Tag Archive: randy orton

It’s time to play the game…

Even though 2K bought the rights to the WWE franchise last year during THQ’s liquidation, longtime developer Yuke’s had already done a lot of the heavy lifting for WWE 2K14 by the time the deal had been finalized. This year would be a different story, however: NBA 2K developer Visual Concepts had the chance to bring a few of their tricks to the table and elevate the bar for the franchise alongside Yuke’s. So, it was with great anticipation that I got a chance to go hands-on with WWE 2K15 at the annual SummerSlam preview event.

Right from the get-go, I got the sense that 2K is trying to bring WWE in line with its other major sports franchise by giving players something the series has never had before: a career mode. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to play this mode, but here’s the way 2K outlined it: To begin with, you’ll create a wrestler via the same celebrated customization system we’ve seen for many years now. From there, you’ll work your way up from the WWE training facility in Florida to the developmental territory of NXT to undercards on shows like RAW and SmackDown to winning lower belts to main-eventing PPVs—and finally, with some luck, end up a WWE Hall of Famer.

Longtime fans of the series should be happy to know that this is all in addition to WWE Universe mode, where you get to be the all-powerful GM of WWE programming and put who you want in whatever kind of matches you want. Both these experiences side by side could offer the WWE franchise the one-two single-player punch it’s desperately needed over the years.

But that’s not all we’re getting. I got a chance to get some hands-on time with the new 2K Signature mode, which follows in the footsteps of previous years where we learned about the Monday Night Wars or the Attitude Era. This year’s incarnation will tell the stories of celebrated WWE rivalries, including Triple H versus Shawn Michaels and John Cena squaring off against CM Punk—and I got to play the first match of that latter rivalry. As with previous years, classic WWE footage will help set up the matches that you’ll relive in the ring.

Once I was actually able to step into the ring in 2K Signature and Exhibition is when things got most interesting with WWE 2K15. The first major change fans will notice? The visuals. While some models were clearly placeholders (CM Punk, for example, looked like someone just put a wig on “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in Create a Superstar), and parts of the arenas still need some touching up, the elements that were fully rendered and ready to go looked great. Cena, Cesaro, Randy Orton, and even Goldust looked unbelievably lifelike and animated as smoothly as the NBA players do in NBA 2K, so I can’t wait to see how everything looks in the final product.

The other major in-ring changes, though, came in terms of gameplay, with two new features that could rub longtime WWE fans the wrong way. The first of these is a new rock-paper-scissors-style early grapple system. In order to try to tell a more accurate story like those seen every Monday on RAW or at a monthly PPV, early grapples will be met with a minigame that starts with a button press, which signifies one of three hold attempts you’ll go for. Whoever picks the superior hold will have the advantage, and then both players will use the right stick to try to find the “sweet spot” and further progress in this new quicktime event. If you progress fully, you either escape the hold if you picked the inferior selection at the beginning, or you’ll do a minimal-damage move like an arm wrench.

The idea is that every WWE match doesn’t start off with a bunch of power moves (unless you’re Brock Lesnar). There’s a slow buildup to the moments that make us start chanting “This is awesome!” After two or three of these early grapples, business will pick up, and the action will progress like players are used to, with the full array of moves available to do damage. Personally, I didn’t mind the new minigame mechanic, but I could see how after dozens of matches, it would start to grind on some people. Thankfully, there’s an option to turn them off, though they’ll be set “on” as the default option.

The other new mechanic ties into the interface, which has also seen some changes. Wrestlers now have three lifebars, which drop from green to yellow to red—the last of which represents the best time to try to pin your opponent. You also have a percentage meter that dictates when you can use Signatures and Finishers. At 100 percent, you can bank a Signature. At 150 percent, you can bank a Finisher. You can have a Signature and three Finishers banked at any given time, though I’m sure there’ll be options to modify that as well. The last—and easily most controversial—addition is a default stamina meter that’s now included in the UI.

