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Thursday, December 31, 2015

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EOTR Roundtable: Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels

As New Generation Week progresses, we here at Eyes On the Ring found ourselves in a pretty heated discussion about the topic of Bret vs Shawn as far as a rivalry goes. We talked their two matches for the WWF Title at separate Survivor Series events and their iconic Ironman match. Some of us on the team feel as if the Ironman match is supremely overrated (Nathan, but he's always wrong so... yeah), but others recognize the sheer greatness of that match. Today, we look at both the rivalry and who is the better wrestler between the two. Let's get into it.

Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels was one of the rivalries that went from being strictly professional and competitive to personal and even breaking kayfabe. Two legends whose respective careers are so similar that their clash on the biggest stage in pro wrestling was inevitable. Shawn and Bret went toe to toe in a wrestling match for the ages. First time ever, two wrestlers competed at Wrestlemania in a 60 minute ironman match. After 60 minutes of a wrestling classic, Shawn would not submit to the sharpshooter, resulting in the match going into overtime. Shawn would eventually win the match and his very first world title. The rivalry would get more intense and personal as time went on. Shawn would fake an injury so he wouldn't drop the belt to Bret at Mania 13. Shawn bringing up "Sunny Days" and challenging Bret's personal character. I think it's always good when wrestling storylines bridge reality and soap opera and it worked. From my memory, crowds were hot and invested in both characters and the rivalry. It all came to a boiling point when Survivor Series 97 rolled around. The infamous Screwjob caused a heated rivalry to explode into catastrophe. Personal shots would be thrown by Bret on WCW and Shawn continued his shots at Bret on Raw (example: Getting the Rock to say that he was The Best There Is, The Best There Was....). Bret would hold a personal grudge against the company and Shawn until 2010 where they both buried the hatchet on Monday Night Raw. From a matchup, chemistry, and storyline perspective, the rivalry between Shawn and Bret is one of the most controversial and respected rivalries in the pro wrestling industry. If I had to choose one.... man, I would edge it to Bret. I love both, but I'll go with Bret.

Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels is one of the best rivalries in WWE history between two of the best wrestlers in WWE history. If I had to pick one over the other though? I'm taking Bret. To me, he was the better overall wrestler. In ring, he was about as sound as it gets. The Tim Duncan of the wrestling world, wasn't the flashiest, but he did it about as well as it could be done. HBK was great in the ring, but he wasn't up there with Bret. Now HBK post-back injury was one of the best, if not THE best, but for the purposes of New Generation week? Bret Hart is the man.

I was still in the midst of a Hulkamania hangover when Bret's run began. His slow methodical approach in the ring didn't appeal to my short attention span as an early teen. Combine that with a not-so-larger-than-life personality and I started to lean toward watching WCW at the time. Then, the rivalry began. Shawn Michaels had the perfect alter persona/style to make these two click. They dragged me back in, and while the idea of a one-hour match had me bored to tears back then, their match at Wrestlemania squashed all my fears. But as great as that match was, the juiciest part of their rivalry had to be on the brink of the Attitude Era. Those promos back and forth were gold. It added an element that was missing from earlier in the rivalry. Take the workout vignettes prior to the Iron Man match.... Yuck! I laugh whenever I see those nowadays! I would have loved to see Bret stick in the WWE and this rivalry continue throughout the decades in some capacity, even it was as competing GMs. Or even Shawn jumping ship to WCW and continuing their rivalry with the competitor. That would have been must see! I would lean towards Shawn in this regard during this era.

When comparing both Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, it's really hard to do so because of the fact that they were both great wrestlers in their prime. Shawn Michaels is considered perhaps the best overall performer in all of WWE, while Bret Hart ranks up there as one of the best if not the best technical wrestlers of his era. Honestly though when I think about Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels and which one of the two was the better wrestler during the New Generation Era, the answer that comes to mind is Bret Hart.

The reason being because while Shawn was a very good wrestler, he often refused to put people over and if he didn't want to wrestle someone he would hurt his knee or lose his smile etc etc.

We have to remember that the Shawn Michaels I am referring to is way different than the Shawn Michaels of today (or so we are told), but Bret Hart was always willing to work with anyone and never once questioned putting someone over (well except for the Montreal Screwjob Incident which also involved Shawn Michaels, but that's another issue entirely).

