Wrestling games were all the rage a few years ago. You don’t have to look very far back to see the vast amount titles that flooded the market. However, over time, that trend has died down. We’re seeing fewer wrestling titles released and it’s looking like we may have a period of no wrestling games at all. While you might be used to seeing the WWE 2K series release yearly, WWE 2K20 may have changed things for the worse.
WWE 2K20 released with several serious bugs and glitches, some of which caused crashes for players. Rumors began circulating online that the WWE 2K franchise had been put on ice for a couple of years. Alas, in 2022, a new WWE 2K title was released. Thank the chair-smashing Gods.
Furthermore, there are plenty of fans hoping that we’re going to see an AEW game at some point. Again, there’s nothing confirmed to be in the works quite yet, but it does look like AEW will be keeping fans in the loop for a potential video game release. In the meantime, if you’re after something fun to play, check out our picks for the best PS4 wrestling games.
#7 WWE 2K Battlegrounds
For the last few years, WWE games have been simulation-based. Fans got a nice change-up in 2020 with WWE Battlegrounds, in which players are given an arcade game that feels like some of the more classic brawler-type wrestling titles of the past. It’s a simplistic game from the cartoon visuals to the gameplay mechanics, but sometimes, simplicity is what we all need. Sometimes you just want to punch someone in the virtual world without too many bells and whistles.
The game includes a wide range of wrestlers both old and new to choose from and features a campaign mode, which is made to appear like pages from a comic book where players are tossed into different matches. These matches reward players with different rewards such as maps and characters. Sadly, microtransactions are the major issue with this title–but if you can find it on sale, it’s still a fun little game.
#6 WWE 2K16
WWE 2K16 is not the first title from the franchise to make its way onto current-generation console platforms–that prize goes to WWE 2K15 and, spoiler alert, it’s not featured in this list. There were plenty of improvements that developers Yuke’s could focus on with WWE 2K16 and, thankfully, this iteration was a big turnaround for the franchise. While being developed for both current and last generation consoles, WWE 2K16 was still able to deliver in a big way. The game might not feel as fluid as the latest releases from the series, but it’s nothing that would prevent players from having a fun time.
There are also some changes from WWE 2K15 such as a new submission-type mini-game. Likewise, there’s also a limited stock of reversals that you can pull off. Wrestlers are bountiful in this installment as well, and you’ll still find plenty of customization options where you can create your own wrestler, an entrance, and moves, among other attributes. If creativity isn’t your strong suit, you’ll also find over a hundred different wrestlers to pick from on the roster. There are even several versions of different wrestlers to match a particular era–for example, you can find different yearly models of The Rock. If you’re a Stone Cold fan, the 2K Showcase gives fans a detailed look at Steve Austin’s career.
#5 WWE 2K17
WWE 2K17 offered fans plenty of fan service within the base game. It made some nice improvements over WWE 2K16, though there may have been some fans that were disappointed in the lack of an initial addition of a Showcase mode. The game did get a DLC that brought in a Hall of Fame Showcase which featured some memorable matches and superstars, but if you were looking to get something like the Stone Cold Steve Austin Showcase, you were out of luck. With that said, there is still a lot to love with this particular installment.
Without spending too much time on the game, there were some improvements made to the overall gameplay mechanics. Players can face multiple opponents within a match, and with a new manual targeting system, switching from opponent to opponent feels much more fluid. Reversals even received a few more tweaks giving players a bigger window to trigger something like a major reversal.
You can even take the fight backstage, which is a nice change of scenery. These backstage fights are bigger too, allowing players to go into different rooms to grab weapons. Developers also took a ton of time to deliver fans a lot of creative freedom, though there is one area that seemed a bit half-baked–the Promo Performance. This is essentially a mini-game in which players attempt to hype up a crowd by selecting certain phrases within a time limit.
However, the real gem here is the detailed creation tools that you can use to make a unique wrestler along with editing custom promo videos. We can’t forget to mention the Universe Mode either as it gives you more control over the different shows that will play, from the Superstars that appear, championships, and even the PPVs they may wrestle within.
