From 2008 the WWE started distancing itself from the edgier and more adult orientated programming that fans enjoyed during the Attitude Era, many fans dubbed this the PG era. Although the current programming is called the New Era with its focus on the young and upcoming stars that are working their way through the ranks of the NXT, the PG based content is still very much present as the WWE tries to make its programming more suitable for younger audiences.
Thankfully the WWE 2K series of video games have maintained their level of blood – sometimes after switching it on in the settings option – and violence by keeping many of the hardcore and extreme matches that were popular during the 90s.
With WWE 2K18 on the horizon, the developers have promised improvements to many of these more “hardcore” matches with small but significant adjustments to the controls that allow players to get even more creative in the ring.
It’s not just the 2K wrestling series that allows for some creative violence and carnage there are other series that take the wrestling genre to the extreme, and with that in mind here are some of the most savage things you can do in wrestling.
The Hell in The Cell match has historically been considered one of the craziest and most violent matches in history; a memorable and devastating match between the Undertaker and Mankind (Mick Foley). The match saw Foley take some of the hardest bumps ever seen in a WWE ring, which resulted in him receiving numerous injuries after the bout.
So as a fan playing a WWE game today we still want to be able to replicate some of those crazy and violent moments and even get creative by doing some of our own “WTF” moments as it’s called in the game. One of these is the ability to suplex and even spear your opponent straight through the cage, it’s a simple yet effective moment that gamers will love to do over and over again.
Some of the most memorable moments in wrestling were during the Attitude Era, and many fans seem to agree that the Attitude era wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the almost cult-like popularity that gave rise to Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). ECW popularized wrestling where none of the traditional rules wrestling applies.
One of the most “extreme” of these matches was the Flaming Table match. As if putting your opponent through a table isn’t extreme enough, the Flaming Table match requires the table to be set aflame before putting an opponent through it for the win. The WWE 2K series allows gamers to do just that by storing up your character’s finishers and activating move during any of the hardcore rules variations of matches.
The Muscle Buster is a finisher that Samoa Joe has used throughout his career from TNA to the NXT division, but since Tyson Kidd suffered a life-threatening spinal injury as a result of the move, it hasn’t been used since. There are rumors that the WWE put the Muscle Buster on the list of banned moves after the incident so it wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone if that was the case.
Thankfully, fans can still perform the move in the WWE 2K series of games. Not only can you perform the dangerous move in normal matches but those who like to get a bit creative can do extra damage by dropping them on to foreign objects like chairs, steel steps, and steel ladders as seen in the above image.
The Suplex is one of the most well-known wrestling moves in the world, even those who aren’t fans of professional wrestling know what the suplex is. For those who are in the dark, it is an offensive move that involves bridging the opponent to slam them on to their back. The Superplex is a variation of the suplex, but the opponent is usually elevated higher either on a turnbuckle or on the ropes, slamming them down on to the mat.
The move performed in the above image takes the level of elevation to another level by not only performing the move off the top of the ladder but by throwing an opponent gets slammed on to another ladder or even the outside of the ring if you wanted to take it further.
Just like the suplex, the powerbomb is another well-known and devastating looking move performed by wrestlers like Dave Batista, The Undertaker, Kevin Nash, Kevin Owens and many other wrestlers over the years. The opponent is lifted so that they are sitting on the wrestler's shoulders and slammed back-first down to the mat. The move has even found success in mixed martial arts contest, like when Rampage Jackson used it to score one of the most famous knockouts in MMA history after getting caught in a triangle choke.
In the WWE 2K series, players can perform many variations of the move, but one of the most violent and painful looking is the ability to slam the opponents back into the hard ring apron. It’s a dangerous move in real-life, but it’s very satisfying to pull off in the game.
When bleeding wasn’t so frowned upon by Vince McMahon and the WWE, for wrestlers to achieve the desired “crimson mass” bloodletting, they did so with a razor blade. However, in the current so-called PG era of the WWE, it is very rare to see a wrestler bleed in the ring unless it was an accident. Although, there have been some rare moments in recent times when the bleeding was encouraged. An example of this was when they allowed Brock Lesnar to open up Randy Orton’s head with elbow shots to further enforce that aura of invincibility for the “Beast Incarnate.”
Thankfully, the use of blood in the WWE 2K series is entirely up to the player, and there’s nothing quite as a satisfying as damaging an opponent's head in a series of matches (the damage carries over) so badly that they bleed all over themselves during a match.
The WWE 2K series of games (and WWE games before it) have featured ladders as part of their matches to be used as weapons or in gimmick matches such as the Ladder Match, and Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match. Quite often the matches were awkward, and just another way to pass the time as being simply another mode. However, from WWE 2K17 onward the series seems to have quite a lot of improvements with the positioning ladders during the matches, so they aren’t such a chore to pull off some more “extreme” moves.
A new and one of the best features added to the use of a ladder in a match is the ability to set up a bridge between the ring apron and the guard barrier. Doing so allows the player to smash their opponent through the bridged ladder for some hard-hitting damage.