While Shawn had the WWE World Title, the ratings were in the toilet and as I said earlier he didn't want to drop said title to certain people, so he decided to vacate it. Bret Hart on the other hand did his best to work with everyone he was given and make the best out of it. He even got a watchable match out of Diesel at King Of The Ring 95, something Shawn Michaels couldn't do against the very same person at that year's Wrestlemania, in fact, they weren't even in the main event.

So there you have it, my answer as to who was the better wrestler in the New Generation Era is Bret Hart, due to the fact that he never had a bad match with anyone and he always showed up ready to work in working condition while wanting to have the best match possible on any given night.

Nathan, as usual, is wrong. Shawn managed to get two damn good matches out of Diesel in my opinion, one at Wrestlemania 11, and one at In Your House in April 1996. When talking the rivalry, Shawn vs Bret was truly something special and is the essential feud that marks the era. If talking who was better? I'm always going with Shawn. Shawn was hands down the best wrestler of this era and while Bret was right there with him, Shawn was more entertaining and solid. Bret could truly go like no other and technical wise, he had an advantage but as an overall package, Shawn edges this for me.

What about you? Shawn vs Bret? Who is your pick?


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

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The Underrated: Razor Ramon

By @TrueGodImmortal

When talking the New Generation Era, we have to talk about one of the most popular wrestlers of the era, Razor Ramon. Now, Razor would eventually have mega success as Scott Hall as one third of the original NWO in WCW, but before that, he grew his name in the WWF. When Razor first became the Cuban bad guy character, he was a heel, one whom wasn't necessarily figured out yet in terms of direction. After leaving WCW in 1991 from an unsuccessful run as the Diamond Studd, the Razor character would be modeled after Tony Montana and Manny from the Scarface film. It was in many ways cutting edge for the era, as Razor being based off of a movie drug lord, definitely challenged the family friendly vibe of WWF TV.

The hilarity in the creation of the character is that Scott Hall pitched it to Vince McMahon and Pat Patterson as a mere joke, quoting lines from the film Scarface when he pitched it to them, obviously utilizing the "Say Hello to The Bad Guy" quote from the film to drive home his point. Regardless, Vince and Pat hadn't seen the Scarface film, so they figured these were all ideas made up in Scott's mind and loved it. The debut vignettes in many ways were also modeled after the movie, as fans got a glimpse at the character and the whole concept. Clad in Miami style clothes and gaudy jewelry, along with a small razor blade on his chain, Razor was the embodiment of a Spanish drug dealer from Miami. When he debuted, he would begin to win squash matches with his patented Razor's Edge finishing move. His first big moment would be inserting himself right in the Randy Savage vs Ric Flair WWF Title feud at the time, helping Flair win the title.

A small alliance between Flair and Razor would begin leading to a match against what was to be Savage and the Ultimate Warrior, but the Warrior was replaced by Mr. Perfect. This feud was significant because it instantly catapulted Razor to another level and had him look even better in the eyes of the fans. Razor would end up in a main event title match for the richest prize in the game at the 1993 Royal Rumble taking on champion Bret Hart. Razor would put up a great effort and though he lost, you could feel the fans start to take a liking to the charismatic Razor.

After a loss to the upcoming 1-2-3 Kid in May 1993 (The Kliq!), Ramon would fully make a face turn and the rest is history. He engaged in a feud with the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase, and would be the final opponent for Dibiase in his last WWF match, beating him at Summerslam 1993. From there, after Shawn Michaels had to vacate the WWF Intercontinental championship, Razor would win  a battle royal with Rick Martel to earn the rights to face each other for the vacated title. Razor would win and the stage was set for what is likely Razor's finest hour in WWF.

This epic feud would lead to the classic Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania 10. The match is still regarded by some as the greatest ladder match ever, and while it definitely catapulted Shawn Michaels to higher levels, Razor walked out of the match a made man as well. Razor would win his feud with Shawn, then feud with Shawn's bodyguard Diesel, who defeated him for the Intercontinental title. Razor would win it back at Summerslam 94 and continue on his path as Shawn and Diesel split up. Soon after, Razor would end up in a long term feud with Jeff Jarrett over the IC Title. Jarrett won it from him at the Royal Rumble, but Razor would win it back in a ladder match at a house show (a major title change at a house show!!! Never happens today!) in May 1995 to become the first star to ever win the Intercontinental title three times. Jarrett would win the title back just 3 days later however, and their feud would continue until Jarrett lost it to Shawn Michaels.

