I love wrestling, and I love video games. Wrestling video games, I don’t particularly care for. Knowing what games wrestlers are into, though? Hook that shit into my veins, baby!
One wrestling organisation that I love in particular is All-Elite Wrestling, or for short, AEW. Why do I love it, you ask? My answer is very similar to the answer that wrestler and commentator Paul Wight gave me when we had a little chat. He gave a simple answer at first by saying, “Authenticity.” He went on to talk about how in other wrestling shows, they’ll have writers for the wrestlers, who are “given a script” and told to just go by that. When it comes to AEW though, there’s more creative freedom given to the wrestlers to mould their own characters.
When it comes to wrestling, I’m all about the performance and well as the sick slams. I love the camp-ness of it all. But I also like that AEW games the system by to taking itself a little less seriously while also taking the art of wrestling seriously, and it genuinely just seems like everyone’s happy to be there.
So where am I going with this? Well, one of AEW’s annual pay-per-view shows Double or Nothing is happening this weekend in Las Vegas (which will be Monday morning here in Australia). For this momentous occasion, I got the chance to speak with three of AEW’s stars, including two from our very own soil. The wrestlers in question were Paul Wight (who was also known as Big Show during his time at WWE), Buddy Matthews (known as Buddy Murphy at WWE), and Toni Storm.
Honestly, I was a little starstruck. I couldn’t help myself from letting out a little ‘tee hee’ here and there. However, I have a job to do, so I kept the ‘tee hee’-ing to a minimum. As a person that works on a video games website, I simply had to find a justification for talking to these legends outside of my own love for wrestling. So, of course, I asked the big “What is your favourite game” question, but I also respectfully allowed for a top three if necessary, because I am a little sweetie.
I’m going to say it: Paul Wight is a big nerd, and I love it.
Talking to Wight, he very clearly has a lot of love for what they do at AEW and it makes sense why he moved over. We talked about Double or Nothing, which he says will be “the one to watch” for fans of AEW, but also a perfect show “for anybody wanting to get an idea of what AEW is about”. I also, at the request of many many people, asked about what’s happening with Captain Insano’s introduction to AEW as we know that it is definitely happening. Not wanting to give to much away, he thought hard about before saying that they’ve been working hard on Captain Insano, and that he will be coming “very soon” and he will “show no mercy”.
In terms of his nerdiness, I think we all know now that Wight is a big Dungeons & Dragons fan, with him being a part of Joe Manganiello’s famous-guy-filled D&D campaign. He informed me that his character is, “a 13-feet tall, level 17 half-Stone Giant Eldritch Knight called Ullac Jotunn”. This makes complete sense to me considering Wight is a big, big man.
So when it came to his favourite game(s), Wight took the Top 3 route, understandably. The first game was obviously Dungeons & Dragons. The second? God of War. And the third? Destiny. He also made an important note that he does NOT play wrestling games, as he doesn’t like the thought of “coming home from work, and working.” Fair enough!
Buddy Matthews is very much the footy player you know from high school and expected to play footy professionally, but then decided to do something else entirely. That something else for Buddy was wrestling.
When we talked about that in particular, he told me about how his parents weren’t initially convinced about his decision to go into wrestling. “My parents thought it was just gonna be a phase and y’know, that I would just get over it,” Matthews explained. “Like Power Rangers and whatnot when I was younger. But it wasn’t a phase, and it’s not a phase all this time later.” He was also one of the first Australian wrestlers to make the jump from local Aussie wrestling to the bigger companies in the US, like WWE and now AEW.
Matthews’ nerdiness is not on the same level as Wight, which makes a lot of sense considering that’s a hard level to get to. However, he does still enjoy video games to this day, and loves himself a bit of Fortnite. “I’m massively hooked on Fortnite, and I’m not proud of it,” he says. “I relate it to a slot machine, like I feel like all the colours are just addictive. It’s the only one I don’t rage quit because by the time I’m already mad, I can just press a button and I’m already loading back up.”
So while Fortnite is an honourable mention on his big Top 3, it doesn’t make the cut. The first game was 007 Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64, the second game was 1080º Snowboarding also for the Nintendo 64, and WWE Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain for the PlayStation 2. I have to mention as well that I asked about Elden Ring, as in the most recent episode of the Young Bucks Being The Elite show on YouTube, Adam Cole mentions in a phone call that “Elden Ring is the greatest video game of all time“. Matthews’ response? “I wish I could tell you what that was. I have no idea.” Potentially the first person I have ever met that doesn’t know what Elden Ring is. I love it.
Toni Storm is my bestie. She’s my girly, we go way back, we’ve known each other since we were born. This is all untrue, but our rapport made Owen, the lovely fella who organised these interviews, think that we already knew each other. Not all Australians know each other, gosh!
Toni comes from the Gold Coast, and actually started training for wrestling when she was only 13. After 5 years training in Australia though, she shipped off to the UK to get her start, and now she’s been everywhere! However, she never forgot her roots, telling me about her recent venture back to Impact Pro Wrestling Australia in the Gold Coast. “Recently during my 90 day [break] after I left WWE, I went back to Australia and I got to spend a month there,” Storm says. “It was just awesome. I went back and I watched an IPW show, my first ever company that I worked for, and it was so… It was weird, it felt like I stepped back in time. It was good for my soul, it reinvigorated my love for wrestling.”
Now, Toni Storm is NOT a gamer. “I’m sorry, I’m not really a gaming person, I just like to kinda… sit on the beach,” she said. But I could tell that there was something there. And then she said that she played a lot of The Sims as a kid, which I went into as a fellow lover of The Sims. “I loved it when I was in primary school,” she explains. “I remember Pizza Hut did some kind of pizza deal where it gave you The Sims 2 for free and I was like ‘Oi mum, get me a pizza!’ so I could get the game.” She also mentions that now she has a house, it’s kind of like “playing real life Sims“. Chef’s kiss.
So Toni Storm’s favourite game? Obviously, The Sims. However, she makes a special mention to the Pets expansion and the Night Life expansion. You love to see it.
There you have it, the favourite games of three people who could fling me across a room and beat me to death. I know that they wouldn’t because they are all sweeties, but I live comfortably with the knowledge that they could.
AEW Double or Nothing 2022 will be available to purchase and stream on FITE.tv on May 31st 2022, at 10:00AM AEST.