The WWE crossover event in The King of Fighters All Star is ridiculous in all the right ways

Who knew that seeing wrestling champions participate in KoF would feel so right?

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • May 23, 2020 at 9:38 a.m. PDT | Comments: 20

As one of the most peculiar crossovers in recent memory, it's only natural that The King of Fighters All Star, the mobile game centered around SNK's popular fighting game franchise, made headlines earlier this month when it was officially unveiled that their latest event would be a crossover extravaganza together with none other than the WWE — World Wrestling Entertainment.

Although crossovers have been done in the past in the game, we've mostly seen them focus on other fighting games or at least relatively closely tied media but never any real life people until all of a sudden we had Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and John Cena standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami. As someone who regularly plays The King of Fighters All Star, with this crossover period being no exception, I'll attest to this though — the craziest thing of all is that no matter how bizarre it seems at first, it actually works exceptionally well.

At first, I was extremely skeptical of the WWE crossover and handwaved it away as just a weird publicity stunt. It was hard for it to appeal too much to me since I hadn't followed wrestling since way back when Hulk Hogan was the main draw of the sport. Even so, it didn't take long before I found myself sold on the concept despite it seeming so outlandish at first glance.

Somehow, this absolutely ridiculous idea on paper was actually a stroke of genius in practice. It's hard to articulate exactly why it works, but there's just something about how SNK and Netmarble (the developers of the mobile game) really enjoy the characters they're working on that just make them pop, even in such a strange culture clash as King of Fighters X WWE.

Let it be known — jabronis need not apply

Since The King of Fighters All Star is basically just a gigantic love letter to SNK fans (something I've gone into further detail about a while back) it has a big focus on the game's world, narrative and interpersonal relationships between characters, with story modes focusing on new retellings where you, as the avatar character, partake in the story of various past King of Fighters games.

Crossover events are never an exception and always come with their own narrative added to the mix and the same is obviously true of this WWE crossover which is now upon us. It's a bizarre tale where you can follow a variety of different wrestlers as they venture into the King of Fighters world, starting with the trio of Becky Lynch, Kofi Kingston and Seth Rollins who enroll in the King of Fighters tournament as a 3-person team, as is customary in the series.

It quickly becomes more bizarre as The Rock finds himself being mistaken for Rock Howard, John Cena judges everyone to be a bad guy in need of a serious Attitude Adjustment and The Undertaker out to claim dead souls for him to bring with him back to the afterlife.

Attitude Adjustment works even on Gods of the New World

The narrative is probably the most amazing part of the event — from Seth Rollins usurping Geese Howard and becoming the new master of Southtown to The Rock trash-talking Orochi into submission all the way to John Cena successfully Attitude Adjusting Igniz to make NESTS into a humanitarian organization focusing on developing vaccines and taking care of homeless children there are just so many hilariously amazing scenarios to enjoy which are simultaneously playing it completely straight within the confines of the King of Fighters universe but also making it clear that they know full well just how insane all of this is.

An extra bonus since The Rock and John Cena are obviously the two biggest faces for the game come in the form of different versions of the two with The People's Champion version of The Rock basically being free as long as you clear a few easy challenges, while there's a roulette wheel event where you can get the ridiculous rapper persona of John Cena's Doctor of Thuganomics.

How such an insane crossover manages to work is entirely beyond me, but it really does. This speaks all the more to how successful SNK has been in recent years with their brand management, spreading awareness of their iconic characters through guest appearances in various other titles, both big and small, with the bigger ones being Terry Bogard in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Geese Howard in Tekken 7 and Haohmaru in Soul Calibur 6, but also much smaller appearances like having the very same Terry Bogard show up in Fighting EX Layer and Iori Yagami being part of the Million Arthur roster.

It seems that the crazy crossovers work both ways after seeing just how well real-life wrestlers fit like a glove with the more zany parts of the King of Fighters world and it seems only fitting that King of Fighters, which was originally a huge crossover of various popular SNK franchises, manages to embrace crossover potential to the absolute maximum even today, more than 25 years after its inception.

Whether we'll see anything to this crazy level in future King of Fighters mainline titles remains to be seen, but I wouldn't be surprised if this madness is a testing ground for doing similar insanity in future bigger games as well.

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