There are many compelling reasons for endearing oneself to WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston. That he can deadlift 799 pounds and bench 529 is just the most readily apparent one. Whatever 2K Sports' reason may be—likely just that Big E is as popular and relevant as he is muscled—the developer finally made the wrestler available in WWE 2K14 via the downloadable DLC Pack 2, which will also deliver Fandango, Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, and Summer Rae to gamers' consoles. Being that this is the first video game appearance for the former Iowa Hawkeye lineman (real name: Ettore Ewen), we asked him about it.
This is it. You're a video game character now. Where does that rank among your career achievements?
Big E: It’s huge. Appearing at WrestleMania and winning the Intercontinental Championship are up there, but WWE 2K14 is right behind. I’ve been gaming for as long as I can remember—I had a Super Nintendo, I played the original Nintendo—and I never thought I’d be immortalized in a game. It’s different than being in a football game, where you’re under a helmet and it’s just your number. In 2K14, this is me. This is my Titantron, my music, my likeness … they nailed me. It looks just like me. When I got to actually play it, I was amazed by the job they did.
You still a gamer?
Oh yeah. NCAA has been my favorite series for a while, and I play some Madden as well.
One of the best features of WWE 2K14 is "WrestleMania Mode," where you get to play through some of the greatest 'Mania matches of all time. Do you have a favorite?
Randy Savage versus Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat from WrestleMania III. It was such a classic.
That was back in the innocent days of wrestling, when many fans really thought Steamboat had a crushed larynx. They were sending him get well cards in the hospital.
Yeah, the veil has been lifted a little on the business now. Back in that era people really believed, and followed so passionately and intensely.
How about you? Do you have a dream WrestleMania opponent?
I grew up a huge Goldberg fan and I got to meet him at a signing 15 years ago. It went better than I ever dreamed, so honestly, I’d have to say Goldberg just because I’m such a huge fan.
As your video game debut reminds us, you're still pretty new in the wrestling game. What's the best advice you're received about life in the WWE?
From John Cena, I learned about the importance of timing and the moment. There are things you can let get away from you, and things might happen out of nowhere, but it’s all about owning the moment. When you’re out there in front of the crowd, it’s about taking that chance or doing something special so you go from just being a guy to being someone important.
Speaking of showmanship, I’ve seen you occasionally bust out the Ultimate Warrior splash, where you run back and forth off the ropes. When you were coming up, did you try to pattern yourself after anyone?
There isn’t any one person I try to emulate, but I do borrow from a bunch of different guys. I always liked the more muscular guys who moved well, so Scott Steiner is someone I try to steal from. Farooq as well. I was also a big fan of Vader, and I got to work with him down in developmental and he was a huge help.
Mark Henry is billed as “The World’s Strongest Man,” but if the two of you go to a gym, who is pushing more weight?
I haven’t trained with Mark, but I have to give him his props. At his best, he is one of the strongest men ever. Right now, I’d like to say I’d move more weight than Mark. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I think I got him.
All that strength ever get directed toward the wrong thing—say, a PS3 controller?
I try to show restraint when it comes to controllers. I know people get heated when it comes to these games, but controllers are really valuable to me. I can’t be snapping them in half every time I get beat. If I get frustrated playing a video game, I just step away and take out my frustrations on something a little less valuable.