WWE 2K22 is a much needed reboot and return to form

The most startling thing about WWE 2K22 is how many members of its roster are no longer with the company.

Let’s get the elephant out of the room off the bat. What we’re left with is a mix of a classic roster, featuring legendary stars of the past, the modern crop of excellence, and a lot of indie and AEW competitors.

Keith Lee. Samoa Joe. Tegan Nox. Braun Strowman. Karrion Kross. Mickie James. Even Jeff Hardy now to name a few. It’s actually jaw-dropping how many of these incredible talents are no longer with the company.

It’s a tough pill to swallow and it does, through no fault of 2K’s own, make the experience feel a bit dated. Frankly, though, with the obscene level of roster cuts we’ve seen, this was always to be expected.

Not the game’s featured coverstar, of course. The fantastic Rey Mysterio Jr is still WWE faithful and never is his amazing career more apparent than the astoried Showcase mode that dates all the way back to WCW.

It’s a lovely celebration of one of the all-time great careers, getting to see Rey at Halloween Havoc against the late, great Eddie Guerrero, through to his World Heavyweight Championship reigns, and even some modern day matches against the likes of Miz.

Play it through and you even get to unlock Rey’s son, Dominic Mysterio, who’s been plying his craft on RAW over the past year or so.

It’s cool to relive some of the all-time great matches as the game seamlessly moves between gameplay and a video taping so you can live perform the moves and see in real time how the match played out. I really love this effect, it makes the showcase mode feel unique and special and a real fitting legacy for Rey.

Of course, that can also come with its own set of frustrations as you have to perform certain feats absolutely perfectly in order to progress the story. It’s often a destination to distraction, as you’ll often get beaten up so much you barely have any stamina left.

Some objectives are simple enough, like whip an enemy into the ropes or perform your signature move, but when the player is told to land a high risk move at a set time or do something significant in a specific spot, that’s where things come a little unstuck.

But one thing the game is much better at than before is how much easier it is to pick up and play. Less of the overly complex systems that put off newer players, more mashing/tapping sole buttons, focusing on combinations, and actually trying to guess the moves your opponent might make next so you can pull off some cool counters.

WWE 2K22 also has a ton of other things to sink your teeth into, like the massive MyRISE mode which lets you create a superstar within the men or women’s division and attempt a rise to the very top on RAW or Smackdown to compete against the very best, whether that’s Roman Reigns or Becky Lynch.

I quite like the way the career mode has been handled this time around as you can pretty much define the direction of your career from the beginning and choose the objectives that are meaningful to you. In previous years, you’ve kind of had to go along the set path the games have had for you, but here, you can chat to people at each of the set locations, or check out social media and start setting up fights and challenges there with names you recognise and fancy fighting against.

In theory, you could win the US title, then immediately challenge for the Royal Rumble to go for the WWE Championship, then hop over to a rival brand and do it all over again. In past years, that may have been like three cycles worth of content and a lot of waiting around doing things that aren’t that interesting to you.

There’s an immediacy to it all that’s quite refreshing, though does get a tad overwhelming and repetition does become a bit of a factor as the structure never really deviates and only certain scenarios feel unique. It’s also easy to feel like there’s too much going on and a lot of the challenges either feel very similar or the stipulations are ridiculous like 6-pack challenges or 3 on 1 handicap matches.

But there are some cool moments, like trying to prove yourself as a champion by calling out John Cena through a number of different avenues or envisaging yourself in a dream match with Andre the Giant at Summerslam 88.

Certain challenges carry rewards with them as well, like unique types of gear, bonuses to your abilities, fan rewards and upgrade points. Your attributes are pretty straightforward this time, broken down into striking, grappling, aerial, submission, defense and resilience, and it’s not exactly difficult to get maxed out with the amount of points on offer.

These obviously make you tougher to beat but also improve the potency of the moves you’re executing in the ring, even down to the power behind your kicks and punches and how easily you can kick out of certain pinfalls.

But perhaps the best part is how easily it is to change your appearance, movesets, and entrances from the hub menu. WWE Superstars regularly change overtime, whether they want new gear to come to the ring with, new music, they change their persona or they want to add some new offense to their arsenal. This is more seamless than ever in WWE 2K22 and allows you to be much more dynamic and particular with the appearance of your star as they grow.

