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4.0 out of 5 stars A Rather Intriguing Look Into The WWE's Political Culture, June 5, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Synopsis: Jayson Paul, better known as JTG, writes his account on what occurred for him to go from potential tag breakout to over-exposed jobber in the period of 8 years. Though there were plenty of instances where he opted to protect identities, he releases a rather telling account of what he experienced with the WWE's political culture. And throughout the short story, he draws back to the examination of what draws HEAT in the WWE.

Here's the deal...

I respect the WWE as an organization for providing everyone with entertainment. However, wrestling only thrives when the winning is communal. Think about it: how many stars were produced when Hogan wrestled in the 80s, versus when it was Austin, The Rock, Foley, Undertaker, DX, and Hart (oh, and of course Mr. McMahon?) I think that answers itself.

You know why dynasties form in sports? Because they're a team! It seemed like too many top guys were interested in protecting their spot instead if building the brand (heck, even the mid-card guys were implicated on this.) You can't build a winning culture if it isn't fostered. This may be why wrestling is in the tepid state it's in (a few hundred thousand turning in to Destination America or El Rey/Uni Mas isn't exactly a sign of a wrestling boom.) If everyone's a builder, everyone gets over. If everyone acts miserly, no one gets over.

I'm fairness, I understand that there's a necessity for men to act like gentlemen and I hope JTG (and by most certainly Shad) learned their lesson from what was laid out in this book. True, guilt by association is oftentimes unfair, but you also gotta keep your partner on a short leash. I think JTG was expecting Shad to be his big brother and he instead found a peer. Just the same, they (or he, JTG singular) need to prove themselves as wrestlers again if they genuinely want to prove that what in this story was true instead of saying "woe is me" and making money off the convention scene. Japan, Mexico, or any if these new feds Stateside are calling. Just sayin...

Recommended for wresting fans or people who want a wrestler's take on the political culture of wresting.

Retro-Bit Nintendo 64 Classic USB Enabled Controller (Wired) PC and MAC, Grey - Nintendo 64
Retro-Bit Nintendo 64 Classic USB Enabled Controller (Wired) PC and MAC, Grey - Nintendo 64
Offered by Hitgaming Video Games
Price: $13.33
20 used & new from $5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Controller, But Very, Very, Delicate, April 9, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My nearly 20-year-old N64 is starting to die, and I may not have any other alternative than to use emulators going forward (which is perfectly legal where I live provided I own the cartridges and system, which I do.) As a result, I decided to order this USB-enabled controller so I can continue playing my titles on my PC. Here's the good and the bad:

Pros: The response on the controller is delightful and I've had no problems with the analog stick. Some applications may need to have the "deadzone" adjusted in order for the analog stick to work properly, but the stick itself is functional (I was playing a game and the response felt loose; once I increased the "deadzone" in the emulator from 0% to 25%, the controller responded as well as a genuine N64 controller did.) Works well for SNES games, too (I usually program the C buttons to act as the four face buttons on the SNES controller.) Also, the controller is super affordable and can be had for pretty cheap.

Cons: Because this is a USB device and not a true controller, it's far more delicate than the old controllers. When I was a kid, I would throw my original controller clear across the room when a game upset me and I was still able to plug it back in and keep going. By contrast, my first one of these controllers required a replacement after taking an innocent bump off a desk (roughly 2.5 feet high) and onto a carpeted surface. Still a repeat buyer, but FYI.

WWF Smackdown 2: Know Your Role
WWF Smackdown 2: Know Your Role
49 used & new from $1.81

4.0 out of 5 stars Would Be Amazing If It Weren't For All The Load Screens, April 9, 2015
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Being a PlayStation 1 owner was great for those of us who grew up loving to play Final Fantasy VII, but was incredibly painful for those who loved playing wrestling games (any PS1-owning wrestling fan who played WCW Nitro and then subsequently went to their friend's house to play WCW Vs. NWO World Tour on the N64 afterwards probably cried themselves to sleep that night. The WWE Acclaim titles were actually worse.) Yet once WWE swapped video game companies and left Acclaim for THQ, THQ would go on to release an engine which didn't seem like a big deal at the time, but would go on to become the basis of today's WWE wrestling games.

Let's start with the good.