The date of destiny was set again as a ladder rematch between Shawn and Razor took place at Summerslam 1995. Shawn would win this one, but Razor at this point was now ready for the big time. The main event. Razor would win the IC Title a fourth time, but it began to lose its luster. Razor during 1994-1995 was honestly the most popular guy on the roster that wasn't named Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels. Diesel was over to an extent, but he couldn't draw a dime. Razor was able to draw, was consistent and had a loyal fanbase. He deserved a run with the WWF Title. I've always felt like WWF forced Diesel as a champion and it didn't work. Thus, they almost went out of business due to that big mistake. My idea for rebooking everything in 1995 would have been to make Razor the King of the Ring, setting up a rematch between Diesel and Razor for the WWF Title, with Razor finally ending the long dragging reign of Diesel and finally winning the big one. Shawn could have put the IC Title on the line against someone like Owen Hart in a ladder match, giving Shawn a true heel to work and likely another classic match.  I will likely expand on this before New Generation Week is out in a rebooking scenario for Summerslam 1995 anyways. Regardless, Razor would eventually go into a losing streak in 1996 after dropping the Intercontinental title and once he got the offer from WCW, he had to take it.

While the chapter of Razor Ramon officially ended in May 1996 for the WWF, his legacy lives on forever. When we reflect back on some of the greatest of the New Generation Era, his name should always be at the top. Hands down.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

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Retrospective: In Your House- Canadian Stampede

By @Headliner5

I've been asked to review a PPV that happened in the New Generation Era as part of #EOTRNewGenerationWeek, and with Canadian Stampede falling on July 6, 1997, it does still qualify. The Attitude Era didn't officially start until November 9, of the same year so by the time July 6th rolled around there was still four months left in the New Generation.

There were four matches that took place on this show and it's considered to be the best In Your House Pay Per View throughout the entire In Your House series.

Okay, so according to the great Wikipedia, there were five matches on this show, but one of those matches was a dark match therefore it doesn't count. Since it was a dark match, I didn't see it and I can't really talk much about it, but for reference it was The Godwinns of Henry O. and Phineas I. Godwinn taking on The New Blackjacks of Barry Windham and Blackjack Bradshaw (sounds exciting right?).

The first official match of the night was Mankind vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley w/ Chyna

The match wasn't what you would expect from a Triple H vs. Mankind affair. However this match, while it wasn't their best (that honor belongs to Summerslam 1997 and the cage match they had), it was still pretty good, but most people tend to overlook the match due to the way it ended being that it was a double count out.  Still it's the match that kicked off the show and it did a great job of setting the tone for what was to come.

Onto the second match of the night which featured Taka Michinoku taking on the Great Sasuke.

This match was great, the match took place back when people were still becoming familiar with Taka Michinoku's body of work and The Great Sasuke was rarely seen in a America so this was a treat for the fans in Canada that night. This match featured great action and a hot crowd; in fact the crowd for this entire show was amazing and probably one of the best wrestling crowds you will ever come across. This match is definitely one you should check out if you are looking for something different. The match went ten minutes and surprisingly enough, The Great Sasuke defeated Taka Michinoku which may sound weird, but it's mainly due to the fact that Taka hadn't yet been established as a top light heavyweight star in the federation as of yet.

From there, we go to the third match of the night and already the co main event as Vader challenged then champion the Undertaker for the World Wrestling Federation Championship. As you may remember the storyline going into this match started on the June 23rd episode of RAW is War when Vader was announced as the number one contender for the WWF Championship.  At the same time The Undertaker was forced to team with his future opponent in a tag team tournament match for the vacant WWF Tag Team Titles. The duo took on The Nation Of Domination's D'Lo Brown and Faarooq. Vader's manager Paul Bearer forced The Undertaker to do what Bearer wanted otherwise he would reveal a secret about the Undertaker's past to the entire world.

Undertaker would attack Vader in the match, which would lead Bearer to reveal the secret the next week. He said that throughout Taker's childhood and teen years, he lived in a funeral home with his parents and half brother. According to Bearer, the Undertaker killed both his parents and caused his half brothers face to be bruised and scarred when he set the funeral home on fire. The Undertaker would of course deny everything, saying that Kane was the one who burned the house down. During an attack from the Undertaker after Vader's match with Rockabilly, Bearer said he heard from Kane himself, which would lead one of the best storylines in wrestling history.

