=================================================
FIRE PRO WRESTLING RETURNS: BEGINNER'S GUIDE v1.8
=================================================
for Sony PlayStation 2 (U.S.)
by Bill Wood (billwood661@ca.rr.com)
Last modified: 12/12/07

Fire ProWrestling Returns (c) 2005 Spike (c) 2007 Agetec

NOTE: This guide views and prints best with a monospace typeface.
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

=====================
==TABLE OF CONTENTS==
=====================

SECTION 1: VERSION HISTORY

SECTION 2: INTRODUCTION

SECTION 3: FIRE PRO WRESTLING RETURNS BASIC QUESTIONS

   * Where can I find FPR?
   * Did Agetec remove anything from the Japanese version of FPR?
   * Can Japanese-based edits be converted for use with the North
        American version of FPR?
   * Will you be contributing full character guides for this game
        like you did with FPD and FPZ?
   * I thought Fire Pro Z was the last ever Fire Pro game!
        Why are we getting another one?
   * There were no WWE wrestlers in FPZ. Are they back in FPR?
   * What has been improved over FPZ?
   * Has anything been removed from previous versions of the game?
   * I've seen pictures of this game and it looks like a Super
        Nintendo game to me. Are you sure it's good?
   * Is there an official guide for this game?
   * Can I create my own organization in FPR?
   * Do the wrestlers bleed in FPR?
   * Is the infamous "Ganso Bomb" in the game?
   * How does FPR's Edit Mode stack up?
   * How do I properly adjust my created wrestler's CPU logic?
   * How many outfits can my edit have?
   * How do I choose my edit's specialty moves and/or finisher?
   * Where can I exchange my wrestler and logo creations with other
        Fire Pro players? And where can I find other fan creations?
   * Can I exchange ring and ref edits as well?
   * Do I need a special device to download edits?.
   * How much can I alter the default wrestlers?
   * How can I update the moves of the default wrestlers? 
   * How do I unlock the hidden wrestlers/edit points/costumes?
   * Are there any Gameshark codes or hacks that will create
        different match types?

SECTION 4: FIRE PRO WRESTLING RETURNS GAMEPLAY QUESTIONS

   * How steep is the overall learning curve?
   * I'm just getting started and can't do anything! Help!
   * I'm trying to learn the grapple system and I lose every
        single time! What gives?
   * My grapple timing is now impeccable. Problem is, every move
        I attempt gets reversed!
   * I'm used to the timing of the GameBoy Fire Pro games, but I
        can't win a single grapple in FPR!
   * I can't seem to hit my opponent. My moves whiff every time!
   * How do I do my wrestler's finisher?
   * What is a Test of Strength? How do I win one?
   * How do I escape a pin attempt?
   * How do I escape a submission or stretch hold?
   * How do I do top rope moves?
   * How do I do MMA/shootfighting in this game?
   * My wrestler is walking around with his shoulders slumped,
        gasping for air! What should I do?
   * How often should I breathe?
   * How do I grab the back of my opponent's head and ram it into
        the turnbuckle?
   * How do I execute a grapple or ground reversal?
   * How do I execute the new "corner-to-center" attack?
   * How do I pick up weapons? My wrestler just starts running!
   * Do moves onto weapons do increased damage?
   * How do I get up off the mat quicker?
   * How do I throw my opponent to the apron so I can do apron
        moves?
   * How do I throw my opponent over the top rope?
   * How do I tag my partner in a tag match?
   * How do I get my partner to come in for the save during
        a tag match?
   * What is "CRITICAL!"?
   * Why can't I ever get a "CRITICAL!" on my opponent when I
        want to?

SECTION 5: FIRE PRO WRESTLING RETURNS ADVANCED STRATEGY

SECTION 6: FIRE PRO WRESTLING RETURNS FANSITES

SECTION 7: CLOSING

==============================
==SECTION 1: VERSION HISTORY==
==============================

1.8 - Minor additions and corrections.

1.7 - Minor additions and corrections.

1.6 - FINALLY! This guide has been updated to be fully compatible
      with the North American release.

1.5 - Even more FAQ additions, plus all FAQs now listed in the ToC.

1.4 - Minor additions and corrections.

1.3 - Changed the info about kicking out of pins, thanks to Jason
      Blackhart. More minor additions and corrections.

1.2 - General cleanup, additions and corrections.

1.1 - General cleanup, additions and corrections.

1.0 - Initial release of the guide.

===========================
==SECTION 2: INTRODUCTION==
===========================
Welcome to the Fire Pro Wrestling Returns Beginner's Guide v1.8! This
guide is here to help out those of you who are new to Fire Pro Wrestling
Returns (Fire Pro R, FPR) for PlayStation 2. In FPR you can choose from
hundreds of wrestlers from different promotions across the world, creating
the possibility of endless dream matches. Combine this with an extremely
challenging and rewarding gameplay system and you have what is quite
possibly the wrestling simulation in existence.

