WWE 2K’s sim fighting can be fun, but there’s something satisfying about booking your own shows, managing contracts, and recruiting wrestlers, which is what makes 2K22’s MyGM mode so appealing. I had to sit down for the latest revamp of the Fan Favorites mode, guiding my brand of choice through a 15-week ratings battle.
Conceptually, this pattern has been an interesting puzzle. Professional wrestling is a scripted sport that includes characters portraying authority figures who operate on TV but have no actual power in real life. Which begs the question: do you book the show from a real-life perspective that determines the outcome of the race and who gets the coveted “push”, or do you run it from a less realistic kayfabe perspective? MyGM’s answer is “yes”. While you manage contracts, budgets, and superstar presentations and positioning like a real manager, you can also become an on-screen character and participate directly in TV antics.
From a thematic standpoint, I find it odd that a superstar would make an explicit realistic request, like allowing their character to go from heels to babyfaces, just to have another wrestler message you and suggest Form a partnership to take over the brand if they are truly evil. As a GM, you can be neutral, or you can be a corrupt character, destroying certain classes and helping others unfairly. This includes accompanying them on the sidelines to interfere with their game. If you feel like a mean Mr. McMahon-esque boss, go for it. But you can also maintain a less visible, unbiased authority figure (think old-school Jack Tunny or NXT-era William Regal), and that’s what I stand for. Available GMs include Adam Pierce, Sonya Deville, Stephanie McMahon and Shane McMahon. You can also use a custom GM using the Creation Kit.
From 15 to 50 weeks, you can run Raw, Smackdown, NXT (prior to 2.0) or NXT UK. I went with the original black and gold NXT brand and chose to go head-to-head with Monday Night Raw led by Stephanie McMahon. The first thing I do is pick my superstar. The initial draft goes to eight rounds, but if you have the budget, you can go ahead and sign more wrestlers (otherwise, you can save money for other things). Created Superstars can also be uploaded as part of the draft pool.
Building my dream team was fun because of the strategy involved. Each superstar has stamina (how often they performed before injury) and popularity, their in-ring style, and their current face/heel alignment. It’s not enough to just sign big, expensive names. Having a balanced roster of heroes and villains and a healthy wrestling style is key. After all, style defines the game. For example, the Giants play well with heavyweights, while the Experts can play with anyone. I love that it motivates me to avoid signing only my personal favorites, as some of them have similar or conflicting styles. I also find it wise to invest in cheaper, lesser-known talent and build them into the next Cena or Rock. Don’t sweat trying to catch everyone. Throughout the season, you can expand your roster by signing free agents and bringing in legends through part-time deals.
After assembling my initial roster, it was time to book my first gig. Knowing how to get started can be overwhelming, so I’m grateful to my boss, Triple H, for some tips to get started. The game regularly texts players with suggestions and feedback for your show, which I find to be a good barometer of what I should be doing. He also makes specific demands, called commissioner goals, such as putting a talent on hold for a week in exchange for valuable energy cards. These purchasable perks grant useful abilities such as instantly healing a burnt star, boosting a championship match rating, or undermining competing brands by temporarily doubling production costs. You can earn money by playing the game to buy new energy cards, and I have found using them to be invaluable for helping my show.
Superstar morale fluctuates based on how you book them, and they make demands that you can meet and ignore at your own risk. One of my big names lost a bunch of games and got frustrated, asking me to give her a win, and threatening to quit if she lost again (even stopping me for $100,000). She hated it, but in my opinion it gave me the perfect catalyst to twist her heels. My Heel NXT Champion Roman Reigns got tired of his evil tribal chief routine and asked me if I could make him a good guy in three weeks. Knowing when to acquiesce and when to put your foot down and follow through, despite the wrestler’s objections, is a tricky but fun exercise in becoming a pusher and an enjoyable strength journey. When a low card wrestler asks for a ridiculous raise because his pants are too big, I have no problem getting him to walk. If you play well, dissatisfied superstars on rival shows may demand a change to your brand.
A good play depends on several factors, and play position is the biggest. Ideally, a strong start and a good Main Event can overcome a dull midsection. However, a bad opening game can cause viewers to change channels, even if the rest of the show is great. You can also prevent your brand from becoming stale by adding regulations or running a weekly mix of race types.
As I mentioned before, whether or not booking a match will please the audience is largely a matter of style. Certain styles work better with each other and, in turn, have a better chance of producing a higher quality game. This is where my personal biases often have to take a back seat. To me, Bianca Bel Air vs Shana Bassler is a great match, but they have very different styles and often result in a lackluster response from the fans. Not that “bad” pairings will never yield good results. But it’s much harder, although well-crafted competition can generate interest and turn tepid plans into white-hot squabbles.
Once a feud begins, superstars are matched with each other immediately upon booking (though you can change this), and their matches get a rating boost as there is more interest. The competition starts at level 1 and explodes at level 4. In truly but unintentionally hilarious WWE fashion, having two feuding superstars wrestle every week seems to please fans, even though it’s a major criticism of the real product and goes against everything I do when it comes to competition , personal representative. Thankfully, you can also build hatred with promotions and prevent related talent from touching each other until the game explodes. Whether these two methods are more feasible is unclear, but if nothing else, it suits my personal taste. Superstars can also feud with multiple people at the same time, allowing me to move seamlessly from one competition to the next.
You can run your own pre-booked matches, which directly determine the winner, or you can speed things up by simulating the results and pre-booking around random outcomes. You can also watch matches, a new option that allows players to watch matches from a crafted vantage point. This mode enables players to manipulate camera angles so that you can show the match as dramatically as possible to improve its rating. No matter how you execute your cards, the post-match summary will give you a star rating along with a nice breakdown detailing which elements of the action clicked and which didn’t. You’ll also get a report detailing business statistics such as revenue gain/loss, new viewers, fan retention, and social media feeds with viewer reactions to your shows.
You can also enhance your show’s awareness by upgrading your presentation. By default, your show takes place in a free high school gym with minimal bells and whistles, but you can end up paying for a larger venue, more elaborate sets/fireworks, a larger production crew, and a more comprehensive advertising campaign.However, if you have a budget, hosting weekly WrestleMania-level events may boost viewership, but it’s not cheap, so know when to cut corners and when to splurge (like in
pay-per-view quality live events) are important. That said, I find it annoying to have to re-select these options for each show instead of letting the format I’ve previously chosen carry over.
After 15 weeks, I was gearing up for a well-received WrestleMania weekend show, but I narrowly lost to Raw in the overall ratings battle. It’s okay because I had a lot of fun with MyGM. It looks like it should bring management sims to its loyal fans, and I’m looking forward to exploring the full version when WWE 2K22 launches on March 18th.