Review: WWE Wrestlemania XIX

Wrestling fans have been waiting the entire lifetime of the Gamecube to receive a high quality wrestling title. Fans were overjoyed to hear that THQ was bringing a wrestling game to their purple box of fun. This game was called Wrestlemania X8, and looked promising for a little while. However, when it finally hit the shelves, many people were disgusted at the lack of quality the game had. It had many problems overall, and did not include a one player mode, and the create-a-wrestler was grossly underdeveloped. THQ has listened to the fans, and has finally designed a game that is worthy of being on Nintendo's Gamecube. Still, it has its problems, but most can be overlooked, and it is still very enjoyable. However, there is one major problem in this game, but I will get to that later.


One problem with THQ's last Wrestlemania game was character models. Many of them just didn't look much like the wrestler they were trying to be. This was disheartening, considering the power the Gamecube has that obviously wasn't utilized. Thankfully, this time around all the models were redone, and most looks fabulous. The lighting, ring, and arenas all look fairly good, and detailed. This is not to say that this game is perfect, but it looks fine enough, and it is certainly better than last years offering.

The animations in WM: XIX are for the most part very good. All the grapples, punches, and what the other wrestler does after getting hit by these, are all good. However, the walking animations are still below par. The movement while walking is very choppy, and looks pretty bad, but considering it was all redone in one year is a saving grace for it. Hopefully this kink will be worked out for the next sequel.


Well, this is a wrestling game, so don't expect anything too amazing. However, the sound effects have been dramatically improved this time around. WM: XIX boasts some pretty realistic sounding cracks, slams, and smashes. When you smash someone through a table, or hit them in the face with a chair, you will feel it. Also, THQ has most of the wrestlers' entrance themes in this one (save for 2 or 3) and I am sure that will make many wrestling fans happy. It really ends there though, and save for a few dialogues, there is not much left to talk about in the sound department. Music during matches is your usual industrial rock type music, but even if you don't like that kind of stuff (like me) you will be fine, because you can always turn it off. Then there are the crowd chants, and applause, boos, and so forth. That is really about it, not bad for a wrestling game, but not really anything to write home about.


This is where, ultimately, it all matters. This is what makes or brakes games. Not graphics, nor sound. It is Gameplay, and THQ has made one hell of an addicting game. You can play WM: XIX for hours with your friends, and never seem to get sick of it. At least that's the way I feel. Anyways, it is great Gameplay that makes that possible, and it is seen in spades within this game.

More wrestlers are in this game, about 40 in total, and most of whom you would expect is in here. There are some who didn't make it for whatever reason, but most fans will be pleases to see most of their favorites in here. People who have played X8 will know most of the buttons for this game, as most of them are unchanged, there are however a few new additions and tweaks to make the overall flow of the game better.

THQ has upgrades their grapple system from last year, and it is now much better. Instead of only 5 different grapples, you have 10; 5 strong and 5 weak. Tapping the grapple button and a direction performs one of your weak grapples (which are harder to counter, but don't hurt as much) or you can hold down the grapple button, and press it and a direction again (this time they are easier to counter, but hurt more). In addition to this, you can hold down the grapple button, and then press the punch button and a direction to punch them, and then go back to a grapple because you don't let go after the punch (depending on which one you do). You can now also pull you opponent around the mat when they are on the ground, which helps you to no get 'Rope Breaks'. This game still feels a lot like X8, but with a lot more new stuff to make it better. You still have your stamina indicator, if it is in blue, then you get up slower. If it is in red then you get up faster. You also have your special meter, then when it fills up you can go into your special state. This is where it is different from X8. You press your special buttons, and you go into special mode. From there you can do any of your specials on your opponent before you special mode runs out. It is a very nice change, because now you can do more than one special with each block you fill up.

First off, I will start with the one major flaw about this game: Revenge. This is the one player mode that some insane people at THQ made up. One might expect to find a one player mode that has matches in a ring, or something along those lines. One might expect to fight wrestlers within these matches. However, THQ doesn't seem to realize that that is what wrestlers do, because this one player mode makes no sense whatsoever. The basic story is this: You have been kicked out of the WWE by Vince McMahon, and now you want to get your revenge on him (hence the name REVENGE). Anyways, Stephanie McMahon wants to help you, so she gives you money for completing missions (I will talk about what you do with this money later) these missions have you trying to thwart Vince's plans on having Wrestlemania XX. You go around at docks, malls, and other such locales to beat up construction workers and security guards. You have to do such things as throw them off platforms to their untimely demise, or try to climb poles to get briefcases at the top. There are other things you do, but I don't want to give all the nonsense away. It would be alright just have to play these missions, but many of them are insanely frustrating. The only saving grace about these missions is that you can unlock some of the locales and battle your friends in them. Some of them are dumb, but many provide hours of fun.

