If there’s one thing we geeks love to do, it’s wax theoretical on all the things that could’ve or should’ve been in regards to our favorite characters or properties. From an unseen final season to a never-produced line of action figures, we want them. Now. Make it So!
For any smark worth their salt, THQ’s WWE ’13 is probably the greatest wrestling video game since 2000′s WWF No Mercy. The next-gen graphics and customization of the contemporary wrasslin’ game have finally collided with the intuitive controls and depth of roster of the N64 classic. Better yet, instead of saddling the game with an impersonal, generic career mode, THQ took it back to the old school, allowing the player to simulate the meteoric rise of the fabled WWF Attitude Era. Relive all of the classic Attitude-Era moments, from the formation of D-Generation X to the Montreal Screwjob, from the Kane and Undertaker feud to the first Stone Cold Stunner delivered to Mr. McMahon via Steve Austin. Not only is WWE ’13 light years beyond any of the games we received during the actual Attitude-Era, it provides hours of nostalgia boners to young and old fans, alike.
Considering WWE ’14 might be their last shot at a WWE game, THQ needs to go big or go home. In the past 20 years of wrestling, the only storyline bigger than The Attitude Era was the battle to the death between WWF Monday Night Raw and WCW Monday Nitro, known affectionately as The Monday Night War. WWE ’13 teases the battle between the two organizations through the use of a chronological ratings chart as a game load screen, making note of the high and low watermarks for both brands, but the WCW timeline is never explored outside of this. WWE ’13 not only provided the player with a one of a kind experience, but also brought back Attitude-Era legends as playable characters. I never expected to be playing as an in-game Ken Shamrock in the 2013. WWE ’14 could not only benefit from a Monday Night War story mode, but from an influx of classic WCW names as playable characters. No matter how many WCW wrestlers we created back on the N64, we’ve never actually seen a sanctioned WWF vs. WCW video game. MAKE IT SO!
Set the stage for the epic brawl between the sports entertainment juggernauts with the debut of Monday Night Raw on the USA Network emanating from the Grand Ballroom in New York’s Manhattan Center, featuring the main event of the evening, Yokozuna vs. Koko B. Ware. Slide in some doc footage of WCW’s revolving door of head bookers, the emergence of Eric Bischoff, and his master plan to take the WWF head-on, leading to debut of WCW Monday Nitro from The Mall of America. It served as the first shot fired in the Monday Night War, and featured the acquisition of former WWF Superstar, Lex Luger. Ratcheting up the ruthlessness, Bischoff later signed WWF Woman’s Champion Alundra Blayze, aka Madusa, and had her drop the title belt in a trashcan on a live Nitro. It shouldn’t be long until the player is jumping the Nitro guardrail as the denim-clad Scott Hall, setting in motion the heel-turn of Hulk Hogan and the formation of the NWO at Bash at the Beach 1997, leading to WCW’s ratings triumph over WWF for two years straight.
As the NWO begins to fill it’s ranks and take over the airwaves of Nitro, Vince McMahon ushers in the WWF Attitude-Era, forgoing the good vs. evil storylines of days past for more reality-based, mature programming. The Attitude-Era was mined pretty well for WWE ’13, but there are countless superstars and storylines that didn’t make the cut, allowing WWE ’14 to fill in some of the gaps. The most notable Monday Night War segment from WWE Raw is War is without a doubt the DX invasion of a live taping of WCW Monday Nitro from Hampton, VA, featuring the faction rolling up on the Hampton Coliseum in an army jeep and camo.
From the greatest era in wrestling came one of the hottest rising stars, and one of greatest streaks in wrestling history. Throughout the story mode, have the player compete as Goldberg, starting with his first victory against Hugh Morrus, leading to his defeat of Raven for the United States Title, and ultimately, his hometown win against Hollywood Hulk Hogan in the Georgia Dome for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Goldberg’s world title reign was not without controversy, as his title defense against Diamond Dallas Page at Halloween Havoc 1998 wasn’t fully-aired due to the Pay-Per-View feed being cut, and his 173 match winning streak and World Title reign were eventually ended by a heavily-politicking Kevin Nash and a Scott Hall cattle prod.
On January 4th, 1999, WWF aired a pre-taped episode of Monday Night Raw featuring Mick Foley winning his first WWF Championship. Prior to the match airing, WCW Nitro spoiled their competitor’s show via this Bischoff-approved quote from commentator Tony Schiavone:
Fans, if you’re even thinking about changing the channel to our competition, do not. We understand that Mick Foley, who wrestled here at one time as Cactus Jack, is gonna win their World title. Ha! That’s gonna put some butts in the seats, heh.
At that exact moment, 600,000 Nitro viewers changed the channel to Monday Night Raw. Couple this with the infamous “Finger Poke of Doom” in the main event of that same night’s Nitro, featuring Kevin Nash laying down for Hollywood Hulk Hogan in a WCW World Championship match, and Raw would win the ratings for that night, never looking back. Various other missteps and backstage politics, including, but not limited to, the hiring of former WWF writers Vince Russo and Ed Ferrera, and putting the World Championship on Ready to Rumble star David Arquette, would eventually lead to the demise of WCW and WCW Monday Nitro. Vince McMahon would swoop in at the eleventh hour and purchase his former competitor for pennies on the dollar, but by then, WCW was a shadow of its former self, and the WCW Invasion angle on WWF television didn’t feature any of the marquee names from the heyday of the Monday Night War. But hey…when else are we going to get a WWF/WCW Invasion storyline in video game form? Why not complete the final chapter of the story, including that awful Booker T/Buff Bagwell match from Raw, and the eventual end of the Invasion angle at Survivor Series 2001?
The biggest hurdle in making WWE ’14 ‘The Monday Night War’ a reality and a success would be obtaining the rights to use talent currently under contract to another organization. WWE already owns everything WCW, so no one else is going to make a WCW game. But, would we want a Monday Night War game without some of the key players like Bischoff or Hogan? That’s where the ACTUAL Invasion storyline went awry. Outside of those select few personalities with contract issues, WWE ’14 could assemble a roster unparalleled, not only including the current WWE roster and an updated Attitude-Era roster, era-specific versions of current WWE superstars like Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho, and Big Show, but some of the marquee Monday Night War roleplayers like Nash, Hall, Goldberg, and Diamond Dallas Page.
If WWE ’14 ‘The Monday Night War’ becomes a reality, then why not continue the trend of revisiting some of the greatest storylines and characters in wrestling history? Why not a ‘Rise and Fall of ECW’ mode, focusing on sports entertainment’s red-headed stepchild throughout the Monday Night War era, spanning from Shane Douglas throwing down the NWA championship to the brand’s swan song at ECW One Night Stand (WWE pasteurized ECW, notwithstanding). If Vince and Terry ever get back on the same page, who wouldn’t want to play a Hulkamania story mode? The possibilities aren’t quite endless, but the possibilities are certainly exciting in regards to the future of the WWE video game license.
Filed Under: Make it So