Pro Wrestling on the Nintendo Entertainment System was one of those unique titles. It was released without a license and at the time there was more than a few wrestling companies available. There were no licensed characters, arenas, or anything licensed really. Nintendo put Pro Wrestling out there as an original title and let it stand on its own- much like their other releases. Stand it did. Fans, more than likely via word of mouth, made sure that Pro Wrestling was in short supply in stores. I remember it taking at least a year after release for me to secure my copy. For that year, I was at the mercy of friends either staying over at each other’s homes or borrowing it. Pro Wrestling was worth it then and it is worth it now.
How can a wrestling game that has no licensed characters in it be any good? I mean, don’t you have to have Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and Rock and Roll Express for it to be good? No, no you don’t- though some of those familiar faces would certainly be welcome using this as the basis. Nintendo had a good thing going, too bad they didn’t see fit to keep it going on the Super Nintendo, or at least a sequel on the NES.
There are multiple moves, unique ones for grappling, running and standing – even if your opponent is outside the ring on the ground. While it is not super deep, the move structure keeps the matches interesting tests of who can pound the buttons faster early on. Once one character is stronger than the other, it is a case of controlling the match and wearing down your opponent.
For those interested, the main programmer behind Pro Wrestling worked at the company that became Human- the people behind the massively popular (in Japan at least) Fire Pro Wrestling series. This is a strong start to a strong line of wrestling lineage in games.
If you don’t know Fighter Hayabusa or Starman then you don’t know retro wrestling.
Head over to Ebay to grab your copy of Pro Wrestling on the NES and enjoy it. A classic like this deserves to be played.