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The WWE series of professional wrestling video games, produced by THQ and Yuke's, began in 2000 with the release of WWF SmackDown! for the Play Station console. The series can be categorised into three separate sub-series/eras:

  • The SmackDown series (2000-2003); a Play Station-exclusive series with fast arcade-like gameplay.
  • The SmackDown vs. Raw series (2004-2010); originally cashing in on the brand warfare theme, it later became known for its Genre Shift from arcade-like gameplay to simulation, becoming a yearly institution in the vein of the Madden NFL games. The series went multi-platform, appearing on the Xbox360, with the release of SmackDown vs. Raw 2007. SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 added the Wii to the list of platforms. The era was also known for suffering with Capcom Sequel Stagnation.
  • The WWE series (2011-present); a major Retool of the series gameplay-wise with a brand new engine and quite a number of changes made in the latter parts of the SmackDown vs. Raw era reverted.

Last year's title (2011) was the last to carry the Smackdown vs Raw name. Starting this year, the series will again be overhauled exclusively for next generation consoles and renamed WWE 12, following in the footsteps of sports franchises.


Tropes associated with this series include:

  • All Just a Dream: 2007's "Uh oh, It's Magic" storyline was a result of this.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The Road to WrestleMania mode for '12 will be played out this way, starting with Sheamus, followed by Triple H and finally a character of the player's choosing. There are also brief parts playing as John Cena, Randy Orton, Wade Barrett, and others.
  • An Interior Designer Is You: 2006 and 2007 gave you the ability to design your own locker room.
    • '12 will introduce the longly-awaited Create-An-Arena mode.
  • Announcer Chatter: And it tends to vary on how good or bad it can be, with the worst cases getting match type wrong and addressing wrestlers who are not even in the game. WWE 12 has improved on it greatly making it the best in quite some time.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI, due to bad programming, will end up in a 1-vs-1 match with 2 AI's. Another person runs down while one has the other in a pin to distract the referee. Due to the way the game works, the one guy that's pinning won't stop the pin, the one guy that's getting pinned won't kick out, and the guy that runs out (occasionally) won't stop distracting the referee, leaving you caught in an INFINITE FUCKING LOOP. The only way to stop this infinite loop is to stop the match in some way.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Edge and Randy Orton's 2010 Road to Wrestlemania.
    • Also, Chris Jericho's 2011 Road to Wrestlemania, somewhat. See Bittersweet Ending below.
      • Maybe, Sheamus counts in WWE '12 but Triple H's story started with HHH beating up Sheamus.
  • Beat Them At Their Own Game: Many installments allow wrestlers to add insult to injury by giving them the ability to use their opponent's finishing maneuvers against them.
  • Betting Minigame: The PSP version of 2006 featured a number of console-exclusive minigames, including a Poker game.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Chris Jericho's RtM in 2011, where even after you win at WrestleMania Triple H ultimately attacks you and stands tall. Considering your actions up to Wrestlemania, this could fall under Laser-Guided Karma.
    • The "Villain Story" in WWE '12, starring Sheamus. He manages to win every title in WWE by beating your former peers in the United Kingdom, only for Triple H to beat Sheamus up and win the WWE Title off of him. Interestingly, this is the transition point into the "Outsider Story" portion of RTWM.
  • But Thou Must!: In the eariler Smackdown games losing during storylines had some actual effect on the storyline being told creating different scenarios, now in the newer games version of Season Mode losing forces you to either rematch or quit the mode.
  • Call Back: In John Cena's Road to WrestleMania in '11, he and MVP are forced to fight in a tag match under Better-Than-Utopian rules Now known as "Age of Orton" rules, a ruleset MVP had created to use against Cena back in the '09 edition of SvR.
    • Shawn Michaels' Road to WrestleMania in 2010 had JBL play a farewell tribute video for HBK, that included clips from Know Your Role, Shut Your Mouth, SvR 2007 and SvR 2009.
  • Cannon Fodder: The battle royals in 2009 and 2011 in which the player has to eliminate an army of masked men and "lost soul" druids respectively.
  • Cash Cow Franchise: Every game in the series to date has ended up on Greatest Hits lists.
  • Costume Copycat - In Mickie James' 2010 Road to Wrestlemania, Natalya dresses up like her.
    • Especially amusing, as Mickie gets really annoyed. But how did Mickie debut properly in the WWE? Oh yeah, by being the Natalya to Trish Stratus. She even lampshades this.
