Developed and published by Sega in 1986 for the Sega Master System, Pro Wrestling gives you an opportunity to step inside the ring and win the tag team championship in three separate leagues. Featuring four different tag teams and a two-player mode, Pro Wrestling was an early hit for Sega Master System fans. How does the game hold up over 30 years later? Hopefully better than its terrible cover art.
There’s no plot in Pro Wrestling, but I’ll write what’s on the back of the game case.
“It’s the video match of the year: A no-holds-barred battle between you and a friend, or some of the biggest bruisers this side of the Madison Square Garden.
Just try to pin The Iron Soldier. Or wiggle away from The Giant Bull. Or just survive the cruel Crusher Brothers.
Body Slam. Drop Kick. Pile Drive. You’ll even have the notorious German Suplex Hold. All at your command.
Go for the title. Mexican League, Pacific League or World League. Whatever you do, play rough. Play to win.”
Oh boy, okay let’s get this out of the way first. Does Pro Wrestling have the worst cover art in the history of video games? I mean I know that the Sega Master System is infamous for the terrible art on the box but this one tops the cake. Look at it! I didn’t know what I was looking whether that man was holding his own head or someone else’s and if it is someone else, where is his head?
You can select four different tag teams in Pro Wrestling, in the Japanese version it’s all females but for some reason, they decided to change the teams to male with the North American release. There are the Mad Soldiers, who wear masks as you see in Mexican wrestling. Next comes the Orient Express who I think are Asian. The third team is the Great Maskmen who also wear wrestling masks and finally, there are the Crush Brothers who remind me of the Hulk Hogan type. I picked the Crush Brothers for my playthrough.
Each tag team has special moves that they can pull off in matches and when it happens it’s glorious. Here’s a list of the moves for each team.
Crush Brothers: Brain Buster, Senton, German Suplex Hold, Neck Breaker Drop.
Great Maskmen: Body Slam, Pile Driver, Cross Chop, Head Butt.
Orient Express: Giant Swing, Boston Crab, Rolling Sobat, Karate Punch.
Mad Soldiers: Lariat, Elbow Drop, Elbow Smash, Neck Breaker Drop.
Aside from the special moves that occur when you a combination of buttons at the right time, there is the typical punch and kick. The goal of each match is to pin a member of the opposing team by draining their health bar with body blows. Once you feel that the opponent is weakened enough you can try and pin them when they are on the ground. You’ll hop on top and the ref will start hitting the mat and if he gets to three you win the match.
Overall, Pro Wrestling will take you through three different leagues, the Mexican League, Pacific League, and World League. You have to win ten matches in each league to become the champions that come with a belt and trophy. After you win the league you’ll get a short cut scene of a plane landing in the next area like Hawaii or New York. The presentation for Pro Wrestling is solid, you’ll get the teams walking into the ring, a cheering crowd, and a different ref for each league. You’ll even see the ropes on the ring jiggle if you throw someone into them.
The first five matches of Pro Wrestling I didn’t know what I was doing and just mashed buttons to see what they did. It was a wild experience and saw lots of action. At one point the opposing team hopped out of the ring and picked up a chair to try and bash me with. I was shocked to see that gameplay in such an early Sega Master System game. After five matches I found the cheapest way to win. The opponent no matter who it is will always charge forward at you to engage. All you have to do is kick them continuously as they move forward to drain their health just below halfway and then pin them. It takes about 30 seconds to win a match that way and that’s how I won the entire league during my first playthrough and the first time ever playing this game. It was a bit of a bummer to win like that but I wasn’t going to play when I wanted the championship belt. No matter what league you wrestling in the difficulty stays the same.
Pro Wrestling is a very fun game and it’d be a blast playing against someone but I didn’t have that luxury. This is a game that needs to be revived for today and it’d be perfect to play on the Nintendo Switch. The graphics are sharp and the characters are fun. I was surprised at the in-depth level of skill that you can choose to use. I did a neck breaker drop and lost my shit when I pulled it off. It makes you feel like a total savage when you execute a move like that.
I was able to beat Pro Wrestling in less than 30 minutes after discovering the kicking glitch. If you want more of a challenge, try to perform higher-level moves or play a friend. This would be so fun as a four-player match on the Switch.
I never played this game growing up but I was aware of the cover because of how infamous it is. Who would have thought that a terrible game cover would mask such a fun game!
Pro Wrestling shocked me with how much fun it is with the presentation, easy to learn controls, and addicting gameplay. It doesn’t present much of a challenge but I couldn’t wait to start the next match to see if I could pull off some crazy move or watch as the computer picks up a chair to smash my head in. Very solid game for the Sega Master System, if only it was revived it’d be a huge party game hit.
Pro Wrestling scores an 8.2 out of 10.
Do you remember when Pro Wrestling first came out? Which team did you use in the wrestling league? Were you able to pull off any super moves? Did you kick your way to victory like I did? Let me know your memories and thoughts, I’d love to read the comments!
If you’d like to own a copy of Pro Wrestling, you can purchase a used copy of it for the Sega Master System from eBay for $10.