The lights dim. The audience quietens to an excited hush. In stomps the first combatant, 90 percent macho posturing and 10 percent dewy perspiration. He looks to the crowd and waves the patented John Cena taunt - a hand fluttering in front of his face signifying that “you can’t see me.” Only this isn’t John Cena, the 280lb current holder of the WWE Championship. It’s a 100lb game developer from Japan. Welcome to WWE on Wii.
For many gamers the announcement of the SmackDown! franchise’s arrival on a Nintendo console couldn’t come soon enough. Developer Yuke’s’ GameCube outings, while solid enough, always felt like a lower-tier, pre-show, warm-up act, as opposed to the real-deal WWE Superstars. So the decision to unleash their A-list content on a Nintendo console is to be applauded. However, the Wii is no ordinary Nintendo console, perhaps explaining why we found ourselves watching two Yuke’s employees pulling all manner of hammy theatrics to help demonstrate the game.