  • Creator Cameo: Game designer Bryan Williams makes one in 2009, providing the voice for John Cena's soldier friend Tony.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Loads of egregious examples in WWE 12's Road to Wrestlemania mode , where you could be plowing through your opponent, then end up losing the match during the cutscene.
  • Daddy System: The Play Station 2 served as this for the series from 2007 to 2011.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The RtWM in WWE '12 starts with the player controlling John Cena & walking him through the backstage area to the ring, until Sheamus jumps him on the stage.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler are both playable in WWE 12. They both also serve as the commentators. Using either in a match will lead to interesting results.
  • Downloadable Content: Introduced with 2009 which allows players to download extra wrestlers, arenas, or costumes.
  • Double Standard: In any match starting with 2010, it's okay for a Diva to attack a Superstar, but a Superstar attacking a Diva is an automatic DQ, even if it's accidental.
    • Even better - when your opponent has a manager, attack them. If they even so much as reverse the move, your opponent will be DQed.
  • Downer Ending: If you fail to beat The Undertaker in his storyline in 2011, he turns your character into a druid.
  • Evil Brit: '12 has a Power Stable full of them called the "United Kingdom", featuring the English William Regal and Wade Barrett, the Scottish Drew McIntyre and the Irish Sheamus (despite Ireland not being part of the UK).
    • Well, the Northern part of Ireland IS part of the UK. Sheamus, however, is from Dublin.
  • Evil Cripple: The Miz becomes one in WWE 12 after a career-ending leg injury. Or so it seems.
  • Fan Service: 2006 introduced the Fulfill Your Fantasy Mode essentially a cosplay version of the Bra & Panties mode with some slight tweaks.
    • The previous game had various divas dancing during the menu screens.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: In 2010 and 2011 some of the RTWM storylines dictate that your character get beaten up resulting in a loss or something close to it.
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: Mickie James's RTWM in 2010. Her RTWM involves Natalya as her crazy stalker, a part Mickie herself played against Trish Stratus when she arrived at WWE.
  • Fun with Acronyms: If you choose a created superstar for the Road to WrestleMania mode in '12, his name will be Jacob Cass, i.e. Create A Super Star.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Multiple cases, but here's one of the more Egregious ones. When playing through Sheamus' "Road To WrestleMania" in WWE 12, you find yourself in a tag team match against John Cena and Rey Mysterio. You can beat the hell out of Cena to the point where you're just seconds away from hitting him with your finisher...and then before the match ends it goes to a cutscene where you're getting ready to hit Rey with a finisher and Cena (who seems to be in no pain at all) stops you before you can.
  • Head Swap: Both played with straight and inverted in the first two SmackDown games with the Create-A-Superstar mode. You can use existing heads, torsos or legs from existing characters.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: WWE '12 rehashes the 2001 WCW invasion storyline. Strangely enough, the storyline features WCW acting nWo-like such as spraypainting WWE title belts, which is ironic considering the nWo did the exact same thing to WCW in the 1990s.
  • Glass Jaw Referee: Somewhat averted in recent games whereby you can still knock down the referee but now he can't be targeted and he no longer stays down for very long.
  • Groin Attack: Be honest, the first thing you did with the Create-A-Finisher mode was make a move that consisted of 10 consecutive low blows...
  • Guest Fighter: The series has seen quite a number of guest fighters, notably the inclusions of legends since HCTP. Although the series has seen a few other non-legendary guests:
  • Interface Spoiler: The Hero story in WWE '12 - Kevin Nash & Rey Mysterio have defeated Jacob Cass & Triple H at Wrestlemania, bringing back WCW... And then the credits roll. The astute player will notice that the achievement/trophy unlock hasn't pinged to let you know you've unlocked the "Complete Hero Story" achievement/trophy, and then the credits are interrupted by Kevin Nashm in the Nitro ring.
  • Jerkass: In RtW in 2011, everyone you talk to backstage (storylines aside) treats you like crap.
  • Karma Houdini: In RtW Edge and Randy Orton in 2010. Subverted with Chris Jericho in 2011.
  • Lampshade Hanging: See Leaning on the Fourth Wall below.
    • Also in Shawn Michaels' 2010 RTWM, his "highlights" are done in graphics from the appropriate previous installments
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In Sv R 2010's Create-A-Superstar's Road to Wrestlemania storyline, Santino points out that the wrestler is "like something some loser would make in a video game". He also looks dead on at the camera.
    • Pushed to even further levels in 2011 with Edge and Christian:
Cquote1