The issue with the stamina meter is that by the time you get to the latter stages of a match and are ready to finally use your Signature moves, perform an OMG! Moment like throwing someone through a barricade, or finally hit your Finisher and win, the stamina meter won’t let you do it. You need at least half a stamina bar alone to perform a given Finisher. And every regular move, counter, or just running around the ring depletes it. While it’s unknown if the stamina meter can be turned off, I sure hope it can, because it really ruined the pacing of all the matches I played. Yes, it does seem to fall more in line with the simulation style 2K wants to achieve, but I just don’t know if WWE fans want a pure simulation when it comes to wrestling. After all, the sport itself has the over-the-top quality of an arcade game. Moving the needle too far in the “simulation” direction could have unintended consequences, and many of my personal frustrations centered on that damned stamina meter.

There was nothing worse during my hands-on time than having three Finishers banked in the 2K Signature match between Punk and Cena—and then not being able to hit any of them because Punk was worn down. I’d have to leave the ring and walk laps around it—with the dunderheaded AI-controlled Cena slowly following behind me—until my stamina returned and I could get back in the ring, perform a GTS, and win the match. And in Exhibition mode, my opponent and I were just taking knees and catching our breath, yelling at the meter to fill up faster and helpless to do anything in the ring to further our cause.

Even with the ill-advised addition of the stamina meter, I’m more excited than not about WWE 2K15. Once all the models have a full coat of polish, the game will look better than ever before, and I’m particularly excited about the career mode. But the minor gameplay tweaks seem to give the game too many simulation aspects, and that could hurt the overall experience come October.

All the fallout from Survivor Series, including both CM Punk and Big Show retaining their respective titles and Team Foley going down in a blaze of glory, came to the forefront on Monday Night RAW as it went on the air from Dayton, Ohio.

Main Plot Overview: The biggest result of Sunday’s Survivor Series PPV, traditionally one of the most controversy laden events of the year, saw CM Punk miraculously retain the WWE Championship after three NXTers interfered and put Ryback through the announce table during the triple threat match. This led to one of the most over-the-top celebrations in WWE history as CM Punk’s title reign officially reached one year, only the eighth time in history that has happened.

Ryback, none too happy about being screwed over again however, decided to crash the party. But just when Ryback looked to feed his hunger, the three NXT upstarts appeared again and performed a Survivor Series encore, again putting Ryback through a table.

It also seems that John Cena is starting a feud with Dolph Ziggler and therefore being slowly worked out of the main plot for the first time in a while. More on that though later!

Match of the Night: I have to say that aside from the stupid AJ/Cena drama and Punk’s weekly gloating, last night’s RAW saw the best all around wrestling card in quite a while, making this a difficult decision. With push coming to shove though, I had to pick a PPV main event caliber match that was almost buried in the very middle of the show.

Continuing the rivalry of Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio in a fight to see who is truly the WWE’s “Apex Predator”, Del Rio and Orton were placed in a Best 2 out of 3 Falls Match. In a surprising call, and to probably hasten the pace of what can be a marathon match inducing stipulation, Del Rio quickly disqualified himself when he refused to stop using the ring post to smash Randy Orton’s arm.

Of course, this was in the hopes of weakening it to more easily lock in his patented armbar submission, which is exactly what Del Rio did to score the second point of that match, his first. Tied up at 1 fall apiece, Orton was in trouble with his arm devastated. But you only need one arm to land an RKO.

After Del Rio missed his Enziguri finisher and Orton countered a second armbar attempt into a pinning situation, Del Rio’s frustration was clear. So much so that he attempted to use Orton’s own RKO against him, but Randy countered it into an Irish Whip followed up by his vintage middle rope suspended DDT. After this, Orton hit the RKO himself and won in what was a spectacular show from both men and has me interested in a non-title rivalry for the first time in quite a while.

Promo of the Night: After AJ and Vickie had their typical spot where Vickie was trying to prove that AJ and John Cena were an item, finally the dam broke and AJ and John locked lips right there in the ring. But it wasn’t this moment that made this situation the Promo of the Week.

As AJ and John made out, Dolph Ziggler made his way to the ring and ambushed John. When the tides turned, Ziggler made his way up the ramp to escape and John attempted to follow, but on the way out the ring, it looks like Cena twisted his ankle. At first, I thought he might have been legitimately hurt as replays show John did indeed twist his ankle and you can’t really fake that.

