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Video Game / WWE Video Games
aka: Smackdown Vs Raw

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The WWE 2K series of professional wrestling video games began in 2000 with the release of WWF SmackDown! for the PlayStation console. The series can be categorized into four separate sub-series/eras:

  • The SmackDown! series (2000-2003); a PlayStation-exclusive series produced by THQ and Yuke's with fast arcade-like gameplay.
    • Games in this subseries:
      • WWF SmackDown! (2000)
      • WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role (2000)
      • WWF SmackDown!: Just Bring It! (2001)
      • WWE SmackDown!: Shut Your Mouth (2002)
      • WWE SmackDown!: Here Comes the Pain (2003)
  • The SmackDown vs. Raw series (2004-2010); continuation of the THQ/Yuke's partnership. Originally cashing in on the brand warfare theme, it later became known for its Genre Shift from arcade-like gameplay to simulation, becoming a yearly institution in the vein of the Madden NFL games. The series went multi-platform, appearing on the PSP with the release of SmackDown vs. Raw 2006 and the Xbox 360, with the release of SmackDown vs. Raw 2007. SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 added the PS3, Wii and DS to the list of platforms. The era was also known for suffering with Capcom Sequel Stagnation.
    • Games in this subseries:
      • WWE SmackDown vs. Raw (2004)
      • WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2006 (2005)
      • WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007 (2006)
      • WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 (2007)
      • WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 (2008)
      • WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010 (2009)
      • WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011 (2010)
  • The WWE series (2011-2012); the final era from THQ. A major retool of the series gameplay-wise for the seventh generation consoles exclusively, a brand new engine and quite a number of changes made in the latter parts of the SmackDown vs. Raw era reverted.
    • Games in this subseries:
      • WWE '12 (2011)
      • WWE '13 (2012)
  • The WWE 2K series (2013-); the result of THQ's bankruptcy and the pre-meditated selling of their WWE licence to Take-Two Interactive. Published under the 2K Sports label, the series abandoned the Wii for 2K14 and made its way to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC for 2K15 and the Nintendo Switch for 2K18note  whilst still developing for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 until 2K18. Building upon the simulation style, Yuke's has continued to develop the games with the additional help from Visual Concepts (until 2K20 when Visual Concepts took over entirely).
    • Games in this subseries:
      • WWE 2K14 (2013)
      • WWE 2K15 (2014)
      • WWE 2K16 (2015)
      • WWE 2K17 (2016)
      • WWE 2K18 (2017)
      • WWE 2K19 (2018)
      • WWE 2K20 (2019)
      • WWE 2K22 (2021)
On April 2020, 2K
announced that they would skip a main series game release for 2020, instead releasing a spin-off called 2K Battlegrounds.

Tropes associated with this series include:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: In many of the games, the referee has to take a substantial amount of punishment (i.e: accidental or intentional bumps) before calling the match off for a DQ. The referee tends to be a lot less lenient in real life, disqualifying competitors for much smaller amounts of aggression towards them. However, given how annoying it would be to constantly be disqualified for accidentally striking the referee, you won't find too many players who complain about this.
  • Adaptation Decay: The real Championship Scramble's main draw is that the title can potentially change hands multiple times before the end of the match. In the game, the AI will just break up every pinfall when after the third superstar/diva enters the ring, meaning that unless there was a pinfall early on, the title probably won't change hands.note 
  • Advertisement:
  • All Just a Dream: 2007's "Uh oh, It's Magic" storyline was a result of this.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Smackdown 2: Know Your Role had a third gender as an option for create-a-wrestler mode called "???". In gameplay, Chyna fell under this, as under the normal gameplay mechanics, women could only contend for the Women's Championship.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The Road to WrestleMania mode for WWE '12 is played out this way, starting with Sheamus, followed by Triple H and finally a character of the player's choosing. There are also brief parts playing as John Cena, Randy Orton, Wade Barrett, and others.
  • An Interior Designer Is You: 2006 and 2007 gave you the ability to design your own locker room. '12 introduced the longly-awaited Create-An-Arena mode, while '13 allowed players to edit the stage for the first time.
  • Announcer Chatter:
    • This tends to vary on how good or bad it can be, with the worst case scenarios including getting the match type wrong and addressing wrestlers who are not even in the game. WWE 12 improved on it greatly, making it the best in quite some time.
    • "And this should be an amazing contest between these two men." Unless they're from The Crying Game, it's odd hearing this in a Divas match.
    • Sadly though, aside from certain wrestler-specific cues, the commentary as of 2k16 remained largely unchanged from '12, which meant that most of the references King and Cole make towards one another were very outdated, since Cole was no longer a heel commentator by the time of the game's release.
    • Thankfully averted in 2K19, where Cole is accompanied by Corey Graves and Byron Saxton, making the commentary far less grating (apart from Corey complaining about repeated use of a finisher as being like "having the same song on repeat on my playlist").
  • Artifact Title: In WWE '12, "Road to WrestleMania" is no longer a three month path to the WWE's Pay Per View spectacle, & instead has the player play through three consecutive storylines occuring concurrently, the time period covering no less than three WrestleMania shows. The final nail comes when you realise the final match doesn't even occur at the event, instead coming at a revived WCW's "Starrcade" Pay Per View instead.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI, due to bad programming, will end up in a 1-vs-1 match with two AI's. Another person runs down while one has the other in a pin to distract the referee. Due to the way the game works, the one guy that's pinning won't stop the pin, the one guy that's getting pinned won't kick out, and the guy that runs out (occasionally) won't stop distracting the referee, leaving you caught in an Infinite loop. The only way to stop this infinite loop is to stop the match in some way.
  • Artistic License – Geography: The Road to WrestleMania mode in 12 features an Evil Brit Power Stable called the "United Kingdom" consisting of two Englishmen in Wade Barrett and William Regal, a Scotsman in Drew McIntyre and an Irishman in Sheamus. Nobody told the storyline writers that Sheamus is from the Republic Of Ireland, which is separate from the UK. Somewhat related, but apparently the UK is only made of England, Scotland and Ireland. This is despite the fact that the roster includes Welshman Mason Ryan.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • Edge and Randy Orton's 2010 Road to Wrestlemania.
