WELCOME TO THE START OF A NEW SERIES ON THE SITE ENTITLED, “MY FIRST TIME.” THIS WILL BE AN ONGOING SERIES IN WHICH I WILL CHRONICLE SOME OF MY GAMING MOMENTS THAT INVOLVED ME VENTURING INTO UNCHARTED TERRITORY AND EXPERIENCING SOMETHING NEW. STAY TUNED AS MORE SERIES WILL BE INTRODUCED OVER TIME.
We all can remember the first time we did something that led to a discovery of many other things that have brought enjoyment in our lives. Wrestling video games have been some of my most played games throughout my three decade long gaming journey with my favorites today being Fire Pro Wrestling World and WWE 2K19. I’ve played a plethora of wrestling games from American made to Japanese made across different systems and also in the arcades. But my love of wrestling games got its start with a gem of a game called Pro Wrestling for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).
At the time the game came out in 1986 I was already a big WWF fan. Every Saturday at 12 pm, the WWF was on for an hour featuring the likes of Hulk Hogan, Macho Man, Andre the Giant, Paul Orndorff, Jake the Snake and King Kong Bundy. I was really into it. Who remembers staying up really late on Saturday nights to watch Saturday Night’s Main Event when Saturday Night Live was pre-empted? Those were great times and, in my opinion, the best time to be a wrestling fan.
Pro Wrestling was the first wrestling video game I played. It contained six wrestlers that you could play as in Fighter Hayabusa, Kin Corn Kahn, Giant Panther, The Amazon, Star Man and King Slender. The non-playable boss character was Great Puma, a masked wrestler with white trunks and white boots. I loved using Star Man (based off Mexican wrestling legends such as Mil Mascaras) and had no issue advancing all the way to Great Puma. But without a turbo controller, Great Puma wiped the mat with me every single time. Games were hard back then.
The game itself was tremendous. For the time, the moves choices for the game were very well done. Punches, chops, kicks, slams, suplexes, piledrivers and even dives to the outside of the ring. Each character had a different style. They also all had special moves such as Fighter Hayabusa’s back brain kick, Amazon’s fork attack and Giant Panther’s claw. There was a referee in the ring, announcers there were ringside and you could see a cameraman filming the action. All of this in a NES game. This is why gamers should not let developers off the hook when they say that certain things can not be put in the game.
The game’s mechanics were amazingly solid for a game of its time. If you’ve taken a lot of punishment, you stayed down on the mat longer. If you were picked up after taking punishment, you were stunned for a time. There were audio cues for each level of health degeneration so you would know when to finish off an opponent or you were close to being finished. The moves had pop and looked devastating as they were executed. Check out the piledriver in the game and you’ll see what I mean.
Pro Wrestling set the foundation for me becoming a big fan of wrestling games in general. Any system I had, whatever the wrestling games were on that platform was of utmost importance to me. I bought a Sega Saturn just to play Fire Pro Wrestling: Six Man Scramble. So many hours passed with me playing WCW/nWo World Tour, WCW/nWo Revenge, Virtual Pro Wrestling 64, WWF Wrestlemania 2000, Virtual Pro Wrestling 2 and WWF No Mercy on the Nintendo 64. I’ve played the LJN games on Super Nintendo, Smackdown games on Playstation 1 (PSX) and Playstation 2 (PS2), Japanese imports such as Giant Gram and Kings of Colosseum and a host of many others. Let’s not forget the arcade games like Wrestlefest, Champion Wrestler, The Main Event, WWF Superstars and Saturday Night Slam Masters. Just hours upon hours of beat em up fun.
In conclusion, Pro Wrestling laid a solid foundation that continues to this very day. Perhaps maybe Nintendo might consider making a more modernized or remastered version of it on the Nintendo Switch. It would sell very well.