It was an extremely shocking night for WWE fans on Friday when Vince McMahon announced his retirement from all roles in the company. This came as a surprise to everyone, including many behind the scenes, as Brock Lesnar reportedly walked out of Smackdown hours before the show was set to air. He eventually came back in time for the show, but it was a chaotic night.
As Vince McMahon has been running WWE since 1982, every major moment in the company’s history has been thanks to his input. It’s left many excited about how WWE will change in the wake of his retirement, especially as the general consensus is that the product has grown stale over the past few years.
One aspect of WWE that could see big changes in the next video game. WWE 2K23 has already been confirmed, and it’s unlikely that McMahon’s retirement will affect that. However, the details of the game could look very different without Vince at the helm. Be it a knock-on effect of how else WWE changes or direct alterations from those who take over, we’ll talk about the biggest ways this news could affect WWE 2K23.
The cover stars of WWE games are always highly anticipated, as it shows who WWE has the most faith in as a marketable face. It’s unknown when WWE 2K23’s cover will be revealed, but speculation is rife, with Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes being frontrunners in fans’ minds. However, a legend like Triple H or The Undertaker is always a possibility.
That said, Vince McMahon has often made strange decisions with this in the past. There was a quite notorious incident with WWE ’13, where Vince and other WWE officials were insisting Sheamus be put on the cover, despite the developer’s overwhelming desire for CM Punk. With different people running the company and promoting stars, these discussions could be quite different from now on.
One of the biggest complaints about the roster of WWE games is the lack of women from past eras who are on the roster. WWE 2K22 had the extremely notable omission of Lita, one of the Attitude Era’s biggest female stars, and plenty more were left out of the game.
With Vince McMahon’s retirement being in part due to the current sexual misconduct investigation he is undergoing, it’s possible that the barrier to entry for many female stars of yesteryear will be lifted for this game’s roster. Fans of the ‘Divas’ era of women’s wrestling may be in for a treat going forward.
While the idea of realism in wrestling is still fairly laughable, over the years WWE video games have moved more and more to a realistic simulation of the sport. The thing is, many of the most popular games in the series, such as WWF No Mercy, have a much more arcadey style. With any luck, McMahon being away from the product will help everything shift a little more out there, and a lot more fun in the process.
One of the most ridiculous rules in Vince’s WWE was the list of words no one has ever been allowed to say. For example, commentators are not allowed to say a wrestler has been taken to a “hospital”, they must instead say “local medical facility”. The people who watch WWE are not “fans”, they are the “WWE Universe”. Wrestlers don’t get “title shots”, they get “championship opportunities”.
That’s just some of the most absurd, but we could see commentators starting to use that kind of language again now Vince isn’t in their ears all show every show, and the game’s commentary may change to reflect that.
Although it’s unlikely we’ll ever see non-WWE wrestlers in the video games, the developers have been sneaking in the best finishers and entrances of other wrestlers for years. If you want to use Kenny Omega’s One Winged Angel move, then you’ll find it in WWE 2K22 under “Electric Chair Driver”, or if you want Adam Cole’s entrance motion, it’s under “Thunderous Boom”. This is despite both these wrestlers being in AEW.
Without Vince’s oversight, it’s possible more easter eggs like this could slip through the cracks, to the benefit of fans who enjoy other wrestling companies like Impact, AEW, or NJPW.
Written by Ryan Woodrow on behalf of GLHF.