The mid to late 1990s were a great time for the wrestling business in America.

In 1996 Bash at the Beach, Hulk Hogan formed the NWO with “The Outsiders” Kevin Nash and Scott Hall in WCW, and at the same time, we witnessed the rise to the top of Stone Cold Steve Austin, after winning The King of the Ring tournament and delivered his famous “Austin 3:16” quote. 

And by coincidence, The Monday Night Wars were in full bloom right when the Nintendo 64 came out, and the two biggest wrestling companies in the US were competing for ratings the whole N64 life cycle. 

The 3D capabilities of this new hardware, as well as four controller support, made for awesome and super fun matches to be had with friends. Be it with WCW Stars such as Sting, or WWF main eventers like The Rock, at the time of their release, the wrestling video games on this list were as close to being in the ring yourself as it gets. 

Sure, graphically these games have aged poorly, but gameplay wise they’re as entertaining as titles that came out for more powerful consoles, and you could argue that the Number 1 game in this list is still one of the best wrestling games ever made. So let’s take a look at

The Best Wrestling Games For The N64

WWF War Zone (Acclaim – 1998)

The first wrestling game for the n64 looked extremely realistic at the time and had voice-over work by Vince McMahon and Jim Ross that added to the excitement of matches in a 3D ring. 

WWF War Zone for N64

Gameplay wise you had an arsenal of punches, kicks, grabs, and holds, which you pulled off by pressing simple button and D-Pad combinations. It was awesome to press the input and see your character seamlessly take his opponent’s arm, throw him to the floor with a hip toss and then apply a submission hold. 

Unlike the other games in this list, it takes a while to learn and apply the moves, but once you go over training a few times, it shouldn’t be a problem to perform what you want to. 

The fighting system works like previous wrestling games, where your life bar goes down as you get hit, and the more punishment you take, the weaker you’ll be if you let your opponent grab you. 

At first you won’t be able to perform complex moves that take time to set up like a Power Bomb or hold your opponent in a submission for a long time. But as you wear him out with strikes and start doing simple slams and throws, your rival will be stunned for more seconds and you’ll be able to pull off more risky moves.

Featuring SuperStars of the Attitude Era like Shawn Michaels and Triple H (D-Generation X), Bret and Owen Hart of the Hart Foundation (the Montreal Screwjob happened before this game released but they’re still here), Kane and the Undertaker (The Brothers of Destruction), “The Bizarre One” Goldust, UFC Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock, the 3 faces of Mick Foley and a few other legends, this title had enough star power to keep you busy for a while learning how to play with your favorite characters.

And if that wasn’t enough, you had the chance to create your own wrestler with the look, moves, and music theme you liked. Of course it was a very basic Create-a-Wrestler compared to future WWF titles, but it was a great and welcome addition where you could insert yourself in the ring along with The Rock and Stone Cold. Or at least a sort of look-alike given the limitations of the character creator. 

It may not be worth it to play this game today, but right when Monday Night Raw was at its highest rating ever, this game blew us away.

WCW/nWo Revenge (THQ – 1998)

If you were more of a World Championship Wrestling fan and never missed Monday Night Nitro on TNT, the southern rasslin’ promotion had a great sequel for WCW vs NWO: World Tour. 

WCW nWo Revenge

Here you could play with the Hulkster, the Stinger, The Total Package, The Steiner Brothers, Goldberg, Raven, DDP, and other wrestlers that weren’t available in any other N64 game. 

The gameplay has a simpler grappling system than the Acclaim titles, so you don’t have to input so many button combinations, but each Star has hundreds of moves that you can perform without even thinking about it. 

Once you grab your opponent, just press any direction plus the A or B button, and watch a strike, hold, or slam result without having to input 2 or 3 directions with the D-Pad before pulling off a suplex or DDT. 

The ability to play with 3 friends made gaming nights awesome in the late 90s. If the Nintendo 64 is remembered fondly for its multiplayer experience, it is thanks to Mario Kart, Golden Eye, Mario Party, Super Smash Bros., and this game.

Sure, it doesn’t look as realistic as WWF Attitude, but it plays much better and it features legends from WCW, NWO White, NWO Black, Cruiserweights, Indie Performers, and Japanese wrestlers that used to cooperate with the company back then. This may be the only game where La Parka is available. 

