The verdict is in on WWE 2K20: it is broken and it is cursed. It makes sense. Few entertainment companies can boast a blatant cursedness level as high as WWE’s. You know WWE, the wrestling juggernaut built upon the merging and acquisition of the old territories system? Also union-busting, drug-dealing, death, and virulent misogyny? Antonio Inoki may have taken pro wrestling to North Korea, but WWE is the only wrestling company that I know of to actually have someone guilty of crimes against humanity in their official hall of fame. Earlier this month, Jia Tolentino wrote a fantastic explanation of cursed energy and the cursed times we live in. WWE exemplifies her point.
Cursed Wrestling Entertainment
Granted, WWE isn’t as obviously cursed as they once were. The days of bra and panty matches, blackface, rumored murder cover-ups, and current chairman of the America First Action super PAC in a fake vegetative state while her husband sucked face with one of his hot employees are over. But as WWE tries to grow and adapt, hoping to maintain their chokehold on the world of pro wrestling, they become cursed in new and fascinating ways. I mean, take the increasingly racist Lana-Bobby Lashley-Rusev cucking angle, a stilted, uncomfortable take on someone in WWE Creative’s PornHub history. Or take the entire agreement the WWE has made with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, from unretiring Shawn Michaels for some of that sweet, sweet blood money to the advertisement for next week’s Crown Jewel featuring famous orange racist Hulk Hogan and the Undertaker extolling the virtues of Riyadh Season:
This thing is the ethical equivalent of British Lads Hit Each Other with Chair. Every aspect, every detail is uniquely calibrated for optimum yikes, and the cursed tension just keeps mounting.
I like wrestling to be a little off, a little broken. But WWE as a company takes being off and broken to an extreme. Did any of you ever get into “weird” music? Like Tiny Tim and shit? There was always that one guy in those circles who insisted that you take a CD-R of Charles Manson’s album. That’s not weird anymore, that’s just ghoulish (and not even good). WWE in 2019 would be the Charles Manson CD-R of wrestling promotions if a major record label was the one pushing it on you rather than your friend’s ex-roommate who keeps hitting you up to hang out at 3 AM.
Jia Tolentino was right— we are living in unspeakably cursed times. To be a wrestling fan on top of that is a mind-bending experience of rationalization, anger, vain hope and crushing disappointment. Just like the “cursed” descriptor is one of the best ways of making sense of how we got to this point in history, the horrendous glitches in WWE 2K20 are an easier to swallow explanation for some of the things this company does than the reality that actual human beings made the decisions with their precious, unique consciousnesses.
— Johnny -Endure and Survive- (@JohnnyGaming9) October 22, 2019
This is all a very long-winded way of saying: don’t fix WWE 2K20. Don’t do it. I look at the clip above and think one word: same. Does any visual better capture the experience of 2019 like the frantic thrashing of this digital referee? He tries to maintain order, to enforce the rules long since decided upon, but what authority can he pose if he is literally glitching in and out of existence? How can any of us uphold anything when the structures upon which we rely threaten our existence? Even in the microcosm of wrestling, we can unsubscribe from the (award winning) WWE Network all we want, scold the company on Twitter and social media. Some of us can even write op-eds. But what are we actually doing but twitching impotently like that kendo stick trapped in the ropes of a fundamentally broken system? The threat we pose to WWE is just as menacing.
This incredibly broken, fucked up, unplayable monstrosity is the game WWE deserves. Not even as a punishment for their actions, but as an honest reflection of what they are. The 2K games come out annually, with the year in the title to couch them in time. WWE 2K20 is in fact a perfect 10/10 game for the simple reason that it perfectly encapsulates this moment in history: so broken that all we can do is sit back and laugh as we too are twisted, cursed and glitched beyond recognition.