Backyard Wrestling (Don't Try This At Home!)

Sony PlayStation 2

Everyone remembers when backyard wrestling was popular, right? Late 90s into the eary 2000s? My first exposure to it was an advertisement in WOW magazine - an ad for the "underground" videos The Best Of Backyard Wrestling vol 1 and 2. The ads made the videos sound so violent and crazy I didn't know if I could even handle watching them.... but I wanted to try.

 

In reality, although interesting, the videos were far from as violent as the ad made you believe... but that's beside the point I guess. It was close to my birthday so I talked my mom into ordering them for me and after about two weeks or so, I had my own VHS copies of these "classics".

 

Fast forward a few years later and BYW had already hit it's high point (as far as I can tell) and the newest BYW tapes weren't the same as the first two that came out. Now they were focusing more on "backyard babes" who were mostly women of questionable morals rolling around in the grass, semi-nude. I'm not sure what fetish these tapes were intended for but they didn't do anything for me. I quit paying attention to the whole thing.

 

Then, whoever owned the trademark of "BYW" that put out the original series of tapes decided that making a video game might revive the product a little. I say it wasn't a bad call. They're decent games; something a little different than your standard wrestling fare and it was at least a little less of a shady way to make money off of the product (without just paying teenagers pennies on the dollar for their footage and making money off of that). Here's a look at the first game in the series...

The story mode is cleverly put together. It revolves around talk show segments on a Jerry Springer style show. The segments involve people describing how backyard wrestling has negatively affected their lives, and then you play through the next level. If you win the level, you repeat the process progressing through the story. The final level of the game is fighting on the talk show set itself.

 

Other levels include a slaughterhouse and a strip club - you know, the usual backyard wrestling spots. Seriously, though, the over the top levels are all fun to wrestle in and the game does include a backyard stage as well. Each location has destructable environments and various weapons to use.

 

The move set seems a little limited. You can choose from a lot of different moves for your create a wrestler, but you're only allowed to assign 8 moves per grappler. That doesn't matter too much, though, because  the real fun is tossing your opponent around in the over the top "arenas" and seeing all of the ways that you can creatively hurt them.

 

I do have to say that this is probably the bloodiest wrestling game I've ever played. As soon as the matches start, there's so much blood flying around it looks more like "backyard surgeries" are being performed, not a wrestling match.

 

Just like the different arenas, the blood and gore are exaggerated and over the top. Each level also has bonus goals and if you complete them you can unlock videos to view in the media room section of the game, which is a cool extra feature. The videos include music videos set to BYW footage and promotional stuff.
 

The game starts with a music video with backyard wrestling footage interspersed with footage of The Insane Clown Posse performing the song "Homies". Your musical taste may differ from mine, but personally I've never heard a "good" ICP song and this one is actually worse than most.

 

By the way, that is sort of the feel of the game, as it's a blend of the BYW trademarked stuff and ICP's wrestling company JCW. I assume they brought ICP on board for a little more (albeit underground) "star power" to help sell the game. The biggest star power ICP brings to the roster here is Sabu. Over than that the JCW part of the roster consists of Twizted, long time garbage wrestler Madman Pondo, the Rude Boy (who is less of a wrestler and more of a chubby guy that I saw get cut up by Abdullah the Butcher on an old JCW VHS tape) and ICP themselves. The BYW part of the roster features some actual backyard wrestlers that were featured in the videos, some of the backyard babes and a few fictional wrestlers.

 

You can also create your own wrestler although the customization options are a little limited. I chose to play through the story mode with my own wrestler whom I named "Tiptoes McFlurry", for my own amusement if nothing else. He has sort of a Shakespearean haircut, a moustache, and he's wearing a yellow jump suit with a yin yang symbol on it..... I assume he's some sort of "karate fighter".

The story mode is cleverly put together. It revolves around talk show segments on a Jerry Springer style show. The segments involve people describing how backyard wrestling has negatively affected their lives, and then you play through the next level. If you win the level, you repeat the process progressing through the story. The final level of the game is fighting on the talk show set itself.

 

Other levels include a slaughterhouse and a strip club - you know, the usual backyard wrestling spots. Seriously, though, the over the top levels are all fun to wrestle in and the game does include a backyard stage as well. Each location has destructable environments and various weapons to use.

 

The move set seems a little limited. You can choose from a lot of different moves for your create a wrestler, but you're only allowed to assign 8 moves per grappler. That doesn't matter too much, though, because  the real fun is tossing your opponent around in the over the top "arenas" and seeing all of the ways that you can creatively hurt them.

 

I do have to say that this is probably the bloodiest wrestling game I've ever played. As soon as the matches start, there's so much blood flying around it looks more like "backyard surgeries" are being performed, not a wrestling match.

 

Just like the different arenas, the blood and gore are exaggerated and over the top. Each level also has bonus goals and if you complete them you can unlock videos to view in the media room section of the game, which is a cool extra feature. The videos include music videos set to BYW footage and promotional stuff.

The story mode also lasts much longer than you'd first expect. I had beaten this game before (years ago) and there's only something like seceb different stages. I thought I'd blow through it pretty quick, but I have yet to complete it this time around. Granted I was trying to "100 percent" it by unlocking all of the bonus videos, which adds to the length of the game but still it's a good sized game that will take a little while to complete. That being said, Tiptoes McFlurry is no loser and doesn't lay down for any of these "yarders" and he plans on making it to the top, sooner or later.

 

There's a couple of other modes of play that you can unlock by beating the talk show mode, but they're nothing special, really; they're sort of just slapped together. Talk show mode and exhibition matches after you've unlocked all of the stages and wrestlers, are really the only modes worth playing.

 

This game got mixed and negative reviews when it came out but I can't really tell why. It's fun to play. The story is sort of funny and entertaining. The roster and stages are unique to any other game. The only thing I may have preferred would be slower-paced matches. The matches are quick an intense and sometimes, you don't get to enjoy them as much as you could for the sake of concentrating on winning. All in all it's a pretty good game though. Some arcade style over the top wrestling fun.

 

Until next time, keep mashing those buttons!

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