Despite being a gimmick match, Ladder Matches have provided wrestling fans with some of the most entertaining bouts of all time. Many fans still consider the first ever Ladder Match in the WWE between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon for the Intercontinental title to be one of the best of all time.
The yearly PPV Money in The Bank has the main event where a briefcase containing a contract for a guaranteed world title shot is suspended above the ring in a Ladder Match. It’s usually a good indicator of whom the WWE intends to push to main event status in the coming months.
It makes sense then that the WWE 2K series continues to improve the functionality of Ladder Matches in the game. This allows for gamers to get violently creative with the ladders, and what better way to do this by setting up a ladder to dive on to an injured opponent 20 feet outside the ring.
In addition to expanding and improving Ladder Matches, the WWE 2K series has also made the Hell In A Cell match more entertaining too. As mentioned, the match between Mankind and The Undertaker has gone down in history as one of the most violent and memorable ever televised on WWE programming.
One of the reasons that match is so memorable is because Mankind took a huge dive off the top of a 25-foot steel cage through the announcer's table with very little preparation. So naturally, long-time fans want to find a way to not recreate the huge bump in that match, but also outdo it. One of the most devastating ways to do this is for the player to powerbomb their opponent off the top of the Hell In The Cell through the announcer's table.
Rob Van Dam (RVD) is one of the innovative wrestlers in ECW, TNA, and WWE history, and during his peak, he was often rated as one of the best and most popular wrestlers in his generation. He gained his name not only because of his resemblance to the martial arts superstar Jean-Claude Van Damme, but his legitimate martial arts experience.
One of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s most famous moves in his film was the spinning helicopter kick, and RVD took this a step further by coming up with his own variation of the move called the Van Daminator which is a spinning heel kick to steel chair which is held in front of his opponent's face. RVD has been confirmed as a DLC for the upcoming WWE 2K18 so fans can once again throw the Van Daminator without the need for creating your own wrestler.
Just like the Muscle Buster, the Randy Orton punt, or soccer kick found its way on to the banned list, it wasn’t due to injury, but rather the nature of the move and the company’s push for concussion awareness. Also, the move is made to look like the kind of violent kick you’d see in a street fight, which is —for a lack of a better term— lethal.
Despite the moves ban, you can still perform it as one of Randy Orton’s finishing moves in the WWE 2K series, and it looks even more realistic and violent because it’s a video game, as opposed to performers who are ready for the move.
Anyone who has ever watched the brilliant film American History X starring Edward Norton knows just how extreme and violent the curb stomp move can be. So it was a little surprising that the WWE even (in its PG era) allowed Seth Rollins to use the move for as long as they did even before they put their full support behind concussion awareness.
Fans of the Seth Rollins performing the Curb Stomp move will be pleased to know that it’s still featured as one of his finishers in the WWE 2K series. It also happens to be one of the most devastating finishers in the game and does a great deal of damage, which can turn the momentum of a match very quickly in Rollins’ favor.
Even though I have featured an image of a custom-made version of Scott Steiner from the WWE 2K series, the move first appeared in AKI’s WCW wrestling games on the Nintendo 64. It was one of the most powerful finishers in the game, and the custom version displayed the WWE 2K series is just as effective.
The move has Steiner lift his opponent vertically in the Suplex position before dropping them down into a piledriver. Even without holding the opponent vertically in the air, that kind of piledriver (where the wrestler lands on his butt) was banned in the WWE after Owen Hart dropped Stone Cold Steve Austin on his head and broke his neck. If you haven’t seen the move being performed, then we encourage you to seek it out on YouTube just to get an idea of how dangerous it looks. However, that doesn’t stop it from being incredibly satisfying to pull off in the video game.
The Def Jam Wrestling/Fighting games were developed after THQ parted ways with AKI Corporation and focused solely on the Yukes developed SmackDown series (now WWE 2K) instead. The incredible the AKI wrestling engine made it intact, albeit with some more street fighting and brawling elements, but instead of wrestlers, it featured famous rap stars such as Snoop Dog, Busta Ryhmes, Ice-T, and a few other famous faces.
Despite the switch from wrestlers to rappers, the gameplay remained as solid as it has always been, and the developers had more freedom to be as violent as they wanted to be. One example of this is the use of bottles and other dangerous items to finish off your opponents or cause massive damage. It’s highly unlikely that “glassing” someone in a match will become a staple of the WWE series anytime soon.
Although the Super Fire Pro Wrestling series looks very cartoon-like in comparison to WWE 2K series with its 2D graphics style. Yet despite this, the Super Fire Pro Wrestling series of games are as complex and as deep as a wrestling game could get. The games are packed full of features and game modes, and almost endless options to keep any hardcore wrestling fan happy.
The games also feature some of the most violent wrestling matches you’ll ever see in a pro wrestling event and are probably one of the few wrestling modes that will never see the light of day in a WWE 2K game.
Two of these modes is the Landmine Barbed Wire Death Match and the Electrified Barbed Wire Cage Match, and are every bit as violent and as dangerous as they sound. The ability to participate in these matches will satisfy fans of “extreme” wrestling matches. The most recent Super Fire Pro Wrestling game is currently on Early Access, and will eventually get a release on the PlayStation 4.