WWE 2K22 brings back MyGM mode to allow players to manage the booking of a show, but you’re not going to start on RAW, SmackDown, or NXT… but a high school gym instead.
The developers of the game, 2K Games, are renowned the world over for some of their impeccable storytelling in NBA 2K22 over the years.
In MyCareer, often you will see a player start out at college level and build their way up to winning NBA Championship Rings.
Now, Jynell Jinks – the WWE 2K Creative Director – has had this to say about the upcoming game in a conference call: “Players can expect to Draft superstars, book matches, manage contracts, and prove you have what it takes to run the most successful brand in sports entertainment. In MyGM players will progressively work their way up from running shows in high school gyms to prime time TV.”
A lot of that sounds like the great formula that’s worked in the past, but let’s think about how this plays out in reality.
This needs to be optional in WWE 2K22 MyGM mode
There are a few problems with this if it’s compulsory.
First of all, that all seems like a whole lot of work for what will ultimately be a terribly small broadcast and show. The amount of time poured into these gym events will certainly fuel a desire to make it to the top shows, but is that grind what people are after?
The best wrestling games – thinking back to the Smackdown vs. RAW series – were all about action, voice lines, and playing with the big stars. With all due respect, I’m not sure booking a dominant run for “Timmy Tenders” at the local gym will keep a fan interested for very long.
Anyone that knows wrestling and particularly the demographic (young children and middle-aged men predominantly) will understand that nobody gives a crap about that side of sports entertainment.
Ask any one of the countless independent wrestling businesses across the UK or the United States if it’s fun. Many are bankrupted by paying talent to perform in front of tiny crowds in leisure centers and high school gyms, due to a lack of interest.
This might be where the talent starts out, and from a wrestling standpoint – sure, it might be cool to start wrestling there. But, book a show? It just sounds a bit boring, really.
Somebody needs to get on the phone with the bookers at WWE, and ask them where they started out. Paul Heyman enjoyed an incredible run at Extreme Championship Wrestling in the ballrooms of Philadelphia, and so too did the likes of Jim Cornette, but that was back when wrestling was mainstream. Smaller companies could climb the ladder and achieve regional success, but all of that is for the history books.
Many step into lead writing positions with experience in other entertainment industries, and big track records. A more compelling story would be very Performance Center heavy, which they have done in the past, and really build up the characters with real voice lines. In previous titles, it’s just felt a bit slapdash even for NXT, so can you imagine the gym setup?
Will the audience actually care?
There are a handful of remaining shows, some of which still aren’t known to the majority of WWE fans.
There’s a chance that people have heard of AEW, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor, Impact Wrestling, and others in the scene – but high school gym promotions… Seriously?
Anything that takes place in a high school gym doesn’t need air time, certainly doesn’t need to be included in a WWE 2K22 video game, and shows a perceived complete lack of understanding about what a good WWE game is all about.
A good MyGM mode should be all about RAW, SmackDown, NXT, and possibly some invasions. Watering those cutscenes down to your local gymnasium makes no sense.
Besides, by the time you have made the impossible climb from booking 16-17-year-old kids one day to Triple H and The Rock at WrestleMania the next, all of those storylines and ideas you had going into it will be exhausted.
Not to discredit the young performers coming through the ranks today, but does the casual fan actually care about that side of the business? I’d be curious to know if somebody’s sat down physically in a gym, watched people wrestle, and thought: “Wow, this would be great in a video game.” I have – and it’s not very entertaining.
Let’s hope this is an optional feature of the mode, and not mandatory, because it will suck the energy out of it. Guaranteed.