Now, before I said you get money from completing missions. This money can be used at the "Shop Zone" to purchase new moves, create-a-wrestler parts, weapons, entrance animations, and attribute points. After you get enough points from the REVENGE mode you can purchase them one by one.

My favorite part, and probably many other peoples, is the EXHIBITION mode. This is where you can have matches with up to 4 people (bots, or human) in different match types. I already explained the REVENGE mode matches, but there are of course others. You can then pick single, tag team, triple threat, fatal four way, handicap, or royal rumble. Then pick between match types, such as a normal match, hardcore match, tables match, ladder match, TLC, Hell in the Cell, Cage match and an Ironman match. Ironman Matches are only available if you pick single, so no triple threats, or tag Ironman matches. You then pick you wrestlers and get to wrestling. One more thing and something I am sorely missing: backstage areas. There are none, and it is sad to see. Hopefully next year they will be included.

Create-a-wrestler is another favorite of wrestling fans, and this years CAW doesn't disappoint. There is so much to do; it may take an hour to get your wrestler just how you want him. You can change his appearance by stuff like his nose, eyes, eye brows, hair, face, and then you can give them masks, and an assortment of clothes. This year there a lot more clothes to choose from and more can be unlocked. You can even give them 'Gear' which is like hats, swords, and horns. Then you move onto their abilities, which is where you put ability points into different attributes (more points can be purchased from the Shop Zone). Next up is naming him, and setting up his moves. There are now hundreds of moves, and takes a long time to fill in all the different grapples and punches. One problem here is that the different grapples or other moves aren't in any order, and you can't search by say "Strong" or "Fast" you just have to search through a long list. However, there are templates that you can use so you don't have to go through all of this if you don't want to. In the beginning you only have a few templates but you can buy more from the Shop Zone. Finally is the new 'Entrance' creator. You go through and change lighting, pyrotechnics, the way they walk, the taunts they do as they make their way to the ring, and a few other things. It is quite in depth, and I very much enjoy this part of the CAW.

Another fun game mode is the King of the Ring mode. This is basically like a battle for the belts, and you compete in a number of matches until you face the current belt holder. There are singles, and tag team belts, and a few for each. However, you can't make your own belts, and if you do get one, it really doesn't matter. But it is fun to compete with your friends to see who the true King of the Ring is.

There is then a tutorial mode that you can do, where Al Snow teaches you how to perform all the different moves in the game (very helpful for people who have never played X8). Then you have Superstar Profiles that just shows you all the wrestlers in the game. Finally there is the obvious options mode.

That is not to say that this game is perfect, there are some things missing in the gamplay department. Such as you can't do specials off of ladders, and there is a lack of arenas. There are also some collision problems, but most everything is there, and these few things can be mostly overlooked, because it is still amazingly fun.


As I said before, most people who have played X8 will feel right at home with the controls. You still press B for punches (hold it down for strong punches) and press A for grapples. You run with Y, and pick up your opponent off the mat or a weapon off the floor with X. R is used for countering punches, and L is used for countering grapples. You press A+B to get into your special mode, and A+B again to do a special move. Then you can taunt with the D-pad, and change the camera angles (in REVENGE mode) with the C-stick. And of course you move around with the Joystick.


You can just pick up this game and play whenever you are bored. You can just do a quick singles match and be done with it, but that sometimes seems to be a problem. You get hooked and play more than just one match.

The controls are very easy, and most will figure out the basic stuff right off the bat. But from there it takes time and patience to learn to time things correctly so you can win on hard difficulties.


Days and days, there is so much to do in this game that you won't put it down for a long time; especially if you have a few friends to play with. Making created wrestlers is also always fun, no matter how many times you do it. Basically everything in this game can be done over and over again because it is always different (except for the horrendous REVENGE mode)

Final Say:

Every wrestling fan owes it to themselves to own this game. Especially considering it is the only really good one on Nintendo's Gamecube. Even non wrestling fans might enjoy this game, and should probably give it a rent to just to find out. However, if you hate wrestling, and are for some reason reading this review, I suggest you should stay away. I was expecting a great game, and I wasn't disappointed…at least in most cases. Just don't get too frustrated playing the REVENGE mode.

N-Europe Final Verdict

So fun and addictive.

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability4
  • Visuals4
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan4
Final Score



Good graphics and sound
Hours of fun
Exhibition mode


Things missing
Revenge mode!
Collision problems

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