I love wrestling.
I love video games.
When I was a kid, wrestling video games were heaven. In particular, The Smackdown vs Raw series was my adrenaline, sparking my wildest dreams with endless storytelling possibilities. And perhaps my favorite part of the earlier titles was the General Manager mode.
GM mode provided endless hours of fun. I could buy out as many wrestlers as I could with my budget, plan segments to drive up match ratings, and boost audience interest in my dream match-ups. I played it for hours and hours, always starting a fresh file with even more ambitious ideas than the previous playthrough—I truly loved it.
And I’ll be honest: I haven’t touched a wrestling video game in a while, at least not in a few years. The 2K formula isn’t my cup of tea, and I miss the variety and depth that older games provided.
But every once in a while, I feel the itch to relive those days, the carefree hours spent sitting in front of my bulky CRT monitor not only had a profound impact on my childhood, but also on my own tastes in storyline development and characterization in pro wrestling.
I am so thrilled to say that Journey of Wrestling brings all of these nostalgic flavors back into my life and more.
Journey of Wrestling is a booking simulator that allows you to take charge of a promotion, its PPV events, match cards, show segments, and all the good, juicy stuff in between! It was a warm, welcoming hug to my wrestling soul, and a journey (haha) that was quite memorable.
While JoW has a free trial of the game available, I 100% recommend diving in and purchasing the paid version for the full experience. You can unlock many features that enhance gameplay, including unlimited factions, ratings wars, the ability to run multiple promotions at once, local multiplayer, and sandbox mode. Almost everything I discuss going forward is available in the paid version of JoW. For $15, it’s an absolute steal for what you get.
As someone who hadn’t played a simulator game in years, I felt right at home with the customization options available, and I appreciated JoW’s accessibility to newcomers of the wrestling booking genre. General manager simulators can be overwhelming for the inexperienced, but JoW ensures that you understand the game’s mechanics before you dive in, such as its recommended tutorial mode. It’s catered towards teaching new players the fundamentals of booking, gradually introducing each of the components you’ll need to run a successful show. The promotion size is also perfect, allowing players to easily transition into JoW’s booking style.
Already familiar with the gameplay? You can skip the tutorial and jump straight into the other scenarios when you begin a new file. This was another aspect of JoW that I was impressed with: the depth and scope of stories to select from. There’s something here to satisfy every kind of wrestling fan’s tastes.
Are you frustrated with the lack of direction and build in modern day wrestling? You can take control of WWE, AEW, Impact, and more as you see fit! Is your brain constantly buzzing with “What If?” storylines from the Monday Night Wars? You’re the brains of the 90s now, as you shape those dreams into reality with the Attitude Era scenario. If you’re a wrestling history buff, there’s even a scenario that touches on the WWWF’s early years. JoW hosts original stories too! Resurrect WCW from the dead, take control of a mid-1980s women’s promotion, or conquer Mars as the leader of the Martian Wrestling Alliance while also fighting off mutating martians. Seriously, you can!
All of this is to say that JoW demonstrates wrestling booking’s versatility. Playing more than one story is absolutely encouraged, motivating players to take discrete approaches. Each scenario you select is stored in a save file, so you can run more than one promotion at the same time. You can cater your own Journey in Wrestling to your storytelling and roster tastes; no one playthrough of this game is going to be the same for each player, and I love this so much.
Before you start a file, you can adjust your simulation’s parameters to make it as challenging or broken as you want it to be. Whether you decide to draft your own roster, play with other friends in local multiplayer, or activate sandbox mode to set everything loose, you can create your own experience—-your own Journey of Wrestling.
So how did my own journey turn out? First, I decided to play through the tutorial to familiarize myself with how JoW played. Since I already knew the basics of booking, I was able to get in the groove of the game immediately, and once I felt comfortable navigating JoW’s interface, I started a new file and opened up my own version of AEW—-Caro’s All Elite Wrestling Simulator.
And oh my goodness, this is where the fun REALLY began.
Journey of Wrestling truly shines when your imaginative ideas run free. I wanted to see how far I could take my version of AEW via JoW’s sandbox mode. It granted me many options from the start: the entire roster, all medical and training facilities unlocked, and unlimited points to spend on contract signings and legends.
The first PPV I booked for AEW was Double or Nothing. I didn’t have any story beats planned, so I went with the flow of what I felt would make a compelling, consistent show. Some of my favorite highlights include:
- Moxley and Eddie Kingston stealing the show with a fantastic opening match
- Brian Pillman Jr. winning the FTW Championship during the Casino Battle Royale
- Kenny Omega and Orange Cassidy main eventing the show with a 6 Star exploding barbed wire death match
- Cody Rhodes losing a handicap match to Death Triangle in a Chuck E Cheese Brawl match (5 stars!)
This also a great time to note that I planned Kenny Omega vs Orange Cassidy weeks before they even hinted at it for the actual, real life, Double or Nothing event.
After the critical acclaim that DoN received, I was left with many storylines to pursue, and I arrived at a crossroad regarding how to proceed with my simulation.
Would it make the most logical sense to make a realistic portrayal of how I think AEW should proceed with the rest of 2021? Would I inhibit my imagination, paint a realistic picture of AEW’s rivalries and stables?
I wanted to go completely off the rails.
Once I got the alert that Nick Jackson was injured for the summer, I knew what had to be done. And everything snowballed from there.
So I broke up the Young Bucks.
Then, I smushed Matt Jackson and Cash Wheeler into a tag team called CA$H MONEYY.
I made Matt and Nick Jackson feud with each other once Nick returned from his injury. In retaliation, Nick and Dax Harwood created a tag team together—they are all still feuding.
I created a new title called the A E S T H E T I C championship, only defendable in Stadium Stampede matches. Maki Itoh is the current holder of the belt.
Speaking of, I made Maki Itoh face turn and become the biggest star of the women’s division.
I let a 130 man battle royal main event an original AEW Dynamite event I created. Tickets were only on sale for 10 minutes, sold out in 1 minute, and said main event match miraculously left no one involved with sustained injuries. Michael Nakazawa won the whole match to claim the TNT Championship
I booked Marko Stunt and Chris Jericho in a steel cage match for Fyter Fest’s main event, garnering 3 stars and a win for Marko.
I fired Chris Jericho in a segment the next night.
I made Cody Rhodes lose so many 1-on-10 handicap matches that his popularity tanked to the point where a retirement ceremony on Dynamite was justified.
I hyped Kenny Omega and Eddie Kingston as the feud of the summer, in which the peak of the rivalry included Kenny getting slimed by Eddie.
I made Kenny Omega and David Arquette fight for the AEW World Championship in an exploding barbed wire deathmatch. I am pleased to announce that in Caro’s All Elite Wrestling, David Arquette is the current world champion.
I could go on about everything else I did, but I can only talk so much without making this review too long. I listed these particular moments out to illustrate how your imagination has no limits in Journey of Wrestling. If you’re looking for a fun wrestling game to play, I definitely recommend it! And if you’re new to booking simulators, but feel overwhelmed about taking the plunge, at least try it for free before committing to the paid version.
A big thank you to Journey of Wrestling for providing Wrestle Inn with the paid version of this game! This is definitely a game I look forward to revisiting as my creative juices spark with new ideas.
For more information on Journey of Wrestling, and to purchase the full game, visit: www.journeyofwrestling.com