If you were a WCW fan, this is perhaps the best game it had, and it’s a great reminder of how great it once was.

WWF Wrestlemania 2000 (THQ – 1999)

Once the World Wrestling Federations noticed the quality of the WCW titles by THQ, they knew they needed that game engine for their promotion, and that’s how Wrestlemania 2000 came to be. 

WWF WrestleMania 2000 game

Now you have the simple but deep gameplay of the previous game on this list, but with WWF SuperStars.

This time around you have a single-player game mode where you perform on several cards against different opponents on your way to the top of the pro wrestling roster, being able to become the challenger to different championship belts on the road to Wrestlemania.

The Create-a-Wrestler mode has many options to make your character look as you want, as well as hundreds of moves to perform. You’ll be browsing the move list for hours just to create your own unique fighting style just like you want. 

Here you have Cage Match, Royal Rumble, King of the Ring Tournament, and Hardcore brawls besides the regular matches.

The animated crowds look good for Nintendo 64 standards, and you can see signs such as “People’s Champ” and “Austin 3:16”. The Arenas really captured the essence of the crowd of the attitude era.

If you were more of a WWF fan and never missed Monday Night Raw, then this is the game that kept you and your friends hitting the mat back then.

Virtual Pro Wrestling 2: Ōdō Keishō (Asmik Ace Entertainment – 2000)

Released only in Japan, this game features wrestlers based on promotions over there, and perhaps only the most hardcore wrestling fan can recognize most of them. But gameplay-wise, it is more polished than the previous games on this list. 

Virtual Pro Wrestling 2

If you let go of the fact that you can’t play as your favorite American SuperStars, this game is faster and more dynamic than the previous WCW and WWF titles developed by AKI. 

The strikes, holds, and throws are performed smoothly and the camera moves around perfectly.

You can see replays from different camera angles, and in multiplayer mode, the zooming in and out to show all characters on screen couldn’t be better.

If it wasn’t for the next game on this list, it could be worth importing this title if you’re into 90’s Japanese Wrestling, but the next game still holds up to this day.

WWF No Mercy (THQ – 2000)

Quite possibly the Best Wrestling Game Ever Made, WWF No Mercy is the best N64 wrestling game (or PlayStation or Dreamcast for that matter).

It improves everything over Wrestlemania 2000, and now you have even more moves per wrestler (like running grabs).

WWF No Mercy is the best N64 wrestling game

No Mercy features an expanded Create-a-SuperStar, Ladder Matches, lots of wacky weapons that you can take from the crowd (The Cheese, or the Stop Sign, remember that one?), and a huge roster that now has wrestlers from WCW that made the jump like The Radicalz, or from ECW like the Dudley Boyz, newcomers like Kurt Angle, or new gimmicks for established performers like “American Badass” Undertaker or Too Cool. And it was cool to watch them dance when they won a match with Rikishi in the ring with them.

If you don’t have friends to try out the awesome multiplayer, the single-player story mode is just as fun. You choose the belt you want to pursue, and you get a set of matches to fight in, and a different story depending on whether you win or lose each match. This gives Career Mode a lot of replay value, and you’ll surely want every belt on your waist (or shoulder).

This is the pinnacle of what AKI Corporation could develop right at the turn of the millennium. THQ went for a different company by the time the PS2, GameCube, and Xbox came around (Yuke’s), and while those consoles got some great games, the fun me and my friends had in 4-Way Ladder Matches in No Mercy has never been topped. Not even wrestling on the roof of a Hell in a Cell in WWE Day of Reckoning.

Even if you’re not a wrestling fan, you should try out this title, since this is the perfect combination of simulation and arcade-style gameplay, and it’s a game that captures the feeling and excitement of watching WWF programming before they bought WCW.

And yeah, maybe your favorite WCW and ECW stars (like Rob Van Dam) aren’t available, or wrestlers that signed with the company a little later like John Cena, Batista, or Brock Lesnar. But you could just make them with the wrestler creator. I sure spent hundreds of hours creating all my friends back in the day. 

If you’re disappointed with the quality of modern wrestling games, check out this one, since it is a title that shows that better graphics, don’t necessarily make a game better.

Heck, WWE should just remaster No Mercy with today’s roster and HD graphics, with their current popularity it would get millions of downloads in all available systems. 

If you would like to see that, give me a hell yeah!