All of this should have a serious impact on the way SmackDown! plays, far more so than last year’s simple shifting of the grapple moves from the buttons to the right stick. The eight different styles ought to - in theory - force you to seriously consider the strengths and weaknesses of the men in the ring and to change your strategy accordingly.
Expect High-flyers to crumble when locked in the punishing holds of a Submission artist, for instance - if, that is, said Submission artist can catch the little guy in the first place. Technical wrestlers, meanwhile, ought to have the edge over a Brawler, and should have the ability to defend against basic blows and punches with ease. He may not, however, have a great deal of attacking moves, so don’t expect him to be able to use powerful blows to defend himself. Rather, a series of technical moves - headlocks, arm bars and so forth - would be the way to win. This should lead to more tactical play and encourage people to explore each category until they have one definite favorite style. Also - given there are multiple grapplers in each category - it should spell an end for the tedium that could set in during older SmackDown! multiplayer sessions, when everyone would pick Triple H or the Undertaker.
We just hope this all works as well as it already does in our heads, and doesn’t prove to be just a minor extension of the “small guys can’t lift big guys” dynamic introduced in previous games. Every year we crave a completely overhauled SmackDown!. Can this finally be the one? It looks like it might be, but we’ve been disappointed before. More soon.