    • Also, Chris Jericho's 2011 Road to Wrestlemania, somewhat. See Bittersweet Ending below.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Many installments allow wrestlers to add insult to injury by giving them the ability to use their opponent's finishing maneuvers against them.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted in the current gen versions. While Divas still can't get busted open, they still will develop noticeable welts if they take enough damage.
  • Berserk Button: The AI treats gaining a signature or finishing move, or gaining the comeback mechanic, as this. It will do whatever it has to do, no matter how much it has to cheat, to prevent you from using it.
  • Betting Mini Game: The PSP version of 2006 featured a number of console-exclusive minigames, including a Poker game.
  • Beyond the Impossible: 2K20 can allow a champion of a belt to cash in on themselves and you can see them get beat up by no one to the point where they get lifted off the air and suplexed by themselves.
  • Big Head Mode: The game has one of these since 2K19.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Chris Jericho's RtWM in 2011, where even after you win at WrestleMania Triple H ultimately attacks you and stands tall. Considering your actions up to Wrestlemania, this could fall under Laser-Guided Karma.
    • The "Villain Story" in WWE '12, starring Sheamus. He manages to win every title in WWE by beating your former peers in the United Kingdom, only for Triple H to beat Sheamus up and win the WWE Title off of him. This is the transition point into the "Outsider Story" portion of RtWM.
  • Bowdlerize: In the second and third games, it was possible for players to create nude female characters via skin-colored outfit parts and creative use of patterns to make nipples. Since then, the game has tried various methods to prevent this. Shut Your Mouth disallowed adding patterns to female CAW torsos, but players figured out a way to hack the ability to add them back in. Later games caused the patterns to go behind the CAW's breasts instead of on top of them. This is all very annoying for players who just want to create female CAWs and have to settle for substandard ones because of the censorship-imposed limitations on them. 15 and 16 abandoned this, instead resorting to heavily monitoring community creations.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • In the earlier SmackDown games losing during storylines had some actual effect on the storyline being told creating different scenarios, now in the newer games version of Season Mode losing forces you to either rematch or quit the mode.
    • After your final match in the Season Mode of Shut Your Mouth (at WrestleMania X8), Mr. McMahon comes out and disrespects your performance. You are given three options to choose from: "Shut Your Mouth!!", "Shut Your Mouth!!", and "Shut Your Mouth!!"... all of which result in a vicious beatdown on Vinnie Mac from you and your WM opponent.
      • Another cutscene in Shut Your Mouth has someone demanding the player come out, saying the show will not start until they come out. You can choose not to go, but the last line of dialogue will repeat every time you select that choice, until you choose to come out.
  • Call-Back: In John Cena's Road to WrestleMania in '11, he and MVP are forced to fight in a tag match under Better-Than-Utopian rules Now known as "Age of Orton" rules, a ruleset MVP had created to use against Cena back in the '09 edition of SvR.
    • Shawn Michaels' Road to WrestleMania in 2010 had JBL play a farewell tribute video for HBK, that included clips from Know Your Role, Shut Your Mouth, SvR 2007 and SvR 2009.
  • Canon Discontinuity: WWE '13 retells the story of the Attitude Era. In the game's version, the first incarnation of D-Generation X consisted of HBK, HHH and nobody else.
  • Cannon Fodder: The battle royals in 2009 and 2011 in which the player has to eliminate an army of masked men and "lost soul" druids respectively.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • Sting was the Pre-Order Bonus for WWE 2K15 despite never having wrestled in WWE (until Survivor Series 2014.)
    • 2K15 introduced a number of dev-made created wrestlers in its Career Mode, the most infamous one being Barron Blade.
      • Barron Blade returned in 2k17, looking just as hilariously awful as before.
      • It seems he's now the mascot of the career mode, as he's back in 2K18, but with a personality, new clothes and (possibly?) a relegation to a backstage role.
      • And in 2K19, he's now the GM/head promoter for BCW, the indie promotion in which your MyCareer character starts their journey. Loading screen text states that he was released from the WWE after trying to pitch a new match type.
    • The random-looking wrestlers in Know Your Role that will occasionally beat up a wrestler on the card, then challenge whoever the player is using.note 
    • Battlegrounds has seven of these unlockable via campaign mode- New York street tough Bolo Reynolds, Florida gator wrestler Billy "The Python" Huggins, Mexican shaman T.J. "The Cure" Salazar, drill sergeant twins Cassie and Polly Velle, violent Scotswoman Jessica Johnson, and Detroit hacker Gabriel "The Disruptor" Pierce.
  • Canon Immigrant: Certain matches debuted on the games rather than the show itself, such as TLC singles matches, Hell In A Cell Tornado tag and Triple threat matches, and Ring of Fire match.
  • Character Customization: With truly a ludicrous amount of detail available the series is the standard bearer for wrestling games, perhaps in all video games. It has a budding community that produces thousands of works that you could download to the game in recent years.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In short before a match the winner is seemingly scripted or programmed in advance, especially if it serves to tell some universe or rival story, and the game has a very long list of tricks to ensure who it wants to win will win no matter what you say or do about it. There's a reason why it's specific page is The Long List.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: Roman Reigns, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Vader, Mick Foley, The Rock, Bruno Sammartino and Killer Kowalski would never be possible were it not for this game. Nor, see above, would Ryu Hayabusa, Shinji Ikari, Cloud Strife, Jin Kazama, James Kirk, Ryu, Forrest Griffin and Scorpion.
  • Costume Copycat - In Mickie James' 2010 Road to Wrestlemania, Natalya dresses up like her.
    • Especially amusing, as Mickie gets really annoyed. But how did Mickie debut properly in the WWE? Oh yeah, by being the Natalya to Trish Stratus. She even lampshades this. And not only that, Trish can be in the storyline, aswell.
