Just a few days before Wrestlemania 35--and hours before NXT Takeover: New York--2K Games held the Million Dollar Championship tournament for WWE 2K19, with the semi-finals taking place at WWE Axxess and the finals at Takeover. Over the course of a very busy week at different wrestling events, the 2K tournament ended up being one of the more entertaining things we attended.
At Axxess, semifinalists Gregory Davis from Jacksonville, Florida; Stephan T. Benson from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; David Hoey from Sydney, Australia; and Roman Droßard from Pfalzfeld, Germany were teamed up with WWE superstars to coach them along the way, as they fought each other for the chance to take on AJ Styles at NXT Takeover for a million dollars.
The semifinals were a site to behold with WWE superstars Kofi Kingston, Big E, Xavier Woods, The Miz, Ember Moon, Corey Graves, and Paige (not pictured) entered the fray. Droßard and Davis were eliminated in the first round, and it came down to Benson--using Brock Lesnar--and Hoey--using Braun Strowman. The two can be seen above, shaking hands after the round.
To get to this point was no easy task, as the Million Dollar Challenge in WWE 2K19 was exceptionally tough. "I took ages to get the challenge done," explained Hoey. "I think I was working on it--on and off--I'd say easily three weeks." Since completing the challenge and being selected for the semifinals, Hoey spent roughly three hours a day playing, and he even brought his PS4 over from Australia to practice. Out of all the contestants, Hoey had the longest way to travel, and told us he was pretty jet-lagged.
His competitor was dressed head-to-toe in gold, and every conversation with him felt like a WWE promo. He calls himself the "Golden Voice of Sports Entertainment," and Benson chose his outfit for a specific reason. "It takes gold to beat gold," Benson told GameSpot prior to the semifinals. The final match in the Million Dollar Challenge has players taking on a golden AJ Styles. "By the end of this tournament, everyone is going to be laying in a heap, and I'm going to have my hand raised in victory as your million dollar champion." He wasn't lying.
As for what the two would do with the money, Hoey explained he's young, and he'd put it in the bank, while Benson said he'd take care of his family. The final match between the two may not have been the most exciting, as Benson spent most of the time outside of the ring, running from Hoey, but when a million dollars is on the line, you've got to do what you can to win. However, the antics of the WWE superstars were hilarious, which included Woods holding up a sign that read, "Match of the century" and Big E awkwardly sitting on the middle ringpost. After winning, AJ Styles came out and got in Benson's face. The two cut promos on each other, and it was onto the finals.
This led to NXT Takeover where the final bout took place on the preshow. Benson came out and very quickly got the crowd booing with his smack talk. However, when it came to the actual match against Styles, Benson came out on top, and he made it look very easy. After his win, he was presented with a million dollar check, while Styles threw his controller from the entrance ramp into the ring.
"This is the first day of the rest of my new life," Benson told GameSpot backstage after his win. "I'm going to be smart with the money, but I'm gonna have some fun." He didn't seem too worried about Styles going into the match even though Styles is a huge gamer, appearing on UpUpDownDown regularly. "I promised him. I would take him to suplex city, all expenses paid with all the bells and whistles, and look where I'm standing. I'm a million dollars richer, baby. Can't no one argue that."