With FPR, Spike decided to pull out all of the stops and give the fans
what they want... an expansive wrestling game experience with a nearly
limitless number of possibilities. Finally, long desired options such as
face/head layering, cage matches and ring editing are available in a Fire
Pro game... and that's only the tip of the iceberg! Read on to see exactly
how Spike has improved this long running and influential series, and why
after trying it for yourself, you may never want to go back to another
wrestling game.

FPR is a great game, no doubt, but there's a rather steep learning curve
that comes along with it, as the gameplay and menu systems aren't exactly
novice-friendly. That's where this guide comes into play, to help
newcomers get over the curve and get the most from the game. Hopefully it
serves its purpose.

 ++ NOTE: This document was originally authored for the Japanese version
 ++ of the game, therefore you may see some inconsistencies when it comes
 ++ to dealing with answers as they pertain to the North American version.
 ++ I've made every effort to append these answers, but please keep this
 ++ in mind when reading.

 ++ NOTE: For traditional Fire Pro game conventions, commands, etc., I
 ++ seriously recommend giving my FPR Complete FAQ and Translation Guide a
 ++ thorough reading first. This guide is meant as a sort of companion
 ++ guide for beginners, not a complete gameplay guide.

=========================================================
==SECTION 3: FIRE PRO WRESTLING RETURNS BASIC QUESTIONS==
=========================================================

Q: Where can I find Fire Pro Wrestling Returns?

A: When I originally authored this FAQ in 2005, there was no announcement
of a North American release for Fire Pro Wrestling Returns. In fact, an
announcement would not come until nearly two years after the game's
original release in its native country of Japan. Now that the game has
been released domestically, I hope that you can find it easily at your
local gaming store, usually in the budget title price range.

Q: Did Agetec remove anything from the Japanese version of FPR?

A: Some of the Japanese voices, as well as the Japanese characters from
the various naming options. In other words, nothing that the majority of
English-speaking fans will miss.

Q: Can Japanese-based edits be converted for use with the North American
version of FPR?

A: Fortunately the answer is yes, they can. This was one of the biggest
concerns of owners of the Japanese version of FPR. There are detailed
instructions on how to convert the region encoding of various PS2 save
file formats on the various Fire Pro fansites, many of which are listed in
Section 6 of this guide.

Q: Will you be contributing full character guides for this game like you
did with FPD and FPZ?

A: Yes. I've already contributed several, with more to come. Note that all
character guides authored after November 2007 will correspond to the North
American release, using those naming conventions as opposed to the
traditional fan translations.

Q: I thought Fire Pro Z was the last ever Fire Pro game! Why are we
getting another one?

A: FPZ was supposed to be the end of the series, but that game's lukewarm
criticism apparently prompted Spike to release another Fire Pro title, one
that aimed to be everything FPZ wasn't. Either that, or Spike needed a
new Fire Pro game to pay the utility bills! I guess we'll never know...

Q: There were no WWE wrestlers in FPZ. Are they back in FPR?

A: No, but you can pretty much make them all in Edit Mode. The WWE heads
are there (a good deal of them anyway), but you'll have to build them from
scratch; appearance, moveset, logic, etc. - it all needs to be done.

But with all of the fuss and bother over no WWE wrestlers in Fire Pro, I
have come to the conclusion that this is actually a GOOD thing. Why?
Because, with a mind-blowing 500 edit slots to fill, you can create your
own perfect versions of each and every WWE superstar from just about
every era of the company, just the way you want them. (And let's face it,
some of the American guys in FPD needed some major retooling anyway.)

On a somewhat related note, there ARE quite a few North American wrestlers
in FPR, including (but not limited to) Bret Hart, Vader, Sting, Sabu, A.J.
Styles, Jeff Jarrett, Petey Williams, the Road Warriors, and of course,
Andre the Giant.

 ++ NOTE: I've written FPD and FPZ character guides for many American
 ++ wrestlers. Those guides can be used as a reference for movesets when
 ++ recreating WWE/WCW/ECW wrestlers.

Q: What has been improved over FPZ?

A: A lot. Whereas FPZ was a debatably marginal improvement over FPD, FPR
is a full-blown upgrade, with tons of features that longtime fans have
long wished for in a Fire Pro game. Listed below are just a few of the key
new features in Fire Pro Returns:

* 500 EDIT SLOTS: Yeah, you read that right. Five. Zero. Zero. Think about
it, you're lucky if you get 32 slots in a THQ game, yet Spike has saw fit
to more than double the number of available edit slots in FPR (216 was the
previous amount for FPD and FPZ). Truly awesome.

* MASSIVELY UPDATED ROSTER: Yes, this was to be expected somewhat, but
Spike really went all out with the roster this time around. Smaller
Japanese indy promotions such as Osaka Pro and DDT are represented in full
form, in previous Fire Pro games you'd be lucky to get three or four
wrestlers from these promotions. All in all, FPR features a whopping 327
(!) wrestlers from various promotions (mostly Japanese). When you factor
in the 500 that you can create in Edit Mode, that gives you a total of 827
wrestlers available in a single video game, a number that is unlikely to
be equalled by any wrestling game other than a future Fire Pro title.