  • Creator Cameo: Game designer Bryan Williams makes one in 2009, providing the voice for John Cena's soldier friend Tony.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Extremely common in the various "story modes" (such as My Career and Road to Wrestlemania). The typical formula for when the story needs you to lose a match is that you have to get your opponent down to low health, then you end up losing the match during the cutscene, however handily you were winning beforehand.
  • Daddy System: The PlayStation 2 served as this for the series from 2007 to 2011.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: The controls changed with every iteration up until WWE '12. They were changed again in 2K20.
  • Decade-Themed Filter: WWE 13 and onwards allows players to create arenas with filters from the 80s, 90s, late 90s and present day.
  • Decoy Protagonist:
    • The RtWM in WWE '12 starts with the player controlling John Cena & walking him through the backstage area to the ring, until Sheamus jumps him on the stage.
    • In one '13 Attitude Era match, the player controls Steve Austin as he makes his way to the ring... Only for the player to switch characters when he reaches the bottom of the ramp.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The ability to import faces and logos to use for customization. The same basic rules as the NBA series apply (not too large or small, any hair over the face will show and mess up, etc.) but this easy-to-use but powerful tool is the best so far, and for those who get it right it basically allows endless custom and modification options.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: In 2k19's MyCareer Mode, Triple H is your archenemy, making "Buzz"'s WWE career a living hell, even reforming Evolution after "Buzz" won the Universal Title to take him down. After soundly defeating Evolution at Fastlane with the help of Finn Balor and AJ Styles, they turn on you, with Styles cashing in his MitB contract to steal your title.
  • Downloadable Content: Introduced with 2009 which allows players to download extra wrestlers, arenas, or costumes.
    • Shows up even earlier in SvR06, which lets you download Jake "the Snake" Roberts, a PSP exclusive character, to the PS2 version if you have both.
  • Double Standard: In any match starting with 2010, it's okay for a Diva to attack a Superstar, but a Superstar attacking a Diva is an automatic DQ, even if it's accidental.
    • Even better - when your opponent has a manager, attack them. If they even so much as reverse the move, your opponent will be DQed.
  • Downer Ending: If you fail to beat The Undertaker in his storyline in 2011, he turns your character into a druid.
  • Dream Match Game: Either play with the official dream matches already drawn up, or create your own, or create your own.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Due to technical limitations of the original PlayStation, there was no referee and matches could only feature 4 participants until Just Bring It.
    • Just Bring It marked the first time entrances actually showed the superstars walking to the ring. The first two games featured the superstars & divas miming their entrances infront of their titantrons.
    • There was no submission system in the games until Here Comes The Pain. Before that, you had to cross your fingers if you were caught in a submission hold & hope you wouldn't submit.
    • There were certain moves that could automatically throw you out of the ring.
    • Divas were included in Royal Rumble matches in the first two games.
    • You could only assign one finisher to a character until Just Bring It.
    • There were no running finishers until Shut Your Mouth
    • Just Bring It was the first game in the series to allow 8 characters in the ring at any time. It was the only game in the series to have this feature until it was announced that WWE 2K18 would do this as well.
    • There was no commentary until Just Bring It.
    • Just Bring It marked the first time that an existing superstar or diva could have their move set & entrance altered by the player.
    • You couldn't customise the physical appearance of CAWs until Know Your Role. The original game merely allowed you to create the characters from the body parts of existing character models.
  • Easily Distracted Referee: May be prevalent in all games, but in '13, if a challenge is to pin someone in 10 seconds and that person has a manager at ringside, be ready for much rage, as that manager will make the referee stop counting for some reason, get up and have the referee try to keep that person out.
  • Evil Brit: '12 has a Power Stable full of them called the "United Kingdom", featuring the English William Regal and Wade Barrett, the Scottish Drew McIntyre and the Irish Sheamus (despite Sheamus hailing from Dublin, the capital of the part of Ireland that isn't part of the UK), and the game including the Welsh Mason Ryan who actually is from the UK).
  • Evil Cripple: The Miz becomes one in WWE 12 after a career-ending leg injury. Or so it seems.
  • Expy: Buzz and Cole from 2K19's MyPlayer mode are clearly based on Daniel Bryan and Kenny Omega, respectively. Like Bryan and Omega, the two wrestled each other in the indies, and went on different paths afterwards, with Buzz going to the WWE (like Bryan) and Cole going to Japan (like Omega). Buzz even has Triple H making his WWE career a living hell, much like in the real world Bryan was in a storyline in which Triple H founded The Authority to screw him over, with Buzz even facing an Authority-like faction, Evolution reunion and all.
  • Fanservice:
    • 2006 introduced the Fulfill Your Fantasy Mode essentially a cosplay version of the Bra & Panties mode with some slight tweaks.
    • The previous game had various divas dancing during the menu screens.
    • Shut Your Mouth had an unlockable video: footage from the divas' swimsuit photoshoot.
    • Up until around 2010, you could put Diva CAWs in g-strings and tiny bras.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: In 2010 and 2011 some of the RtWM storylines dictate that your character get beaten up resulting in a loss or something close to it. For example, in Christian’s mode, his match at the Royal Rumble is ruined by Dolph Ziggler after he interferes and causes his opponent to hit him with a chair. Fortunately, Christian is able to exact payback by beating Dolph on Smackdown in the next match.
  • Five Moves of Doom: As of WWE '12, the games have included an ability called "Comeback", if a player enacts this and complete the sequence they will perform the first three moves of doom. After successfully completing this sequence player automatically gains their Signature Move with their opponent already set up for it, executing this of course gives the player their Finishing Move completeing the sequence.
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: Mickie James's RtWM in 2010. Her RtWM involves Natalya as her crazy stalker, a part Mickie herself played against Trish Stratus when she arrived at WWE.
