Throughout my over 3 years over running my blog site, I have covered various wrestling related topics; from full coverage and reviews of shows, top 10 lists and compilations, opinion pieces, reviews of classic shows, and have even branched out occasionally into different sports and other interests of mine. But now in this series, I will combine two of my loves in blog format… Gaming and Wrestling. If you follow the current day WWE product, the booking and creative of the shows has been… questionable for some time now, so in previous years I would use the WWE games as my way of doing wrestling and the storylines how I thought they should go. The games would act almost as my therapy to forget about the awful TV I was watching on a regular basis. And after a couple of year hiatus after WWE 2K20 was roundly critiqued as one of THE worst wrestling games ever made, WWE 2K returned with the 2022 edition. And… it is GREAT! SO FAR, SO GOOD! Gameplay is so different for the better, the roster features many of those released by WWE in recent months, so any worries about the game roster being thin have been firmly put to bed. And, most importantly for me, there is Universe Mode once again.
Universe Mode, for those who aren’t aware, is exactly what it says on the tin. It gives you the chance to create your own WWE Universe! You chose the weekly shows, the PPVs, the rosters, who wins the matches and who are the champions. You can make it as realistic or as fantasy as you want… and I LOVE IT! I’ve always loved being able to escape into something fun, and Universe Mode gives me the perfect chance to do just that. The Universe Mode begins in the first week of May, with the idea that begins at the start of a new WWE ‘season’ just after WrestleMania. So for my Universe Mode I will treat it as if I am taking over the WWE Universe immediately following WrestleMania last year (Mania 37), and also I will only feature Raw and SmackDown (no NXT, absolutely not any NXT 2.0). As in real life I will have Raw on Mondays and SmackDown on Fridays, with Pay Per Views taking place on the 4th Sunday at the end of each month. Those PPVs will follow this schedule (based upon the arenas available to use in the game) :
May – WrestleMania Backlash (Fort Worth, Texas)
June – Money In The Bank (Charlotte, North Carolina)
July – Cyber Sunday (Miami, Florida)
August – SummerSlam (Las Vegas, Nevada)
September – Clash Of Champions (Columbus, Ohio)
October – The Horror Show at Extreme Rules (Detroit, Michigan)
November – Survivor Series (Brooklyn, New York)
December – Payback (Atlanta, Georgia)
January – Royal Rumble (St Louis, Missouri)
February – Elimination Chamber (New York, New York)
March – Fastlane (Toronto, Canada)
April – WrestleMania (Arlington, Texas)
So… a few things I should mention… firstly, as the game can only do so much, I like to use my imagination and creative license to make things make sense in my head. So I largely base stuff from reality, but as I’ve said how I would do things. I don’t particularly like ‘gimmick’ PPV shows, unless they have a real purpose… so the rumble sets up mania, and the chamber can do, but that’s why no Hell In A Cell or TLC in my calendar. When I feel it right to have those match types, I’ll do them. Cyber Sunday was an arena in the game that comes from the Rey Mysterio showcase mode, hence why that’s in. As for WHERE the shows are at in the game, it’s loosely based from the actual WWE PPV calendar, with a couple of changes such as taking the chamber PPV to New York (the idea I would have is it would be at MSG), and taking Fastlane to Canada, because… why not?
The next major aspect of Universe Mode is the roster. This is something that has been subject to much speculation as a whole in the run-up to this game’s release, given the vast amount of talent released by WWE in the last year or so. To the surprise of many, turns out a fair amount of those let go by WWE still feature in this game, which is great news and makes my life a lot easier. Yes the community creations (where other players create their own versions of wrestlers via the creation suite in the game) can be used for those not included in the game, but they are of course not quite as good as proper versions. There are a few notable absentees from the game, mainly those who have since gone to AEW (Bryan Danielson, Adam Cole, Ruby Riott) but maybe the biggest absentee is The Fiend, which… naturally makes me sad. So none of those will feature in my Universe Mode. I have worked a lot on making my Raw and SmackDown rosters as fun as possible, as I pick things up the night after WrestleMania in 2021. So with that being said all the titles and champions as they were after that show, will be the case to start off my Universe Mode. The one exception being I have vacated the women’s tag titles, with new champions to be decided later via a tournament… but I will get into that later… I have also replaced both the US and Intercontinental belts used and gone back to the previous versions of each of those.