* TONS OF NEW MOVES: Again, to be expected, but these new moves look
terrific nonetheless. Everything from the John Woo to the controversial
Canadian Destroyer are in FPR, also added are fully reanimated versions of
classic moves such as the Emerald Flowsion and Burning Hammer.

* FACTIONS WITHIN PROMOTIONS: Finally, you can create heel/face factions
within the promotions themselves, perfect for recreating popular stables
such as the Four Horsemen, nWo or Team Black.

* FACE/HEAD LAYERING: Fire Pro fans have wished for this for years. Face
and head editing has long been the missing link in Fire Pro's godly
wrestler creation mode. Now it's here! Add masks, facial hair and other
features as you see fit.

* TRADITIONAL STEEL CAGE MATCH: Another long-wished-for feature makes its
way into the series! Okay, so other games have featured cage matches
dating back to the last millennium and the A.I. is decidedly broken when
it comes to scaling the cage, but still... Fire Pro!!! YEAH!!!

* PRESET MATCH OPTIONS: You can now save a total of 4 preset match options
for most game modes, which is handy if you frequently use the same match
settings over and over.

* GIANT-SIZED WRESTLERS: Does it upset you that in FPD/FPZ, Andre the
Giant is the same size as The Rock? Well, bum out no more, because
"G-Size" makes its triumphant return to Fire Pro in FPR! Giant Gonzales
fans, get those controllers ready!

* ALL-NEW "CORNER-TO-CENTER" ATTACK POSITION: Of all the things Spike
would be expected to add to a new Fire Pro game, a new attack position
isn't exactly one of them. Yet here it is, an all-new attack position that
manages to inject yet another layer of strategy to this terrific game.

* RING EDIT: Adjust the mat, turnbuckle and apron colors to your liking.
Another long desired dream come true in FPR.

* ALL-NEW DEATHMATCH TYPES: Can you say "Landmine Deathmatch"? The new
deathmatch options are truly stupendous, and the new option to toss your
opponent over the top rope into explosives on the floor only adds to the
excitement of these matches!

* MANAGERS/SECONDS AT RINGSIDE: You can now make Bobby "the Brain" Heenan
or Jim Cornette and have them accompany your wrestler(s) to the ring, if
you so desire!

* POST-MATCH BEATDOWNS: They were inexplicably absent from FPZ, but now
they're back. So go ahead and heel it up!

* IMPROVED SOUND: Yes, it is a MAJOR improvement over FPZ, which featured
what was quite possibly the worst audio in a modern video game. The new
crowd sounds are decent for the most part (there's still some annoying
looping here and there), and they even chant along with certain wrestler
taunts and poses!

* LARGER CHARACTER SPRITES: Another major complaint about FPZ was that the
character sprites seemed "shrunken" or "compressed" in comparison to FPD.
This has been fixed, the new sprites are large, sharp, and quite detailed.

* EXPANDED CPU LOGIC OPTIONS: More than ever, FPR gives you precise
control over how you want the CPU to handle your created wrestler. You can
choose what weapon your wrestler prefers to wield, how he sells his
opponent's moves, and even specific move sequences to end a match!

So there you have it, a brief look at look at how Spike has improved the
Fire Pro series this time around. In all honesty, if you're curious enough
about Fire Pro to have found this guide on the net in some shape or form,
I suggest you consider doing yourself a favor and check out what FPR has
to offer. And thanks to the folks at Agetec, you no longer have to concern
yourself with importing.

Q: Has anything been removed from previous versions of the game?

A: Yes. The "Player Records" option seems to be missing (bummer, I
actually used this), and the newer deathmatch types basically replace the
old ones, which means you'll be searching for your copy of FPD/Z if you
want that old-school Electrified Steel Cage Match. Does any of this
detract from the FPR experience? Not in my humble opinion. Make no
mistake, FPR is THE definitive version of Fire Pro Wrestling.

Q: I've seen pictures of this game and it looks like a Super Nintendo
game to me. Are you sure it's good?

A: Two words; old school. Fire Pro WAS a Super Famicom game (actually
there are several Super Famicom versions) and it was great even back then.
The gameplay is unique, very much skill-based, and has only improved with
every iteration. It's nothing like other wrestling games out there (except
perhaps the one mentioned below), but once you get the hang of it, it's a
blast, and extremely challenging at higher levels!

But if for some odd reason you can't imagine yourself playing an old-
school 2D game in this day and age, I would recommend you check out
Spike's King of Colosseum II (currently available as an import only),
which is as close to Fire Pro in a 3D environment as you're going to get.
Just like the Fire Pro games, I've written an introductory/beginner's
guide for KoC II, which can be found on GameFAQs in that game's "FAQs and
Guides" section.

Q: Is there an official guide for this FPR?

A: Yes there is, but only in Japan only. The ISBN is 4797331747. As a
substitute for English-speaking players, I've authored a free PDF guide,
which pertains to the Japanese version but also works well for the North
American version. Just keep in mind that many conventions -- particularly
the menu buttons -- have been switched around quite a bit:

http://home.roadrunner.com/~billwood661/fpr_complete_guide.pdf

Q: Can I create my own organization in FPR?

