It’s the most wonderful time of the year! WWE 2K20 is almost upon us and fans of British and Australian wrestling are in for a treat, as this year, you won’t have to make your own version of Trent Severn or Toni Storm in the character creator! For the first time, they are both official entries. At last, I can officially have Moustache Mountain win the tag titles in the My Universe mode. They must have sorted out the issue where if the processor had to render the facial hair for both Trent and Tyler at the same time, it would blow up your console and half your house with it, so glorious are their titular moustaches!
2K invited us to take a look at the game and also to have a chat with three of the biggest stars of the NXT UK brand.
(This is the first day anyone outside of 2K has been allowed time with the game, so even these guys haven’t got their hands on it yet, so busy are they with PR duties. Trent immediately starts off with asking everyone how he looks in the game. Particularly his hair, as he’s feeling self-conscious. He didn’t pack his favourite brand of conditioner for the trip.)
Trent: Has anyone played as me yet? What colour’s my hair?
Have you had any time to play the game yourself?
Trent: There will be, but I’ve been here [the interview room]. I haven’t even seen my entrance.
Well, this isn’t your first rodeo, is it?
Trent: I wasn’t in it last year. This is the whole thing. Everyone was in it except for me. Tyler was in, and Pete [Dunne]. It’s just funny. All of Undisputed Era were in it, and Pete and Tyler. Me? Nah.
I completely had that Mandela Effect where I was sure you were in the game.
Trent: A lot of people said they’ve played as me. I said, ‘You mean you had to create-a-wrestler.’ Me, Pete and Tyler have been in WWE three years now, so the best things come to those who wait.
Toni: Some of the fan-made ones are incredible. Freakishly like me. I don’t know how they’ve managed to do it, but well done all. Wow.
That’s probably it. What’s the process of them capturing you for the game?
Tyler: Myself, Trent and Mark Andrews, we were actually flown to Vegas because that’s where the main base is, the capture studio.
Trent: Oh yes, Vegas. Trials and tribulations. Sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do [winks].
Tyler: You just stand in a room and there’s about a million cameras around you and they get you to make stupid faces and make sounds and stuff.
Toni: The process, having the scan done is actually pretty cool. Just pull every facial expression ever that exists. My face hurt to be honest, by the end of it.
Trent: It’s the big 2K HQ where they do the Basketball. I can’t wait to have the surreal moment as playing as yourself in a computer game that the rest of the world’s going to play.
Toni, this year Becky Lynch becomes the first female to grace the front cover of a WWE game. Will Toni Storm be the second?
Toni: Damn right I will. Maybe not the second, but at some point, I’m sure I’ll make time to be on the front cover. For sure. If you want it, you’ve got to say it out loud. I know it sounds cringy but I really want to main event WrestleMania. It’s always been my dream, but nothing I could really say because can women even headline ‘Mania? And then they only bloody did, didn’t they?! It just pushed me into next gear.
What are some of your earliest memories of playing WWE games growing up?
Toni: The first game I ever got, it was around Christmas time. All of my Christmas money, every cent I’d saved up, went on SmackDown vs Raw 2007. Super expensive. I’ll never forget my first time I played. I think my first match was Lita vs Mickie James. I would just play for hours. It was around a time in my childhood where I was a bit of a lost child. I was in a bit of a bad way. That game kept me sane. It kept me on a good path. I would just escape for hours and hours. Wrestling kept me on the straight and narrow more than anything. Somewhat at least, haha!
I found wrestling at a time where I was coming into my teens, starting to go down a bit of a bad path. My mum, I’ll never forget it, she scraped together a few dollars, brought me this WWE DVD, chucked it at me, ‘I want you to focus on this.’ Right, fine, I will! It gave me something to strive for. Escapism was very important. Sometimes when things get tough, people escape into bad habits, bad lifestyles, other bad people. I think that’s the same, not just for kids but even adults. Luckily I got into wrestling at 13 and it kept me on a good path and around good people. It’s important to have goals.
Tyler: The first WWE game that I had was just the first SmackDown vs Raw. When did that come out? I was born in ’97 so I’d have been like 6/7.
You make me feel ancient. But then at 19 years old, Tyler, you had a gimmick that revolved entirely around your facial hair. I couldn’t do that now and I’m 32. Anyway, you and Walter absolutely burned NXT UK Cardiff to the ground. It was absolutely immense. What was it like to have that sort of time in a WWE ring to be able to tell that kind of story?
Tyler: Those sorts of opportunities don’t come around very often. When you do get those opportunities, you want to grab it with both hands and really make as much of it as possible. That’s pretty much exactly what we tried to do. We have the opportunity to showcase what we can do. Walter is someone I consider a good friend, so it was really nice to share that moment with him, personally. Hopefully, there’s room for more down the line.
Trent: Cardiff was amazing, obviously I wasn’t physically active during the Takeover itself, but just to be there and be part of that weekend is incredible. Blackpool was a very special time too. We’ll always have the joy of having a lot of first-times. A lot debuts when you start a brand like NXT UK. But to go to Cardiff and watch the boys do what they do. That tag match was absolutely out of this world, then to cap it all off with Tyler. He didn’t come out with the title but I think he came out proving to the world he’s one of the best wrestlers in the industry.
The main NXT brand has opened up to two hours. There’s more opportunities for you guys to not only be on the UK brand but to also be on Wednesday nights. Is there anybody you’ve got your eye on, or a belt you want to capture?
Trent: Oh, there’s loads. Kushida. I’d like a one-on-one with Adam Cole, that’s never happened. And obviously the other one I would pick is Finn Balor. Make some magic, right there.
Tyler: What I would like to happen is for myself and Trent to both have a go and reform British Strong Style. Me, Trent and Pete. I really feel like there’s a lot more we could have done with Undisputed Era and that’s something I’d like to revisit. A British vs America Wargames would be great, yes.
Toni: I would really like to wrestle Shayna Baszler again, for obvious reasons. I wrestled her at the Royal Albert Hall. She’s just… yes. Piper Niven is one of my favourites. The Mae Young was fun. I love that match. It was really emotional actually. We finally wrestled each other for the WWE. It was amazing. In the end, we just broke. We cried at each other. We were just a mess. It was great.
The new direction SmackDown is taking on Fox is more sports focussed. We’ve obviously already seen guys like Cain Velasquez and Tyson Fury start programmes with Brock Lesnar and Brawn Strowman. Is there anyone from the world of sports that you would like to get in the ring with?
Trent: Conor McGregor. Our two beautiful beards. Life-changing.
Toni: I’m not going to lie, from doing this since I was 13, I don’t know anyone mainstream that isn’t wrestling. I’ve just been so engrossed in this for so many years. I need to get some other hobbies!
Who’s got the bigger power rating in the game!?
Trent: I’m not going to get into that. I do know and will not reveal anything until the game is in people’s hands, in their consoles and downloaded.
(There’s a reason why Trent is so secretive. It turns out, that out of all the Superstars at the event, including former WWE champion Jinder Mahal, Toni Storm is the highest rated at 79. It’s a sore subject.)
Lastly, can you confirm or deny that if I win the tag belts with Moustache Mountain in WWE 2K20, will I unlock all the facial hair options in the character creator?
Tyler: Yes, I can 100% confirm that.
(Everyone had a good laugh at that.)
WWE 2K20 is available on 22nd October on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.