Five Features Every Wrestling Game Needs (Especially WWE 2K22)

375410 01: 1999 The Rock In Wwf Smackdown. (Photo By Getty Images)
375410 01: 1999 The Rock In Wwf Smackdown. (Photo By Getty Images) /

Does WWE 2K22 have enough to warrant a purchase or does it need one of these five modes?

With the arrival of WWE 2K22 coming out in March, we are on the verge of seeing if a WWE game can fulfill its promises. The competition is thick as AEW’s game will gladly snag all of WWE’s consumers if their game fails.

I have played some exquisite wrestling games in the last twenty years. Some of them are arcade romps, while others are simulators. I came up with five features (modes) that would make some great replay value and refresh the brand.

1. Arcade and Simulation Mode

Usually, a wrestling brand has to pick between the two. Do we want a simulator that mirrors the wrestling choreography and showmanship or do we want an arcade feel that moves at a breakneck speed? Fans love the speed and smash’em up technique of Smackdown! Shut Your Mouth, but YouTubers love simulating matches on WWE 2K20. If only a game could have both.

WWE 2K22 should have a simulation mode that is for fans who want to watch matches and not play them. It would let them edit every part of the match from the moves, the spots, and the camera angles to the story. Match simulation is a huge hobby on YouTube so it only makes sense for WWE 2K22 to lean into it. After you create a whole storyline and matches you can upload it to YouTube right from your console.

Meanwhile, exhibition and career matches can lean heavily on the arcade format. Simple rules and commands that rely less on having to worry about submission mini-games, finishing move complexity, reversal systems. It would include every wrestler’s move set and still look serious, but it would not be bogged down by the physics of an actual televised wrestling match.

2. Forbidden Door Mode

I know WWE 2K22 would rather die a thousand deaths than look into the forbidden door, but I can’t think of a better mode that would excite me. Imagine a mode where you can create your own federation. You hire or create your own roster, design the arena, create the branding, book the matches, invent the titles and hit publish. Players from across the internet would invite wrestlers from your federation to do guest matches on their own. You could have cross-promotional title wins, feuds, and even the option to purchase a wrestler from a different federation.

The forbidden door is hotter than Elvis right now and it would be a mistake not to turn it into the ultimate federation management mode.

3. NXT Mode

This idea is more like a game than a separate mode. It is sort of like how you can create a character in college football games and transfer them to Madden games. If NXT had its own game it could include the UK, 205, and regular roster. I know the NXT roster is not strong enough to stand on its own (No Cena? No Reigns?) but the enticement would be in the career mode. Your wrestler would have to climb the ranks as a Podunk town amateur who wrestles locally until they can get their development contract. Then they would work up the ranks until they could win the Cruiserweight or NXT champion title. In the last match, they have to wrestle someone from the Raw or Smackdown roster.

It seems like a farfetched idea as WWE 2K22 has a lot of wrestler-developing modes built into their career, but wouldn’t you at least be curious how an NXT-only game would run next to its predecessors?

4. Open World Mode

It was Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 that had a Road to WrestleMania mode where wrestlers could walk around backstage and pick fights with wrestlers minding their own business. I have pined for an open-world mode that looks more like GTA, but with the wrestling business behind it. Imagine driving your hummer down a fictional wrestling city where you can pop into an arena and interrupt the main event. I dream of a large map where competing wrestling factions act like gangs. No doubt, WWE could build an open world around the Monday Night Wars where you play a wrestler on WCW or WWE who has to sabotage the competition. I am drooling just thinking about it. It’s too late to put it into WWE 2K22, but the next person who does this will get all my money.

5. Ratings Mode

In wrestling, you are not really playing against an opponent. Your true opponent is the audience, which must be won over by the excitement, professionalism, and story of your match. Wrestling games have not really jumped into that aspect. In a wrestling game, you beat your opponent until they run out of health and then you pin them.

What if a mode was all about you managing the quality of the match? Your job would be to make sure all wrestlers in the ring perform their moves with excellence and live up to their hype. I know GM modes have danced around this idea, but this would take it to a whole level. If there was an Undertaker versus Sting match you would be in charge of making the feud exciting, making sure they hit all their spots, and even making sure the entrance music is cued on time.