A: Yes, you can. You can even customize your own logo to go with your new
organization. Not only that, you can now create "groups" within these
organizations! For example, you can create your very own WWE organization
in FPR, complete with RAW and SmackDown factions.

Q: Do the wrestlers bleed in FPR?

A: Yes. Not a lot, but they do bleed (and yes, the women bleed as well).

Q: Can you reorder the wrestlers in their promotions? For example, I want
to put Satoshi Kojima above Keiji Mutoh in All Japan.

A: Yes! At last you can do this in a Fire Pro game! (On a personal note,
this is a feature I've been clamoring for ever since I saw it in King of
Colosseum, and it's great to finally have it in Fire Pro.)

Q: Is the infamous "Ganso Bomb" in the game?

A: There IS a move called the ganso bomb in the game, but it's not the
move Toshiaki Kawada used against Mitsuharu Misawa. (In case you didn't
know, the incident occured when Kawada reversed a Misawa huracanrana and
dropped Misawa on his head. It's considered one of the more brutal spots
in pro wrestling history.)

Q: Every wrestling game nowadays has a Create-A-Wrestler (CAW) Mode. How
does FPR's Edit Mode stack up?

A: Quite nicely. With all of the moves and body parts available, it's
possible to create a 90% likeness/moveset for just about anybody you can
think of, including all of the missing WWE guys. Plus you can create a
total of 500 wrestler edits!

But the best feature of Fire Pro's Edit Mode - and one that has not been
included in any American wrestling game to date - is the ability to fully
customize CPU logic. If you want to control how reckless your wrestler is
when controlled by the CPU, you can do that here. If you want to control
how often he attempts a certain move at a certain point in the match, you
can do that as well. Most Fire Pro fans will agree this feature is one of
the main selling points of this game, especially when it comes to
"simming" matches for e-feds.

American wrestling game fans, imagine having the ability to create a
wrestler that not only looks like his real-life counterpart and uses his
real-life moves, but also BEHAVES like that wrestler would in the ring.
For instance, which specific move he uses at what point in the match, how
dedicated he is to actually winning the match (as opposed to entertaining
the fans or simply hurting his opponent), how he chooses to interact with
tag partners, how he reacts to blood loss, the list goes on. All of this
is actually possible in a Fire Pro game.

Q: How do I properly adjust my created wrestler's CPU logic?

A: There is no simple answer to this. Seriously, there is a lot that goes
into properly tweaking CPU logic, and if you don't know what you're doing,
you might get lost quickly.

However, you shouldn't let this discourage you. After all, you have the
patience to read through this Beginner's Guide, right? If you're dedicated
enough to do some groundwork, you're going to be in for quite a treat when
it comes to making your very own Fire Pro edits.

I would first recommend that you study the FPR General FAQ and Translation
Guide, which lists all the available CPU logic options. This will give you
an idea of just how expansive this portion of the game is. If you have a
created wrestler you'd like to experiment with, you may want to start by
adjusting his main personality traits (Entertainment, Serious Time and
Flexibility) to see how this affects his in-ring behavior. It may not be
immediately noticeable in every instance, but these settings do make a
huge difference in how your wrestler performs during a match. From there,
you can get into some of the "fine-tuning" aspects of CPU logic, such as
how often your wrestler will attempt his more damaging moves, based on his
opponent's current health status.

But most importantly, have fun with CPU logic, that's what it's there for!
Once you get immersed, you can take pride in the fact that your Fire Pro
creation is much more personalized than anything any other wrestling game
has to offer. Throw your wrestler in a simmed match with a default
wrestler of similar status, observe what he does, then make adjustments as
necessary to ensure he can stay competitive in that match. Remember, it's
not always a matter of winning or losing, but rather if your creation is
doing what he should be doing at all times within the squared circle.

Q: How many outfits can my edit have?

A: Only one outfit per edit.

Q: How do I choose my edit's specialty moves and/or finisher?

A: When choosing your wrestler's moves, pay attention to the two columns
at the bottom of the movelist window, just to the left of the move name.
The first column is where you select your wrestler's voice to accompany a
move. If a voice is selected, it will say "V1" or "V2" in that 1st column.

The 2nd column is where you can designate the selected move as a finisher.
A blue "S" in that column means the move is a specialty move, and a red
"C" means the move is a finisher. You can have a total of 4 specialty
moves and 1 finisher per wrestler.

In order to select a new move as a finisher, you first must deselect any
move previously chosen as a finisher.

So, to recap, from the move selection menu:

  V1 or V2, 1st column = voice assignment
  Blue "S", 2nd column = Special Move assignment (4 max)
  Red "C", 2nd column = Finisher assignment (1 max)

Q: Where can I exchange my wrestler and logo creations with other Fire Pro
players? And where can I find other fan creations?

A: You may want to start by checking some of the threads over at the Fire
Pro Club (www.fireproclub.com). Registered members are allowed access to
player-created saves featuring renamed wrestlers and promotions, and
customized wrestlers and ring logos!