    • 2007 has a storyline with Stephanie McMahon that is very close to the "Higher Power" angle, with Roddy Piper taking the place of The Undertaker. Both involve Vince McMahon aligning with someone he was feuding with to rescue his kidnapped daughter, and Vince is the mastermind of both kidnappings.
  • Foreshadowing: In Triple H's "Road to WrestleMania" story in WWE '12, there's a Rule of Funny scene where Kevin Nash just shows up and Powerbombs him to invoke Get A Hold Of Yourself Man. The next and final story - Jacob Cass's - features HHH as the Big Good, and Nash as the Big Bad.
  • Fun with Acronyms: If you choose a created superstar for the Road to WrestleMania mode in '12, his name will be Jacob Cass, i.e. Create A Super Star.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The game sure likes to crash or glitch in the event you are winning however this can result in losing your save data or even all the content on your system, turning it into a XBOX or Playstation breaking bug. There is no way to recover or download again what was lost, it all has to be done again from scratch. As of 2K18 you still risk destroying your system playing this.
    • 2K20 has its own fair share of these, notably crashing whenever the console's date was set to 2020 note .
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Multiple cases, but here's one of the more egregious ones. When playing through Sheamus' "Road To WrestleMania" in WWE 12, you find yourself in a tag team match against John Cena and Rey Mysterio. You can beat the hell out of Cena to the point where you're just seconds away from hitting him with your finisher...and then before the match ends it goes to a cutscene where you're getting ready to hit Rey with a finisher and Cena (who seems to be in no pain at all) stops you before you can.
  • Gang Up on the Human: Triple threat or fatal 4 way matches usually end up just a glorified handicap match, to the point where in a triple threat match if you are pinned the third CPU opponent will happily stand by and lose, just so long as you do as well.
  • Gaiden Game: WWF Royal Rumble for the Dreamcast (originally an arcade game than ran on Dreamcast-based NAOMI hardware) serves this to the SmackDown games, considering it was also developed by Yuke's.
  • Glass Jaw Referee: Somewhat averted in recent games whereby you can still knock down the referee but now he can't be targeted and he no longer stays down for very long.
    • ...But in 2K17, this is upgraded to subverted- You can't target the referee by default, but there is an option to turn on the feature.
    • The earlier games, by contrast, tended to play this straight. You could even leave a referee unconscious from performing a simple schoolboy on him by accident. A schoolboy does next to no damage to anyone else in the game.
  • Groin Attack: Be honest, the first thing you did with the Create-A-Finisher mode was make a move that consisted of 10 consecutive low blows...
  • Guest Fighter: The series has seen quite a number of guest fighters, notably the inclusions of legends since HCTP. The legends roster generally consists on a group of regulars (The Rock, Stone Cold, Bret Hart, Mick Foley; Shawn Michaels and Edge upon their retirements, etc.), legends particularly relevant to WWE at a given time (Eddie Guerrero in 2007 after his death, Kevin Nash and Booker T in '12 after their Royal Rumble returns), and filled up with a diverse group of random legends. Although the series has seen a few other non-legendary guests:
    • Fred Durst in Just Bring It
    • The Masked Man (aka Randy Orton and/or Mr. Kennedy) and John Cena's soldier friend Tony in 2009
    • Green and Red in 2010
    • Undertaker's Druid in 2011
    • Mike Tyson in WWE '13
    • The T-800 (both the Terminator 1 and Terminator 2 models) in 2K16.
    • Cole Quinnnote , Barron Blade, and El Mago in 2K19.
    • Brooklyn Von Braun, El Mago Jr, Josie Jane, Reilly Flash, and Ribbie in 2K20.
    • Damian Lillard and Rob Gronkowski (under the names Laheem Lillard and Gronkster) in WWE 2K Battlegrounds.
  • Head Swap: Both played with straight and inverted in the first two SmackDown games with the Create-A-Superstar mode. You can use existing heads, torsos or legs from existing characters.
    • In WWE 2K14, CAW mode introduces Superstar Heads. You can create new attires and use different body templates for a few superstars. The Undertaker in a gorilla suit, why not?
  • Hostile Show Takeover: WWE '12 rehashes the 2001 WCW invasion storyline. Strangely enough, the storyline features WCW acting nWo-like such as spraypainting WWE title belts, which is ironic considering the nWo did the exact same thing to WCW in the 1990s.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Played with for Brooklyn Von Braun in 2K20, who is voiced by Maya Rose Berko.
  • Interface Spoiler: The Hero story in WWE '12 - Kevin Nash & Rey Mysterio have defeated Jacob Cass & Triple H at WrestleMania, bringing back WCW... And then the credits roll. The astute player will notice that the achievement/trophy unlock hasn't pinged to let you know you've unlocked the "Complete Hero Story" achievement/trophy, and then the credits are interrupted by Kevin Nash in the Nitro ring.
  • Jerkass: In RtW in 2011, everyone you talk to backstage (storylines aside) treats you like crap, merely asking you to leave them alone.
  • Jiggle Physics: Introduced in the later SmackDown vs. Raw games. It was ridiculously cartoon-ish looking and since 95% of the women have oversized breast implants, their boobs shouldn't move that much and thus, was eventually scrapped, before being brought back in 2K15.
  • Jump Scare: In Chapter 10 of WWE 2K20's Career Mode, Red is inside a broken down house complete with spider webs. The scene spins around her head and the player can briefly see flashes of Nikki Cross climbing the wall like Spider-Man. When she lands, before giving the player her Pre Ass Kicking One Liner, her head abruptly snaps to the side of her neck with NO warning.
  • Karma Houdini: In RtW Edge and Randy Orton in 2010. Subverted with Chris Jericho in 2011.
  • Kayfabe: Defied in Here Comes The Pain season mode, which tells stories about you as a wrestler rather than you as a performer, from getting into a relationship with a diva; for real; not as part of a storyline, to earning the respect of your peers which can be difficult when trying to work out which options, if any, will positively or negatively affect them, or encounters that will have a bad result no matter what.
