Video games are a staple of the WWE merchandise machine. Today’s wrestling enthusiast has grown up with the video games being a part of their fandom. Starting with the days of the arcades, the Commodore 64 and the Nintendo Entertainment System, year-to-year, wrestling fans have waited with anticipation for new games on new consoles featuring improved character designs, more match types, different arenas and bigger rosters.
WWE 2K16 featured the biggest roster of any wrestling game to date with over 120 wrestlers from the WWE roster, NXT roster and an impressive number of WWE Legends. Even if you’re of the popular opinion that wrestling games peaked with the Nintendo 64, you must admit that having a roster of 120 actual wrestlers is an impressive feat. With the press of a button, you can see who would come out on top in a ladder match for the European Title between Kevin Owens, The Rock and Jake “the Snake” Roberts. However, in the impressive library of WWE video games, some developers felt the need to pad their game rosters with bonus wrestlers that were a little out of the ordinary, leaving many fans scratching their heads saying: “Why is this guy in the game?” Thus, the following is a list of the most absurd playable characters in WWE video games.
14. Mike Tyson – WWE 13
Back in the day, many naive gamers were probably disappointed to discover that Mike Tyson was in fact not a playable character in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!. Fret not, because many, many years later Tyson became a playable character in WWE 13. If you pre-ordered a copy of the game, you were treated to a playable Mike Tyson. This is perhaps not the most absurd character on this list, as “Iron” Mike was a big part of the main event angle of WrestleMania XIV serving as a special outside-the-ring enforcer in the match between Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin. Unfortunately, King Hippo, Piston Hondo and Soda Popinski did not make the cut for the WWE 13 roster.
13. The Terminator – WWE 2K16
Not only was Arnold Schwarzenegger inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, he also made an on-screen appearance during Triple H’s entrance at WrestleMania 31. The final part of the giant promotional crossover between WWE and Terminator: Genysis ended with the Terminator character being a playable wrestler in WWE 2K16. Of course, unlockable through a pre-order; one could reasonably assume that the Terminator can only be defeated by using some sort of accident involving manufacturing equipment.
12. Kwang – WWF Raw
WWF Raw was released on the popular Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis systems as a sequel to WWF Royal Rumble. This 16-grappler later got a release on the not-so-popular Sega 32X, an expansion to the Genesis, and featured one exclusive character on this system. What popular character would be a Sega 32X exclusive? None other than The Mighty KWANG, a masked-ninja who did nothing of note in the WWF and was portrayed by Savio Vega. Years later, it’s still baffling why anyone thought that out of the entire roster to choose from, how The Mighty Kwang made it onto the video game. Perhaps Virgil could have sold more Sega 32X’s.
11. Trainer and Pamela – WWF Warzone
It’s not certain that any WWF fans were excited to use a Gameshark only unlock ‘Trainer’ or ‘Pamela’ as they played through WWF Warzone. Much like how Mortal Kombat creators named Ed Boon and John Tobias put themselves in Mortal Kombat series with the cool ninja character named Noob Saibot, member of Warzone’s development team Jeff Robinson and Pamela put themselves in the game in a very less cool way as the characters Trainer (presumably a trainer of some sort), and Pamela, a ring girl. Trainer also made an appearance in the game’s sequel, WWF Attitude, while Pamela only made the one appearance.
10. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter – WWF Warzone
Accompanying Trainer and Pamela, Warzone players were treated to play as Turok the Dinosaur Hunter. Turok, released in 1997, close to the time as Warzone, was also developed by Iguana and published by Acclaim. Again, if you had a cheat code device, you could treat yourself to the fine easter egg that is Turok. If Warzone were released today, you could be sure that Turok would be a $3.99 DLC exclusive. Sadly though, from all accounts, Stone Cold Steve Austin was not unlockable to hunt dinosaurs in the world of Turok.
9. Tony – WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2009
Who is “Tony,” wrestling fans might be asking? Strongman, WWE Legend and former Tag Champion Tony Atlas, perhaps? WCW commentator Tony Schiavone, maybe? Could WWE fans show everyone who the boss really is by playing as Tony Danza? No, Tony is the name of a fictional member of the US Military that inspired John Cena to defeat the dastardly MVP in the single-player story mode of Smackdown vs. Raw 2009. Yes, the game featured a story mode that saw John Cena teaming with the US Military, and you could actually unlock fictional US armed forces member named Tony to team with John Cena. If only Cena could appear in a Call of Duty game and defeat terrorism for good.
8. Undertaker’s Druid – WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011
Speaking of ridiculous storylines, Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 featured a story mode where you could select a wrestler to wrestle a series of matches leading to a match against The Undertaker at WrestleMania. Unfortunately, you could not select Brock Lesnar. Fortunately, the story mode features a ‘Battle Royal’ where you face off against a ridiculous number of The Undertaker’s druids. The druids; faceless individuals who wear cloaks and hold torches during The Undertaker’s entrance, have actually never had a real match in the WWE. However, if you own a copy of this game, you can unlock a Druid and wrestle your way to the title, which is a feat that every Druid wishes upon their magical urn.
