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From WWE 2K19 to 2K20: Who's In and Who's Out?

WWE 2K20

From WWE 2K19 to 2K20: Who's In and Who's Out?

We’re just a week away from the release of WWE 2K20, and one of the noticeable aspects of this release cycle has been the sparse amount of information released on the game. Most noticeably, what had become a common moniker of “biggest roster ever” was as absent as the roster list itself was for a long while.

Now with the roster in-hand, a comparison sweep of 2K19 and 2K20 reveals that the title has taken a hit on the number of superstars featured. Some of these are obvious, as they have left to join competition. Others could be a result of contracts expiring. Whatever the case may be, there are 35 superstars who appeared in 2K19 but not 2K20. Likewise, there are 22 additions.

This list does not count multiple versions of a superstar, for example Shawn Michaels ’97 and ’05 would be one superstar — with one noticeable exception. Also excluded are characters from the upcoming ‘Originals’ DLC pack.

Who’s Out?  

Aiden English
The former Vaudevillian lost momentum after Rusev Day was derailed and English was moved to the 205 Live announce team. With the cruiserweights merging with NXT, his future with WWE is somewhat in question, and that limbo has translated to WWE 2K20.

Alexander Wolfe

With a renewed focus in NXT UK, the exclusion of Wolfe comes at a poor time for the resurgence of his career. With NXT UK being on the lighter side in terms of representation in general, it lends to the idea that there may be an NXT UK-themed DLC pack on the horizon.

Alundra Blayze
One of the most underrated female talents in WWE history, Blayze/Madusa does not make the cut for this year’s edition. This is especially disappointing considering the increased focus on women in the upcoming title. A cameo appearance from her in MyCareer may have worked wonders.

The Ascension, Konnor & Viktor

One of the earliest examples of strong NXT characters getting lost in the shuffle once being called up, The Ascension has been in their own ‘cosmic wasteland’ for some time now. Their promise was once there, with both being ranked in the PWI 500 in 2014. But the long burn of their decline seems to have reached the inevitable, and they are now no longer appearing in WWE 2K.

Bam Bam Bigelow

One of the best big men to ever do it, Bigelow’s bigger-than-life character will not grace your screen this time around. Hope is held out that he makes a return in the near future, along with a well-deserved and long-rumored induction into the Hall of Fame.

British Bulldog

Davey Boy Smith provided an interesting powerhouse to add to the Universe mode against other strong types such as Braun Strowman. His absence will be noticed from the list of legends.

 

Chris Jericho
No one really knows where Chris Jericho is, or why he isn’t included here. He was most recently spotted with a championship belt while sipping champagne while looking quite dastardly, but no further information can be provided. Fun fact, did you know that both TNT and dynamite are types of explosives?

Diamond Dallas Page

A close friend of the Rhodes family, the affable Dallas has been spotted on recent AEW shows in the presence of Cody and company. It’s difficult to imagine this being the reason he is not included (after all, Bret Hart introduced their championship). Whatever the reason, there will be no ‘bang’ in WWE 2K20.

Dean Ambrose

One of the most intriguing stories of the year, Ambrose’s exit from the WWE and his rebirth as Jon Moxley had dirt sheets contorting in every which direction. His exit means the former Shield member’s status as 2K Superstar exits as well.

Epico And Primo Colon

Epico and Primo, aka Los Matadores, aka Shining Stars, aka The Colons have not competed on a televised WWE event since 2018’s Survivor Series. Most recently, the cousins have been working with the legendary Carlos Colon with the World Wrestling Council, a promotion in Puerto Rico, where Carlito also appears sporadically and they have a guy named Rikochet. With Epico also serving as their current champion, the Colons’ return to WWE is unknown at this time.

Goldust
One of the most enduring characters WWE will ever experience, the man behind the paint posted an emotional video in which he retired his Goldust gear and officially ended the moniker. This is bittersweet though as we have also witnessed the rebirth of ‘The Natural’ Dustin Rhodes as he becomes a mentor and valued performer for AEW. Still, Goldust no longer being associated with WWE is a ‘bizarre’ reality.

