WWE's Big E Langston Headlines New 2K14 DLC
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.
For you personally, how important was your time in NXT and FCW? How important is NXT for WWE going forward?
For me, it was huge. I came in with zero experience. I’d never wrestled before in my life. So FCW taught me the basics and taught me how to wrestle. When it was rebranded to NXT it was huge for me because I borrowed the five count from King Kong Bundy and was able to connect with people that way, and it went really well. Every step in the developmental process has been big for me. You have a lot of really good guys in NXT right now. A lot of them were great wrestlers already before they even were signed by WWE, which definitely wasn’t the case for me. Going forward, I’m a fan of NXT and the product. I’d love to see it on domestic television. I know it gets a great response, especially from the hardcore fanbase that we have that really enjoys wrestling and wants to get as much content as possible. I know a lot of people who say that NXT is their favorite wrestling program, which I think is great. If we can provide an alternative to what we’re doing on Raw and Smackdown and Main Event, I think that’s a good thing. And I think there’s a ton of talent, there’s a lot of very good guys who I think you’ll see on the main roster very soon. There’s Adrian Neville, there’s Sami Zayn, Alexander Rusev, you’ve got guys who haven’t even debuted on NXT. Everyone seems to have a direction or a strong character focus. I’m a big believer in NXT and I’m excited to see what the brand will become, and also to see some of those guys get their opportunities up here on the main roster.
You brought up the five count, is that an element to your character that’s been discussed as far as using it up on Raw or Smackdown?
It’s something’s that’s been discussed and I’d love to do it. I’m not sure if it’s something that’ll happen in the near future or even at all. With our business, everything is always in flux and changes. But it’s something that I think worked very well in developmental and I think it’ll work very well up here as well. It’s in my lyrics as well, my entrance music. I’d love to be able to do it soon.
A lot has been made in recent years about the midcard titles becoming undervalued and it seems like they’re trying to bring some prestige to titles again thanks to the upcoming unification. With the Intercontinental title specifically, what are your plans for bringing some prestige back to that title?
It’s something that we’ve talked about and something that I feel is very important as well. To me, the Intercontinental title has such a rich history and a lot of our legends, a lot of our Hall of Famers held this title. I think it’s cool we went back to the old school white Intercontinental belt. Something to me that’s very important is to not let down the guys who came before us and also for people to value our titles. I think every title we have in our company should be valued and should be seen as a title of importance. It’s something that I’ve taken upon myself to do everything that I can to make sure that every match I have with that title is viewed as an important one and something that people care about.
The tag-team division right now seems hotter than it’s been in years. Last week we saw you team up with Mark Henry. Do you see yourself teaming up with him in the future or would you prefer to continue down the singles road?
For me, it seems like such a natural fit and I think there was a lot of positive response to it. Mark has such a long, lengthy career and we have similar backgrounds in a way with powerlifting – he also did Strongman. Honestly, he was in a league of his own as far as strength’s concerned. One of the strongest men ever to walk the earth when he was in his heyday. But I think it feels like a good fit. Honestly, I’m excited about being a champion in his company and also making a name for myself. Moving forward, I’d definitely be interested with teaming with Mark more and kind of seeing where that goes.
If the booking was up to you, who would you face at Wrestlemania this year?
For the nostalgia effect, I would probably go with Goldberg because I was a huge fan. As a kid, I got to meet him at a signing about 15 years ago. It was one of the biggest moments of my childhood. I think if I had any other choices, Undertaker has such a great lore and mystique. Not saying that I’d even be in a position to have a match with Undertaker. But you never know in our business. Guys that you grew up watching that you idolized and have that mystique. If I had to choose one, it’d be Goldberg for that nostalgia purpose.
During Raw this week, you gave out your Words With Friends username during a backstage promo on the WWE app. How many friend requests did you get immediately after that interview?
I guess the way it works is once you hit a certain limit, I don’t even see the others. Honestly, as soon as I said it, I thought, “I’ve made a mistake here. I’ve gotten in way over my head.” I already play about 20 games with people that I know and as soon as I said that, I was like, “A bunch of people are going to add me.” I don’t mind playing actually, I just don’t have the time. It’s sort of taken over my life a little bit. As soon as I got off that interview and it aired, I was inundated with requests. I’ll try to play with as many people as I can but I’ll try not to make too many promises. I already have way too many games in Words With Friends.
The WWE Superstars and Moves DLC pack is available now on Xbox 360 and PS3 for $7.99, or free for season pass holders.