For now… let me get into the start of my Universe Mode. Beginning with Raw on Monday of the first week of May (so in effect, this will be my ‘Raw after Mania’). The major difference in this Universe Mode compared to previous years is they have removed the promo segment part of when you book your shows, so it is purely just matches now. Which is cool, because it means more of a focus on the gameplay, but in order for my Universe Mode to make more sense during my blog series, I will add little notes as to what sort of promo segments etc. I would’ve done if I was able to, to set up various matches and angles. So here is how I went with my very first Raw of my WWE 2K22 Universe Mode!
Raw – May, Week 1
For my opening match I wanted to start off BIG… This was actually one of the very first ideas I had when I decided to do another Universe Mode…
I would have WWE Champion Bobby Lashley and MVP come out to kick off the NEW ERA of Monday Night Raw. They would cut a promo similar to the one they cut ahead of this actual match taking place on the July 19th 2021 Raw. The Open challenge would of course be answered by…
Yes indeed! In my very first match… the NEW WWE CHAMPION, is KEITH LEE! Starting things off in THE biggest way possible with a sign of things to come!
Next I would have Alexa Bliss backstage, doing a segment very much like her one from the post-Mania Raw explaining her betrayal of The Fiend at WrestleMania the night prior. With no Fiend in this game, I am now going to have to think of something else to do with Bliss as my Universe Mode goes forward…
Bliss then beats Mickie James, in fairly convincing fashion.
Match 3 is another big one, Mustafa Ali has to come up against SAMOA JOE! Another name since departed WWE, I am so happy he’s in this game. He is going to be a big part of my plans…
Match 4 is a big deal. Randy Orton teaming with the returning Viking Raiders to take on…
Yes indeed, Marcel Barthel, Fabian Aichner and WALTER are all going to be a part of my Monday Night Raw roster (I will pretend Walter lose his NXT UK title to Dragunov already at this point).
What I would have done here for the match is it’s all out action-packed BRAWL! And eventually Imperium become frustrated that they can’t get the win… so I’d have Barthel grab a chair and begin the beatdown on the babyface team. Walter and Aichner join them and lay Erik, Ivar and Orton all out after the bell is rung for the DQ.
Next one is a reward for Damian Priest’s tag win with Bad Bunny the night prior at WrestleMania, only his opponent Sheamus has some familiar aide at ringside…
Sheamus retains, and I’d have Miz and Morrison help him to protect Priest (who I like A LOT).
My next match would be the start of what I referred to earlier. The Women’s tag titles coming out of WrestleMania in 2021 were held by Shayna Baszler and… her tag team partner… So I’m just vacating them and crowning new champions to be honest. Nothing more than that… the road to get me there begins here, with the REUNITED IIconics (why the fuck would you EVER split them up, let alone release them is beyond me)…
Next is another new arrival to my Raw roster…
And then finally, my main event. A WrestleMania rematch, but this time a STEEL Cage match!
(This was one of the most fun matches I’ve played on this game so far by the way).
And now we are done with Raw… time for SmackDown to have a go!
SmackDown – May, Week 1
SmackDown I’d have begin (as Raw did) with the champion. Roman Reigns and the rest of The Bloodline (including Jimmy Uso who I’d bring back right away). Eventually Cesaro (fresh from a WrestleMania win over Seth Rollins) interrupts and wants a shot at the Universal title. Roman laughs him off, but says he will give Cesaro a chance… if he can beat Jey Uso in the main event of SmackDown later.
Match 1 I’d kick off with a bang… Oh and I changed Dolph’s music by the way, to go back to his ‘I am Perfection’ theme… because it BANGS!
Yeah, another opening match title change, but needs must…
If I was able to, I’d of then had SmackDown Women’s champion Bianca Belair be interrupted backstage by Bayley… and this would lead to the women’s tag match later…
Match 2… more straightforward, crowd pleasing stuff.
I’d have Finn Balor (having just dropped the NXT title) return to the main roster, but Kevin Owens would soon interrupt feeling the spotlight should be more on him instead. From here Seth Rollins jumps Balor, setting up their match later…
Match 3 is another team looking to get closer to the women’s tag titles…
Match 4, again looks a good match to me on paper to make the fans happy.
