Taito’s ring-rocker Champion Wrestler hits the Arcade Archives

champion wrestler arcade archives hamster retro

Who needs EVPs?

Snap on the spandex and comb that mullet, as it’s time to step back in the 1980s heyday of professional wrestling, as Hamster adds Taito’s old-school ring-rocker Champion Wrestler to the Arcade Archives on Nintendo Switch and PS4.

Hitting the arcade scene in 1989 — at the height of both Hulkamania and pro wrasslin’s first international boom — Champion Wrestler lacks any official licensing from any real-life promotions, but makes a strong effort to capture the excitement, color, and flamboyance of the pseudo-sport as depicted during this golden era. Players can choose from a selection of suspiciously familiar characters with rad names like Matterhorn Decker, The Samurai, Miracle Rastan, and Jimmy Carbon, before battling it out in one-on-one, tag team, and even cage match action.

Check out the action in the video below, courtesy of YouTuber Janet.

Champion Wrestler is certainly a weird one. The game boasts a selection of nice moves, some fun sprite art, and cool touches such as ring entrances and cheating managers. To play, however, it’s a little odd, with the player required to walk around in order to build up power for some of their better throws and holds. Still, all of these flaws fall away at the end of each match, as bizarre wrestler portraits show the winner hanging in casinos, appearing on TV shows, and living in luxury, while the loser is carted off to hospital, quits the business to sell hot dogs, or even turns to a life of crime! A silly but fun touch.

Champion Wrestler would eventually be ported to PC Engine in Japan, and would also make an appearance as a Virtual Console title for Nintendo Wii. If you fancy stepping into the ring with this odd release, then it is available to download now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, priced at around $8.

Chris Moyse
Senior Editor - Chris has been playing video games since the 1980s. Former Saturday Night Slam Master. Graduated from Galaxy High with honors. Twitter: @ChrisxMoyse