10 Most Exciting WWE 2K23 Gameplay Features

Most Exciting WWE 2K23 Gameplay Features
Roman Reigns has earned the respect of WWE, but has he earned the title of legend?

Most people call the N64’s No Mercy the best wrestling game ever.Others say Raw vs Smackdown 2009 is the best. The oldies but the goodies might say WWF Super WrestleMania, but there is a new WWE game in town, and it deserves its’ day in the sun. I am going to look at the top ten most exciting gameplay features WWE 2K23 offers.

1. Weapons 

Now you can jump off the ladder or put someone through it. Weapons are more realistic than ever. 

Weapons are a staple in WWE television and WWE gaming. They bring an extra element and make a dull match exciting. WWE has introduced new ways to punish opponents in 2K23 to help create instant classics. 

Using Hell in a Cell as a weapon has always been a fan favorite, and 2K23 gives the user even more options for destruction. Superstars can now use their finishers, or signature moves, to smash their opponents through the cell fence. Also, after you climb to the top, 2K23 allows you to use your finisher to throw opponents from the top of the cell onto the announce table. ManKind, eat your heart out! 

Hardcore matches have become a mini game in themselves trying to find different ways to hurt your opponent. All the classics are in: garbage cans, chair shots, and being put through a table. Some fun new editions are: 

  • The ability to spear someone through the barricade.
  • Throwing a man from a balcony into a stage light, causing an electrical explosion.
  • You can break a ladder in half by throwing an opponent through it. 
  • You can light a table on fire before putting your opponent through it, and the fire looks awesome!  
  • As long as one opponent is a heavyweight and one is a super heavyweight, a top rope superplex causes a ring explosion.


2. WarGames and other match types

WarGames has been on fans wish lists for over a decade. 2K23 finally delievers on the goods. 

WarGames, the match that made Sami an honorary Uce, is in WWE 2K for the first time. This has been a long time coming. WWE has finally gotten over itself and acknowledged a good idea when it sees one (even if another company invented it). Thank you, Triple H! 

WarGames can be either a 3v3 or 4v4 match. WarGames starts with one player each, and the other players come in at timed intervals (30 seconds-5 minutes). At points, one team will have an advantage, but don’t worry; you can only win or lose the match after all opponents have entered. Your superstar is allowed to grab one or multiple weapons on their way to the cage.

This match mode allows for a whole new dynamic. You must take into consideration your teammates health and their position in the cage while, at the same time, figuring out which opponent you want to exploit and where. What if a pin happens and you are not even in the same ring? 

If you are playing alone, you can switch between superstars to make sure no one is permanently cornered. WarGames allows up to eight different online players at once. Building a team and taking down your best friend is half the fun of this match mode. 

WWE 2K23 still has your favorites: ladder, TLC, cage, hardcore, tables, etc. It, also, has a custom match creator. There is a lengthy list of options when creating your own match, such as titles, types of weapons, and how it ends. 

You could create a US Title Chair match that only ends when you do your finisher. This custom option is great in Superstar Mode when you want to end your feud with the perfect gimmick bout.  


3. John Cena Showcase

John Cena and the developers take Showcase mode to a new level. It takes you through John Cena's career and gives a new look to the man, the myth, the legend, John Cena. 

Showcase Mode has been a fan favorite since its’ induction in 2015. It gives the user the chance to relive a specific feud or wrestler’s journey through the WWE. Including DLCs there are 20 Showcase Modes in WWE 2K. 2K23 does its best to differentiate itself from the pack. 

This is the second Showcase mode featuring John Cena (the first was with CM Punk in their feud back in 2011), but the developers decided to change the status quo by focusing on John Cena’s motto, ‘Never Give Up.’ This showcase highlights the losses in Cena’s career and how they pushed him to become better.

The creators changed the dynamics after complaints of playing with the same superstar for 15-20 matches and now allow you to play with 17 different superstars. The showcase spans nearly 20 years, from Cena’s first match against Kurt Angle (Smackdown 2002) to his last WWE title match with Reigns (Summerslam 2021). 

John Cena, in a fancy suit, editorializes before and after the match, giving his thoughts and feelings. The goal is not to win the match, because you know who wins, but to complete challenges throughout the match. These challenges are to hit highlight moves and spots that happened in the real match.

