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The Dark Secrets of the WWE Games Community



When it comes to the WWE, we’re constantly told that the WWE Universe is alive, with millions of members; we’re all connected by our love of World Wrestling Entertainment. Of course, for most of us it goes beyond that. We all love things that aren’t WWE related, just the art of wrestling alone. However, there does lay a community that is very well known by WWE fans. The WWE Games YouTube Community. Vast and full of video makers, there lays a secret side you may not be aware of.

I myself used to make WWE YouTube videos, before ‘retiring’ this year to focus on writing and other things in my life. The WWE Games YouTube Community focuses on all aspects of wrestling with a variety of organic characters and personalities. There are the ‘veterans’ who have over a hundred thousand subscribers – names including SmackTalks and Tubby Emu. There are the ‘mid-carders’, people who don’t have the same kind of success, but still have a following, ranging from thousands to just hundreds. Then there are smaller channels who struggle to get around a hundred subscribers. WWE and 2K Games (who own the license to produce WWE games) know that this community exists. They have invited the most popular YouTube stars to WrestleMania and to special 2K events in New York showcasing upcoming games and products.

Along the way, I had gained a few contacts that still remain active today. I asked those people to give accounts on what they thought about where the community was. Scott McMillan, famous for his Heel Diggy channel currently has 516 subscribers, produces a weekly show created in WWE 2K17. ‘Friday Night Nexus’ is a community hit, often called the best of its kind. When I asked on what compelled him to be a part of the community and create his show, he responded with: “I always liked to make videos on YouTube. The reception is always great, I made [a show] because I looked at all the current ones at the time and thought ‘where the heck is the EXTREME?!’”

I asked Ryan Malik of Silva Productions, who produces custom music videos relating to all areas of wrestling and also his own ‘Universe Mode’ series: “For a majority of my life, the concept of storytelling has always fascinated me, which is the main reason behind why I produce so many videos, mainly regarding WWE Games’ Universe Mode feature. Evidently, I currently run two Universe Mode series because I love the fact that I can experiment and showcase my ideas and stories to the world.”

So we know the convictions here that made them join the party. As my interviews continued, I found that all was not well with the ‘universe’. When I had asked about the atmosphere, things took a more serious turn. Scott told us: “It’s safe to say this community is broken. Nobody bloody likes each other. There are sub communities though, a few collaboration communities that help each other. I like that, I like when the big guys help the little guys.” Indeed he did not stand alone with the negative opinions.

I spoke with Liam of Phoenix Games, a much respected voice in the community. He told me: “Yeah, I’ve been around the WWE Games Community and it’s the most toxic community in gaming in my opinion, and I don’t say that lightly as I’ve also been a part of the FIFA and Call of Duty communities.”

Liam shared some of his experiences with me and they are shocking. He tells me of physical threats that he has received. He also offered an insight on the ethics on the content creation side. “There are some pockets [of the community that collaborate together] but other than that there’s very little co-operation which is why smaller channels find it so difficult to get off the ground.”

However, despite the negativity, friendships have flourished in the environment, connecting people from across the globe. Ryan Malik told me: “Damn, there are too many great moments in my tenure here in the WWE Games community. Meeting and interacting with so many people, that I am now proud to call friends like Jake (known as ‘TheJMan’ online), Scott, Cerblay, Skeeno, Murfs, and many others.” Malik spoke about his friendship with one particular YouTube personality that he has connected with: “This is a bit corny, but my friendship with Jake is beyond crazy to me. We went from being complete strangers/acquaintances to now having a full-blown Owens and Jericho type friendship. I run a Smackdown vs. RAW Universe Mode series with him; I go to him for storyline ideas for my series, WWE Next Gen, and run a Marvel and DC Podcast with him. It’s pretty wild.”

Scott, Liam and the previously mentioned Jake also provided me with a few taboo video subjects that budding creators should avoid. These include 2 minute videos with little to no editing, ‘clickbait’, stolen assets like thumbnails and the controversial reaction videos.

When reflecting on his community status, he discussed the reasons why he stayed active for all of these years: “If I didn’t decide to dedicate my time to FNN, I would no longer be on YouTube; I would no longer be on Twitter. It brought me back from a ‘creative darkness’. It’s made me be able to work with my friends, they’ve supported with graphics design, creative input and just being my friends.”

“I would not be where I am today [without my friends]. All of it, including help and support from people like Murfs, Skeeno, Cerblay, Cameron Bash, William Kingdom, and many more, I wouldn’t be where I am today, so I sincerely owe all of these names my life.” remarked Ryan.

In hindsight, when I began my research I was not sure what to expect what people thought. As the interviews progressed, things turned negative quickly. It wasn’t until the end; everyone had a more positive outlook on everything. “But as there’s plenty of awful content creators in the niche there’s plenty of great ones too, a lot of which I’m good friends with. Universe Mode content is some of my favourite content on YouTube.” added Liam. So it seems despite all the issues facing the members of the community, bonds were able to be formed and they were all able to prosper in their own ways.

Heel Diggy recently surpassed his 500 subscriber goal, stating “At the end of the day the biggest moment for me in this community is making FNN”. In a way, it’s just like the real wrestling world. Full of characters, personalities, all in front of the camera and behind it too. That makes it interesting for those who entice themselves within all the madness.

This is where I turn the questions to you. What do you think about this community? Are you familiar with the goings on? Be sure to let us know!

I’d also like to thank the following for letting me question them for this article:
Scott (HeelDiggy) – @HeelDiggy
Liam (PhoenixGames) – @PhoenixGamesYT
Ryan (Silva Productions) – @RyanSilvaWWE
Jake (The J Man/J Man Sequel) – @TheJMan731

Known for his thoughts on politics, wrestling and Henshin, Harry researches lost and obscure media. He formally ran the 'Harry's Commentary Table' YouTube channel and makes various appearances on both wrestling and non-wrestling related channels. Harry has since moved on from Fight Booth to explore other opportunities.

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