The match itself for the WWF Title went almost 13:00 minutes and these two absolutely destroyed one another, but in the end, The Undertaker would stand tall with the title in hand after putting away his 450 pound adversary with the tombstone piledriver.

Finally, we head into the main event which was the Hart Foundation squaring off with Team USA in a ten man tag team match. The members of team USA were Stone Cold Steve Austin, Ken Shamrock, Goldust and The Legion Of Doom(Hawk and Animal) taking on The Hart Foundation, which was comprised of Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Owen Hart, British Bulldog and Brian Pillman. This match marked the final time that the entire Hart family would be under the same roof in a match.

The match was one fall to a finish and would go almost twenty-five minutes in length. This match was absolutely fantastic from start to finish and it features one of the hottest crowds in wrestling history.

They were one hundred percent behind The Hart Foundation during this match and even went so far as to boo Stone Cold Steve Austin, who at the time was turning into the Stone Cold Steve Austin that we all know and love today.

Towards the end of the match, Austin would put Bret in his own Sharpshooter, Owen would return to the ring and make the save for his team. Austin goes to the outside to beat up the retired Hart Brothers. Austin gets back in the ring, but turns to mouth off to the Hart's once again and Owen capitalizes and rolls him up with a handful of tights to get the victory at 24:32. The Hart Brothers jump the railing and clear the ring of the Americans. Austin would return and attack Anvil with a chair before getting jumped on by the rest of the foundation. Security cuffs Austin before taking him to the back. Austin still manages to flip off the crowd, as the Hart's would go on to celebrate their final moment together in the ring as a family.

This pay per view was great from top to bottom, but the main event is extremely significant from a historical perspective especially if you know what would eventually happen with the Hart family. So I can only recommend this show with my highest regard, go fire up the WWE Network and watch this show immediately.


Monday, December 28, 2015

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The Underrated: Wrestlers in The New Generation Era

By @TrueGodImmortal

Now, when we discuss the New Generation Era, some names tend to get overlooked. Some get overlooked due to a cheesy gimmick or a lack of big time push, others just weren't featured in the main event often enough. Outside of the Undertaker, Razor Ramons, Diesels, Shawn Michaels, Yokozuna, Bret and Owen Hart, there were some solid talents who were slept on and not pushed enough. Let's discuss a few.

*1-2-3 Kid

-Sean Waltman is one of the gifted performers from this era that didn't ever get the credit he truly deserved. Kid had the ability to go out there and put on a good match with anybody he went against, and some of his matches with Bret, Shawn, Jeff Jarrett, and Razor were superb during this time. He became popular off an upset victory against Razor and the rest is history. Though he never got a run with the WWF Title or a secondary title, he still was a shining star in the WWF

*Adam Bomb 

-Now, many wonder why Adam Bomb is here, but despite his cheesy character, a young True gravitated to him and thought he could end up as a big star. Though he didn't win titles or see true success, Adam Bomb was still a solid addition to this already interesting era.


-The Native American gimmick had never been done perfectly or correctly outside of Chief Jay Strongbow, and while Tatanka wasn't nearly as good as Chief Jay, he etched his name in the business with the gimmick and made it work.

*Bam Bam Bigelow 

-The Beast From The East. Hands down one of the most agile big men we had ever seen. Headlined a Wrestlemania and would go on to stay relevant the whole era.


-Now, while this gimmick was a bit strange, his in ring work wasn't bad and he managed to open a PPV with the legendary Bret Hart in a valiant losing effort.

*The Headshrinkers 

-Basically a direct descendant of the Wild Samoans, this tag team is a great duo of talent and they would put on consistently entertaining matches.

*The Smoking Gunns

-The most solid tag team of the era, the team of Bart and Billy Gunn would win tag team gold, have great matches, and continue a couple year run in this era.

*Barry Horowitz

-He looked like an accountant but he would end up winning some matches and starting a winning streak along with a brief storyline as the ultimate underdog before falling off. Was an interesting time in the era.

*Bob Holly

-As race car driver named Spark Plugg, his character was corny as hell, but still somehow worked in the gimmick heavy environment of WWF.

