Adam Cole Talks WWE 2K20, Retro Gaming, And The Pressure Of Live NXT

Adam Cole is the NXT Champion, but you could probably beat him in WWE 2K20. Bay Bay.

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With the profile of NXT--WWE's former developmental brand that now has its own weekly show on USA--on the rise recently, the notoriety of the talent featured on the brand has never been higher. This is especially true of NXT Champion Adam Cole, who has become the face of the group's televised presence.

After making a name for himself on the independent scene, Cole signed with WWE in 2017 and quickly became a regular fixture in NXT, whether it was going after the title or launching the Undisputed Era stable. Now, with the release of WWE 2K20--the latest installment of the annual wrestling video game--Cole finds himself yet again featured as a playable character.

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Now Playing: WWE 2K20 Has Hilarious Glitches - GS News Update

At an event to promote the release of the title, GameSpot spoke with Cole about his favorite retro games, playing as himself in wrestling games, and how NXT's new live show changes the brand. He also tackles the most important question of all time: Are Super Nintendo games better on the Switch or SNES Classic?

GameSpot: You're very open about your love of retro gaming. What is your go to when it comes to the older games?

Adam Cole: I love the original Road Rash so much. That one's an absolute blast, you know? Besides that, I love the classics, the Super Mario World, Sonic 2, Streets of Rage 2 was such a good pick up and play. I'm trying to think of weird, out-there games. There's this one, it is a little bit later generation, but the game One for the original PlayStation. It was like this run-and-gun shooter-style game that was real wonky with stuff exploding all around you all the time. That one's really fun. So yeah, I love a lot of the classics.

You mentioned Super Mario World, have you gotten into it on Switch yet now that the SNES is on the Switch?

So I have been playing Super Mario World, but I've been playing it on my SNES classic because it's amazing to me playing that game with the original Super Nintendo controller. I feel like such a better player. I'm just in more control of Mario. But then when I play on the Switch, not that it's bad, it's amazing to be able to play on the go, but it's not the same.

Do you go to the arcades a lot? What are your arcade standouts?

I love a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time. I do love Miss Pac-Man and Pac-Man and stuff like that too. That's a very fun game to play as well. Obviously, I haven't gotten to play for a long time, but Time Crisis and think it was the second one where the gun would actually cock back when you would shoot. That blew my mind when I was a kid. I was like, "This is the coolest thing ever." So I love those too.

That's a really hard game to actually find in the arcade now.

That's where I remember, because I'm from Lancaster, Pennsylvania originally and that was like the one arcade machine in the mall where they always had Time Crisis 2. It's gone now, but that was like, there was always a line for that game every time.

I remember when Mortal Kombat 2 popped up in a local arcade and changed all of our lives and suddenly there was a line of kids out the door.

I wish, this is so sad and I hate to admit it publicly, but I'm maybe the worst fighting game player of all time. I love fighting games. I'm just so trash.

Well, how do you do in the WWE games?

Again, so I used to be pretty good at like WrestleMania 2000 and No Mercy on N64. So good. But now playing the 2K19 last year, I haven't got the chance to try 2K20 yet but I got a lot to learn. The first game I played of course I play as myself, I wrestled Shinsuke Nakamura and I got pinned because of a snapmare because I didn't know how to kick out.

Image credit: WWE
Image credit: WWE

How weird is it for you to actually see yourself--as someone who's been wrestling a long time but also a massive video game fan--rendered as a video game character?

So I have a game room in the house I live in Florida and the only video game I have on display is 2K19 because I think it's so cool that I was a video game character. Seeing my entrance for the first time was surreal. And then seeing the entrance for 2K20, which is even better, has been so cool. It's again like you said, because I'm such a big video game fan and then obviously my attachment to the wrestling, one of the coolest things in my career for sure.

NXT is now a few weeks into being a two-hour live show every week. How is it going?

Awesome. It's so much pressure, but in such a cool way. Like anytime I do like a main event at TakeOver. There's always this insane amount of pressure, but also more excitement. I feel like me and a lot of us do perform better when we have a lot of that pressure on us. So to be able to have that pressure every single week, I feel like it's just going to make so many of us better performers. So many of us better wrestlers. It's awesome. I love it. A lot of excitement, a lot of pressure, but it's great. That's what I want.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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