MyRISE is fun and it’s probably one of the biggest timesinks in WWE 2K22 outside of the MyGM and Faction modes. MyGM, especially, really spoke to my Pro Wrestling Simulator days where I can hire talent, book cards, set up production values, all with the aim of trying to defeat a rival GM’s show and outperform what they’re doing.

I love having to think about how much I’m spending, how much I want to invest in the free agent market versus actually putting on a well-made show in front of a crowd so my wrestlers feel like stars. But you also have to balance listening to requests and demands and fulfil objectives to earn bonus cards that can make your life a little easier.

For me, hands-down, this is where I had the most fun with the game and despite it seeming daunting initially, it’s actually really easy to get stuck into, but much more difficult to pull yourself away from.

I haven’t had as much time to invest in MyFACTION between when we received the game and the online being off and on pre-launch, but I’ll make sure to post some more detailed impressions on that early next week.

Perhaps the thing that the games are best known for is how much customisation is on offer, and, as ever, WWE 2K22 does not disappoint, letting you make finite changes to your wrestler’s face and body, changing their entrance video with filters, crafting your own championships, and even building out custom matches.

One element that’s already being taken advantage of to great effect is being able to bring actual photos and custom renders into the game, which means it’s easy to bring your pre-made logos, and even photos of people in to support your CAW. And, of course, people are even bringing in the AEW logo to put on belts. Which is probably a massively mouthwatering prospect in itself.

There’s already a bunch of great custom designed stars you can download as well, with people already doing some great variations on The Fiend, CM Punk, and even guys like MJF. This is just going to be more elaborate and fulfilling overtime, and we’ll be sure to keep an eye on who’s downloadable and share some of them with you.

Visually, this is the best WWE has ever looked from 2K. The extra time off to make a game customised for this generation was worth it, though you feel it could still go a step further when you look at games like FIFA and even 2K’s own NBA. The quality is incredible, but some faces still look too square, some eyes are ill-proportioned, and there’s a scrappiness to the models that makes a few characters look rough or awkward when posing.

But entrances are superb, like Rhea Ripley’s is just such an adrenaline rush and Roman Reign’s is some of the best intro work ever in a WWE game, it’s recreated wonderfully.

I am still surprised at how many loading screens still plague WWE 2K22, though. Everything feels really slowed down, especially in MyRISE when you just want to get through to a match but you have to sit through yet another progress bar in-between every bout. It gets pretty tedious, pretty quickly, which is why MyGM is so refreshing as you rarely encounter them.

All this considered, 2K have really washed the bad taste of 2K20 out of my mouth with 2K22. I’m having a blast and I keep going back to play, which is a sign that something is definitely working.

As for what comes next, it will be very interesting to see whether 2K go back to doing things annually, keep at a bi-annual release, or things change in other ways which we won’t go into here. Whatever happens, the time off has helped the series substantially, and there’s definitely a clear path back to prominence for the sports entertainers.


WWE 2K22 is the best WWE game 2K have released in a very long time. It’s still not perfect and there are moments that still hamper it, but it’s a lot more user-friendly, there’s a good chunk of content here, there’s a lot of customisation possibilities, a healthy, varied roster is available – even though many of them don’t work at the company anymore – and you’ll find a lot of investment for your time here between MyGM and MyRISE. A real step up and improvement from WWE 2K20, things are definitely back on the right track.


+ MyGM and MyRise are great timesinks
+ Big visual upgrades and entrances mostly look ace in action
+ A lot more user-friendly
+ More convenient character development and progress through the HUB
+ High level of customisation is going to be a major selling point
+ Healthy, giant sized roster


– Some character models still look rough and rigid
– Regular loading screens get a bit tedious
– Specificity and ludicrousy of some objectives gets frustrating

WWE 2K22 is now available on Xbox, PC and PlayStation

Played on XSX

Code Kindly Provided by 2K

About the author

Jay Jones

Jay is a massive football fan - Manchester Utd in case you were wondering - and lover of gaming. He'll play just about anything, but his vice is definitely Ultimate Team.
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