Fictional game wrestlers are an interesting lot. The earliest wrestling games didn’t feature licensed wrestlers, leaving game developers to come up with some bizarre characters with over-the-top wrestler tropes (although real-life wrestlers can be pretty over-the-top as well).
One thing you might notice on this list is that there are several Mexican luchador inspired characters, likely because Mexican Lucha Libre wrestlers have been popular in Japan’s wrestling scene for a long, long time. Lucha Libre itself is pretty popular all over the world, with tributes ranging from Jack Black’s comedy film Nacho Libre, to the Lucha Maniacs slot machine game found on Casumo.
In this article, we’re going to list 6 fictional video game wrestlers that wouldn’t be too out-of-place in the real wrestling world.
1986’s Pro Wrestling was Nintendo’s first attempt at developing a wrestling game, and it actually wasn’t terrible. The most memorable character from Pro Wrestling would certainly be Starman, a Mexican luchador who wore a pink spandex outfit, with a blue star emblazoned on his face.
The Pro Wrestling game itself spawned its own modern internet meme in the phrase “A winner is you”, which is often used sarcastically by netizens. The phrase originated in Pro Wrestling as a post-match congratulatory message and was the result of poor translation by Nintendo.
Unlike other game characters on this list, Starman actually has become real, in a way – several real-life wrestlers have adopted the gimmick in various underground wrestling promotions.
Masked Muscle was introduced in Super Punch-Out!! for the SNES console, and was his only appearance in the game series. He was depicted as a Mexican luchador-turned-boxer, due to being banned from wrestling for illegal manoeuvers. That cheating continues in boxing, as one of his special moves involves spitting in the player’s face and temporarily blinding you.
He’s memorable for his massive upper body muscles, so a real-life Masked Muscle would be something like WWE’s Brock Lesnar donning a luchador mask.
Hsu Hao was a widely hated character in the Mortal Kombat game series, who used a wrestling-based fighting style. He only appeared in 2 games – MK: Deadly Alliance, where he was killed in canon storyline, but was brought back in MK: Armageddon as the developers wanted to include every MK game character ever made.
The developers, particularly lead writer and graphic designer John Vogel, hated the character so much they swore not to bring him back ever again. A secret message can be found in the game, which states “Will Hsu Hao return from the dead? Err…..probably NOT”.
Sadly, Hsu Hao’s fatality move wasn’t a neck-snapping Stone Cold Stunner, or a Rock Bottom onto a bed of spikes, but some lame laser-beam that shot out of his chest implant. Way to drop the ball on the series’ first and only wrestling character, Midway!
One of the most recognizable characters from the Tekken series, King is a masked luchador wrestler (there’s a lot of those on this list, eh?) who wears a jaguar mask. He’s one of the most popular Tekken characters, though his movesets are fairly difficult to master.
King was inspired by pro wrestler Satoru Sayama, and Mexican wrestler Fray Formenta, a real-life Catholic priest who became a Mexican luchador wrestler to support an orphanage (King’s in-game storyline is that he’s participating in Tekken to support an orphanage).
While Zangief might be the original Street Fighter wrestling character, R. Mika would certainly capture the attention of real-life wrestling fans. Her in-game attire is literally the most revealing of all female Street Fighter characters, and one of her special moves is literally a running butt-slam into her opponent’s face.
While R. Mika’s costume has drawn criticism from many game journalists for her costume, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched in the realm of real-life female wrestling attire. Which isn’t saying much for real-life wrestling standards.
Big Bear / Raiden
Raiden first appeared in the original Fatal Fury game for Neo Geo arcade consoles, as a huge masked wrestler villain. In later games, he became a good guy under the new name Big Bear, and took off his mask. This pretty much reflects how real-life wrestlers often flip-flop between “face” and “heel” status in storylines.
Raiden was inspired by real-life American wrestler Big Van Vader, who had enormous popularity in Japan for his hard shoot-style (often physically hurting his opponents for real). As Raiden, his movelist includes numerous cheap tricks, like spitting venomous mist into his opponent’s face, but as Big Bear, he spits fire instead.