Don't like dealing with just the game's assets? Make your own!
Create-a-Wrestler has all the depth of a bottomless pit. There isn't a single body part you can't resize or recolor, along with a seemingly endless series of accessories and texture options to choose from. You can even give your wrestlers different outfits for in the ring, out of the ring, and during their flashy entrances. However, most of these options are composed of layers of texture maps that lack the 3D feeling of characters made in Soulcalibur III, and a lot of the options load each part individually while you flip through them. It's only a few seconds, but when some options have over ninety choices, it's a pain going through them all. It would have been better if there had been a series of static sheets, where options could be chosen and only have to deal with loading when they were applied.
Create-an-Entrance is new to the series, and it can be as simple or complex as you like, with lightning choices, animation routines, and firework displays to choose from. Many are borrowed from pre-existing wrestlers, but with the ability to mix and match them up you can put together something truly impressive... until you get tired of entrances in general and just leave them off. Customizing the locker room feels a bit pointless when it's not a place you're going to spend much time in, unless you enjoy spending long hours admiring your virtual medals and trophies. Though it's here you check on what challenges you might have completed, and purchase any number of unlockables, from legendary superstars to alternate outfits.
The lack of a training mode might alienate newcomers and also makes it a bit hard to adjust to the move set of a new wrestler, but success in the ring is mainly a matter of stamina and momentum. Like in real life, the more these superstars duke it out, the more they get tired. Dashing across the ring to slam and smash your opponent without a break is bound to deplete your stamina, leaving you stumbling in exhaustion after a while, and easy prey for a well-rested fist to the face. Holding select will fill you back up as long as you're not in the middle of a fight. However, you can't rest too long or you'll lose all your momentum. This gradually increases the more you're on the winning side of any conflict, letting you build up a head of steam to pull off your trademark finisher, or play possum to surprise you opponent, and get them pinned before they realize it.
It's like deja vu all over again, and again, and again...
There are some little flaws here and there that manage to sap some of the enjoyment from the experience. Like the fact that there are two sets of announcers who end up repeating themselves a little too often, and are given almost the exact same sets of lines with little variation, making them rapidly wear out their welcome. There's also these wrestlers are so close to their real life counterparts, but there's a certain stiffness to all their movements combined with a lack of body damage, outside of a laughable splotch of blood that appears when the match goes too far. Smoother animation and a bruise system similar to the one found in Beat Down would have made Smackdown 2k6 less a video game, and more of a playable Pay Per View.
Though if you want a solid wrestling experience, especially with a turnbuckle full of options and online play, then Smackdown vs. Raw 2006 is for you. Even if you're not into wrestling, the latest Smackdown can be an easily accessible and family-friendly party game that'll keep the chaos going for hours on end. Best wrestling game ever? I can't be sure, but it's never been more fun to put your best friend through a table and taunt him while he struggles to get back on his feet without facing criminal charges.