The roster for Smackdown 2 was better than Smackdown 1, largely because it was inclusive of the Radicalz and all of the other Attitude Era favorites. The game modes were well-representative of what the WWE was like at the time, complete with steel cage, hell in a cell, TLC matches, and plenty more. The gameplay is diverse but not complicated while the moves assigned to the character line up along with the character's abilities (tough guys use tough moves, speedy wrestlers use flying moves, etc.) The Create-A-Wrestler was pretty advanced for its time and gave the player a variety of different ways that they could configure their wrestlers. The Season mode, though burdened by load screens, presented cut-away segments so the episode could tell a story similar to the ones found on TV. The season mode was also where you could unlock hidden wrestlers and movesets by completing the objectives of the game. Though we take video screens for granted today, this was one of the earliest instances of wrestling games having live footage spliced within the gameplay. Finally, the soundtrack was awesome (I loved the thrash/Motorhead riff that played at the load screens.)

The bad news was the excessive load screens in career mode. If you played during Career Mode, there would be times where the screen would spend 30 seconds loading to play a 15 second clip to say "Wrestler X has entered the building", followed by another 30 second load to go back to the main screen. Further, you can't just skip a match, you have to watch a simulation before it will allow you to continue. When you have that going along with constant load screens, it can result in one taking 10 minutes to simulate a card that your wrestler isn't even involved in. Aside from that, the only other things were that the gameplay could be too arcade like instead of feeling true to a wrestling game. There'd be times where I'd hit a suplex and my opponent would get up before I did. And if you have a pinning finisher, good luck winning in modes which don't require it (such as the cage or ladder matches.) It's not impossible to win those, but you have to put in about 4x the amount of time you would've had to normally.

It wasn't perfect, but after dealing with all the bad wrestling titles leading up to the Smackdown series, it is a refreshing change of pace to actually have a game that could play and didn't feel broken. Recommended for wrestling fans and PS1 aficionados.

Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes The Neighborhood
Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes The Neighborhood
Offered by DealTavern
Price: $33.54
41 used & new from $2.27

3.0 out of 5 stars Not A "True" Wrestling Game, But A Capable Wrestling/Beat-Em-Up Game In It's Own Right, April 5, 2015
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Yesterday at the swap meet, I had the opportunity to purchase a grab-bag of three older wrestling titles for $18. One of the included games was Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes The Neighborhood. Though I didn't hear sterling reviews from the game, I decided to pick it up anyway because, for that price, I was going to be at least entertained by one of the games.

Short synopsis: Influenced by equal parts deathmatch wrestling and musical styles favored by fans of horrorcore, BW2 blends beat-em-up, fighting, and wrestling genre games into one title for people who may be fans of any of the above. Wrestlers from Combat Zone Wrestling, Big Japan Wrestling, Juggalo Championship Wrestling, and the defunct-Xtreme Pro Wrestling (in addition to a few freelance wrestlers) tear it up alongside a bevy of adult film actresses. The action takes place in a backyard or backstage style of setting. The object of the game is to win the match against your opponent by pinfall, submission, or knockout. In addition to an exhibition modes were two players may challenge each other, the game has a career mode for one to take their created wrestler through as they complete missions and challenges to unlock additional stages, videos, and accessories for their customized wrestler. Beat the career mode and you'll have access to all of the hidden goodies the game has.

What I liked about the game was that the roster, soundtrack, career mode, and relatively easy learning curve of the game. The roster featured a bunch of wrestlers that no other wrestling title would've allowed me to play as (unless you find a way to customize said wrestlers in Fire Pro Wrestling Returns.) Wanna have a Zandig Vs. Ito showdown? Have at it. Wanna see Vampiro go toe-to-toe with Ruckus? Have fun. Ever wondered what a Tylene Buck Vs Kitana Baker tilt would look like? Well wonder no more. In addition, the soundtrack consists of Body Count, Andrew WK, Every Time I Die, Kool Keith, Vision of Disorder, Mudvayne, Clutch, Gwar, and ICP (amongst many, many others.) It may show my age a little over the fact that I find them exciting over the constant EDM nonsense that plays nowadays, but that's perhaps one of my favorite soundtracks compiled for a game outside of NHL 2K9. The career mode was uncomplicated (which was refreshing, actually) and had you face off against jobbers en route to facing off against the established wrestlers. And if you hadn't played the game before, you don't need to learn any complicated button commands to get the hang of the gameplay.