 Edge: "Dude, we totally fooled the player into thinking we weren't going to reunite."

Christian: "I know, we totally ... wait a minute? Player? What player?"

Edge: "You see that weirdo staring at us through the TV."

Christian: "No, but I'll take your word for it."

Cquote2
    • There's also a scene where The Miz and John Morrison insult Triple H, saying how only losers play games.
    • For that matter, there's a scene in WWE 12 where The Miz insults Triple H. The Game speaks for us all.
Cquote1

 Man I wish we weren't in the PG era right now.

Cquote2
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: Mainly in 2010's Create a Storyline mode, after each cutscene, there's a lot of loading.
    • One of the few complaints of Smackdown vs. Raw 2006, made worse if playing with created wrestlers.
  • Madden Curse: A variation: everyone that feuds with the Undertaker has had something bad happen. At the extreme end is the aforementioned Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit tragedies; in more recent editions the Phenom seems content with getting people injured, suspended or fired.
    • Played straight from 2006 to 2008 & 2010, with someone on the cover of the game getting injured for a period of time in the year following the release. Notably, 2008 had Bobby Lashley, John Cena & the Undertaker on the cover & all three of them suffered notable injuries in the following year.
    • An interesting variant occurred with the first SvR, which featured not a wrestler but an authority figure on its cover, in this case Mr. McMahon. A few months after the game's release, McMahon slid into the ring and tore both quads at the 2005 Royal Rumble.
  • Magic Wand: The infamous "Uh-Oh It's Magic" storyline in 2007 where Candince Michelle is in possession of a magic wand, turning the player's character into a woman (which attracts Viscera on the way), giving herself perfect attribute points and turning Edge into the Boogeyman with Daivari's voice.
  • Mind Screw: 2007's "Uh oh, It's Magic" storyline mentioned above.
    • 2011's Vs. Undertaker storyline features its own moments like having an entire battle royal replaced with a Zerg Rush situation vs. Taker's druids, and the arena audience all replaced with druids.
  • Mythology Gag: Christian's Rt WM in 2011 is filled with these.
  • Obvious Beta: The last few games suffered from this. No patch was ever released to fix the bugs.
    • The glitches and restrictions of the Smackdown games. For example, in SvR 2010, you can download wrestlers, but not edit their moves or entrances. Have fun with that Hulk Hogan that has an improper move set and entrance. Somewhat justifiable as the downloaded CAW comes with whatever custom finisher given to them. The same, however, cannot be said about the custom tracks used as a CAW's entrance theme, leaving him/her without any music once uploaded.
      • No Rumble matches or any match with six competitors for Divas. My head hurts.
      • It's been stated that, while there are still no Superstar vs. Divas matches, Divas could now participate in any match type in 2011 (save for six-person matches due to graphical issues).
      • Any match with a ladder. You can place a ladder at the entrance in a match that doesn't need it and the AI will limp from the ringside announce tables to get it. No. Matter. WHAT.
      • Becomes a Game Breaking Glitch in Money In The Bank Ladder matches - You can take one ladder, and leave it on the stage and every single one of the AI opponents will run after it, and start fighting over it, whilst you get the other ladder & start unhooking the briefcase.
