Who will win Game of Thrones (according to WWE 2K19)?
Game of Thrones is basically one giant, medieval wrestling match. It’s a story about a bunch of people who all hate each other, who are all vying for control of a single prize, and who will do whatever it takes to win. The good guys don’t necessarily win, and when they do, it usually comes at a cost — and it never lasts for long.
With Game of Thrones’ final season premiering this weekend, I thought that maybe we could use wrestling to figure out how HBO’s fantasy series will conclude. Here’s how I did it: I assigned a wrestler to each one of the main contenders for the Iron Throne, loaded up the WWE 2K19 video game, and let them all beat the snot out of each other. It worked far, far better than I expected.
So, according to the WWE, here is how Game of Thrones ends.
There aren’t that many perfect one-to-one matches between Game of Thrones characters and wrestlers on WWE’s roster, especially when it comes to characters who are still alive.
Still, here’s who I chose, and why I did so. For the most part, I tried to match gimmicks and personalities rather than physical appearances. You’ll probably disagree with my choices, and that’s fine. It’s a fun debate, so feel free to hash things out in the comments. Just remember to keep things civil. This is an entirely worthless exercise, so let’s keep things fun.
Your fighters are:
Seth Rollins as Jon Snow: Set aside the whole “Kingslayer” nickname, and you’ll see just how much sense this makes. Jon Snow is the closest thing that Game of Thrones has to a traditional fantasy hero. Seth is the closest thing to one in the WWE. If anyone is coming to the ring carrying a Valyrian steel sword, it’s that dude. Also? both guys love dogs.
Becky Lynch as Daenerys Targaryen: Becky has always been the least appreciated, most undervalued, and most consistently underestimated of WWE’s Four Horsewomen, yet over the past year she was able to rise to the very top on the strength of her personality alone, and now she commands millions of fans. That’s basically Dany’s arc, too. “Straight fire” would also be a great catchphrase for a dragon-riding princess, I’m just sayin’.
Charlotte Flair as Cersei Lannister: Vince McMahon is clearly WWE’s Tywin Lannister, so you can make a pretty good argument that Stephanie McMahon is Cersei and Triple H is Jamie but if you’re going that far then Shane is Tyrion. That sucks, so I’m throwing it out.
Charlotte is a tall, imposing, self-entitled blonde who comes from (wrestling) nobility, manipulates everyone around her to get her way, and declared herself queen. If I have to explain the parallels to you, you’re in the wrong place.
Daniel Bryan as Tyrion Lannister: Constantly dismissed because of his size? Told by the powers-that-be that he’d never amount to anything? Became a fan favorite early on, and never looked back? That could be either of these two gentlemen. Besides, if Tyrion were a wrestler, he’d definitely be all about the submission moves.
Asuka as Arya Stark: I really wanted to slot Chris Jericho in here — they both like to make lists! — but a pint-sized murder gremlin who switches faces (i.e. wears masks) works, too.
Io Shirai as Sansa Stark: This was the hardest one to figure out — in WWE, if a character’s smart, they’re usually a bad guy — and honestly, I’m still not thrilled with my choice. Still, Io seemed as good a fit as any. Sisterhood is one of her defining character traits (she used to tag with her real-life sister, she’s super-close with Kairi Sane, and she used to be in a stable with Asuka, our surrogate Arya), and once upon a time she and her boyfriend were framed for drug smuggling by a wrestler with a grudge. That’s the most Game of Thrones thing, like, ever.
The Miz as Jaime Lannister: A thing for blondes. Handsome and entitled, but also capable of empathy and remorse. Despite his numerous accomplishments and accolades, still just wants to make his distant, withholding father proud.
Sarah Logan as Yara Greyjoy: Yara is a sailor, Sarah Logan is a legit viking, and neither have a real shot at winning this thing, so let’s just roll with it.
Johnny Gargano as Gendry: I had a very compelling argument for Shane McMahon here, but Gendry is my girlfriend’s favorite Game of Thrones character and Shane is her least favorite wrestler and she was so mad. So, Gendry is now her favorite wrestler, Johnny Gargano. I dunno.
Kane as The Hound: Kane was burned alive by his older brother and never got over it. That’s Sandor Clegane’s origin story too, and besides, it just works so nicely with…
The Undertaker as The Mountain: Pre-Oberyn Martell, this slot would’ve belonged to Braun Strowman, but now that The Mountain is an oversized zombie, there’s only one (dead) man who can fill his plus-sized boots.
Xavier Woods as Samwell Tarly: Neeeeerds.
Mick Foley as Beric Dondarrion: I’m breaking my rules by choosing someone who’s not on WWE’s current roster, but they’re my rules. I can do what I want with ’em. Also, I’m pretty sure that Mick Foley has died and come back to life at least a couple of times while we all watched.