*Savio Vega

-The Puerto Rican star that would start off assisting Razor Ramon, he was good in the ring and hilarious on promos, even if unintentionally.

There are some others here who didn't make the cut, but post in the comments below and tell us some of your favorite underrated stars from the New Generation Era.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

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NXT: Women's Wrestling Saving Grace

By @stevesignore 

Thank you NXT. Thank you Triple H and company. You have made women's wrestling something fans look forward to seeing on a weekly basis. The days of taking a bathroom break, and a quick one at that, have become a thing of the past. As one of those fans who took advantage of those five minute windows I could honestly say I never thought this day would come for me, even during the Lita/Stratus days. Call me a pig-headed male fan, I don't care. It wasn't worth watching until NXT made it that way. I, personally, was never a huge fan of the whole "puppies" era or having the "divas" viewed more as sex objects than in-ring perfomers. To me, those days are over (for the most part), and I could honestly say, I'm hooked on women's wrestling.

I'm sure I'm with a lot of fans when I say the WWE really hasn't booked the NXT callups the best it could. The matches have been solid, but the overall storylines have been disappointing. Nevertheless, I'm expecting that as the characters continue to evolve on the WWE stage things will come together. At least I'm hoping that's the case!

In the meantime, I will sit in awe of the unique style of Asuka on NXT. I'll watch Breaking Ground and marvel at what leadership Bayley has as a 26-year-old superstar. I doubted Eva Marie would ever make it as an in-ring performance, but she has has made sizeable strides, and is clearly poised to be used by Vince sooner than later. Dana Brooke and Emma have become a solid "mean girl" duo. Nia Jax has quickly evolved and her character is unique compared to the perception of women's wrestling under the WWE umbrella. Carmella's inclusion on Breaking Ground leads you to be invested in her character and I can see her emerging as another serious threat in that division as time moves on. Maybe almost to the point where she challenges Bayley in her last feud before getting the call-up. Those broken friendships always make great storylines!

Bayley gets all the praise in the world, and obviously she deserves it. People were disappointed when she didn't get the call up North at first, but anyone who has the WWE Network is probably glad that didn't happen. She's the rock of the women's division at NXT. And if you haven't watched Breaking Ground, you need to start. You're going to see someone who dedicates herself to being the best in all facets of women's wrestling, whether behind the scenes or in the ring.

One woman who has flown under the radar, in my opinion, is Emma. Did you ever think she was capable of a run as a heel? This is a tremendous repackage job. Instantly a comedy act with Santino in the WWE, I never thought she'd be able to shed that persona. But when you see clips of those days it's almost like two different people.

Nia Jax was someone who I discounted as "just another relative of the Rock getting a chance" at first. I was wrong cause she's definitely earned her keep, and in short order. The fact she just had a title match with Bayley at the most recent Takeover is a testament to her hard work and dedication. She's already the top heel force, and an unstoppable one at that. Also, she's evolved her look each week, which has added to her mystique.

As someone who doesn't really watch anything outside of the WWE/NXT, Asuka is a revelation. Whenever Asuka shows up on the screen I stop what I'm doing and watch. Her style is fascinating. I'm just a big fan. It's to the point where I'd argue she's probably the most must-see superstar for me at the moment, man or woman. Her whole package is worthy of a run in the WWE, but I'm not sure I trust that it wouldn't do her an injustice. I usually revert back to what happened during Funaki, Yoshi Tatsu and Tajiri's time on the main roster. It might be best if she stays in NXT.

I know Eva Marie has been criticized to death, self included, but she's improved in the ring. If you say, "she still sucks"
or "she'll never make it," you're wrong. She's looked more confident during her entrances and as a heel in the ring. The
promos need the most fine tuning, but other than that, she's made strides I never thought I'd see.

The future is bright in women's wrestling. WWE basically emptied out NXT, and NXT replenished in a flash. It's a factory of women's wrestling. They've made it relevant. Women's wrestling means something. WWE needs to take advantage of what they've been given. Don't change it as much as you have. If you get someone like a Sasha Banks let her be SASHA BANKS..... in the meantime, women's wrestling is here to stay!!!