    • Hurricane being in as an NPC in 2011 for whatever reason and not a full fledged playable character.
    • Interference is a pain in the ass in SvR 2011. When someone interferes on your opponent's behalf, the ref will totally ignore your pinning attempts entirely and actively seek out the interfering party. To spell it out, in a Falls Count Anywhere match, you can be wrestling someone in the entrance and someone runs out to interfere. Never mind the fact that they'll run past you and head for the ring, but if you pin your opponent, the ref will run to the ring and be "distracted".
  • Original Generation: In WWE 12, one of the three Road to Wrestlemania stories centers on a new character named Jacob Cass.
  • Palette Swap: Superstars Threads is literally a mode built around this trope.
    • Red and Green is a more straight-forward example.
  • Perfect Play AI: Often, the AI will become an unstoppable reversing machine for no rhyme or reason.
  • Power Stable: The United Kingdom and the Mizfits in '12.
  • Pro Wrestling Is Real
  • Relationship Values: A plus and minus personality system was used for created wrestlers in the earlier SmackDown games that would determine match interference. The system was revived and revamped for 2010, now involving every wrestler in the game. It would also play a major part in 2011's WWE Universe mode.
  • Rubber Band AI: In 2010 especially, acquire a finisher and your opponent goes into full on berserk, God Mode Sue, The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard mode and will do anything, anything, to prevent you from using it. Of course this is in line with at real events a wrestler might bail out of the ring to collect themselves if they are being badly beaten, but good luck trying that yourself. The computer has no problems doing this.
    • After a few wins in WWE 12 the computer will see fit to give your opponent a finisher whenever it is losing, and take away the kickout meter virtually guaranteeing a loss.
  • Shown Their Work: The 2006 game especially had lots of little nods and touches to make the game just like a live broadcast. Everything from a jab at Mohammed Hassan to someone in the crowd laughing at Mick Foley just like at a real event to references to the Montreal Screwjob.
  • Shout-Out: One fan in SvR 2006 loves to yell out "Johnny, you're a cream puff!" every now and then.
    • Some of the items you can give a created wrestler fall under this category. For instance, you can give your character a hood that's not unlike Cobra Commander's.
    • On that note THQ's wrestling games made it pretty easy to create characters from other games. They clearly realized this as one of the default custom wrestlers in the original Smackdown vs. Raw was an Expy of Chun Li from Street Fighter.
  • Subsystem Damage
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: After almost a ten year tenure, Green and Red were Put on a Bus for WWE '12 and replaced in the create modes with two generic wrestlers with black and red trunks. Guess which of the two is getting beat up in the Create-A-Moveset mode?[1]
  • Take That: Against your character in Road to Wrestlemania, who has to do everything from fight in handicap matches in a stupid outfit chosen by Vince McMahon to being forced to wear a chicken suit. Santino against the player, heck, even the game itself regards you as a loser.
Cquote1

  While your work attire might be a paper hat and smock, Vince McMahon wears luxurious suits.