7. Howard Finkel – WWF No Mercy
Howard Finkel, legendary WWE ring announcer, Hall of Famer, and allegedly the first person that Vince McMahon Jr. ever hired, made appearances as an announcer in older wrestling games such as WWF Super WrestleMania. In 2000, Finkel fans everywhere rejoiced when Howard Finkel became an unlockable, playable character in the critically acclaimed and fan-adored WWF No Mercy for the Nintendo 64. An already great game, it’s made better knowing that you have the ability to win the Women’s Championship with The Fink.
6. Linda McMahon – WWF No Mercy
In No Mercy, you can play as every McMahon in the McMahon family. Even Linda. Yes, Linda McMahon, wife of Vince, former Republican candidate for Senator of Connecticut, and a woman with the charisma of an orange, is very much a playable character in this game. A key part of the WrestleMania 2000 main event; a storyline which is present in the game’s story mode, Linda is an unlockable character, and an agile high-flyer to boot.
5. Head – WWF Attitude
During The Attitude Era, Al Snow got over with fans by carrying a mannequin head with him to the ring, hoisting it in the air and shouting, “What does everybody want?” To which fans would answer, “Head!” “What does everybody need?” “Head!” The joke was very low brow and very much popular, so popular in fact that Head (yes, the mannequin head) became a playable character in the WWF Attitude video game. A floating head, an invisible body, yet visible hands and feet, head is a grappling machine in the video wrestling world.
4. AKI Man – WWF No Mercy, WCW/nWo Revenge
A masked luchador named after revered wrestling game developer, AKI, AKI Man is a cult favorite among Nintendo 64 wrestling fans. One of the key wrestlers never mentioned in the Monday Night Wars; AKI Man appeared in both WCW/nWo Revenge as a playable character, and again in the create-a-wrestler mode of WWF No Mercy after AKI stopped developing WCW games and started developing WWF games. A high-risk and technical grappler, AKI Man is rumored to be based on Japanese legendary wrestler Mitsuharu Misawa, for many of his signature moves are borrowed from Misawa’s repertoire. Mightier than Kwang, the legend of AKI Man lives on, as wrestling fans continue to create their own AKI Men and post them online to WWE 2K16 for a new generation of fans to enjoy.
3. Yourself – WWF WrestleMania Challenge
Long before technology was capable of allowing players to create their own wrestlers in wrestling games, the creators behind WWF WrestleMania Challenge for the Nintendo Entertainment System still wanted players to live the experience of playing as themselves. How did they go about this? By inserting a generic playable character simply known as “Yourself.” Yes, playable from the get-go, you can play as “Yourself” and experience the sight of yourself wrestling against greats such as Rick Rude, Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan. The experience of playing as yourself really only works if you happen to be an average looking white guy. With a less than admirable attempt at some fantasy game play, “Yourself” comes across as a real jabroni, and “Yourself” goes down as one of the most absurd characters in all of video wrestling.
2. Ho – WWF No Mercy
No Mercy certainly contains a few odd playable characters on its roster. Perhaps the most odd is a woman wrestler named Ho. Not much is known about the mysterious Ho, but one could reasonably assume that this is supposed to be one of the Godfather’s ladies of the night that would accompany him to the ring. However, while Ho is unlockable, many long time No Mercy players have never played as Ho, as the only way to unlock Ho is to purchase her from the in-game Smackdown Mall for $500,000. How long would that take? In comparison, you can unlock Andre the Giant and Shawn Michaels for $50,000 respectively. Indeed, the ordeal of unlocking Ho in this otherwise great game is a testament to the old adage, “Pimpin’ ain’t easy.”
1. Fred Durst – WWF Smackdown! Just Bring It
While Limp Bizkit might be popular music of the past, Fred Durst himself will live on forever as an unlockable, fully playable character in Smackdown! Just Bring It, the first WWF game to hit the Playstation 2. Remember, Limp Bizkit was a huge mainstream act during the late 90’s-early 2000’s. Since The Undertaker came to the ring during that period to the song Rollin’, it only makes sense that Durst was made a playable wrestler in this game, complete with his own entrance that features him driving to the ring in a low rider, then proceeding to stand on the hood of the car and do the Rollin’ dance complete with steering wheel hand gesturing.
Durst is one of the only celebrities to ever be featured as a playable character in a WWE-licensed game. There are many rappers in the hip hop world right now such as Action Bronson, Flo Rida, Lil’ Wayne and Method Man who are known wrestling fans, but the only “rapper” to accomplish the great feat of actually being in a wrestling game is none other than the red-capped man himself, the genius behind classics such as The Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water, Fred Durst.