Q: Can I exchange ring and ref edits as well?

A: Unfortunately no, unless you exchange the entire game save.

Q: Do I need a special device to download edits?

A: Usually, yes. Some people upload their saves in the form of SharkPort
(.sps), Max Drive (.max) or XPort (.xps) files, and the appropriate
save device is needed for those formats.

Q: How much can I alter the default wrestlers?

A: You can change their name and one of their four appearances, that's it.

Q: How can I update the moves of the default wrestlers? 

A: You cannot do this directly. However, there IS a workaround:

You need to make a copy of the wrestler in Edit Mode. Once you do this,
you may reassign his moves however you wish. Note that you'll also have to
reassign all of his skill points (special skills, "CRITICAL" style, body
endurance, etc.), as they will all reset to zero by default.

Although this information cannot be accessed directly within the game,
Jason Blackhart has graciously transcribed each wrestler's stats and
skills for us, and a full listing can be found at his website
(http://www31.brinkster.com/jblackhart/).

Once you have your creation tweaked to perfection, you can hide the old
"default" version of him by sending him to "hide" (a.k.a. "retire") from
the Wrestler Promotion Edit menu. You have now successfully updated your
wrestler. Note that when you create an edit copy of an existing wrestler,
that edit is treated like any other edit, and therefore will not have his
original four outfits to choose from.

Q: How do I unlock the hidden wrestlers/edit points/costumes?

A: There are none, everything is unlocked from the outset.

Q: Are there any Gameshark codes or hacks that will create different match
types (ala No Mercy and SmackDown)?

A: No. In Fire Pro, we're talking sprites (2D) vs. polygons (3D), a lot of
those hacks just aren't possible with this type of game.

============================================================
==SECTION 4: FIRE PRO WRESTLING RETURNS GAMEPLAY QUESTIONS==
============================================================

Q: How steep is the overall learning curve?

A: Pretty steep, although honestly, it been so many years since I first
began playing Fire Pro, it's difficult to remember! I DO remember getting
discouraged very early on, and not really understanding why everyone
thought this game was so great. But then something "clicked", and ever
since that time I've sworn by Fire Pro Wrestling.

In any case, I would estimate that it would take the average player a
minimum of one to two hours just to get the basics down; grapple timing,
match pacing, etc. This is in stark contrast to most American wrestling
games, where the learning curve is usually around a half an hour or less.

Q: I'm just getting started and can't do anything! Help!

A: Start off with learning the grappling system. This is perhaps the
toughest learning curve for beginners. Regular kicks and punches aren't
going to do a whole lot of damage, and they can be even more difficult to
time than grapples. Besides, working with Fire Pro's grapple system is one
of videogamedom's true treasures.

Q: OK, I'm trying to learn the grapple system and I lose every single
time! What gives?

A: It's time to learn the "Golden Rule of Fire Pro" - thou shalt not
button mash! Unlike other games where you can do this with a moderate
degree of success, in FPR you will be punished for hammering on buttons
trying to pull off a move.

The timing is like this: when the wrestlers are close enough together,
they will automatically go into a "lock-up" where their arms lock up for a
grapple. As soon as their arms meet, enter the desired command (Up + [],
Down + O, etc.). Again, enter it once and ONLY once, otherwise you will
lose the grapple. If you entered your command before the opponent entered
his, you'll see your wrestler execute the desired move.

If you're still having troubles, you can do one of two things:

a) Set the difficulty to 1. You should have no trouble at this level.

b) Practice against a "dead" opponent. Set the other wrestler to 2P and
leave the 2P controller alone.

And remember, patience is a virtue! If your grapples are successful, but
your moves are constantly being reversed, see the next question.

Q: My grapple timing is now impeccable. Problem is, every move I attempt
gets reversed!

A: You may be attempting your stronger moves too early in the match. You
must first wear the opponent down with weak ([] button) grapples, then
work your way up to the stronger X, O and [] + O moves. Attempting your
stronger moves early in a match almost always results in a reversal.

Q: I'm used to the timing of the GameBoy Fire Pro games, but I can't win
a single grapple in FPR!

A: Many people have had similar issues, most of them recommend bumping the
game speed up to 125%. Try that and see if it helps.

Q: I can't seem to hit my opponent. My moves whiff every time!

A: In FPR, strikes are all about timing and distance. Sometimes you have
to be lined up on a horizontal plane with your opponent to connect,
although this is not an absolute rule. You can always use the "dead
opponent" tactic to practice your timing and distance, but I much prefer
practicing against a live opponent, simply because it's harder to connect
when the opponent is constantly moving around.

I've also authored a completely separate guide dealing exclusively with
the mechanics of grappling and striking, which can be found here:

http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/ps2/file/927675/50475

Q: How do I do my wrestler's finisher?

A: It depends on the wrestler's real life finisher. For example, Keiji
Mutoh's Shining Wizard is done from a front grapple, and Dragon Kid's
Dragonrana is done from the top turnbuckle. If you're really stuck on this
and know your way around Edit Mode, you could always load up a copy of the
wrestler, then look for the move in his moveset with the red kanji icon
next to it.

