WWE games have the same bad habit that modern reviews do, in that they utilize the range of 60-90 for almost everybody. A couple of outliers aside, everyone exists in this 'above average' section and it often provides misleading representations. Some wrestlers get vastly increased recognition for poor-to-middling talents and others get their exemplary facets marginalized. Potential future world champions are lumped in with tag-team specialists who've never tasted a hint of gold. We're breaking down the most egregious examples from this year's WWE 2K entry, and documenting something we're going to dub the 'NXT penalty'.
10 Andrade 'Cien' Almas - 81
For someone who has a coveted 5-star match on his resume, it's amazing to see him so low on the totem pole. Unless the extra points were lost when he lost 2/3 of his name this guy should be hovering just under 90 overall. His physical feats and ability to mix it up with absolutely anyone mean he should be considered among the hottest prospects currently in the entire WWE. If his recent move to Raw [and back to Smackdown] had happened before this stat was fixed we can guarantee at least +5 points or more.
9 Tyler Bate - 78
The first United Kingdom Champion and seemingly unable to have a bad match, the only stat he's actually low in is his age. Admittedly he doesn't say a whole hell of a lot but even if you considered his charisma quite low the rest of his talents mean he should be in the mid-'80s or a touch above. How can you consider him so weak when he gets constant chants of 'Big Strong Boy' every time he competes? A consistently 'top 5' presence in the WWE UK rankings, Tyler Bate cannot be so low in overall stats.
8 The Undisputed Era: Kyle O'Reilly - 79, Roderick Strong - 79, Bobby Fish - 77, Adam Cole (BayBay) - 81
This entire group is experiencing the 'NXT penalty' from what we can see. Adam Cole has just racked up his second 5-star match in WWE. The vast difference in those two matches styles only highlights the man's insane skill levels, and he is bristling with charisma to boot. All three of the other members of the group are incredible in-ring competitors who, if they were on Raw or Smackdown, would be dominating the entire roster in their way. Add 5 points for each member of the group, maybe more for O'Reilly, Cole, and Strong for being former ROH World Champions.
7 Chad Gable - 75
WWE knows they have something special in this guy and yet they consistently break up his tag teams, switch him between shows, flip-flop him from face to heel without notice, and give him bad ratings like this. He has displayed the ability to hold his own in the ring with the elite and is one breakout storyline from big things.
With literal Olympic-level wrestling in his arsenal and a tonne of the classic 'Kurt Angle' goofy charisma in the mix, he's far, far above this middling number.
6 Tamina - 74
At the other end of the spectrum of wrong numbers is Tamina's score here. She has survived within WWE as long as she has but that's about her only attribute worth note. With almost zero memorable matches or moments to her name she surely should be double-digits lower on the scorecard. When her most memorable moment is repeating someone else's line on Smackdown and looking awkward for doing it, she should probably be in the mid-'50s if they were honest about it.
5 Angelo Dawkins - 72
Angelo Dawkins has been kicking around NXT for the longest time and with Tye Dillinger's departure could be the longest-tenured guy there ever. Yet, the closest he has come to doing anything well is when he was put with the endlessly entertaining and talented Montez Ford in The Street Profits tag team. Next to Ford, Dawkins practically turns invisible. His otherwise spotty record in the developmental brand and the reliance on the magnetic Montez Ford means he could drop a good half-a-dozen points easily. With plenty of room for improvement, mid 60's suits him fine for now.
4 British Bulldog - 81
For someone who was a staple of 80's tag teams and the '90s as both a singles star and in huge factions, this score is criminal. The British Bulldog is a legendary grappler who was several times THE powerhouse in WWE. He won every title in WWE bar the big one, was the inaugural European Champion, almost won more than one Royal Rumble, and stood shoulder to shoulder and opposite every notable superstar of the times. A surefire 88 or so without a doubt.
3 Drew McIntyre - 83
Unless WWE is counting his pre-departure record from 3MB this is complete nonsense. Since returning McIntyre has excelled everywhere he's laced his boots. He dominated through a quick NXT run winning the top title there, and came to Raw and has done much the same. He singularly stands up to anyone and everyone put in his way, looks menacing while doing it, has developed a lethal new 'Claymore' finisher, and undoubtedly deserves an 'almost-90ish' recognition of that.
2 Daniel Bryan 12' - 83
This is the rating that almost gives the game away for WWE. Here, Daniel Bryan is every bit the fantastic wrestler he ever has been, is a former World Heavyweight Champion, but because he's currently in a tag team he loses almost a full 10 points from where he'd be in a year. This was the Daniel Bryan who helped end The Shield's historic unbeaten run while also winning the Raw Tag Team championships and delivering some of the funniest segments in WWE history with his and Kane's Anger Management classes with Dr. Shelby. Easily too low by half a dozen.
1 Curtis Axel - 77
Curtis Axel at 77 is insanely optimistic by any standard. He is a literal joke when he's on tv if he's lucky to get on at all, and now that Curt Hawkins has jagged a Raw Tag Team Title win his list of accomplishments is the same as a guy who lost 269 matches in a row. Unless WWE is saying he inherited about 15 points from his father Mr. Perfect in some sort of digital inheritance deal there's no way he should be this high. You could argue Bo Dallas deserves similar scorn, but Axel has had way more chances and turned up nothing compelling. WWE's version of cannon fodder should be mid-50's material.