The very first pro wrestling video game dates all the way back to 1983. It was released in arcades as The Big Pro Wrestling!, and later renamed Tag Team Wrestling when it was converted over to the Nintendo. In that game, you played as two identical tag team partners and competed against the same tag team - cleverly called the Heel Team - over and over again, using a repertoire of about ten basic wrestling maneuvers.
It was pretty terrible, even at a time when the height of video game excellence was Ms. Pac Man.
Luckily, wrestling-based video games have evolved steadily over the last thirty years, constantly upping the technicality and increasing the number of playable characters into the hundreds. WWE 2K16, for instance, includes more than 120 wrestlers, including a whole host of WWE legends as unlockable characters.
In between that time, however, there was a substantially long and awkward period where video game developers tried to pad their rosters with some truly odd, super unnecessary "bonus" wrestlers.
Perhaps to make up for some of the superstars left out of the game due to licensing issues, they packed in random "easter eggs," which gave you the opportunity to play as managers, commentators, celebrities, as well as wholly fictitious imaginings which sometimes included inanimate objects. This usually left gamers scratching their heads, wondering why they could play as a character from a Mary Shelley novel...but not Ric Flair.
Let's explore those awkward years.