Retro Wrestling Gaming: A Look at WWF (WWE) Royal Rumble (1993, Acclaim Entertainment)


In the early-1990s, the WWE PPV scene was very different from how it is today. There were only four PPV events during that period- WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Survivor Series, and the most unique of the four, Royal Rumble. Royal Rumble was the only PPV that featured a match where fans could watch many of their favorites at one time battling each other for supremacy.

Apparently realizing the value of the Royal Rumble event, WWE teamed up with  Acclaim Entertainment (better known as. “LJN” to pro-wrestling videogame fans) in 1993 once again to create WWF Royal Rumble, a videogame for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis.

With many other WWF titles already on the market, including MicroLeague Wrestling and WrestleMania: Steel Cage Challenge, Royal Rumble was arguably the best WWF title up to that point. It was the first WWF title that enable players to use illegal tactics (it’s even possible to attack the referee) and weapons during matches, which was an attractive option for players who preferred controlling rulebreaker characters. Royal Rumble also has the distinction of being the first 16-bit WWF title to feature the wrestlers using their signature moves.

Along with the Royal Rumble option, other match options were One-One-One, Tournament, Tag Team, and the new Triple Tag Team and Brawl options. In a Brawl match, there is no referee, and there are no rules, the loser is decided by which wrestler is drained of all of his stamina.

An important note about the Royal Rumble option is that, unlike the real-life Royal Rumble match, only a maximum of six wrestlers will be in the ring at the same time. This was due to graphic restrictions- more wrestlers in the ring possibly would have led to game glitches. Nonetheless, it is the first console wrestling game in history to feature a match with this many wrestlers in the ring at once, which made this game as unique as the Royal Rumble itself.

The rosters for the SNES and Sega Genesis versions of WWF Royal Rumble were slightly different. Both versions featured The Undertaker, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, Randy Savage, Crush, and Lex Luger. However, the SNES version also featured Mr. Perfect, Ric Flair, Ted DiBiase, and Tatanka, while the Genesis version also featured Hulk Hogan, Papa Shango, IRS, Jim Duggan, and Rick Martel.

Also in WWF Royal Rumble are Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan, who can be seen at ringside doing commentary during the matches, making this the first wrestling game where the commentators are visible throughout a match.

The advertising for WWF Royal Rumble was more aggressive than usual for a WWF videogame, as this was the first one that had a commercial featuring a real WWF superstar.

Being very successful on the market, WWF Royal Rumble sold over a million copies, a very impressive feat at the time for a wrestling game.

With Royal Rumble still being a popular premium live event with wrestling fans, it would be financially beneficial for a contemporary version of this game to be made, as was done with WWF Superstars and WrestleMania: Steel Cage Challenge. In any case, WWF Royal Rumble still can be found, via Amazon.

In an interesting bit of trivia, players who read the credits of WWF Royal Rumble will see that grunt and groan sound effects in the game were done by Tony Chimel (best known for his run as a ring announcer for WWE), Mike Chioda (who since then has been a referee for WWE and AEW), and John D’Amico (Director of Production Management for WWE).

Also, the background picture in the intro of WWF Royal Rumble is a picture of SkyDome, which was taken during WrestleMania VI in 1990. Skydome is currently named Rogers Centre, the name having had been changed in 2005 after being bought by communications and media company Rogers Communications in 2004.

And in a final bit of trivia, before WWF Royal Rumble was created for consoles, Acclaim Entertainment produced a WWF Royal Rumble handheld video game in 1991.