Match 5… and with Owens in Rollins’ corner, Balor got some back up too…
But it still wasn’t enough and Rollins gets the win.
Match 6 I’d have preceded by Austin Theory issuing an open challenge…
Yes, X-Pac! I just thought it be something different… no real plans for him at the moment, but lets see…
Match 7 could maybe be my main event, but star-studded either way…
I’d be very clear here to have Bayley pin Sasha and thus putting her in the frame to be Bianca’s first challenger…
And finally, the main event…
Justice for Cesaro. They never did him good enough, I will try my best to change that. Cesaro gets the shot at Reigns.
And so with my first couple of shows in the books, I should probably tell you all the full rosters for both shows. Didn’t have a chance to get everyone on the first week, but over time they’ll all come into play, and that way makes each show more fun and interesting with the numerous possibilities.
WWE Champion: Keith Lee – F – Meaning ‘face’ as in, he/she is a good guy. You’ll see how I decide and balance my rosters that way.
Contenders: Bobby Lashley – H (With MVP – H) // Walter – H // Mustafa Ali – H
Randy Orton – F // Samoa Joe – F
Raw Women’s Champion: Rhea Ripley – F
Alexa Bliss – H // Io Shirai – H // Toni Storm – H // Carmella – H // Peyton Royce – H // Billie Kay – H //
Asuka – F // Nikki A.S.H – F // Liv Morgan – F // Mia Yim – F // Mickie James – F
United States Champion: Sheamus – H
Riddle – F // Damian Priest – F // King Nakamura – F
Pete Dunne – H // Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott – H
Raw Tag Team Champions: AJ Styles & Omos – H
Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) – F // Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) – F // Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado) – F
Imperium (Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner) – H // The Hurt Business (Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander) – H
Others (these are names I will have on the roster of a brand, but just to either fill gaps or to give them the license to go in wherever and against whoever I see fit):
- Braun Strowman – F
- R-Truth – F
- Dana Brooke – F
- Drew Gulak – F
- Mansoor – F
- Titus O’Neil – F
- The Miz – H
- John Morrison – H
- Maryse – H
- T-Bar – H
- Mace – H
- Elias – H
Universal Champion: Roman Reigns – H (with Paul Heyman)
Cesaro – F // Drew McIntyre – F // Finn Balor – F
Seth Rollins – H // Kevin Owens – H
SmackDown Women’s Champion: Bianca Belair – F
Bayley – H // Charlotte Flair – H // Shayna Baszler – H // Mandy Rose – H // Sonya Deville – H // Natalya – H
Sasha Banks – F // Naomi – F // Tamina – F // Tegan Nox – F // Shotzi – F
Intercontinental Champion: Apollo Crews – H
Big E – F // Ricochet – F // Jeff Hardy – F
Happy Corbin – H // Sami Zayn – H
SmackDown Tag Team Champions: Rey & Dominik Mysterio – F
Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode – H // The Usos (Jimy & Jey) – H // Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis) – H
Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) – F // The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) – F
- Tyler Breeze – F
- Fandango – F
- Kushida – F
- Oney Lorcan – F
- Kalisto – F
- X-Pac – F
- Jinder Mahal – H
- Austin Theory – H
- Humberto Carrillo – H
- Angel Garza – H
- Murphy – H
- Akira Tozawa – H
So that’s where I’m leaving things for now. I’m sure I will why I’ve called up and put certain people in certain spots on certain shows as the Universe Mode goes along. But I’m very happy with both my rosters, I think they have a great balance to them. I’m happy to answer any questions and take any ideas or recommendations for things I could do across this series.
Going forward I will probably format these posts as running through the 3/4 weeks of Raw and SmackDown and/or the monthly Pay-Per-Views per blog. But I’ll experiment with it as I go forward.
Oh, and as for some notable names I’ve not included in my rosters, don’t worry. I’ve not forgot about them, just trying to spread my load… you could say… I’ve got a full year of WWE to plan so I can’t rush anything. I do have many long term plans with some BIG names… so keep your eyes peeled… this is a computer game after all so I can literally do ANYTHING I want…