Retro Wrestling Gaming: A Look at WWF (WWE) WrestleMania: Steel Cage Challenge (1992, LJN)

WWE (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
WWE (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

After making their debut on the video game scene with MicroLeague Wrestling for the PC market, and then being involved in the first arcade game based on a pro-wrestling company, WWE began focusing on the console game market. All of the games were very similar, featuring WWE superstars in singles and team matches.  In 1992, however, WWF (WWE) WrestleMania: Steel Cage Challenge stood out from the pack, with this game making available the option to have matches in steel cages. Other match options in the game are regular, tag team, tag team championship, and WWF Championship.

Published by LJN for the NES, WWF WrestleMania: Steel Cage Challenge utilized the thick blue bar-style of steel cage, which was used often by WWE from 1986 -1990. WWE began using it frequently again in 1993, which indicates that despite the innovation of a wrestling game based around the steel cage, the game was published a year too early or two years too late. An optimal time to publish it would have been when WWE was booking steel cage matches often, during which time they could have simultaneously promoted the game.

The wrestlers who were featured in WWF WrestleMania: Steel Cage Challenge were  Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Randy Savage, Ted DiBiase, I.R.S., Bret Hart,  Jake Roberts, Sid Justice, Roddy Piper, and The Mountie.

In 2018, game publisher MSI Entertainment released a Plug N Play version.  In this version, Hulk Hogan is replaced by The Ultimate Warrior,  and The Mountie is replaced by Razor Ramon. Nonetheless, the original NES version is still available via Amazon.

When the Plug N Play version was created,  WWF WrestleMania: Steel Cage Challenge was a bit outdated. Not in terms of the roster- the wrestlers featured in the game have name value to this day. The reason why it’s outdated is that by 2018, WWE had moved past the blue bars-style cage. In 1997, WWE introduced Hell in a Cell, the most impressive form of a steel cage for a singles match in WWE to date. If it is ever considered to once again release a cage-themed WWE game, a financially beneficial idea would be to create a contemporary version: WWE  WrestleMania: Hell in a Cell, complete with an updated roster.