Q: What is a Test of Strength? How do I win one?

A: A "Test of Strength" is when two wrestlers enter a grapple command at
the same time. You'll see them lock hands in an attempt to overpower each
other. The player who enters the most D-Pad commands wins. This can be
done by wiggling the D-Pad back and forth or by rotating the D-Pad in a
circular motion.

 ++ NOTE: Tests of Strength are the absolute worst part of any Fire Pro
 ++ game. Not only does it wear down the controller (and your thumb), but
 ++ the CPU becomes RIDICULOUSLY difficult after Level 5. My advice here
 ++ is  to give up on Tests of Strength and focus on improving your
 ++ grapple timing. (Your thumb will thank you for it!)

Q: How do I escape a pin attempt?

A: Tap the X button rapidly. Although you can simply hold the X button
down to escape a pin (I've been all the way through Victory Road AND
Story Mode in FPD/FPZ using this method), it has been brought to light by
Mr. Jason Blackhart that tapping the X button repeatedly may make a
difference in close situations, plus it helps your wrestler recuperate
spirit energy.

Q: How do I escape a submission or stretch hold?

A: Move the D-Pad around. I prefer wiggling it back and forth, but you can
rotate it as well. Button mashing may actually help here, I'm not sure.

Q: How do I do top rope moves? I always miss with my flying attacks!

A: Just like regular strikes, high-flying moves require your opponent to
be in a certain location in order to be successful. For example, a frog
splash may whiff if the opponent is in the center of the ring, yet a
flying headbutt may go the distance.

Also note that your wrestler's offensive style dictates how effective he
will be with flying attacks. Obviously a luchador will have more
effectiveness using high-flying moves than, say, a pure grappler.

Here's another tip for all you would-be luchadors: when the opponent
begins to tire, use an X grapple move to knock him down, then climb the
turnbuckle. Your can now perform your "top rope - opponent down" attack.
If you use a O grapple move and climb the turnbuckle, the opponent will
stand up dazed. You can now pull off "top rope - opponent standing"
attacks (i.e. Dragonrana). This may vary depending on the actual moves in
your wrestler's moveset, but it is a fairly common setup for most of the
default wrestlers.

Q: How do I do MMA/shootfighting in this game?

A: MMA-style shootfighting involves real-life fighting techniques such as
takedowns and mount grapples. It can be very challenging to learn at
first. If you're completely new to Fire Pro, I would seriously suggest
sticking to the pro wrestling basics until you have that aspect of the
game mastered, then move on to shootfighting.

Once you feel you're up to the task, please review my Fire Pro R: Quinton
"Rampage" Jackson Character Guide, which contains a section devoted to the
basic principles and timing of Fire Pro shootfighting.

Q: My wrestler is walking around with his shoulders slumped, gasping for
air! What should I do?

A: Breathe, man, breathe! [see next question]

Q: How often should I breathe?

A: Breathing is done by holding down the L1 trigger, and there is no
definitive answer as to how often you should do it. It depends on several
factors (your wrestler's attributes, attacks used, etc.). As a rule, I try
to breathe at least every 2 minutes of FPR time.

Q: How do I grab the back of my opponent's head and ram it into the
turnbuckle? I see the CPU do it all the time and it looks cool!

A: The move you're referring to is a corner setup move. Here's how it's
done: When in a grapple, press d-pad in the direction of the corner you're
closest to + /\. For example, let's say you're both on the left side of
the ring. Grapple, then left + /\ to do the move. The only time this
doesn't work is when you're close to the center of the ring or near the
top or bottom turnbuckle.

If you press the D-Pad in the opposite direction, you'll Irish whip the
opponent into the opposite corner. For example, using the last scenario,
press Right + /\ instead of Left + /\. Either move will set you up for a
corner move (i.e. top rope Frankensteiner) if the opponent is worn down
enough and manages to stay there dazed.

Also note that you can only use the east and west posts for corner moves,
not the north and south posts. You can climb and jump from all four
turnbuckles, but you can only corner grapple from the east and west.

Q: How do I execute a grapple or ground reversal?

A: You don't have to press a button to pull off a reversal (ala No Mercy
and SmackDown). Grapple/ground reversals happen automatically depending on
certain factors (stamina, weight imbalance, etc.). For example, if you're
Gran Naniwa and you try to suplex Andre the Giant, you will more than
likely get your move reversed. And as far as I know, ground counters are
completely random.

Q: How do I execute the new "corner-to-center" attack?

A: Easy. Just make sure your opponent is downed near the center of the
ring, then walk over to the east or west turnbuckle. Then press O + D-Pad
toward the turnbuckle (away from the opponent) to execute the move. Note
that you obviously have to have this type of move in your arsenal to
perform it (not all wrestlers do).

Q: How do I pick up weapons? My wrestler just starts running!

A: Picking up weapons can be tricky because you have to press Down + /\
(Run button) to pick them up (bad idea, Spike). A little practice will get
you there though, just stick with it.

Q: Do moves onto weapons (i.e. piledriver onto a chair, powerbomb onto
table piece) do increased damage?