Ember Moon as Melisandre: Kind of witchy, maybe supernatural, and has something to do with fire? I still can’t really explain Ember Moon’s gimmick, but that’s close enough for me.
Triple H as The Night King: The King of Kings becomes Game of Thrones’ final boss. I liked Finn Balor for the Night King, too — dude is a literal demon — but the biggest threat that Westeros has ever faced should probably be bigger than a Polly Pocket.
John Cena as John Cena: “But wait!” you say. “John Cena isn’t even a character in Game of Thrones.” Oh, poor summer child. Don’t you know? Cena wins lol, always.
The early rounds
To seed the tournament I split the roster into heroes and villains and made each side fight in a battle royale. Then, I ignored the results and put together more interesting matchups. Here’s the bracket for the blue brand, which I’m calling “Ice”:
And here’s the bracket for the red brand, i.e. “Fire”:
I’m not going to recap all of these early matches because nobody wants to read that, but here are the highlights:
- On the whole, the Fire bracket was much more interesting than the Ice bracket. In hindsight, I should’ve balanced things a bit better, but you can only watch a computer fight itself for so long. I’m not running this again.
- I don’t want to live in a world without CleganeBowl, so I made sure it happened as a first-round match. After a short, hard-hitting brawl, the Hound put his brother out of his misery. He lost the next round.
- John Cena opened the match with a Five-Knuckle Shuffle and just trucked The Night King, and now I’m praying that Game of Thrones dispatches the wight the same way and reveals that an even bigger, badder villain has been pulling the strings the whole time, Final Fantasy-style. Bonus points if that villain actually is John Cena, and double bonus if he attitude adjusts a dragon.
- The most entertaining match in this segment was The Hound versus Daenerys. Physically, Daenerys was over-matched the entire time, but she was able to use some quick thinking to secure a count-out victory, which just feels right.
- My favorite moment, however? In the middle of Yara versus Cersei, Sin Cara interrupted the match on Cersei’s behalf. Not only did I not know that WWE 2K19 could do that without my knowledge, but of course Cersei cheated to win (remember this one, because it becomes important later).
Here’s where we stand going into the semifinals:
The semifinals: Sansa vs. Daenerys and Cersei vs. Tyrion
I did not expect WWE 2K19 to give me results that made any actual sense, so I was pleasantly surprised by this outcome.
Sansa versus Daenerys is a little iffy, canon-wise, but I can imagine a situation where it happens, especially if Jon is out of the picture. At any rate, both women fought well in an even match-up that lasted for a full 12 minutes, making it the longest of the tournament.
Daenerys started out strong and almost had things won when she countered a moonsault by lifting her knees, but Sansa was able to recover right before the referee hit three. Dany responded by nearly ripping Sansa’s arm off, but the young Stark has been through worse. Sansa slammed Daenerys off of a fireman’s carry — which seems like a pretty snarky finish, given that Dany owns two fire-breathing dragons — and got the pin.
Cersei versus Tyrion, on the other hand, almost makes too much sense. Here, you have two siblings who have hated each other for decades, and who finally get the chance to settle their differences by beating the crap out of each other. So. Much. Drama.
And it gets better. Remember how Cersei used an interruption by a third party to get an edge on Yara? Well, halfway through this bout, another wrestler’s music hit, distracting Cersei. That’s right: wily little Tyrion used his sister’s own trick against her.
Except we’re talking about Tyrion, so his plan didn’t go quite right. Cersei’s distracted, but not distracted enough, and Tyrion never got the chance to push his advantage. Later, Tyrion had the chance to put Cersei away while his sister is strutting around the ring, gloating, but he blew that too. Cersei kicked Tyrion in the nuts, hit a Natural Selection, and pinned him one, two, three.
The finals: Sansa vs. Cersei
Following Cersei versus Tyrion, the final match felt like a letdown. It was over before it really got started. Both women spent a lot of time kicking each other in the head, but Sansa couldn’t escape Cersei’s submission holds. That wore Sansa down, and she had nothing left when Cersei hit her finishing move and took the Iron Throne.
That’s not a happy ending, but it’s a very Game of Thrones one. In fact, I can easily see Game of Thrones concluding with Cersei alone in The Red Keep, all of the other characters either dead, broken, or missing. She sits on the throne by herself, ruling over a broken kingdom with no one left in it.
Suddenly, the door swings open. Edmure Tully walks in and hands the official his Money in the Bank briefcase. “I’m cashing in,” he tells Cersei, raising his fists. Cersei smiles and sips her wine. The bell rings.
There’s your ending, Mr. Martin. If you want to use it, you know where to find me.