Ever since the Smackdown Vs. RAW games introduced a generation to the idea of fantasy booking, wrestling fans have fallen in love with the idea of managing their own wrestling promotion and booking their own shows. There’s a lot of games out there that include a General Manager Mode, though modern titles tend to lack the fan-favorite game mode.
To find the best GM mode, you’ll probably have to look into classic games. For wrestling fans who love the idea of creating their own promotion or taking control of their real-world favorites, here are five games that are great for fantasy booking.
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Journey of Wrestling
This little-known browser-based sports management simulator is one of the most accessible booking simulators out there. It’s mostly text-based with a few simplistic sprites for wrestlers and title belts. The game features the ability for players to create their own wrestlers, belts and even scenarios and share those online for other players to use. This means that tons of community-made scenarios cover everything from the Monday Night Wars to every single major modern promotion.
Journey of Wrestling isn’t as complex as other booking simulators on the market, but it does give players tons of options to run their dream promotion. Players can manage storylines, rivalries, matches, wrestler morale and goals assigned by the owner. Journey of Wrestling is available for free, though there’s a paid version that gives players access to local multiplayer, the ability to create factions and the ability to upgrade their promotion’s staff and facilities, among other benefits.
Smackdown Vs. Raw 2006
Smackdown Vs. Raw 2006 was plenty of peoples’ first experience with any kind of booking simulator mode. The game features a brand-warfare-themed GM Mode, where players take over the General Manager role of either RAW or Smackdown. Both brands draft wrestlers, and then it’s up to players to try and out-perform the other brand.
Plenty of people are nostalgic for the Smackdown Vs. Raw games, due in part to their critical praise and their star-filled rosters. With only 30 custom wrestler slots, players won’t really be able to book too much outside of 2005-era WWE without the use of mods. However, with the WWE 2k series at an all-time low and AEW’s GM mode only coming to mobile devices, this may be the best official GM mode available for a while.
Total Extreme Wrestling 2020
TEW 2020 is the wrestling sports management game for the most hardcore of fans. Most games tend to respect kayfabe, otherwise known as treating the world of wrestling as if it isn’t a fictional performance. In other words, they often treat the matches and management side of things as they’re depicted in wrestling storylines. However, TEW 2020 is much more of a realistic game where players have to manage everything from wrestler contracts to broadcasting deals.
The TEW community has created tons of databases for the game that include wrestlers and promotions from many different wrestling eras. TEW 2020 is available to download for $35.95, though there is a demo available as well. TEW 2020 gives players control over nearly every aspect of their promotion, though it is one of the most complicated booking simulators out there.
Despite the poor reception of WWE 2k20 and the lack of a dedicated GM Mode, WWE 2k19 actually can be a fairly strong game for fantasy booking fans. Most booking simulators have tons of resource management that could limit players who want to have a bit more of a sandbox experience. WWE 2k19‘s Universe Mode serves as a fairly strong sandbox booking mode that lets players do a shocking amount of interesting things.
The massive amount of customization in the 2k games lets players create everything from real-world wrestlers to comic-book characters. As such, players can edit Universe Mod’s default rosters to be almost anything they want. The mode can be finicky and does require some intervention to work properly, but Universe Mode can easily be one of the best booking simulators that require less management than other booking games.
Book It! is actually a trading card game that sets players up as owners of brand new promotions, hiring wrestlers and creating matches to try to be the best wrestling company on the market. Book It! manages to take the average gameplay of a booking simulator and turn it into an incredibly accessible card game that even non-wrestling fans can pick-up and play. Unlike other booking simulators on this list, this one is more of a game than a simulator and requires multiple players to play, but it is still tons of fun for fans and nonfans alike.
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