#4 WWE 2K18
Here’s the thing: if you liked WWE 2K17, you’re going to get more of the same with WWE 2K18. It has the same feel and the same features. However, you’re not going to find the Showcase mode making a return–instead, the developers still hoped that fans would appreciate the Career or Universe modes more. Overall, the game feels relatively the same and only edges WWE 2K17 out by a hair in our opinion. While the game mechanics when facing opponents have been largely untouched, there is a new feature added allowing players to pick up an opponent in up to four different positions, walk around the ring, and then slam them on the ground. It’s a small feature, but one that we’re sure fans were delighted to see brought into this installment.
The Universe mode is still around, which allows players to control different custom shows. The Promo Performance also makes a return, and it’s still a half-baked feature, but there is a small overhaul in the Career mode. Now players can walk around in the training areas and speak with different wrestlers to get a feel of the characters, get tips, change their outfits, and take some promotional photos, among other little features.
There are also a ton of different wrestlers packed into this roster. However, if you’re not keen on choosing from over 170 wrestlers, you can enjoy the character creation. We’ve seen all kinds of incredible custom wrestlers, from realistic creations of real-life individuals to some wacky fictional characters.
#3 Fire Pro Wrestling World
We know, you might be getting a little tired of hearing about WWE 2K series back-to-back, but there’s just not a ton of variety when it comes to wrestling-focused games these days. However, there is a different game we can add, and one that has had a warm reception from fans: Fire Pro Wrestling World. It wouldn’t be surprising if you weren’t aware of this series–it was a Japanese exclusive originally released in 1989, but in 2002, it finally saw a launch in North America with the release of Fire Pro Wrestling 2. Currently, the latest installment is Fire Pro Wrestling World which came out in 2017 for the PC and PlayStation 4.
Now, this is a big change-up compared to the WWE 2K series and it’s going to take some time to get adjusted to the gameplay if you’re a newcomer. Not only is the title drastically different compared to the detailed visuals from a big-budget WWE 2K series title but the gameplay is very distinctive as well. If you were hoping that this is the arcade-style wrestling game you may have been keen to play years ago, you’re sadly out of luck. Instead, the gameplay in Fire Pro Wrestling World is far more strategic. It’s all about knowing when to strike or grapple, and keeping a close eye on the placement of your character.
Wrestlers may not pop out and have the lore or appeal when compared the likes of what WWE generates, but there’s still a variety of characters to pick through. If you don’t find one that you enjoy, you can create your own character despite the simplistic visuals the game provides. Likewise, outside of the various exhibition matches, there is a campaign mode that generates the typical story you would expect. Players take on the role of a young wrestler looking to make it big and the story helps take you through different matches.
#2 WWE 2K19
Next, we have WWE 2K19. Even with some improvements, this is more of the same. For those that enjoy the previous games, you’ll enjoy this one. You still have a variety of wrestlers to pick through and the customization mode to craft your own characters.
While the game mechanics feel fluid, there is a change-up with the Payback System. Players will be able to unlock certain abilities or attributes with this system, such as getting a buff in speed, recovery, or even striking power. Much like previous iterations, you have both Universe and My Career modes, the latter of which feels a whole lot better this time around. The writing team behind this game delivers a fun storyline in which players take the role of an amateur wrestler on the indie level, eventually working their way up to the big leagues.
You’ll even find some tower modes to go through where you’ll have to face off against select wrestlers or go through matches with a certain set of rules. We’re glad to see Showcase make a return–it’s been missed. This time around, the Showcase is about Daniel Bryan.
#1 WWE 2K22
WWE 2K22 is the latest attempt to truly give fans what they want–a wrestling title that’s both accurate and fun. The previous attempt in WWE 2K20 was a disaster, and thus the team at 2K took their time to make this one work. And for the most part, it does, mainly because it returns to basics and gives both freshness and nuance. With a new control scheme, multiple fresh modes like Create-A-Character and the General Manager mode, and more, this is what fans were waiting for after the last dumpster fire.