Depending on the length of the match, after you complete the challenges, the match will go to a cut scene and show a segment of the real match in real time. The transitions are flawless, making it feel like you are in the same match Cena was in. If you ever wanted to be John Cena, this is your chance. 


4. Pinning (a mini-game)

This is the first time the pinning system has been upgraded and it is long overdue. 

Anyone who has ever played a video game knows the feeling of smashing the B button over and over in order to overcome some sort of challenge. I have personally hit the B button for Mario Party well over half a million times. These controls have been the standard method of kicking out since the Stone Age, but 2K23 has created a more challenging system.

The new system may remind you of kicking a field goal in Madden or defusing a bomb in 007. There is a large bar moving right to left while your cursor moves left to right, and you must land your cursor inside of the moving bar. 

The longer the match goes on and the more damage you take, the smaller the bar becomes. This system adds realness to pinning and makes matches more authentic. If you kick out of a Hell in the Cell chokeslam and the bar is no bigger than the cursor, you may have Cole screaming, “Dear God! How did he kick out of that!”


5. Universe Mode

I take hours crafting my WWE universe, roster, titles, and fueds. I hope you are as big of a nerd as me. 

Universe mode allows the user to be the god of WWE. My first commandment when going into my universe is, “Thou shalt not recreate the Invasion angle of 2000”. This mode is for those who want to tediously create the WWE world they envision in their minds. 

There is a laundry list of options to alter the WWE to your liking. Some try to keep their universe as close to real life as possible, while others take the opposite approach and recreate everything from top to bottom. If you wanted WCW to win the Monday Night Wars, you could create a world where that happened.

The following is my universe to help give an understanding of everything that can be accomplished in Universe mode. I run two shows a week, Nitro on Mondays and Velocity on Thursdays, as well as a PPV every fourth Sunday. King of the Ring is back and leads to a title shot while The Great American Bash is the summer’s new number one PPV. 

Edge is the Undisputed Champion (the belt he holds is the original undisputed title), and Cody Rhodes is the number one contender. My hottest feud is Shawn Michaels vs. Seth Rollins, which is set as a long-term feud with low intensity. 

Low intensity allows more cutscenes to choose and navigate from which is what I prefer. I like to craft a complex, lengthy story with my rivalries. I have also edited the ring look and the factions, and Otis has the MITB briefcase. 

After the universe is set to your liking, you can play all the matches, play some of the matches, or allow the computer to take it away and see where the chips fall. I feel like many of us can do a better job than Vince McMahon, and this is your chance to prove it.


6. GM Mode

2K has not perfected GM mode, but this is the best version WWE has ever created. It is not easy to complete all the challenges and remain a number one show, so be ready to put in the work. 

Eric Bishoff (Raw) and Stephanie McMahon (Smackdown) had a GM feud back in 2002 that made for great television. Together, they helped create the WWE Draft, stole titles, stole superstars, and made trades. WWE GM Mode allows you to compete against your friends (up to 4) or against yourself,  to create the best show. 

GM Mode now has more playable characters than ever. The GM oversees a single show and the specific superstars assigned to that show, acquired in the WWE Draft. Each superstar has statistics, characteristics, and style that factor into your drafting. You don’t want to have 15 faces and 2 heels on your roster. 

After you choose your inaugural champions, Triple H and others will chime in to give you different challenges, such as “Book a cage match.” Along with completing Triple H’s requests, your job is to create every match and its stipulations, rivalries, titles, and promos. 

The show is simulated, and each segment is rated on a scale from 1 to 5 based on 10 different attributes. At the end, your entire show is rated and given a financial statement, fan count, grade, and story arc. Your story arc should create a clear vision (start strong, then stay level, then end with your strongest segments).


7. Budgeting and Challenges in GM Mode

Keeping the budget balanced is an essentail part of any owner's life. Make sure not to spend it all in one place. 

Budgeting as an adult is lame and boring. I want to buy the giant sombrero, but then I remember that I have a gas bill. However, in this case, the 2K23 budget is an awesome extra challenge in GM mode that keeps you humble. 