Saturday, December 19, 2015

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Retrospective: The WWF/WWE Smackdown Series

The Wrestling games of yesteryear in WWF were very arcade like, and the graphics were pretty blocky, but when the Smackdown series started, it changed everything. Since 2K has taken over the WWE license, things have drastically changed a bit, but the true change began with THQ acquiring the license and releasing the first Smackdown game on PS1. What grew from there was a monumental series for WWE and for video gaming. Today, we look back at the franchise.

The WWF/WWE Smackdown series gave us some of the best wrestling games ever. THQ and Yukes had a formula that just straight up worked. Like any yearly franchises, they had their stumbling blocks but for the most part, what they gave us was consistent quality. One such game was Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain. If the N64's No Mercy was considered the God of wrestling games, HCTP is Jesus. This game is legendary not just for its gameplay but its graphics and presentation were second to none. It was also the last wrestling game to feature Brock Lesnar before WWE' 12/13 and the last game to feature both The Rock and Stone Cold as non-legends. Since 2K has taken over the WWE franchise, they've released what I believe is a game that rivals HCTP in WWE 2K16. But HCTP was the game that felt like No Mercy with better graphics that we all wanted. An awesome period for wrestling games that can hopefully be duplicated with 2K under control.

I loved the Smackdown series completely. The first two on PS1 captivated me and I would play them for hours. It provided a bit of realism along with the true presentation of WWF programming at the time. When I first purchased WWF Smackdown: Just Bring It, I was likely the happiest kid on my block because the game's entrance into PS2 marked the beginning of a long run of greatness.

Shut Your Mouth, Here Comes the Pain, Smackdown vs RAW, Smackdown vs RAW 2006 were all amazing, Smackdown vs RAW 2007 was also great. I didn't enjoy Smackdown vs RAW 2008 as much, nor did I really like the 2009 edition, but the graphics were improving with every game and the inventive modes added definitely brought a different element to the games. When speaking on wrestling games, there is no denying the WWE game power was built on the Smackdown franchise. The foundation for WWE 2K was laid with the Smackdown franchise. Revisit these games for sure.

-Eyes On The Ring

Friday, December 18, 2015

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Throwback Friday: WWF Attitude and WWF No Mercy

By Johnthan "Speed on the Beat" Speed (@SpeedontheBeat)

When wrestling was white-hot, everyone was in-tuned to the happenings between The Rock, Stone Cold, DX, Goldberg, RVD, and more. It was a great time to be a wrestling fan. I was, for the most part, open to all three of the major promotions at the time. However, when it came to games, I was usually a WWF man through and through. I mean, the ECW game series was booty juice and I liked giving people the Rock Bottom and Stunners more than Spears and Hogan Boots. Plus, ya know, even though they had some great games, the WCW games kind of sucked at points (WCW Thunder and WCW Backstage Assault, anyone?).

When WWF Attitude dropped, I remember, for some reason, my mom was anti-wrestling. She, as I got older, became more of a mark herself. But, I guess she would've rather me watch Skinemax than Chyna. To be fair, I'd rather watch Skinemax than Chyna, but that's beside the point. I had to hustle up some change to cop a copy of Attitude from a middle school acquaintance and then play covertly. But, me being me, I said "screw that" and told my folks that I liked wrestling and I liked wrestling games. All was solved in that dilemma.

But, again, I digress.

Getting back to Attitude, it was one of the best PS1 WWF games that wasn't named WWF SmackDown!. It featured just about everything that was great about WWF at the time. On top of that, we got First Blood matches, "I Quit" matches, "Create-a-PPV" modes, updated abilities to create wrestlers out of thin air, and a career/"Challenge" mode that predates WWE 2K's MyCareer mode by about 15 years. Gameplay was solid and it felt like, for what it was, a real WWF experience. We even got competent announcing that, in some ways, sounds more realistic than WWE games out now. Everything was well in the world.

Then No Mercy dropped, and everybody had to step their game up.

While No Mercy was the last N64 WWF game, it made its mark. Taking what made games such as Attitude classic and adding in more realism (including the ability to create women's wrestlers), the ability to create an almost-infinite army of wrestlers, and more, No Mercy set the bar high for other wrestling games.

I remember playing No Mercy and saying to myself "holy crap. This is in-depth." If you lost a match in Career Mode, it wasn't game over. It wasn't "oh, hey. Repeat this match and a winner will be you." If you lost, you got an entirely different storyline path.