What I didn't care for was the lack of game options and relatively limited options in the create-a-wrestler. Every match was strictly one-on-one, so there's no way to see ICP team up to take on all comers. Perhaps a three-way match may have been a bit complicated, but a two-on-two bedlam or battle royale option could've been included (and though it technically stayed true to it's namesake, a training ring or arena level in the confines of a ring would've been welcome.) Further, the create-a-wrestler isn't extraordinarily deep. Your finisher is based off of one of the main characters instead of having one you can call your own, which kinda stinks. Also, your created wrestler shows up as "Player 1" in the HUD, which is silly when you consider other games were capable of doing this well beforehand (and on lesser systems.)

People expecting a true-to-life wrestling game may be disappointed, but people who ever wondered what it would be like to apply wrestling rules to a beat-em-up game may be surprised by how much they enjoy the title. Though not perfect, I view Backyard Wrestling 2 to be to the beat-em-up genre what Saturday Night Slam Masters was to the fighting genre. Recommended for wrestling fans, beat-em-up game fans, and musicians.

Nightcrawler (Blu-ray + DVD + DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet)
Nightcrawler (Blu-ray + DVD + DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet)
DVD ~ Jake Gyllenhaal
Price: $12.54
61 used & new from $5.52

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If You Want To Win The Lottery, You Have To Make The Money To Buy A Ticket, March 12, 2015
Synopsis: Louis Bloom (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) is a highly intelligent yet sociopathic loner in Los Angeles who steals to support himself since he lacks a "real" job. After noticing a fire along the 110 Freeway, he pulls over to observe the carnage when a team of stringers - led by Joe Loder (Bill Paxton) - grabs the footage and brags to Bloom that they'll make money through selling the footage to the local news teams. After Loder bluntly refuses Bloom's assistance, Bloom makes the investment to become a stringer himself - Hiring the homeless Rick Carey (Riz Ahmed) in addition to ill-obtaining a camera, a police scanner, and eventually upgrading both (in addition to his 1984 Toyota) as his business becomes more lucrative. Bloom's main source of income comes from morning news director Nina Romina (Rene Russo), whom he looks to not only in an effort to elevate his career as a top stringer, but also as a sexual partner (in exchange, he promises to deliver her breaking news before any other stringer can do so - Ensuring that her lowly-rated news program can start increasing viewership and therefore ratings.) Will Bloom manage to establish himself as the best stringer in Los Angeles, or will his competition or methodology (not to mention the law) eventually catch up to him?

The first thing this movie reminded me of was Taxi Driver, and that should be considered an absolute compliment. The way Gyllenhaal portrayed Bloom was the perfect capture of a sociopath. Though not much is done to expound upon his past, it's obvious that he's more likely to use his gifts for manipulation than he is for the betterment of others. If there was any movie recently released that would justify having it's own prequel, it would be this one.

Was the movie violent? Yes, but it was within the essence of the story as opposed to being blatantly gratuitous. Perhaps the ending could've been a little less "Hollywood-ish" but it ultimately tied itself together rather well (same could be said for Russo's character, who was ultimately portrayed as under Bloom's spell without having a more supportive storyline to explain as to how it got to that point.) I'd recommend it for people who like drama, action films, and psychological thrillers.

Grand Theft Auto III
Grand Theft Auto III
Price: $6.47
591 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Though Dwarfed By GTA V, This Was A Gamechanger When It Was Released, January 29, 2015
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Grand Theft Auto III (Video Game)
For the longest time, GTA III was one of my favorite games. Actually, it was the sole reason for me purchasing a PlayStation 2. The sardonic storytelling, along with the missions, made it a pretty fun game to play. After seeing it on sale on the PSN Network, I decided to play it to see if it withstood the test of time as well as I had hoped.

Brief Synopsis: The silent hero, Claude, was set up by his girlfriend, Catalina, during a bank robbery (from which he manages to escape from a prison bus and hides out in Liberty City - which is modeled after New York City. Claude finds himself woven in a web where he's helping crooked cops, alongside the Italian and Asian Mafia, as they seemingly battle the Colombian Cartel. As the web of crime ultimately comes to a climax, he's confronted again by Catalina, who ultimately aligns herself with the cartel against Claude. The impressive voice case includes Frank Vincent, Michael Madsen, Michael Rapaport, Joe Pantoliano, Debi Mazar, Kyle MacLachlan, Robert Loggia, the late rapper Guru, and the always comedic Lazlow Jones.

