The holiday gaming season is upon us and for professional wrestling fans, there is no more hotly-anticipated video game than THQ's WWE '12.
With an absolutely stacked roster including the returns of The Rock and Brock Lesnar to game console and improved gameplay, the game includes all the pieces necessary to rank among the best games in wrestling history.
Like the Madden football games, one of the most intriguing aspects of any WWE offering is the rankings of the wrestlers involved. Join me as I rank the ten highest rated, regular roster members (no Rock, no Brock) included and analyze said ratings.
All photos and rating information taken from the THQ WWE '12 website. Visit the site for all WWE '12 news and notes, as well as game ordering information, at wwe.thq.com
WWE '12 Rating: 90
The Big Red Monster’s 90 rating is undoubtedly a surprise, especially for a superstar who has been pretty consistently defeated, since the turn of the calendar year.
Dominant throughout the summer and fall of 2010, Kane stumbled and lost the WWE Championship to the Rated R Superstar Edge at TLC. Since then, he has served as one of Smackdown’s few big-name, familiar main event attractions, but has been on the losing end of far more matches than most would realize.
A solid, high-80’s rating, along the lines of that which Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler and Cody Rhodes were awarded, likely would have been more accurate for Kane.
WWE '12 Rating: 90
Here is a superstar that, three or four years ago, would not even be in the discussion for a rating near 90.
Since then, The Miz has worked as hard as any WWE Superstar to become one of the company’s top draws. He is a cocky, arrogant performer who, in November of 2010, cashed in on the "Money in the Bank" briefcase to win the WWE Championship.
He would hold the title until April, even defeating John Cena in the main event of Wrestlemania, before dropping the title to the leader of the Cenation at Extreme Rules.
The Miz ranks slightly below the next superstar on the list because, after losing the title to Cena, his push evaporated was stuck to toil in the upper-mid-card, while Cena dispatched several challengers of the month.
Remaining one of the company’s focal points, and its most visible stars, Miz is more than deserving of his rating.
WWE '12: 90
"The World’s Strongest Man" is one of the true success stories of 2011. After toiling and wasting away on the Raw brand for the majority of 2010, Mark Henry was drafted to Smackdown in April and immediately made his desire to be one of the top stars in the business known.
He dominated every man put in front of him, taking out Big Show, Kane and The Great Khali for extended periods of time. He also did something no other man was capable of all year long, he pinned Randy Orton clean, in the center of the ring, to capture the World Heavyweight Championship.
Few have had the quality year in terms of overall performance, that Mark Henry has. By the time WWE ‘13 rolls around, expect Mark’s rating to approach the mid-to-high 90 mark.
WWE '12 Rating: 92
One of the few head-scratchers in terms of wrestler ranking, The Big Show clocks in with an impressive 92. What Big Show did to earn that ranking, however, is a mystery.
The summer of 2010 featured a rather one-sided feud with CM Punk, which saw Show decimate the leader of the Straight Edge Society. In April, he was drafted back to Raw, but spent most of his time on Smackdown, feuding with Mark Henry. In July, Mark put Show out of action for months.
Big Show recently returned to WWE on Smackdown and at Vengeance, he challenged Henry for the World Championship in a match that saw the ring literally implode upon impact, as Henry superplexed Big Show from the top rope.
Big Show is deserving of the 92 rating only if the criteria was limited solely to placement on the card and salary. Other than that, this is a very poor job of rating on the behalf of THQ.
WWE '12 Rating: 93
For the first time, we have a superstar ranked too low. That’s right. From the summer of 2010 until the summer of 2011, Rey collected two championship reigns—one WWE and one World.
Mysterio also was responsible in elevating Cody Rhodes on the Smackdown brand, by competing against him at Wrestlemania. Months earlier, Rey also elevated Alberto Del Rio, instantly making the Mexico-native a viable star in the eyes of the WWE Universe.
Rey continues to be one of the most consistent in-ring performers on the roster, and one of few sure-fire Hall of Fame inductees employed by the company. A mid-nineties rating was deserved.
WWE '12 Rating: 94
"The Game’s" rating—much like the Undertaker later—is a culmination of a career as one of the wrestling business’ greatest, and the result of a major Wrestlemania showdown with the "Dead Man."
Add to it a big win, tainted or not, over CM Punk at Night of Champions and Triple H—like him or not—has earned his cumulative 94.
WWE '12 Rating: 95
The most pleasantly surprising rating in the game, is CM Punk finally getting the attention deserved with the third highest rating.
Over the last year, CM Punk has transformed from ringside commentator—a role he filled masterfully during an injury—to leader to the floundering Nexus faction, to fan favorite and savior of professional wrestling.
He is arguably one of the three most popular stars in the sport and has been on a role as of late, consistently performing at the top of pay-per-view cards. His win over John Cena at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, in his hometown of Chicago, for the WWE Championship was among the most memorable and emotional in recent history.
WWE '12 Rating: 95
"The Viper" is, perhaps, the most consistent in-ring performer in all of professional wrestling. Early in the year, he had several high-profile, high-quality matches with CM Punk, including a Wrestlemania 27 victory, and in April was drafted to Smackdown.
Upon arriving on the Friday night brand, Orton accepted his role as its top star and picked up his in-ring work, becoming the best wrestler in the company. Victories over Christian in high-profile matches, as well as Wade Barrett and Sheamus—all in championship matches—adds up to an impressive 95 rating.
WWE '12 Rating: 96
WWE’s resident superhero consistently ranks among the top-rated superstars in WWE video games year-in and year-out. And, rightfully so. He is the company’s top attraction, is constantly involved in the main event and is one of three superstars that can be considered above the WWE Championship.
Victories over Wade Barrett, in a Chairs Match at TLC eight, ninth and 10th, and an impending match with the Rock at Wrestlemania 28 are all solid resume additions for the leader of the Cenation.
WWE '12 Rating: 97
The greatest phenom in professional wrestling history, The Dead Man is once again the highest rated superstar.
His rating, like Triple H’s, is the result of a career unmatched by many and exceeded by few. In 2010, he returned from injury to put his on-screen brother, Kane, over as a dominant World Heavyweight Champion, before disappearing from television once again.
In February, he returned and immediately set up a marquee showdown with Triple H at Wrestlemania 27. The Undertaker was successful, but at the end of the evening, was worse for ware. He has not returned to the company since, but that one win, over a fellow legendary performer, is more than enough to warrant the highest rating in the game.
19-0 at Wrestlemania doesn’t hurt his case, either.