In fact, you had to lose matches in order to complete the game at 100% (if you were a perfectionist like me). And the actual wrestling in it? Man! It's probably because of the Virtual Pro Wrestling engine that AKI used for this game--and many after it--but it wasn't just a complete "beat-'em-up" as some wrestling games were/have become. If I had to say where WWE 2K16 got some of its influence, I'd have to say they went back and played through No Mercy and reworked the engine accordingly. That's how amazing the game was. I mean, people are still modding it to this day to reflect WWE's changes. Now, that's longevity.

...but, as awesome as Attitude and No Mercy are...they're no SmackDown. We'll get into that later, though. If you've got a PS1, N64, or an emulator, check both of these games out. While graphically they're obviously old-school, the gameplay in both is legendary.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

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Retrospective: The WCW Video Games

By @TrueGodImmortal 

So, with this being DAR Gaming Week, EOTR decided to participate just a bit. Now, today, what we wanted to discuss fell between the realm of WIRTB and Classic Games, so I decided to just a retrospective looking at some of the best WCW games and some of the not so great also. Let's get started.

*WCW Wrestling

-The first video game for WCW, it featured the Road Warriors on the front and was released go the Nintendo system. With a limited amount of wrestlers and moves, it wasn't necessarily the most fun game, but for the time it was definitely entertaining. This one doesn't get mentioned as much.

*WCW: The Main Event

-The first handheld WCW game, which I never played for Game Boy, but I heard things about it from my older cousins who were fans of gaming and wrestling. Not the most fun, but convenient, this game is another one that doesn't get talked about much.

*WCW Superbrawl Wrestling

-My first experience personally with WCW games was Superbrawl and this was oddly enough a lot of fun to play. The funniest part about this game is Tony Schiavone being a box over the match providing commentary for you. It is quite hilarious, but adds a bit more to the game in many ways. While still a bit stiff and lacking in animation, this game for the most part was entertaining.

*WCW vs The World

-In what has to be one of the most hilarious games of all time to me, WCW vs The World was one of a kind. WCW vs The World is essentially a Japanese game and it plays like one as well. Along with many of the big named WCW wrestlers, there are a ton of popular Japanese wrestlers on the game....... under different names due to copyright and other issues. This game was fun, but the Japanese elements at times made it slightly cheesy but it was definitely a good time to be had.

*WCW vs NWO: World Tour

-In many ways a sequel to WCW vs The World, this was one game I have never played or attempted to play. However, it seems like I missed out on a hell of a game. Praised as one of the strongest games to ever be released for wrestling, the grappling system for the game is reported to be extremely epic. The gameplay was all around solid as well, along with a ton of match modes that were groundbreaking for the time. This game is reportedly a top 3 selling wrestling game for the N64 console and rightfully so it seems.

*WCW Nitro

-With a stacked roster, unlockable characters and hilarious introduction videos asking you to pick them, WCW Nitro had nice graphics for the time and fun gameplay as well. It also featured a spot on WCW atmosphere that hadn't been presented properly at the time, and gave fans the closest experience to watching the actual TV show.

*WCW/NWO Revenge

-One of the top selling wrestling video games for the N64 system(no. 1 actually), this game is a classic. Without a doubt, everything about this game was simple perfection. As a sequel to the WCW vs NWO: World Tour game, it expanded on the previous things that were missing. More characters from WCW, inclusion of real arenas, title belts, this one is the greatest WCW video game of all time, and it isn't even close.

*WCW Thunder

-This game is essentially horrible but when it was released, I absolutely loved it. With a mega sized roster, realism, and the inclusion of the massive stables WCW had at the time, for a fan that was easy to please, this game could do no wrong truly. When I revisited it later however, it became repetitive and boring, and the graphics get a little glitchy. If you want a game with the best WCW roster however? This is your game.

*WCW Mayhem

-When the company stopped working with THQ and went to EA, it seemed as if all could go well. However, WCW unfortunately was suffering in the actual ratings war and as a result this game didn't get the love it deserved. It was fun definitely and featured a large roster, a PPV mode, and more revolutionary features. It had a bit of an issue with its collision detector on the game, but for the most part, this was one of the better games.

*WCW Backstage Assault

-The less said about this game, the better. For some reason, EA thought a game where fans could only wrestle in backstage areas was smart. And it failed. It is the final WCW video game. And for good reason.

Any thoughts on the WCW video games? Post them below in the comments.