There wouldn't be a GTA V without GTA III. Are the controls nearly as fluid or dynamic as today? Not my a long shot. But Rockstar would show the glimpses as to how to make a great game that can captivate the interest of many. No other game had let you commander vehicles, complete free-world shooting missions, complete side missions in cabs or fire trucks, and, um, procure the services of a working woman. Throw that in with an excellent voice cast and a soundtrack that's still memorable today, and it wasn't a mistake when a bunch of people proclaimed 14 years ago that this was one of the most amazing games they've ever played.

In my opinion, Rockstar's best entry on the PS2 was The Warriors, while the best entry of the GTA series is undoubtedly Grand Theft Auto V. Yet this was the one that not only started it all, but sold enough copies that it warranted it's own Greatest Hits release. Younger players more familiar with GTA V may need a minute to figure out the controls for this one, but it's because of this game that they're able to play a supreme GTA title today.

(But seriously, go play The Warriors if you're still playing a PS2 or on the PSN Network.)

Titan Sinking: The decline of the WWF in 1995
Titan Sinking: The decline of the WWF in 1995
Price: $4.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blurred Lines Between News And Gossip, November 6, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Synopsis: James Dixon examines the state of the WWF (now WWE) in 1995. Dixon examines the ill-effects of the legal problems the company faced in the early 90s, as well as unsuccessfully trying to apply an 80's formula to wrestling as styles and mores changed through the 90s. The book goes into great detail in examining the role "The Kliq" (a backstage group consisting of Shawn Michaels, Kevin "Diesel" Nash, Scott "Razor Ramon" Hall, Sean "1-2-3 Kid/X-Pac" Waltman, and Paul "HHH" Levesque) had on Vince McMahon and the rest of the locker room (some beneficial, but a lot of it being detrimental to careers and ratings); as well as the effects the Hart family and the "The Bonestreet Krew" (lead by Mark "The Undertaker" Calloway and Rodney "Yokozuna" Anoa'i) had on the product as well.

The good part about the book was that it was obviously well-researched. No, the book certainly doesn't paint anyone in The Kliq in a good light, but the practice of allowing wrestlers to jealously guard their spots is one that a responsible promoter should squash before the inmates run the asylum (see: The Death of WCW.) The main difference between when this happened with the WCW and when this happened with the WWF is that while the WWF eventually got away from it (sort of), the continued practice of friends promoting friends was one of the primary reasons why WCW went out of extinction. Many people of the Internet Wrestling Community will no doubt love the book because of the inclusion of Jim Cornette's colorful commentary.

I dinged the book for two reasons:
- The whole Randy Savage-Stephanie McMahon rumors didn't need to be mentioned for any reason other than sensationalism. The book eludes to the fact that Savage never came back because of something happening between he and Stephanie when she was a teenager, but other established wrestling news sites mention fallout between Savage and Vince McMahon as being due to a combination of presumed disrespect Vince showed towards Savage's father (Angelo Poffo), Savage defecting to the WCW when Vince needed him worst, McMahon taking shots at Savage on RAW once he left, and Savage's elusive nature once he quit the business - though the former two points were mentioned in the book.
- It really would've been great if 1996 would've been included in this as well. The book stopped well before the whole "Fake Diesel/Razor Ramon" fiasco occurred, which would've made it a more complete story.

Be that as it may, the references back up most of the authors research and the book itself was a decent read.

Recommended for wrestling fans.

WWE 2K15 - PlayStation 3
WWE 2K15 - PlayStation 3
Offered by Game Acropolis
Price: Click here to see our price
66 used & new from $16.00

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What Good's A Pretty-Looking Vehicle When It Has A Busted Engine?, October 29, 2014
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Earlier in the month, I went over to the local swap meet and acquired WWF: No Mercy, which many herald as being the greatest wrestling game ever released in the United States. Sure it's a 14-year-old game being played on a 17-year-old Nintendo 64, but it's relatively reliable and still pretty fun to play today. As you can expect, I was pretty eager to go up to my local Redbox on 10/28 because that means the latest installment of WWE's video game franchise would be available (their second with the 2K company.) How'd it go?

I put the game in and was immediately impressed with the fact that the game no longer had a soundtrack consisting solely of WWE-licensed music, but also songs from outside acts as well (something I don't remember seeing since WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2008.) When I selected my first match (Daniel Bryan Vs. Dolph Ziggler), I was pretty impressed as to how sharp the graphics have become. The entrances are better captured now, with emphasis on crowd reaction and alternate perspectives.

