A Winner is You: The 10 Best 80s & 90s Fictional Video Game Wrestlers

by Newton Gimmick on September 11, 2013

in Lists, Nerd Culture, The 80s

These days unlicensed wrestling games are almost unheard of. WWE puts out it’s yearly video game and that, for the most part, is the extent of the wrestling genre in video games. But back in the 80’s and early 90’s, before the McMahon empire completely strangled out the territories, wrestling video games were not unlike wrestling at the time, unpredictable and diverse.

This meant that developers were able to come up with their own fictional wrestling federations and characters in unlicensed games. Fans who had not yet been conditioned to believe that only WWE (then WWF) was good, actually enjoyed these characters and games. Today we’re taking a look at the top ten fictional wrestlers from video games.

First, a few rules, when making this list up I decided to omit games that were reskinned ports of licensed wrestling games or ones where all the grapplers are direct clones of real wrestlers. They can be “based on” a real wrestler, but should have some of their own traits as well. Lastly, they had to actually appear in a wrestling game not just be mentioned as a wrestler in another game.


10. Mongo Khan – Battle Royale

Mongo appears in this rare Turbo Graphix 16 grappler, where every match is a battle royal. Khan wears all red and has spikes on his chest, boots and even his turban!

What makes Mongo so memorable is his taunt in which he repeatedly says “YOU DIE!” with no real rhyme or reason. Is he threatening us? Is he commenting on the struggle of one’s own mortality? Is that the only two words he knows? Mongo Khan, you’re so complex!


9. Rex Beat – Tecmo World Wrestling

Tecmo World Wrestling is a fantastic little NES wrestling game that suffers from not having terribly interesting characters. Rex Beat is the lone standout, as he combines all the look and power of the Road Warriors, mixed with a British punk rock attitude.

Having a look so similar to the Legion of Doom immediately makes anyone who fires up Tecmo World Wrestling want to play as Rex. Watch out for his Power Bomb and Death Drop!


8. Mascross – Tag Team Pro Wrestling

Mascross and his partner Worly made up the infamous team known as the Strong Bads. They had many battles with their arch rivals, the Ricky Fighters.


Mascross is mostly on this list because he’s the only masked bad guy on the game and he is apparently the inspiration for the internet cartoon Strong Bad.


7. Mike Haggar – Saturday Night Slam Masters

Haggar had already made waves in Final Fight as being a former wrestler turned mayor who headed out into the streets to rescue his daughter. In Slam Masters, you get to explore Haggar’s wrestling career.

Haggar is just as awesome as you remembered him and he’s immediately a fan favorite in a game that’s full of interesting dudes.


6. Titan Morgan – Wrestle War

Wrestle War has a nice variety of characters, but Titan Morgan stands out because he’s such a blatant rip off of Hulk Hogan.

Titan even gets to grace the cover of the Japanese version of the game, with a barely reworked photo of Hulk Hogan changed to say “Titan Mogan” on the bandana. He’s even got the “Python Power” of the Hulkster. In the game itself, Morgan looks almost identical to Hogan and can even do the leg drop. Every good retro wrestling game needs a Hulk Hogan ripoff and few do it better than Titan.


5. Insane Warrior – Mat Mania

Warrior or Worrier as he’s known in the Japanese version, is a bit of a mix between the Ultimate Warrior and the Road Warriors.

What helps him stand out above the other Road Warrior characters like Max Beat, is that he’s got a bit of his own style and attitude, from his karate style pants to his mohawk. The Insane one pounds his opponents mercilessly and pins them arrogantly with one hand.


4. Amazon – Pro Wrestling

Pro Wrestling is the perfect example of an NES game that managed to establish a lot of characters with a little work.

While most of the grapplers in Pro Wrestling seem like something you’d see on professional wrestling during the 80’s, Amazon sticks out like a sore thumb. Amazon is clearly nothing more than the Creature from the Black Lagoon in wrestling trunks. He bites faces and presumably abducts women in his spare time. He’s a legend as a result.


3. Bloody Cobra Joe – Champion Wrestler

First, his name is Bloody Cobra Joe… that alone should get him ranked. Second, although he’s not got a particularly memorable look, he clearly has some of the attributes of the Original Shiek.

He’s a dirty fighter, willing to do whatever it takes to win. He also has the added bonus of a manager who throws his cane into the ring for Bloody Cobra Joe to pummel you with!


2. Mr. J – Wrestle War

Few fictional grapplers are as memorable as Mr. J, what with his pink skin and green hair. Something about Mr. J instantly reminds me of the Joker although he’s loosely based on Jason The Terrible, a real pro wrestler who was loosely based on Jason Vorhees.

Mr. J wears a hockey mask to the ring, but no real explanation is given as to why his skin color and hair are so different. Like Amazon, it’s clear that this is no normal man but yet somehow he’s managed to sneak into the Sega Wrestling Alliance.


1. Starman – Pro Wrestling

Was there ever any doubt? Starman is easily the most popular fictional video game wrestler around. While Pro Wrestling was able to create quite a few good characters, Starman rose above the rest. 90% of the kids who played Pro Wrestling wanted to be Starman or Amazon.

Starman, like the Hart Foundation, made pink cool in wrestling. Starman has created such a following that he’s even transcended into the real world of wrestling, appearing at a few independent shows throughout the nation. When it comes to fictional video game wrestlers, Starman, a winner is you.


Purveyor of pop culture, toy enthusiast and award winning amateur scientist, Newton Gimmick founded and currently runs InfiniteHollywood.com. One of many web writers not afraid to profess his love of 80s cartoons, toys, pseudo sports and Jell-O. What makes Newton unique from the others? He does it all from the comfort of his custom Denver: The Last Dinosaur Snuggie.


@eclectik September 12, 2013 at 1:40 am

Two words: King. Slender.

Howard Decker September 12, 2013 at 7:55 am

As soon as I read this, I knew (based on your Twitter avi) there would be a comment a comin’..

OldSchool80s September 12, 2013 at 9:15 am

I remember The Amazon gnawing on somebody’s face with little bits of blood squirting out the sides. I spent many hours playing the old Pro Wrestling for NES.

Nate September 12, 2013 at 9:15 am

Good list bro. I for one am glad that it’s not just a list of guys from Pro Wrestling. I can tell you played a lot of the old school wrestling games. I know my brothers and I used to create whole storylines and feuds and elaborate on the characters in these games. Miss those days. Wish we could get something like that, with an expanded roster and stuff on download.

chris March 19, 2014 at 9:42 am

I would have put AKI man or THQ man from the NWO/WCW N64 games up

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