Retro Wrestling Gaming: A Look at WWF (WWE) King of the Ring (1993, LJN)

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

Video gaming and professional wrestling go hand-in-hand and Daily DDT continues our look back at classic games in the space. 

Originally hosted on house shows from 1985 to 1991, the King of the Ring tournament became a PPV event in 1993,  joining WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Survivor Series, and Royal Rumble as a popular annual WWE PPV. Considering LJN/Acclaim Entertainment’s success with the Royal Rumble game in June 1993, it was not very surprising that they published a King of the Ring game 3 months later, this WWE game being for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy.

The game options in WWE King of the Ring are an eight-man single-elimination tournament for the title of King of the Ring, singles matches against all of the wrestlers in an attempt to become Champion, and exhibition matches (single and tag team).

The complete roster for King of the Ring consisted of Hulk Hogan, Mr. Perfect,  Lex Luger, and exclusively on the Nintendo Entertainment System version, The Undertaker and Bam Bam Bigelow.

An interesting note is that while both Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart were on the cover of the box for this game, Hart was more prominently featured. Perhaps it was done because Hart had won the real-life King of the Ring tournament three months before the game was released, along with the fact that Hogan had left WWE and was wrestling for NJPW the same month the game was released.

Nonetheless, the purpose of the box cover is to attract potential consumers, and Hulk Hogan was still a bigger draw in the early 90s. The top drawing PPV with Bret Hart that year was WrestleMania IX with a buy rate of 2 and an attendance of 15,045 (or a buy rate of 2.3 and an attendance of 16,891, depending on what source you believe). The previous year, Hulk Hogan headlined WrestleMania VIII, which had a buyrate of 2.3 and an attendance of  62,167.

WWF King of the Ring is still available on Amazon for Game Boy.