That's, however, about the point where being impressed stops.

In terms of the bland, not much has changed here. WWE Universe mode is the same as it's been for the past 4-5 years while the story mode has now been broken into two: One that focuses on Ruthless Aggression/PG Era WWE and one that follows the development of NXT Wrestlers Adrian Neville, Sami Zayn, Rusev, Bo Dallas, and Corey Graves (which is an unfortunate reminder of how concussion issues can derail a wrestler's career; but that's another story for another time.) The only difference now is that the whole NXT universe has to be unlocked (and was it just me, or was the NXT arena lacking in having "NXT!" chants like they have on TV?) Otherwise, little has changed since WWE '13 in terms of game modes.

And then there's the game play...

Apparently, 2K Sports was dissatisfied with how the reversal system worked in WWE '13 and decided to change it to an inconsistent system where you either have to press the reversal button THEINSTANT it appears or wait until it illuminates (it's like they took something that didn't need to be fixed, broke it, and said "This is better for gaming.") It's very hard to get into any type of rhythm when the CPU's wailing on you and you either wait for it to illuminate (and are too late) or hit it as soon as you see an non-illuminated reversal icon (and are too early.) Sure, you can dial down the difficulty and still have matches in exhibition mode, but even the easiest setting in "Who Got NXT?" sees the CPU simply running roughshod on the player for 5 minutes while you helplessly press the reversal button (and even once you do reverse a move, the CPU reverses your next attack and resumes theirs.) When reviewing last years game, I wasn't pleased with the fact that you could hit finishers/OMG moments outside the ring and the opponent would be able to get back into the ring before the count out. Now, opponents can't be pinned after executing your finisher unless you hit it twice (I understand this when playing in the "Epic" gaming mode, but this seems to happen even under normal settings.)

I then realize that either the game will need another tuner before the gameplay issues are ironed out, or that I could pay the additional $1.99 for the accelerator and unlock everyone without actually having to achieve anything. So I did what any reasonable person would've done: Put the brand new game with no replay value away and put back on the 14-year-old game that still has massive amounts of replay value.

Look, I understand 2K Sports is trying to change the concept of wrestling games to be one that mirrors the psychology and events of wrestling, but they need to reinvent the entire engine if they're going to do that properly instead of trying to alter and patch an engine designed by a completely different company who was going after an entirely different experience altogether. I understand that the PS4/XBox-1 are the rage nowadays, but aren't there still enough PS3/XBox 360 players who warrant consideration for an improved gaming experience instead of being offered the same repackaged game over and over again? I'd want to believe the technical limitations prevented the MyCareer mode from being included, but Electronic Arts has been doing this for years (going back to NHL 09) so that argument doesn't really hold weight with me.

All and all, if you wait a while to see if 2K releases a new tuner, haven't purchased a wrestling game in over 5 years, and MUST have the latest rosters, I could see taking a flyer on this around Christmas time if you were able to rent it and play it out without issue. Otherwise, dedicated adherents to the franchise will be disappointed once again in a game that puts flash over substance.

Update: I played the game with the new tuner and still found it pretty dissatisfactory. While the 2K Showcase was playable, "Who Got NXT" may as well be named "Who Got The Accelerator Pack" if you want to unlock anyone from those modes. It's one thing when the "Defeat The Streak" mode was like this (where the only unlockable items from that were alternate outfits for The Undertaker), it's another when five playable wrestlers (as well as the NXT Arena) need to be unlocked this way. That, in addition to how many wrestlers aren't inclusive of the season pass, is the reason people should avoid this game. 2K Sports and the WWE are more interested in their fans' money than they are in adding value to them.

Also, I find it concerning how many people have suddenly purchased the game and decided to write their first and only review on Amazon for WWE 2K15. Smells suspicious to me.

WWF: No Mercy
WWF: No Mercy
Offered by Your Number One Store
Price: $88.99
64 used & new from $5.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Despite The Glitches, It's The Best & Last Game From When Wrestling Was "Good", October 17, 2014
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: WWF: No Mercy (Video Game)
WWF No Mercy was the last of a few things. It was the last WWE wrestling game released for Nintendo 64, it was the last game developed between THQ & AKI, and it was the last game from wrestling's "Attitude Era" heyday (or as casual wrestling fans put it, "when wrestling was good".) Unlike the games leading up to this (which were revolutionary in their own right), this one had features and depth that were beyond comparison of it's sister titles (which were WCW Vs. NWO World Tour, WCW/NWO Revenge, and WWF Wrestlemania 2000.) With innovation came some growing pains, however, as the game pushed the Nintendo 64 to the depths of it's technical limitations.

