Fire Pro Wrestling (ファイヤープロレスリング) is a long-running professional wrestling video game series originating from Japan. The series started in 1989 by Human Entertainment until 1999 and continued today by Spike since 2000, encompassing over 28 games; and that’s not including the many spin-off games. The series is well-known for its grappling system, primarily based on timed button presses and strategy. Quite possibly the most popular and signature features in the Fire Pro Wrestling series is its Edit mode, the character creation feature with a multitude of options from customize wrestler appearances, wrestling maneuvers and artificial intelligence (A.I.) behavior.
Unlike many other pro wrestling games, most of the Fire Pro games are not licensed by any major professional wrestling promotion, however the games do feature likenesses of real-life wrestlers, but under different names. The games in the series also present representations many different styles of professional wrestling: North American WWE style sports-entertainment and Mexican lucha-libre, various styles of Japanese puroresu (athletic junior-heavyweight style), realistic strong-style, women’s joshi wrestling, and violent hardcore wrestling, as well as different styles of shoot (real) fighting and mixed martial arts (MMA). In addition to those differences to most major pro wrestling video games, the Fire Pro games typically utilize 2-D sprite-based graphics, while some of the later games in the series incorporate 3-D graphical elements.
While most of the titles in the Fire Pro series have been exclusively released in Japan, some of the games did find North America releases. Later titles in the series enabled the option to customize other aspects of professional wrestling, including altering ring mat designs, creating customized championship belts, and even creation and editing of referees (so now THEY can TOO be stars). The character edit/creation mode of the Fire Pro Wrestling games became so popular and influential that was eventually added to other wrestling and sports games from other companies (just look at how far create-a-wrestler mode came from the first WWE SmackDown game from 2000 to this year’s WWE 2K14). This array of features in Fire Pro Wrestling games allows players to create their own “dream matchups” of wrestlers from different promotions/eras in professional wrestling, including matches between real-life wrestlers and fighters, fictional characters and non-wrestling-affiliated celebrities.