Greg Valentine
The Hammer was one of the most respected superstars of the ‘80s and a great inclusion for younger fans to be able to experience the legend through a video game format. While the reason is unknown, Valentine’s time with the 2K franchise has come to an end for now.

Hideo Itami

The story of Itami will go down as one of the most snake-bitten missed opportunities in NXT history. The former (and current) KENTA was an absolute get for the WWE, but for one reason or another never picked up steam. With his exit from the organization and return to New Japan’s G1 Climax over the summer, the dynamic performer has made his departure from the WWE and 2K.

Ivory

As mentioned before with Alundra Blayze, the loss of Ivory comes at an interesting moment due to the focus on the women’s division for WWE 2K20. One of the most beloved female superstars of her era, Ivory’s time was too short in the games. Perhaps a women-centric DLC pack will be in order.

Jacqueline

Another woman finds herself taken from the deck at a crucial turning point for the series. The loss of Jacqueline and Ivory is even more conspicuous due to the addition of Molly Holly, one of their contemporaries. As with Ivory and Blayze, her absence will be felt in this edition.

Jason Jordan

Whether or not you feel that the Kurt Angle, uh, thing was a good idea, it’s undeniable that Jordan’s pure athleticism was astonishing. With the highest of in-ring ceilings, Jason Jordan unfortunately fell to a neck injury before being transitioned to a producer role over a year ago. His return to the ring is in question, although it may be fair to consider that another superstar with a similar injury, Paige, continues to be included in 2K.

Killian Dain

While Sanity fell off of the map for some time, its members either jumping brands or being released, this is still one of the names that surprises me the most. The beefy superstar has made a triumphant, but perhaps too late, return to NXT. Despite his absence for a time, it’s clear the value he has. This makes him one of the bigger question marks on this list.

Lex Luger

One of the bigger names of the ‘90s, Lex would fire the first shot of the Monday Night Wars, sparking off an intensely magical time in professional wrestling. While somewhat out of the spotlight in recent years, Lex had become a staple in WWE 2K since 2K15. Perhaps this time off will allow the team to get his model looking a bit sharper. Maybe it’s the mullet.

Lio Rush

This is an example of how the rapidly changing world of professional wrestling doesn’t play well with the harsh deadlines of annual game releases. Rush has found himself in and out of the spotlight in his young career, and development time happened to fall during one of those out times. With his current resurrection on NXT, it’s safe to assume that he will return in the future.

Mr. Perfect

I suspect this one will sting more than most for the fans of WWE 2K. One of the most beloved characters ever concocted in the halls of Titan Towers, Curt Hennig is to this day one of the most dynamic and fun performers to ever grace a ring. His inclusion in WWE 2K kept his legend and picture-perfect Perfect-plex going. His star still shines bright and his absence is unfortunate.

Nick Miller

One half of NXT’s TM-61 along with Shane Thorne, Miller’s time ended with the brand prematurely, not long removed from facing the Authors of Pain in the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. It is largely believed that Miller requested his release to spend more time with his family in his native Australia, but regardless of the reasons he is out of the 2K family.

Rick Rude

Another legend from the golden age is removed from the lineup, and it’s one of the brilliant heels of his or any generation. There is so much to learn from Rude’s character for any modern-day evil-doer. With matching physique and in-ring skill, Rude’s removal from WWE 2K is hopefully temporary.

Rhyno

With his career winding down, Rhyno voiced a desire to work a lighter schedule and is currently in a second stint with Impact Wrestling. From early ECW years to his unlikely enjoyable run teaming with Heath Slater, Rhyno has proven a reliable commodity. All good things must come to an end though as Rhyno is no longer included in the 2K series.