For those who've never played the previous games here's how it works: Your basic controls allow you to strike, grapple, block strikes, dodge grapples, run, and taunt your opponent. The longer you hold down the strike or grapple button, the stronger your grapple will be. You have to use wrestling psychology to win - you have to wear your opponent down using weak strikes/grapples before moving up to strong strikes/grapples or they'll likely be reversed by your opponent. Once your spirit meter fills up, you can execute a special move by initiating a strong grapple and moving the toggle switch; you can pin your opponent with the L button to score the win.

First the good: The game itself has a massive amount of replay value due to the match options, career mode, characters available, and the proper attention to detail that's included. While previous versions of the game focused on singles matches, tag matches, and battle royales, this one includes the standard singles and tag matches, along with both individual and team battle royales (meaning you can have up to 4 teams facing off against each other), steel cage matches, ladder matches, hardcore matches, and iron man contests.

As mentioned, the roster is stacked. You can play as any of your Attitude Era favorites, including Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, Mankind, The Undertaker, and many more. Wanna play as some of the more popular mid-carders in that day who went on to become main eventers? Well Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, and Eddy Guerrero are there, too. The junior heavyweights are well represented with Dean Malenko, Taka Michinoku, Essa Rios, and X-Pac while the hardcore division is represented with the Hollys, Bossman, Al Snow, Visera, and the British Bulldog. Wanna face off as a diva? Well you can select Lita, Trish Stratus, Ivory, and Stephanie McMahon (amongst others.) This roster also probably lists the last time that the WWE heavily invested in their tag division. In fact, here's a list of the different tag teams you can put together based on who's in the game:
- The Dudley Boyz
- The Hardy Boys
- Edge and Christian
- DX (Triple H and X-Pac or the unlockable Shawn Michaels)
- New Age Outlaws
- The Radicalz
- The Brothers of Destruction
- The Rock N Sock Connection
- Right To Censor
- Too Cool
- Hardcore and Crash Holly
- Head Cheese
- T&A
- Kaientai
- The Corporation
- N.O.D.
- P.M.S.
- Debra and Tori
(I'm hard-pressed to name 10 tag teams in the WWE today, let alone close to twice that.)

So with an astounding roster to your disposal, you can use them in an Exhibition Mode or battle through either Season Mode or Survival Mode. While Exhibition Mode allows you to simply have a match, Season Mode gives you the opportunity to win (and defend) each of the following:
- WWF Championship
- Intercontinental Championship
- European Championship
- Tag Team Championship
- Hardcore Championship
- Light Heavyweight Championship
- Women's Championship.
The story lines in the Season Mode are extraordinarily deep. Though it only takes one play-through to unlock the belt you're contending for, the storylines take twists and turns depending on whether you win or lose (and a new story is made available once its your time to defend the belt.) If you want to reach 100% completion in the storyline modes, there are times where you have to lose (which mirrors actual wrestling, where performers will be asked to "job" to other talent.) Winning the different story modes will unlock items as well.

If you'd rather beat people up and get paid for it, playing Survival Mode will pit you against 99 different superstars (which will allow you to unlock the hidden ones you defeat, or earn money to purchase them from the Smackdown Mall.)

If customization is important to a player, they'll have both the option to create wrestlers or even their own Pay-Per-View special. Seeing as how certain wrestlers who didn't appear in this game had their likenesses carried over from Wrestlemania 2000 or the Japanese release of the game (Virtual Pro Wrestling 2), it's possible to create some of the All Japan Pro Wrestling stars at the time (such as Stan Hansen or Kenta Kobashi) in addition to the opening-match wrestlers who weren't included in the game (such as the Mean Street Posse, The Headbangers, Mideon, and Gangrel.) Certain superstars (mainly the main eventers) get an extended victory sequence or even custom belts (if you beat the WWE Championship season mode with Stone Cold Steve Austin, you get the Smoking Skull belt instead of the standard WWE Championship.) No, you can't modify move sets for pre-loaded players, but most of them are pretty faithful anyway.