You start with a budget of $2.75 million, and it is essential to be smart with your money. During the draft, each superstar costs a certain amount of money (Brock is the highest at 275 thousand!). While building your show, certain promos, special effects, and specific match types will also factor into your cost. At the end of the show, your financial statement will reflect your profits and losses. 

The fan base is another crucial element in GM mode. There are a few things to consider when trying to keep your fan base high:

  • Your overall story arcs.
  • Studying the show notes you are given at the end of each episode.
  • Keeping your superstar’s stamina high for PPV events while keeping your weekly shows at a high level.

Do well enough, and you can complete accomplishments like “increase your fanbase to 10 million,” eventually leading to a hall of fame career.


8. Superstar Mode

Superstar mode gives you the chance to follow your favorite superstar in the universe you created. You can put them through the ringer to see if they can survive. Play each of their matches yourself or let the computer do the work. 

My favorite superstar has been Edge since he won the IC Title from Jeff Jarret in 1999. What if Edge never got injured in 2011 and was able to compete for the World Title against Christian or take on the Shield? These are questions I get to answer in WWE 2K23.

I can recreate the 2011 WWE universe, pick Edge as my superstar, and watch how his career plays  out. The computer simulates the rest of the events, and I must adjust accordingly in my Edge Butterfly Effect world. 

As Edge, you can cut a promo, attack a superstar to start a rivalry, demand a title shot, and do many other things superstars like to do. As the intensity of your rivalry increases, different stipulations and scenes will be unlocked, for example: ‘loser leaves town’. If you lose, you are kicked off your show and become a free agent. 


9. MyRise

MyRise has a great storyline and brings authentic WWE voices and scripts to the table. It is one of a kind and will bring a smile to any WWE fan's face. 

Every WWE game needs to have a good underdog story mixed in, and that is what 2K gives you in MyRise Mode. Daniel Bryan’s rise and Kofi Kingston’s title run were lightning in a bottle and what 2K gives  you in MyRise.

To begin, the user can choose between “The Lock” (men’s division) or “The Legacy” (women’s division) storylines. In “The Legacy,” your aunt is former 6-time world champ Justine, and while she is on her way out, you are on your way in. 

You debut as a mystery partner for a Survivor Series team. After your aunt leaves your side, you have to navigate the WWE yourself and become your own Superstar. 

In the male version, you are a world renown star who has come to WWE, and they have changed your gimmick to their liking, calling you “The Lock”. Not too happy with this image, you fight to be who you really are (whatever superstar you have created in Create-A-Superstar mode). Throughout, you will have different choices in factions, teams, titles, promos and more.

In each mode, it is up to you to build your legacy and become the face, or heel, of the company. Your choices and victories will have a major impact on  how the story plays out and you will have no one else to blame but yourself.


10. The things they could fix 

Not everything in a game can be perfect, but they try to get better every year. 

2K has great new additions, making it one of the best wrestling games of all time. The immersion  they accomplish is next level, and I know I will be playing it for months. Perfection, however, is impossible to achieve, but if they tighten a few screws, this game may reach that status.

If WWE adds weapon grappling  it can bring a whole new level of excitement and thrill. In the move editor, there should be an option to create unique grapples for each weapon. It would be awesome to perform the “Whisper in the Wind” with the Hardyz through a table or a 619 from the top of the ladder. 

There are also a few technical glitches. Sometimes, the wrestler’s hair will stretch across the screen, primarily in online mode. Although the in-game loading is near flawless, they could work on the online side. That, along with not being able to make Triple Threat or Fatal Four Way title matches in GM mode, takes away some of the thrills.

These are small details, but that is what made N64’s No Mercy so special. Not only was it titled an obscure PPV, but they made sure all the kinks were out before giving it to the fans. This is still an amazing game and deserves a play from any true fan.


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Weighing in at 210 pounds, born and raised in Detroit Michigan, the one, the only, Adam “The Sharpster” Sharp! Whether it is wrestling trivia or 007: Goldeneye, Adam is a major competitor.
Gamer Since: 1992
Favorite Genre: Sports
Currently Playing: 007: Agent Under Fire
Top 3 Favorite Games:Need for Speed, NBA 2K15, DOOM

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