  • Lampshade Hanging: See Leaning on the Fourth Wall below.
    • Also in Shawn Michaels' 2010 RtWM, his "highlights" are done in graphics from the appropriate previous installments
    • Jim Ross quotes a point made on Raw about keeping weapons under the ring so competitors can hit each other with them.
    • There's a scene in 2K19 where Matt Hardy acknowledges Barron Blade's many tortured existences, acknowledging how he keeps showing up in My Career in different roles.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In 2010's Create-A-Superstar's Road to Wrestlemania storyline, Santino points out that the wrestler is "like something some loser would make in a video game". He also looks dead on at the camera.
    • Pushed to even further levels in 2011 with Edge and Christian:
    Edge: "Dude, we totally fooled the player into thinking we weren't going to reunite."
    Christian: "I know, we totally ... wait a minute? Player? What player?"
    Edge: "You see that weirdo staring at us through the TV?"
    [Edge & Christian both look directly into the screen, with Edge waving at the player]
    Christian: "No, but I'll take your word for it."
    • Then again if you have the two wrestle each other at WrestleMania.
    Christian: "Y'know, I wonder if that player dork thought you were going to hit me."
    Edge: "As if!"
    • There's also a scene where The Miz and John Morrison insult Triple H, saying how only losers play games.
    • For that matter, there's a scene in WWE'12 where The Miz insults Triple H. The Game speaks for us all.
    Man I wish we weren't in the PG era right now.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters:
    • For most fighting games, having fifty characters is an incredible feat. Using WWE '13 and 2K14 as examples, that's how many custom characters you can have in the former, and with all the superstars and divas that you can buy, download and unlock the roster is nearly double that.
    • After many fans were upset that WWE 2K15 only contained 67 superstars on the main disc, and a lot of its DLC characters should have been included at launch, it has been confirmed WWE 2K16 will contain 124 superstars in the main game (counting alternates). Not only that, but based on the reveals, it seems that all of 15's DLC characters (except Hogan) will be included. Counting the 100 CAW slots and the fact that there will be at least 20 DLC characters, a player could easily have approximately 250 characters to choose from.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading:
    • Mainly in 2010's Create a Storyline mode, after each cutscene, there's a lot of loading.
    • One of the few complaints of 2006, made worse if playing with created wrestlers.
    • SmackDown 2: Know Your Role was this series' first offender of this trope. Compared to the original SmackDown, it not only it took its time to load the arena during the Anywhere Fall matches, it has also reloaded the backstage scenery and the wrestlers despite all that data has already been seen in a cutscene right before that. As if that wasn't enough, in a Royal Rumble, each wrestler had to load after the countdown. This has to be done in its predecessor, but the loading times were even shorter. In fact, they took a couple of seconds. SmackDown 2's loading took roughly 7 seconds each.
    • The PSP versions of Smackdown vs Raw 2006-2011 pretty much take this Up to Eleven. The games constantly load between menu settings, cutscenes, and entrances. Getting to the matches themselves can take up to almost an entire minute. It's even worse with any CAWs due to the massive size of textures to load onto the PSP, so much that in SvR06, the game has to warn you about the load times before selecting through each and every single piece of clothing and wrestling moves. It brings the whole thing to a very slow tedious process.
    • Create a Superstar in 2K15 and 16 is ridiculously slow when loading or deleting parts. Well, slow for eighth gen gaming, that is.
    • Playing 2K17 and want to change the material of a piece of clothing? Get ready for a big wait, as the materials take an agonisingly long time to load, and there's no delay before loading, so if you want to get to material F, have fun waiting for materials A, C and D to load as you scroll down.
  • Magic Wand: The infamous "Uh-Oh It's Magic" storyline in 2007 where Candice Michelle is in possession of a magic wand, turning the player's character into a woman (which attracts Viscera on the way), giving herself perfect attribute points and turning Edge into the Boogeyman with Daivari's voice.
  • Male Gaze: Stephanie Mcmahon is subjected to this a lot in SvR07's story mode, with the camera regularly sneaking a shot of her chest and butt. The first shot of her in one storyline is literally a closeup of her Absolute Cleavage before panning up to her face.
  • Mind Screw: 2007's "Uh oh, It's Magic" storyline mentioned above.
    • 2011's Vs. Undertaker storyline features its own moments like having an entire battle royal replaced with a Zerg Rush situation vs. Taker's druids, and the arena audience all replaced with druids.
  • Mirror Match:
    • Averted in general - only one person can use a specific superstar in a match.
    • Averted in the SmackDown vs Raw series, which featured the 3 Faces of Foley (occasionally with plain old Foley himself there too), in addition to classic versions of Undertaker & Kane, but would lock the player out of variations of the character if another was used.
    • In Smackdown VS. RAW 2006, there are 3 different versions of Hulk Hogan (his '80s version, "Hollywood Hogan", and his modern day version), and the game allows you to have them face each other.
    • From WWE '13 onwards players can play as the past and present incarnations of certain superstars, and does let you have the past versions of superstars face their future selves. In fact, WWE '13 has achievements for beating a past version of a superstar with their future self, and vice versa.
    • Parodied in 2K20 if a superstar uses their Money in the Bank briefcase on a championship they already won. The match will have the superstar against themselves where they and the referee are the only two people in the ring where they get punched and suplexed by invisible forces.
  • Moral Myopia: Bray Wyatt in 2K19's MyCareer mode. He vows Revenge on the Player Character for burning his cabin down... which was already retribution for what Bray himself had done to the Character's late father's van.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Give your created wrestler a really lame finish and SVR (starting from 06) will "sell" the move like it's the awesome most thing ever. Watch as the game goes into slow motion with dramatic "whoosh" sound effect when your created wrestler does his finisher... an eye poke.
  • Mythology Gag: Christian's RtWM in 2011 is filled with these.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The intro video for Just Bring It is one of the most infamously misleading examples in history. It is not representative of what the actual game looks like at all and considering how mediocre the game itself is, it makes you wonder if most of the budget was spent on the intro.