Officials later claimed it was more of a knee injury, but here is why I do not think it was serious. If it had been, John’s night would’ve been over and he’d likely have gone to this hospital. Instead, AJ busted into the Men’s Locker Room and confronted Dolph. This is when it got good.

Dolph then proceeded to belittle poor AJ, even calling her a piece of trash. AJ then freaked and started smacking Dolph. Cena then busted in to break it up, but Dolph then kicked the “injured” knee of John Cena as the two proceeded to have one of the best backroom brawls we’ve seen on RAW in a while, even smashing each other through a bathroom stall. This conflict combined with Dolph’s amazing heel speech is what made this series of events the Promo of the Night.

Shocker of the Night: We have a Great Khali sighting! I suppose the WWE’s ratings in India have dipped as the only reason why you see the Punjabi Playboy is to boost international appeal, as he is the worst wrestler on the roster by far. So this was an easy Shocker of the Week for me because I can’t remember the last time I saw Khali “wrestle”.

Of course, he still didn’t really wrestle as all he did was hit Primo and Epico, his handicap match opponents, with his big fist once or twice and the match was over. At the very least the match gave us an excuse to see the amazing Rosa Mendes come to ringside again though.

Cheap Pop of the Night: With Mick Foley not around that much anymore, it’s hard to call what was the Cheap Pop of the Night as I do not recall anyone blatantly pointing out the WWE’s presence in Dayton, Ohio. Because of this, the Cheap Pop of the Night actually goes to CM Punk for his new “I’m a Paul Heyman Guy” t-shirt (available now on WWEShop.com of course!) that cheaply plugs his legendary manager. This isn’t to say it’s not an awesome shirt as I think I know exactly what I’ll be buying on Cyber Monday next week now, but it just goes to shop a pop doesn’t always have to be for the hometown crowd.

A close second was when Paul Heyman called out the WWE Universe for chanting “ECW” in prior weeks, but not really understanding what that meant as the current WWE audience could never handle the glory days of ECW brand wrestling, or him spinning tales of how he used to hang out with the legendary Bruno Sammartino when he was a boy.

Before we get into how AJ Lee did as GM (aside from look amazing in her power suit, although I definitely prefer the plaid two-piece), I need to talk about the San Fernando Valley Screw Job. This is basically what happens when a cable service provider (Time Warner) has a monopoly over a particular area of the country, (where I live in the valley), and whose service goes out constantly. I watch maybe five shows on TV, with Monday Night RAW being one of them, and to lose nearly 60 minutes of this show for no good reason drives me nuts. So despite their best efforts to clearly sabotage The Sleeper Hold this week on EGMNOW.com, I will continue onward with the two hours of the show I was able to see, plus piece together via illegal YouTube clips.

Main Plot Overview: The road to Summerslam continued to heat up last night as John Cena and the Big Show squared off at the command of AJ to determine the number one contender for the WWE Championship. CM Punk came down for the main event and joined Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole on commentary, which he dominated with his expert analysis and quick wit, before being bowled over by Big Show and Cena when the fight carried outside the ring.

In his rage, Punk interfered with the match and took both men down and due to the disqualification proclaimed there was no number one contender because both men were losers. AJ quickly squashed this unofficial ruling though and deemed them both winners and therefore the WWE Championship match at Summerslam was now a triple threat match between Punk, Cena, and Big Show, which was expected. The only question now is whether they can continue this three way feud all the way to Royal Rumble in order to have a Fatal 4-Way match with The Rock involved.

In other news that will definitely shake-up Smackdown on Friday nights, and thankfully help with the awful broadcast team there, Booker T has been named Smackdown’s new GM according to WWE.com.

Match of the Night: After confronting AJ Lee in her office, Daniel Bryan wanted some answers for her leaving him at the altar. AJ explained that she knew Daniel was full of it after seeing insane asylum orderlies backstage, thinking Daniel was going to have her committed once they were legally wed. So AJ was going to have Daniel take on Sheamus that night in a non-title match, with the WWE Universe deciding the stipulation. And we wanted to see a street fight.

