The lights are on
Wrestling fans can pick up a new DLC pack this week for WWE 2K14, which includes over 30 new moves and roster additions Fandango, Summer Rae, the Bella Twins, and the current Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston. We had a chance to speak with the champ this week about making his video game debut and the state of WWE in general.
The idea of guys playing games on the road is kind of a foreign concept to superstars from the Attitude Era and earlier. Not a lot of super stars your age grew up with video games. Are you seeing more guys bringing handheld consoles or even Xboxes and PlayStations on the road?
I know it can be difficult sometimes with our travel. Sometimes we have so much stuff to carry anyways, it can be difficult to carry extra stuff. But I’ve travelled with Tensai a few times, and he’s actually managed to bring one of those slimmer PS3s with him and we’ve played a little bit in the hotel. I will, too, when we have extended trips from anywhere where we’re in the hotel for a week. I know two guys who have Vitas, as well. We’ve all grown up with video games in our lives, and we’re all just big kids anyways. There are a lot of guys who still actively game on the road.
Are there some veterans who look at the younger guys playing games and give you crap for it?
Not that I’ve noticed, honestly. I think now just with the way the locker room is situated, there aren’t a bevy of veterans anymore. A lot of us are younger. When I look around the locker room, sometimes 70% or more of the guys are guys I was in developmental with in FCW. I think it’s just the way the system’s worked with bringing guys up and not having that same crew of veterans. We still have some older guys who are still around, Kane and Mark Henry and guys like that, who have been in the business for a long time, but I think you’re just seeing now more guys who are in the video game generation. Even Tensai’s been around for quite a while and he’s a big video gamer. I haven’t really seen any video game backlash and I think there’s a strong tie anyways between wrestling and video gaming with our fans and with us as well that it’s kind of something we’re all ingrained in.
What was your first impression when you saw yourself as a character in 2K14?
It was kind of a surreal moment. First of all, I was really impressed with the job they did, and I tend to think likenesses of me never look like me, but I thought this was spot on. I was really impressed with the subtle nuances, the chalk residue in my hands, and I thought the detail with the Wrestlemania singlet was really cool. I was just really impressed with the details, as it’s always a childish dream of seeing yourself in a video game and you’re kind of immortalized.
In the ring, it seems like you’ve been resonating with the crowd a lot more than previous big guys like Nathan Jones or Bobby Lashley. What do you chalk your success up to?
I think I’ve been very fortunate and I’ve been very appreciative of the fan reaction. I try to really distinguish myself and not just be another big guy. I think my ability to be agile and be explosive has helped. I also think that some people who are on Twitter and are into social media and read my tweets realize I’m a little different. I try to not take myself too seriously, especially outside of the ring. I think there’s a connection with someone who is goofy like a lot of our friends are, and can be down to earth. I’ve been very fortunate to have a pretty positive crowd reaction, and honestly, I’m not sure if it’s any of those things, but I think it has something to do with it.
What kind of opportunities does social media provide to this generation of superstars that those from previous eras didn’t have?
We have three hours of programming on Raw, but we have a large roster and there’s a lot of content that needs to get out on TV. But the great thing is – a lot of times, I don’t necessarily have opportunities to talk on the mic on a weekly basis, but Twitter allows me to show a side of my personality that people wouldn’t otherwise see. The ability to connect with fans gives you an opportunity to do so much more than you can do within just WWE programming.