  • No Flow in CGI: Played straight in the early games, averted in the later ones (though it has resulted in the highly ridiculed "seaweed" hair).
  • Not the Intended Use: In Here Comes the Pain, if you lean a table on the turnbuckle and run into it, you will be "stunned" for a few seconds and it is possible to be grappled by your opponent while in this condition. This counts as a table attack, and will result in DQ if this happens in normal matches. It is possible to keep doing this and if you do so, you will get easy wins in most of your Season mode campaign.
  • Obvious Beta: The last few games suffered from this. No patch was ever released to fix the bugs.
    • The glitches and restrictions of the SmackDown games. For example, in SvR 2010, you can download wrestlers, but not edit their moves or entrances. Have fun with that Hulk Hogan that has an improper move set and entrance. Somewhat justifiable as the downloaded CAW comes with whatever custom finisher given to them. The same, however, cannot be said about the custom tracks used as a CAW's entrance theme, leaving him/her without any music once uploaded.
      • No Rumble matches or any match with six competitors for Divas. My head hurts.
      • It's been stated that, while there are still no Superstar vs. Divas matches, Divas could now participate in any match type in 2011 (save for six-person matches due to graphical issues).
      • Any match with a ladder. You can place a ladder at the entrance in a match that doesn't need it and the AI will limp from the ringside announce tables to get it. No. Matter. WHAT.
      • Becomes a Game Breaking Glitch in Money In The Bank Ladder matches - You can take one ladder, and leave it on the stage and every single one of the AI opponents will run after it, and start fighting over it, whilst you get the other ladder & start unhooking the briefcase.
    • Hurricane being in as an NPC in 2011 for whatever reason and not a full fledged playable character.
    • Interference is a pain in the ass in SvR 2011. When someone interferes on your opponent's behalf, the ref will totally ignore your pinning attempts entirely and actively seek out the interfering party. To spell it out, in a Falls Count Anywhere match, you can be wrestling someone in the entrance and someone runs out to interfere. Never mind the fact that they'll run past you and head for the ring, but if you pin your opponent, the ref will run to the ring and be "distracted".
    • Don't even think about messing around with the save game, it will corrupt and you'll lose all your data.
    • 2007's commentary will frequently have the commentators shouting random lines like "He reversed it!", despite no such action taking place. They'll also start randomly talking about wrestlers who aren't even involved in the match, especially William Regal.
    • Where to begin with 2K20? Glitches, graphical issues up the wazoo such as missing faces, and physics being all over the place.
  • Off-Model:
    • Prior to 2K15, the series was prone to this, especially with lower card talents. The worst offender was Booker T in WWE '12 and '13 who looked like a horse's ass. With 2K15, WWE talents were scanned into the game & given much better likenesses. Though there are still examples of this in 2K15, however. The Hollywood & Modern versions of Hulk Hogan are not bald like the man himselfnote , despite Hogan being scanned into the game. Others such as Vince McMahon, Diamond Dallas Page, most of the Divas and wrestlers who weren't scanned into the game look less realistic than the rest of the roster.
    • There are some glaring examples of the same wrestler or diva looking off-model on seventh generation consoles when compared to their character model on the PS2 in the same game. Just compare Torrie Wilson in her final two appearances in the series, and the PS2 version looks far more accurate despite the hardware limitations. Or John Cena and Edge in any title on seventh generation consoles starting from Smackdown vs Raw 2011 onwards compared to their appearance in previous titles, or even SVR06. Edge for example, still doesn't look right even as recently as WWE 2K18, and Cena, despite being a perpetual main eventer and their official top face for so long, had a permanent scowl on eight gen consoles despite being scanned into the games, until 2K18 fixed his face. There's also the issue of past versions of a current wrestler such as Triple H or the Undertaker having their present day scans used without any de-aging applied, thereby making the retro versions look as old as they are today. Then there's Randy Savage, who, until WWE 2K18 had the wrong eye color (dark brown instead of blue) and looked more like Randy Poffo's neanderthal ancestor until 2K20 made his nose smaller and lips thinner, making him look more like the real Randy did.
  • Original Generation: In WWE 12, one of the three Road to WrestleMania stories centers on a new character named Jacob Cass.
  • Palette Swap: Superstars Threads is literally a mode built around this trope.
    • Red and Green is a more straight-forward example.
  • Perfect-Play A.I.: Often, the AI will become an unstoppable reversing machine for no rhyme or reason, this is almost a gameplay mechanic: in a bid to be, realistic a match will ramp up the difficulty as much as needed to make it competitive, action orientated, Always Close. It just so happens that it doesn't matter how much the game has to cheat or glitch to do so.
  • Periphery Demographic: The roster in Here Comes The Pain is so full of former WCW stars of its late 90s golden era, that it has been described as 'the best WCW game never made' by some fans. It includes the likes of Goldberg, Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner, Booker T, Roddy Piper, Ric Flair, Rey Mysterio Jr., Ultimo Dragon, Big Show (known as Giant in WCW), Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Sean O'Haire, Hurricane (known as Shane Helms in WCW), Lance Storm, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Torrie Wilson, Stacy Keibler and Eric Bischoff. Whilst a handful of them had appeared in previous games, several made their debut here and they would never all appear in the same game again.
  • Power Stable:
    • D-Generation X, Right to Censor, the Radicalz, the nWo, Evolution, the Nexus, the Corre and the Shield have all been included in the games due to their presence on WWE TV.
    • Here Comes The Pain has the player create one during story mode, even choosing the group's name; subsequently another is formed to fight the player's.
    • WWE '12 features the United Kingdom, the Mizfits, and WCW in Road to WrestleMania.
    • WWE '13 focusing on the Attitude Era meant that D-Generation X, the Corporation, Ministry of Darkness & the Brood were all featured.
    • WWE 2K14 features the Million Dollar Corporation due to the 30 Years of WrestleMania, and the WCW-era nWo as DLC.
