In recent months, women’s wrestling has undergone a bit of a renaissance, with female performers taking on a more prominent role in WWE storylines. Ever the opportunist, I thought I’d get in the spirit of the so-called “Divas Revolution” by recreating some of the WWE’s newer female wrestlers in an old wrestling game. If nothing else, I figured this would provide a few yuks, and somehow show just how much the portrayal of women in wrestling games has improved over the years. I figured wrong, but dammit, this took up a lot of my free time, so we’re going to see it through to the end.
As such, I fired up Acclaim’s WWF Attitude for the PlayStation. Released at the height of the “attitude era,” WWF Attitude is a fantastic snapshot of late ’90s WWF in all its crass, violent, sexist, and strangely compelling glory. While the game boasts a roster of 41 wrestlers, only three of its combatants are women: Sable, Jacqueline, and Chyna. Not even enough for a tag match! Fortunately, the game boasts a relatively robust (for the time, at least) creation suite, which allows the creation of female wrestlers.
Unfortunately, like the rest of the WWF Attitude, this create-a-wrestler feature is very much a reflection of the era in which it was created. All of the model templates have ridiculously large fake hooters (which I suppose was accurate for the era), and the overwhelming majority of women’s attire takes the form of bondage gear, sexy bartender outfits, frilly lingerie, and other getups not really suited for athletic competition.
With these limitations firmly in mind, I got to work. Using the attire in this video as a reference, I set about trying to create Sasha Banks, who may very well be the hottest ticket in women’s wrestling today:
It was here that I first encountered what would prove to be a persistent problem throughout this little endeavor: the attire that the female wrestlers of today wear is far more varied and complex than what a late-’90s wrestling game has to offer. I could get the general color and look of Sasha’s relatively simple attire down, but the specifics were a bit out of reach. Specifically, I couldn’t nail the straps, which only go over one of her shoulders. For all the dominatrix gear and swimwear WWF Attitude offers, it doesn’t have any women’s clothing of the single strap variety. The solution?
Put a bandoleer on her and color it baby blue. Lemonade from lemons, I suppose.
Another frequent obstacle was the game’s hairstyles, which were all designed with shirtless dudes in mind. As such, any clothing you place on a wrestler’s torso just goes right over their hair (which appears to be a flat texture applied to the model’s “skin”):
I decided just to live with it. It was either that or give everyone a Wilma Flintstone cut.
As for the lower half of the attire, everything the game had to offer was just too short. This is amazing, when you really think about it, because what the women wear these days is pretty damned short.
As such, I generally opted to use men’s pants on all my creations, and just shorten the legs.
Not perfect, but hey, this isn’t an exact science.
You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned anything about the face creation process. That’s because all of the facial features in WWF Attitude are gender neutral, and no matter what you do, everybody winds up looking like a psychotic clown.
So, in short, the best I could do with my wrestlers was to create rough caricatures, which, to be fair, is about all you can reasonably expect from a game of this vintage.
Sasha was, by far, the easiest of the bunch, though. Here’s the reference shot I used for Sasha’s rival, the current NXT Women’s Champion, Bayley:
You’d think that her relatively uncomplicated attire and appearance would be a layup – but you’d be wrong. Any NXT fan will tell you that the two most integral parts of Bayley’s appearance are her hairband (she gives them out to little kids before a match) and her trademark side-ponytail. The game only features one headband…
…and it was completely out of the question. As for the hair, despite the storied tradition of wrestlers pulling back their flowing locks, the game only has one hairstyle remotely resembling a ponytail…
…which I’m pretty sure is just a variant of Triple H’s hair from his fancy lad days. I just colored it black and called it a day.
I could go on for hours, but much like the creation process itself, that would be neither entertaining nor informative. Instead, I’ll give you a few highlights.
Here’s Charlotte, the current WWE champ:
…and here’s how she wound up in WWF Attitude:
In an effort to approximate the complicated network of shoulder straps she wears, you will note that I had to drop a peace sign medallion on her neck and color it red.
And rounding out the “Four Horsewomen,” I also took a stab at Becky Lynch, the steampunky dark horse of the women’s division:
She didn’t turn out so hot.
When watching the videos below, the astute viewer will note that I actually had to stick her in the trunks of attitude era luminary “Mr. Ass.”
And so, in the grand Subspace Briefcase tradition, after wasting hours of my life creating these extremely rough approximations, I decided to throw all of my doppelgangers in a free-for-all fatal four way to determine just who, in fact, was the greatest female wrestler in the world. There was just one problem: the game’s AI was actually too stupid (too good?) to beat itself in a four way match, and I kept winding up with time limit draws. While the game declares a winner based on who did the most damage, that’s not a result befitting this site’s proud legacy of producing high quality fake fights for its 15 consistent readers.
So instead, wrestling fans, I offer you a DOUBLE BILL of DEVASTATING, DEADLY, and DEBAUCHEROUS WOMEN’S WRASSLIN’!
Sasha vs. Bayley:
Charlotte v. Becky:
So what did this experiment prove?
- WWF Attitude has aged very poorly.
- If the Divas Revolution had occurred in 1998, it would have been much bloodier.
Until next time, wrestling fans! I hope you had more fun watching this than I did making it! That wouldn’t be tough.