A: No, they just look really cool. ^_^

Q: How do I get up off the mat quicker?

A: I usually wiggle the d-pad when I'm down, but I don't think this really
helps (more of a nervous habit). However, you CAN stay down on the mat
longer by simply holding down X.

Also, when lying on the mat, you can roll up and rise by holding Up on the
d-pad, or roll down by holding Down on the d-pad. This is great when
you're getting clobbered and are close enough to the ropes to roll out of
the ring and grab a breather.

Q: How do I throw my opponent to the apron so I can do apron moves?

A: With your back to the ropes, grapple the opponent and press Down + R1
if you're against the southernmost ropes, or press Up + R1 if you're
against the northernmost ropes. You will throw the opponent to the apron.
From there, grapple, then [], X or O to do your apron grapple move.

Q: How do I throw my opponent over the top rope?

A: The all-new "over-the-rope" toss is performed by pressing R1 + /\ (you
may also have to press the D-Pad toward the ropes) during a grapple. Your
opponent has to be sufficiently worn down to do this, otherwise they'll
counter or slip back into the ring under the bottom rope.

Q: How do I tag my partner in a tag match?

A: Simply press L1 + D-Pad towards your partner in your corner. Which
reminds me... why do "run" and "pick up weapon" share the same button
command (/\), and "breathe" and "tag" share the same button command (L1),
while the L2 and R2 buttons are not used at all during gameplay?

Q: How do I get my partner to come in for the save during a tag match?

A: You partner will automatically enter the ring to break up a pin or
submission hold when he thinks you might be in trouble (provided that
"Cut Play' is turned On on the Match Config screen). In other words,
don't expect your partner to break up a pin early in the match because you
can probably kick out anyway.

Inversely, your partner will likely enter the ring to protect you if
you're trying to pin your opponent and he's sufficiently worn down.

Q: What is "CRITICAL!"?

A: "CRITICAL!" is what happens when a wrestler is critically injured by
an opponent's move and is unable to continue. It usually happens with
finishers, but can also happen with regular strikes and holds, depending
on the wrestler's attributes. Pretty much the equivalent of a KO, which
doesn't really happen in professional wrestling, but it's cool to see
nonetheless.

You can force a "CRITICAL!"ed opponent to continue a match by picking him
up from the mat before the ref notices the "CRITICAL!". By doing this, it
is actually possible to score multiple "CRITICAL!"s on a single opponent.

Q: Why can't I ever get a "CRITICAL!" on my opponent when I want to?

A: Oh no, a question I can't answer! Seriously, I could write another
complete guide focusing solely on the frequency of "CRITICAL!"s, it's
that complex. (In fact, I believe JB's already done something like this.)
I will tell you there is absolutely no way to guarantee a "CRITICAL!".
Even if you create a wrestler with colossal "CRITICAL!" potential, it's
still becomes a matter of percentages.

===========================================================
==SECTION 5: FIRE PRO WRESTLING RETURNS ADVANCED STRATEGY==
===========================================================
If you're just learning the Fire Pro ropes, you've probably already
discovered that Level 9 and 10 opponents can be extremely tough for
beginners. Your grappling skills need to be near perfect, and even then
it's tough. However, there are a few "tricks" you can use to help you
along the way:

KNOW YOUR OPPONENT - Study their strengths and weaknesses, and use this
knowledge to your advantage. If a character guide is available for your
opponent, read it to find out where his Achilles' heel is! For example,
Dynamite Kid is one of the toughest juniors in the game, and a very
solid ring technician all-around. Yet by examining his character guide, we
can see that he has low neck endurance. That's your cue to focus on that
area to try and get a submission victory!

Granted, not every opponent you face will have his or her own guide to
study, but this is where common sense comes into play. For example, as a
general rule, bruising heavyweights such as Vader are usually ill-equipped
to deal with high-flying attacks. Inversely, athletic and nimble juniors
such as KENTA usually don't hold up well against lariats and power-based
attacks. Of course, the effectiveness of your wrestler's arsenal will come
into play here as well.

USE STRIKES - Believe it or not, against tougher opponents is where weak
and medium strikes come in handy. The main reason for this is that while
the CPU's grapple timing improves considerably at higher skill levels,
it's still a chump when it comes to walking into strikes. Therefore, if
you can use them regularly during the match, you will eventually wear the
opponent down.

The reason I say to use weak and medium strikes is that the strong strikes
are usually the most difficult to connect with. For example, dropkicks are
notoriously hard to pull off (not mention they leave you lying flat on the
ground), and strong strikes such as Misawa's Rolling Elbow take an absurd
amount of time to initiate. Not all wrestlers have this problem with their
strong striking moves, but many do.

Also note that strikes, if used consistently, will slow your opponent's
walking and (as far as I can tell) grappling speed. This can give you a
needed advantage. My own rule of thumb is this: the higher the difficulty,
the higher the percentage of strikes used (as opposed to grapples).

