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    Tuesday, October 15, 2019

    #ThemeSongTuesday: The Music of WWE 2K20

    We're a week away from WWE 2K20 hitting the shelves and our wallets crying out a little (or a lot)!

    I've been meaning to write this feature much earlier, but with all of the #PWRHomecoming preparations (and celebrating, heh), I haven't been able to find the time to really dig into the pre-release hype. But now that the Homecoming hysteria has begun to die down, I found myself listening to the entire WWE 2K20 soundtrack in one go just to get a feel of how the game itself will play out when I go through its different menus.

    In-game soundtracks are more important to me than most people because I get extra OC about them. That's probably one of the side effects of being on radio for pretty much the last decade: I overthink music. I remember bitching so much about LeBron James' curated soundtrack for NBA 2K14 and or Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's own curated soundtrack for WWE 2K18 because there were songs that just didn't feel like tracks that would hype me up to play the damn games.

    Over the last few years, I've come to accept the team behind 2K's music is trying to be more inclusive with the genres and artists they bring on board to attract different markets. Sure. Hell, they tried something pretty innovative last year when they had several top WWE Superstars pick one song each for a poo-poo platter that made up the WWE 2K19 soundtrack.

    This year, they went back to basics and just released a straight-up playlist with 12 songs going through different genres like pop-folk, emo rap, R&B, alternative rock, and whatever the hell Poppy falls under. The idea was to break the boundaries of genre altogether, which is pretty much what wrestling has been trying to do on a global level over the last few years. While admirable as a concept, it doesn't exactly achieve the goal and I'll get to that through this preview.

    For now, you can check out the full tracklist below:
    • "Gimme" — Banks
    • "99" — Barns Courtney
    • "Wonderful Life" — Bring Me The Horizon ft. Dani Filth 
    • "Stigmata" — grandson
    • “XO Tour Llif3” — Lil Uzi Vert 
    • "The Dirt" — Motley Crue ft. Machine Gun Kelly
    • "The Dark Side" — Muse 
    • "Metal" — Poppy
    • "ICY GRL" — Saweetie
    • "LO / HI" — The Black Keys
    • "Hybrid Moments" — The Misfits
    • "Burning Man" — Watt ft. Post Malone
    Of these songs, I was only really most familiar with "ICY GRL" and "XO Tour Llif3," since both songs are on our rotation on Wave 89.1. There was also a stretch from earlier this year when I was particularly fond of including a Saweetie song in my morning sets. I love having a Saweetie song on my 2K soundtrack just because I think female MCs should get more love on mainstream media. As for Lil Uzi Vert, I'm not sure his brand of hip-hop (emo rap) actually belongs on a WWE video game playlist. After all, you're trying to get hyped and live out your wrestling dreams, not get all dark and... y'know.

    There are a few songs here that stand out as songs I'd actually consider coming out to if I were a wrestler. "Stigmata" by grandson particularly stands out because of how gritty and grungy it feels. It's also got the right kind of edge, painting the picture of a government corrupting its people's everyday lives and how a revolutionary persona aims to expose the truth. Even if I didn't know what this song was about, I'd rock out to this banger any day of the week.

    If you're looking for a stereotypically wrestling-sounding song, there's "Wonderful Life" by Bring Me The Horizon, which sounds exactly like the type of song that could be the theme for an NXT TakeOver. Imagine playing that shit over the Undisputed ERA's highlights. What a fit, yeah? 

    And then there's the odd Poppy track, which doesn't even surprise me anymore because, well, "X" was already used as the theme for NXT TakeOver: Phoenix earlier this year. The thing about "Metal" is that I can see a dark, twisted version of someone like Jhemherlhynn coming out to this song. It's got the signature deceptive upbeat vibe that Poppy uses to conceal the darker message behind the song because Poppy. You know what, the more I listen to this, the more I actually... look forward to hearing it in the game. DAMMIT POPPY!

    There are a couple of duds on this soundtrack aside from "XO Tour Llif3," particularly "Gimme" by Banks and "99" by Barns Courtney just because I have no earthly idea how these songs found their way on a WWE video game. They sound more like the type of songs I'd hear on satellite radio in the U.S. as standard pop. They just don't fit the feel of wrestling as a whole, much less WWE 2K

    Overall, I'm not entirely sold on the soundtrack. Without having played the game yet, I'd give it a 6/10 just because it doesn't hype me up or make me feel like stepping inside the ring and being The Man.

    But, hey, things could change between now and next week.

    Header image from 2K


    WWE 2K20 launches worldwide on Tuesday, October 22 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.


    Stan Sy (@_StanSy) is the Editor at Large of Smark Henry and is also a radio DJ on Wave 89.1, an events host, a freelance writer, and one of the hosts of The Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He also used to be one of the hosts and writers of The Wrestling Gods on FOX. He enjoys watching WWE, NXTLucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. You can ask him questions about wrestling, Survivor (yes, the reality show), or whatever you like on his CuriousCat account.
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    Item Reviewed: #ThemeSongTuesday: The Music of WWE 2K20 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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