By no means was this the best street fight you’re likely to see from the WWE. But the liberal use of kendo sticks, the steel steps, and a chair wedged between turnbuckles helped to liven up what was a very tight match technically from both men. No surprise, Sheamus emerged victorious as he pummeled Daniel Bryan and then laid him out on the steel steps in the ring with a Brogue Kick for the victory.

Another contender for this was the Jericho/Christian vs Ziggler/Miz tag match, but unfortunately my cable provider was nowhere to be seen and so I missed it and I can only call them as I see them folks. Kind of like an easily distracted WWE referee.

Promo of the Night: The night got off to a bang as CM Punk came to the ring to defend his actions last week on RAW when he clotheslined The Rock. Punk specifically called out Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler for saying Punk turned his back on the WWE Universe when he did that.

So Punk got right in Lawler’s face and sat Indian style on the announce table right in front of Jerry and explained that RAW should end every episode on the WWE Champion because it is the most prestigious belt in the business and therefore whoever holds it should hold the WWE Universe in his hand. Punk never turned his back on anyone. He was simply putting The Rock in his place for trying to steal the spotlight that Punk clearly earned. And I have to agree with him there. The show should end every night on the WWE Champ instead of John Cena and whatever ridiculous feud he’s stuck in that night. And it should definitely not end on The Rock will most likely lose at the Royal Rumble as he is clearly not ready to do RAW on a weekly basis.

So, this severe tongue lashing from Punk, directed right at Jerry Lawler, and the subsequent calling out by the Big Show, which just led to AJ making the main event announcement of the evening, was clearly the promo of the night.

Shocker of the Night: The only reason why this was Shocker of the Night was because for once Brodus Clay got jobbed instead of doing it to someone else. Damian Sandow came down to the ring, proclaiming himself a martyr, sacrificed for the people by DX the previous week and so in an attempt to bring culture back to the WWE Universe, he was going to start with Brodus and ridiculous dance-off he was having with Vickie Guerrero.

Honestly, I’m glad something stopped Vickie because she continued to be one of the most annoying figures in the WWE. But I would’ve preferred if Sandow and Clay had an actual match instead of Sandow sucker punching Brodus and then working the big man’s ‘injured’ knee. Maybe we will get that fight later on down the road, but as it was for last night, I was definitely surprised to see that Sandow wasn’t getting jobbed by Clay, but sort of did it the other way around.

Cheap Pop of the Night: The one-man band Heath Slater came out and talked about getting his WWE career back on track. Instead of facing off against a legend though, he faced off against a Legend Killer. That’s right, the crowd went crazy when Randy Orton made his return to RAW and quickly hit all his signature moves, much like the legends did in previous weeks on Slater, and finished off the one-man band with a thunderous RKO. Not only was it an easy win for Randy and a chance to get him back in front of the WWE Universe, but it definitely got the crowd fired up and earned out Cheap Pop of the Night.

Originally Published: June 21, 2011, on EGMNOW.COM


WHAT ITS ABOUT: This is the latest installment of THQ’s hit yearly WWE wrestling franchise, which sees a much needed facelift while still featuring some of the sports entertainment business’s biggest names.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: This franchise had been just coasting along up until last year’s revolutionary online Royal Rumble feature. But that was only the beginning as this year’s entry marks not only a branding change that falls in line with the WWE’s slow movement to dissolve the rivalry between their RAW and Smackdown TV programs, but adds a brand new submission system and new “Predator” gameplay mechanics in honor of the game’s cover boy, Randy Orton.

WHAT RAY THINKS: I was able to take control of “The Awesome One” himself, The Miz, for a brief demo against a CPU Randy Orton and was amazed at not only how smooth the new animations for the game seemed, but how much easier it was to just pick up and play, which should please old and new fans alike. I just hope they work out the glitch that wouldn’t let me pin Orton after performing four finishers before November’s launch.

Originally Published: April 5, 2011, on Youtube.com/Rcars4885

I come to you once again with your weekly geek fix, but now from my new apartment in…my grandmother’s attic! This week’s episode sees me review Deadpool Team-Up #883 from Marvel and WWE All-Stars from THQ. My hot chick pick of the week is Italian “journalist” Marika Fruscio and this week’s theme is Hulk Hogan’s theme “Real American”.