Tonight, WWE’s Wrestlemania returns for its 39th event with a marquee match between undisputed universal champion Roman Reigns and Royal Rumble winner Cody Rhodes. The two-day affair begins tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET.

“WWE 2K23” is also out now and looks to build on the foundation of its predecessor “WWE 2K22.” 

This year’s “2K Showcase” lets you recreate the career of wrestler turned actor John Cena. The twist is you play as the wrestlers that actually defeated Cena. Another new addition is the “WarGames” match that has two sets of teams entered at random into two rings covered by a cage. The match is playable offline and online. With improvements across all game modes, “WWE2K23” may become an all-time classic.

That being said, here is a list of some of my favorite wrestling video games of all-time. Some things I’ve used to determine my list was the roster were memorable moments I’ve had and fun I’ve had, whether online or offline. 

WWE 2k14

(Courtesy of Games Radar)

“WWE2K14” is my favorite WWE video game ever. 

The focus of the game was “30 years of Wrestlemania,” which allowed for a roster of very old school wrestlers mixed in with the current wrestlers of that day. 

The mode also had a “Beat The Streak Mode” that had you take on The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Undertaker has special abilities that made defeating him all that more rewarding. 

This would also be one of the last games CM Punk was in, before he left the WWE.

Def Jam: Fight For NY

(Courtesy of 366 Games To Play Before You Die)

“Def Jam: Fight for NY” may not be a WWE game, but it is nonetheless a wrestling/fighting game. 

While its predecessor “Def Jam Vendetta” was more of a wrestling game that actually had pinfalls and submissions, “Fight for NY” has no refs; instead it had street rules. 

The violence in the game was so fun, as well as the fighting styles that your fighter or the in game roster had. 

The roster was mostly rappers such as Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Method Man, Red Man, Fat Joe, Sean Paul, Flava Flav, Lil’ Kim and many others. The game also featured other people like Carmen Electra, Danny Trejo, Omar Epps and agent Rollins. 

Using your created fighter was just as fun as using the other fighters in the game. This is the one game I truly hope is remastered or remade one day, or gets a proper sequel.

WWE SMACKDOWN! Here Comes the Pain

(Courtesy of Launch Box)

“WWE SMACKDOWN! Here Comes the Pain” has some moves that I’ve only seen in this game, and nowhere else. 

For example, The Rock will do some moves that include him clapping or taunting you. I also feel like the AI in the game is one of the best; the wrestlers will actually follow up their moves with their finishers, such as The Rock hitting his spinebuster to set up The People’s Elbow. 

The gameplay was a mix of arcade and simulation. Each wrestler had more access to moves as opposed to now.

WWE Day Of Reckoning 2

(Courtesy of The Smackdown Hotel)

“WWE Day Of Reckoning 2” might actually be the game I had the most fun having one on one matches in.

I really liked the submission system that was implemented, which gave you an option to regain stamina or apply the hold. If you were losing in a match, there was a chance to change the momentum with a signature of yours. Once you got your finisher, you were able to hit multiple finishers until the time ran out.

Wrestlers like Kurt Angle or Undertaker lowered their straps of their outfit, as they do in real life. This game was released as a Nintendo GameCube exclusive, and as the years followed WWE made the “WWE Smackdown vs. Raw” series, now WWE 2k series, the primary game across the gaming consoles.

WWE Smackdown! Shut Your Mouth

(DenkOps / YouTube)

“WWE Smackdown! Shut Your Mouth” is on this list primarily for the Smackdown! fist. 

Whether intentional or not, you are able to climb the Smackdown! fist and fight from there. What usually happened was you or your opponent would fall to the ground in a hilarious fashion. 

One of the most fun rewarding things to do in the game is to be able to hit a Swanton Bomb or Five-Star Frog Splash from the top of the fist onto someone on the ground.

WWE 2k20

(AJ4Games / YouTube)

When “WWE 2k20” came out, it was marred by glitches making that game nearly unplayable. 

The future of wrestling games was in serious doubt, but with the success of “WWE 2k22” and hype around “WWE 2k23” fans may once again be getting consistent great games.

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