Now the bad:
- The game suffers from slowness once four players are involved in a match (whether it be a tag team match or a battle royale.) This can be resolved by turning off the sound and inserting a Nintendo 64 Expansion Pak, but it's kinda a bummer when you consider the other games didn't have that problem (or at least as prevalently.)
- The early versions of the game had a glitch that would erase game data. Though later versions resolved this issue, buyers may want to beware of this and consider getting a Nintendo 64 Controller Pak to backup their game data.
- The Season Mode also has an over-reliance on handicap tornado tag team battles (meaning the player versus two CPU components at the same time), who'll pretty much no-sell the moves unless you can sneak off somewhere, do some taunts, and hit the opponents with your special move (I could hit each opponent with 10 consecutive attacks each, and they'll just get up like nothing happened.) Further aggravating this is that the button to switch perspectives doesn't respond as soon as you hit it, so you have to get some distance away if the second opponent comes up on you while you're attacking the first. Otherwise, the AI again completely overtakes the game (regardless of difficulty.)
- Though not necessarily "bad", there are times where the AI just completely overtakes the game (the CPU can initiate strong grapples with lower spirit which you MAY break out of, but not only will you lose your strong grapples when you have lower spirit, you'll probably have them reversed when you have higher spirit than your opponent as well.) This happens at any difficulty level. You'll develop proper timing with gaming experience, but it can throw younger or inexperienced players through a loop.

So does the game have it's issues? Sure. But two of them can be remedied by add-ons while the other two can be remedied by playing a match in 30 minutes when it would've otherwise taken you 10 (or playing against friends instead of the CPU.) It's not exactly the most kid-friendly wrestling game out there (partially due to the challenge, but also due to the language), but teens, young adults, and those who remember when "wrestling was cool" will no doubt get a kick out of it and handle the challenges facing the game.

Recommended for wrestling fans, Nintendo 64 aficionados, and people who want the finest snapshot of WWE's Attitude Era.

Death of WCW, The
Death of WCW, The
Price: $8.49

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Couldn't Put It Down... Again (4.5/5 Stars), October 15, 2014
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This review is from: Death of WCW, The (Kindle Edition)
Synopsis: RD Reynolds and Brian Alvarez put together the gripping account of how the National Wrestling Alliance, Jim Crockett Promotions, and Ted Turner managed to give birth to World Championship Wrestling in an effort to carve out a national promotion which could compete against World Wrestling Entertainment (née Federation.) The book details the rise of a young wrestling professional, Eric Bischoff, who went from being a third-string announcer to the mastermind behind one of the most popular storylines in wrestling today. However, the book also chronicles the ill-effects of cronyism, nepotism, mismanagement, wasteful practices, and lack of proper planning that the organization suffered - leading to it's eventual demise. With the 10th Anniversary of the book released, articles have been updated and expanded to include consequences that are still felt today, as well as missed (or gained) opportunities to correct past mistakes.

Much like the original Death of WCW, this book remains a gripping account of all the drama that took place behind the scenes and how it affected what everyone saw in the ring. If you're thinking this was simply a re-release with some new pictures, however, think again. Though much of the original story prevails, additional comments were spliced into the text from those involved (some identified, some anonymous) who decided to sound off now that most of what happened is out in the open. The book now includes a "Lessons Not Learned" addendum to show how today's two nationally-televised wrestling promotions (WWE and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling) have either failed to learn (or in some cases, did learn) from the mistakes which led to WCW's demise. A great new forward is included from Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer, along with a new epilogue to illustrate how TNA (which is currently fighting for it's own survival) managed to replicate WCW's record of futility by hiring the same hands which led to the demise of WCW.

So does the book have some bias? Sure, but there's also enough documented elsewhere to show that the tales weren't too exaggerated or unfair (even the acknowledgements thank Vince Russo, a target in the book to be sure, for being a good sport about what was written.) The book also suffered from run-on sentences and errors that should've been weeded out prior to printing. Yet with the new content comes new reasons to read. Much like the first one, I was finished with this book in 2 days because it was too captivating to put down (even though I read the bulk of the content the first time around.)

I recommend this book to wrestling fans. I also recommend it to business students as well to show how not to run a company. Will some of the pro-WCW/TNA marks be upset that the tone was critical of their favorite organizations? Heck, will some of the pro-WWE marks be upset because the tone was critical of their organization, too? Maybe, but the proof's in the pudding: WCW is dead, TNA is dying, and the WWE's ratings are a fraction of what they used to be. I just hope there's still a national wrestling promotion when it's time to discuss the 20th Anniversary of this book.

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