  • Pro Wrestling Is Real: Both the game mechanics and most story modes. 2K15's MyCareer mode sort of zig-zags this. A lot of pro wrestling jargon is used and the goal of the mode is to put on good matches instead of winning. However, you still get text messages and tweets from guys saying "I want to beat you up!", etc. and the angles are portrayed as real.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Sheamus's branch of RtWM in WWE '12 ends with him winning every title at WrestleMania, only for Royal Rumble winner Triple H to make his return & promptly beat Sheamus for the WWE title.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • Chris Benoit being dummied out in SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 due to his ill health leading to the tragedy that ended his and his family's life.
    • All over the shop in WWE 2K14.
      • Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler are on commentary for every single match in "30 Years of WrestleMania" due to Gorilla Monsoon's death, Bobby Heenan losing his voice, Vince McMahon due to his backstage responsibilities, Jesse Ventura being busy with politics meaning it would be impossible to recreate the actual commentary teams for the first eight events.
      • WrestleManias 14 & 15 are largely glossed over due to WWE '13 already covering that period in the "Attitude Era" mode the prior year.
      • WrestleManias 2000 & X-Seven omit some of the most memorable matches that took place at the events due to several of the participants being under contract to TNA. This notably doesn't apply to Hulk Hogan, who was also under a Legend's contract with WWE in addition to his TNA contract.
      • WrestleMania 20 highlights Big Show vs. John Cena, and Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar. Whilst Show/Cena is justifiable due to it being Cena's first ever title win, Goldberg/Lesnar is largely considered one of the worst WrestleMania matches. The choice in matches is due to the main events featuring Kurt Angle (Contracted to TNA) & Chris Benoit (See above).
    • 2K16 replacing Bill DeMott with Matt Bloom as NXT's head trainer, which was done in real life after DeMott resigned following allegations of racist and homophobic bullying from former developmental talents. Bloom acts almost like a saint (which anyone who has seen the WWE Network show Breaking Ground knows this is not the case, as he's stern, but still fair) as opposed to DeMott's loudmouthed, obnoxious behavior in the previous game.
    • 2K16 again with the Steve Austin career Showcase Mode. While Owen Hart is mentioned in cutscenes, he does not appear within the gameplay. This is because Owen's widow Martha Hart refuses to allow the WWE to use Owen in any video games after Attitude as she holds the company responsibile for his death.
  • Relationship Values: A plus and minus personality system was used for created wrestlers in the earlier SmackDown games that would determine match interference. The system was revived and revamped for 2010, now involving every wrestler in the game. It would also play a major part in 2011's WWE Universe mode.
  • Rubber-Band A.I.: In 2010 especially, acquire a finisher and your opponent goes into full on berserk, The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard mode and will do anything, anything, to prevent you from using it. Of course this is in line with at real events a wrestler might bail out of the ring to collect themselves if they are being badly beaten, but good luck trying that yourself. The computer has no problems doing this.
    • After a few wins in WWE 12 the computer will see fit to give your opponent a finisher whenever it is losing, and take away the kickout meter virtually guaranteeing a loss. This has carried over each year so that you virtually have to play each match like a pro wrestling event: take a beating and hope the game will let you catch up and use a comeback or special move to shift momentum, rather than actually try and get better and beat an opponent.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The 2006 game especially had lots of little nods and touches to make the game just like a live broadcast. Everything from a jab at Muhammed Hassan to someone in the crowd laughing at Mick Foley just like at a real event to references to the Montreal Screwjob.
    • The move lists of the superstars heavily invoke this. As an example, superstars who started out on the indies - Such as Antonio Cesaro, Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan & CM Punk - have moves in their repertoires that they've never used on WWE television but had done on the indies.
    • 2k18 has Corey Graves call—incorrectly, sadly—a springboard spiked tombstone piledriver as a Meltzer Driver.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One fan in SvR 2006 loves to yell out "Johnny, you're a cream puff!" every now and then.
    • Some of the items you can give a created wrestler fall under this category. For instance, you can give your character a hood that's not unlike Cobra Commander's.
    • On that note THQ's wrestling games made it pretty easy to create characters from other games. They clearly realized this as one of the default custom wrestlers in the original SmackDown vs. Raw was an Expy of Chun Li from Street Fighter.
    • Many storylines in Here Comes the Pain are references to real WWF/E segments in the past, such as (insert rebellious superstar here) vs Vince segment, The Royal Rumble segment where you and your rival are out of the ring "almost at the same time", and an unlikely tag team segment where your partner gives you a birthday cake when it isn't even your birthday.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: Of sorts. In WWE '13's Attitude Era mode, possibly stemming from using archive audio, whenever the original WWF initals or the full name of the company are spoken, the "F"/"Federation" part will be muted out.
  • Spiteful A.I.: The game mechanics are thus: do well enough to build momentum most of the way and you get a signature move, hit it and you get a much more powerful finisher. In recent years the computer hates this and will go all out to stop you hitting the signature move.
    • If you are trying to beat the clock, especially to fulfill an objective, the game will use the longest, most time wasting moves in their arsenal.
    • 2K17 has you earn VC points based on how good a match is. Problem is the CPU is hell bent and determined to force you into the most boring match possible. Ever were it Lesnar vs Blake, on easy, cheating like crazy is old hat by now but now it comes with irish whipping you all day, using the same move over and over and over again, countering everything you can throw at it and not allowing you to counter or dodge any move, or even recover.
    • How bad is it? Gang Up on the Human being in full effect is standard, but it gets taken Up to Eleven when even in the middle of a move during a triple threat or fatal four way your opponent will be attack: because the third or fourth man want to beat up on you. They're not content to stand back and let you get hurt, oh no, they have to be the ones to do it and will fight everyone else to do it.
