bob Backlund. Then, you go into the heydays of Hogan, Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage. After the Bret and Shawn years, you pick out the best of Attitude. This leads into the Cena, Orton and Batista years before moving into modern times. This is a no-brainer in my opinion, especially when considering arenas, match types, championships and so on.
Indeed, you could relive both the beginning and the ending of Bruno’s record-setting reign as WWWF Champion. We could go to Shea Stadium for the original supershows before the first WrestleMania and the first Royal Rumble. Let’s go to Wembley Stadium for SummerSlam 1992 as well as revisiting the Montreal Screwjob. Give us Austin vs. Rock, the original Elimination Chamber and the Undertaker-Michaels classics. Not forgetting the end of the Streak, the heist of the century and Goldberg’s shock destruction of Brock Lesnar. WWE has a truly proud history, but the company has never covered it definitively in a videogame. If this game ever happens, it may be the greatest one of them all. Thus making this an appropriate way to conclude our list of the best retro WWE videogames ideas.
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Talk About Our Retro WWE Videogames Ideas!
So, those are our thoughts on the 10 best retro WWE videogames ideas! But what do you think? Leave us a comment below!