Cquote2
  • Taunt Button: Which has the purpose of filling a superstar's "Adrenaline" a bit, in order to reach a point where they can use a signature manuever on an opponent.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Goes hand in hand with the Rubber Band AI completely snapping
    • For whatever reason in 2010's RTWM mode your opponent will always be cheap and difficult to beat even if you haven't touched the difficulty settings.
    • The game is unashamedly a Perfect Play AI, to the point where it will glitch to win. For example, immediately getting to it's feet from the ground. Not climbing up from the ground, but teleporting from flat on their back to on their feet.
    • In WWE '12, John Cena, Randy Orton, and Big Show were especially bad at this. On Normal difficulty, the three will all reverse a lot of your moves and have incredibly high durability. What this means? Due to the new feature where early in the match, your opponent will get right back up after grapples. Well, prepare to have that happen after you hit your Finisher. And with the comeback specials, which mean your opponent can basically No Sell your offense just to set up for a finisher. Due to how bastardish this game can get, the AI will activate its comeback after you hit a signature move, just to prevent you from using your finisher on them.
    • Oh and I didn't mention the worst part. The computer will sometimes CANCEL OUT YOUR COUNTER TO THEIR FINISHERS.
    • The game seems to determine who wins and loses before a match. If fighting the CPU and you want them to win (say you want to boost their popularity) it will switch They Just Didn't Care mode on to 11 and you will be hard pressed to get a decent match out of them, much less pick up the victory. If the game wants the player to lose then it will ignore counters and damage, the computer will gain finishers willy nilly and the kickout meter will be delayed giving little if any chance of escaping a pin. Either way if a wrestler is slated to lose you would be hard pressed to do anything to say otherwise.
    • It might accurately represent wrestling, but you can be soundly beating your opponent, they get two moves in, sudden finisher, no kickout meter, you lose.
  • The Computer Shall Taunt You: During Chris Jericho's RTWM in the 2011 game, you have to wrestle a match with Triple H sitting in on commentary and continually talking about what a joke you are, providing incentive to go after him later on.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: In WWE'12, if you pit Daniel Bryan against CM Punk, the commentary will make note of both as being former indy stars, and that this match will be one that internet fans will love. Also, pitting Daniel Bryan against William Regal will also yield dialogue about both mens history as student and teacher.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Randy Orton in 2011, The Miz and Kevin Nash in '12.
  • The Unexpected: Due to the possibility of the roster being out of date resulting from earlier cutoff dates, there are some characters that appear despite no longer being in the WWE (whether they fit this is debatable for some characters). There are also straighter examples within each installment (i.e. Vance Archer in 2011)
    • RVD in 2011 may be the most triumphant example, let alone as one of the Legends, for obvious reasons.
      • It was decided before RVD went to TNA that he would allow his likeness to be used in Sv R 2011...
    • Brock Lesnar in the upcoming WWE '12, especially since Brock hasn't stepped in a WWE ring since 2004.
      • In an indirect way, Austin Aries is in the game as the voice of Jacob Cass. Austin Aries currently works for a rival promotion.
  • Villain Protagonist
    • Edge and Randy Orton in 2010.
    • Chris Jericho (and possibly Rey Misterio) in 2011.
    • Sheamus in WWE '12.
  • Viral Marketing: WWE '13 did this with "A Revolution Is Coming" viral videos popping up on WWE.com, with many people thinking it was going to be a new wrestler or event. As it turned out, it was the announcement of WWE '13 with the revolution part tying in with CM Punk as the game's cover star.
  • Versus Title
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Give your created wrestler a really lame finish and SVR (starting from 06) will "sell" the move like it's the awesome most thing ever. Watch as the game goes into slow motion with dramatic "whoosh" sound effect when your created wrestler does his finisher... an eye poke.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: SvR 2011, Rey Mysterio throughout his RtW get these from Superstars and Divas, stating that he's Not Himself. Justified as he's been in a car accident and has since been hanging with Jack Swagger, the person behind the accident in the first place.
  • Wolverine Publicity / Covers Always Lie: Bret Hart is front and center on the Canadian cover for 2011, but is not in the game.
    • Not unless you download him from Xbox Live / the Playstation Network.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Up to and including Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 you could pit a male Superstar against a Diva.

Notes

  1. Yeah, it's the red one.
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