  • Stock Subtitle: From SmackDown 2 to SmackDown vs. Raw; the second through third games used catchphrases from The Rock (Know Your Role, Just Bring It, and Shut Your Mouth) while the fourth used a phrase associated with Brock Lesnar (Here Comes The Pain). It was joked at the time of the rebranding that they were running out of catchphrases to use, and they couldn't exactly call the game WWE SmackDown: You Can't See Me.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: After almost a ten year tenure, Green and Red were Put on a Bus for WWE '12 and replaced in the create modes with two generic wrestlers with black and red trunks. Guess which of the two is getting beat up in the Create-A-Moveset mode? Yeah, it's the red one.
  • Take That!:
    • Against your character in Road to Wrestlemania, who has to do everything from fight in handicap matches in a stupid outfit chosen by Vince McMahon to being forced to wear a chicken suit. Santino against the player, heck, even the game itself regards you as a loser.
    (in-game text describing Mr. McMahon's business suit) While your work attire might be a paper hat and smock, Vince McMahon wears luxurious suits.
    • At Unforgiven during Attitude mode in WWE '13, Good Ol' JR will soundly tear apart Eric Bishoff over his real life statement that "Stone Cold" Steve Austin would never make it in the wrestling business. Later, when Mick Foley wins his first championship, the game brings up the attempt at a take-that from WCW that spectacularly failed and essentially killed the company.
    • Look through the games from HCTP to 2k14. Pay attention to the damage rating on the Styles Clash. It seems to drop every damn game. Also of note is the Scorpion Death Drop vanishing for 5 or so games, the version of the Edgecution that looked like the Angel's Wings being removed altogether after 2006, and, from the same game, Jimmy Hart using Rhyno's entire moveset (sans taunts).
  • Take That, Critics!: After Just Bring It was heavily criticised by fans & critics alike over the heavily outdated rosternote  & several technical flawsnote , the severely improved follow-up released the next year was appropriately entitled Shut Your Mouth.
  • Taunt Button: Which has the purpose of filling a superstar's "Adrenaline" a bit, in order to reach a point where they can use a signature manuever on an opponent.
  • The Computer Shall Taunt You: During Chris Jericho's RtWM in the 2011 game, you have to wrestle a match with Triple H sitting in on commentary and continually talking about what a joke you are, providing incentive to go after him later on.
  • Trolling Translator: In 2K19, Shinsuke Nakamuranote  gets to be one of these - or at least a mocking one - to the player character in MyCareer. During the WWE's tour in Japan, but before a match against one another, he plucks a magazine out of the character's hands and reads from the cover.
    Shinsuke Nakamura: It says you had a successful Japanese debut last night. But, tonight, you face the King of Strong Style in his kingdom and you will be lucky to go back to America... with all your teeth.
    Buzz/Player Character: D-.. Does it really say all that?
    Shinsuke Nakamura: ...more or less.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Randy Orton in 2011, The Miz and Kevin Nash in '12.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: After a main event in 13's universe mode one possible scene is the message The End is Coming as the competitors look freaked out. Get ready for someone on the roster to get a big push.
  • Villain Protagonist:
    • SmackDown vs Raw 2006, it can be whoever your playing as at the end of the SmackDown season, either because you defected to the ECW faction, or were revealed to be the one who ran over Teddy Long in the parking garage.
    • Edge and Randy Orton in 2010.
    • Chris Jericho (and possibly Rey Mysterio) in 2011.
    • Sheamus in WWE '12.
  • Versus Title: SmackDown Vs Raw 2005-2011 (2004 was the first game and didn't have the year on it)
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Yes.
    • In earlier games with GM mode where wrestlers were more vocal about being mistreated, or Universe mode you can to some degree control how they are utilized. Naturally you'd want your favorites to gain momentum but you might want to give someone who is crapped on for real a push, or help build the tag team and Diva divisions.
    • When you are fighting to save a Diva, or you go to them (or better yet, they come to you on Valentine's Day, especially if you made a CAW you dearly love).
    • The storyline in Here Comes the Pain where you receive a Diva as your manager. Another Diva will attempt to seduce you, and another wrestler will attempt to steal your Diva from you by wrestling her. If you help your Diva win but have mistreated her, she will slap you and storm off. The Diva who seduced you will also abandon you. However, treat her well, flirt with her, and then help her win, and the two of you will share a passionate kiss on the entrance ramp. Twice. Jim Ross, the man who set the two of you up in the first place, will congratulate you from commentary.
    • In one of the Smackdown storylines in SVR 2007, you're part of team Smackdown with Batista and Booker T. Unfortunately, Booker gets attacked by Triple H, and accuses Batista of being a mole due to his past ties with HHH and Ric Flair, who are on Team Raw. Choose to believe the rumors, and you and Batista will have to face Raw in a 3-on-2 handicap elimination match after Booker himself is revealed to be the mole. However, if you defend Batista, you will be rewarded with the right to replace Booker, keeping it 3 on 3.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: SvR 2011, Rey Mysterio throughout his RtW get these from Superstars and Divas, stating that he's Not Himself. Justified as he's been in a car accident and has since been hanging with Jack Swagger, the person behind the accident in the first place.
  • Wolverine Publicity/Covers Always Lie: Bret Hart is front and center on the Canadian cover for 2011, but is not in the game unless you download him from the Play Station Network/Xbox Live.
  • Would Hit a Girl: For most of the series, you could put divas in the ring against the men. Many pre-SvR games could even extend the female characters' rights by making them either male or genderless. WWF SmackDown: Shut Your Mouth, in turn, had no other option of putting a female CAW into the Career Mode rather than choosing the second option. As of SvR 2010, there is no more intergender competition other than Mixed Tag Team matches, and in those attacking a female wrestler with a male one is an instant disqualification (and DQs cannot be turned off in this match). The reasoning behind this is officially part of WWE's post-2008 efforts to clean up the company's image, which included banning male-on-female violence. There's also persistent speculation that some executive somewhere thought that the possibility of the girls beating the guys devalued the guys and removed it for that reason.

Alternative Title(s): WWE, Smackdown Vs Raw


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