USE WEAPONS - Sometimes weak strikes won't get the job done. In this case
you need to break out the heavy artillery! Use [] or O to exit the ring,
then against the ring + /\ to pick up a weapon from under the apron.
Reenter the ring and wreak some havoc! And remember, you can have more
than one weapon at a time in the ring, so feel free to litter!

When the opponent begins to fall to the mat from the blows, switch to
using submission holds and stretches for a quick finish. Note that with
the new (and more realistic) DQ settings, this old-school tactic isn't
nearly as effective as it once was. If DQ Count is On, the ref will
disqualify you if you don't drop the weapon by the count of 5!

RING OUT (cheap!) - If you're REALLY frustrated, you can always go for
the ring out (if Outside Count is On). Just get the opponent outside the
ring and try to keep him there for the 20 count. This usually means
pulling off a grapple move somewhere around the 16 count, then rolling
back inside the ring. Like I said, CHEAP!

DON'T FORGET TO BREATHE! - Not really a trick, but helpful nonetheless.
Even if you're not getting hit, simply using your offense consumes energy.
Every now and then, throw your opponent to the mat and hold the L1 trigger
to catch your breath.

If you're REALLY getting the tar beat out of you, simply exit the ring.
Depending on your opponent's logic setttings, he may choose to wait for
you to return while the ref counts (if Outside Count is On). This is a
perfect opportunity to breathe! Just remember, your opponent can catch his
breath as well! Also, you may lose spirit energy by exiting the ring (it
is a cowardly act after all!).

COMBO WHENEVER POSSIBLE - Sure, a basic scoop slam will do damage, but
it's always more devastating when followed with a few stomps to the groin
and a sleeper hold! Always remember to take advantage of your opponent
being incapacitated to mount an offense.

LEARN TO FOCUS - "Focusing" is my term for concentrating all of your
attacks on a certain body part (arm, leg, neck). Joint holds are good for
this. Keep applying joint holds to one area of the body and the opponent
will eventually have to forfeit the match.

KEEP IT SIMPLE! - Don't try fancy corner moves or Irish whip moves, higher
level opponents tend to reverse these moves often. Also, top rope moves
such as the superplex require TWO successful grapple inputs, which can
effectively cut your success rate in half. One simple strategy is to
constantly use weak grapple moves to knock down your opponent, then use
basic strikes and holds from there.

NEVER (EEEVEER) GRAPPLE VS. GIANT STYLE! - OK, maybe you can a little, but
keep it to a minimum! Andre the Giant and Giant Baba (see the word 'giant'
in their names?) are two good examples. They can reverse even your weakest
grapples, frustrating to say the least. Their weakness? Man, these guys
are slower than molasses! That means you can run circles around them,
poking with weak and medium strikes all day long.

Some veteran players have also noted that repeated Irish whips can wear
down the bigger wrestlers, which makes sense as they tire easily from
having to do so much running around the ring. Try whipping the Giant-style
guys around until you see them gasping for air with their shoulders
slumped. They're sitting ducks at this point!

==================================================
==SECTION 6: FIRE PRO WRESTLING RETURNS FANSITES==
==================================================

http://www.fireproclub.com
The Fire Pro Club, est. 1993. Throughout its long history, the FPC has
seen its share of changes, yet it is more popular now than ever before,
with over 5,000 registered members as of this writing.

http://www.fireprozomg.com/forum/index.php 
Come hang out with some of the veterans of Fire Pro fandom. Chock full of
Fire Pro information that cannot be found anywhere else!

http://www31.brinkster.com/jblackhart/
Jason Blackhart = Fire Pro guru extraordinare. Simple as that.

http://www.purogamer.com
MDK's site is here for all you n00bs who want to install a flip-top but
are afraid to wield a screwdriver. What are you waiting for? (Note that
you no longer need to mod your system to play Fire Pro unless you're
planning on playing the import version.)

http://og-fpd.freeservers.com
The website of none other than Orochi Geese, one of the friendlier and
more dedicated Fire Pro players out there.

http://home.roadrunner.com/~billwood661/firepro.html
My personal website, with direct links to every Fire Pro guide I've ever
written, which totalled somewhere around 60 last time I checked.

Do you have a Fire Pro Returns website you'd like to share? E-mail me at
billwood661@ca.rr.com and it will be added to this section in future
revisions!

======================
==SECTION 7: CLOSING==
======================
I sincerely hope you found this guide useful. In closing, I would like to
thank the following:

* Lord Vermin, Jason Blackhart and Dave Fairbairn for their wealth of Fire
  Pro knowledge.

* Frank James Chan for writing the original FPD Guide, which without most
  of us would still be clueless. Also, special thanks to the Icemaster
  and The Mysterious Kagura for their previous contributions, and Jim
  "Hoss" Freeman for getting this whole shindig started.

* All the Fire Pro fans on the GameFAQs, FPC and ZOMG boards. If I tried
  to list each and every single one of you, I'd inevitably leave someone
  out, so if you're asking yourself if I'm referring to you, I probably
  am, and let's just leave it at that. -_^

Fire Pro Wrestling R Beginner's Guide v1.8
(c) 2007 Bill Wood