Rick Martel

One of the more underappreciated performers of his generation, Martel was included in the past two 2K titles, but will not be making his return here. From the reveal of his signature ‘Arrogance’ cologne spray in the Kurt Angle warehouse commercial spot, Martel was a welcome blast from the past. Sadly, the Model’s return tour has come to an end.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson)

I’ve always appreciated that if legends are going to be included, a tag team is typically brought aboard to help bolster the current division. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express provided this role in WWE 2K18 and 2K19 after being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Rikishi

Seemingly making more cameo appearances than ever before, this is a somewhat surprising exclusion from the game. Adding Rikishi into a stable with the Usos (his sons) was a pretty automatic choice for my Universe mode. The big man found his niche in the Attitude Era and became a beloved personality. In what other circumstance can it be said that I will miss someone with a move called the ‘stink face’?

Sycho Sid

Sid was one of the last remnants of the true WWF “land of the monsters” and turned the intimidation factor up to an 11. While his ring and mic work were never top notch, he was nevertheless a spectacle, and in a video game every superstar is as good as their user. Because of that, Sid is a big loss in my opinion. He has a main event look, one that from a pure storyline standpoint could pose a legitimate threat to anyone. If Sid in his prime makes an appearance with Brock Lesnar standing in the ring, there would be a seed in your mind that this guy has a chance. That’s relatively rare, and Sid will be missed.

Tatanka

A popular superstar from the New Generation, Tatanka would ride an undefeated streak for a time and live on in the hearts of ’90s kids. Making a surprising return to the Smackdown brand over a decade later, Tatanka proved that he could still go. His inclusion in the 2K games was welcomed, and he is on the short list of legends who are truly questionable by their absence.

The Godfather

I love the Godfather. I love the man and I loved the character for what it was. That said, I am completely astonished any time he shows up anywhere in the current environment. Video game, anniversary show etc., even when he makes an attempt to avoid the word ‘ho’ (choosing to make the audience do it instead). Because of this, I have to chalk the loss of The Godfather up to “well, I’m surprised he was there at all” and be content with what we got.

TJP

The inaugural winner of the Cruiserweight Classic, TJP was a talent with the ability to stand out in a division built on amazing moments. With several backstage problems though, TJP seemed to be on thin ice for some time, and eventually was released in February 2019. Given his entrance theme, as a gamer I feel like rooting for him is a given. For now though, he and that awesome entrance are gone from 2K.

Tye Dillinger

Another personality who was seeking ‘freedom’ from the machine, the Perfect 10 was released from his contract and joined AEW under the name Shawn Spears. While this career move may provide dividends a la Cody Rhodes, it does of course come with the side effect of his removal from WWE 2K.

Vader

Another legend out, Big Van Vader was simply an awesome addition to the roster, whether in exhibition or Universe mode. His appearances in the games were a nice homage to his recent passing, so it is doubly unfortunate that the Mastadon is no longer selectable.


Who’s In?

This one really shocked me. With The Fiend technically only debuting at Summerslam, that date is far past the traditional cut-off point for roster changes in WWE video games. It’s possible this is due to Visual Concepts taking over the direct development, allowing for more drastic moves. Whatever the case, The Fiend being missing from WWE 2K20 would have loomed like a shadow over the release of this game in much the way the Four Horsewomen did in the past. This, so far, is the feather in the cap of this game’s roster.

One of the question marks missing from last year’s title returns this year. The talented and reliable Kendrick will be gracing the digital ring once again.

The Best Kept Secret was so secret that he was even overlooked for WWE 2K19. No more. Buddy Murphy’s talent is too great to ignore, and the Aussie is now included in the official roster after spending a long time at the top of the community downloads.

The Ninth Wonder of the World has broken back into the mentions of WWE in their programming, including a Hall of Fame berth. For anyone familiar with her personal story, from DX member to her untimely death, it is great to see her return to prominence. On the flip side of Blayze, Ivory and Jacqueline in a women-centric 2K20 release, Chyna is a fantastic substitute.

His return still being controversial, WWE has gone all in with the return of Hogan to their programming. This is still garnering mixed reactions, and as a black person I get it. But I also get that what Hogan did for the business we love cannot be denied, and eternal grudges aren’t terribly useful. That said, Hogan as a performer and character being back in 2K carries weight. I’m on board.

One of the fastest rising independent stars, Carrillo joined the NXT brand just last year and within months occupied a featured spot on the 205 Live roster. His talent jumps off the screen and that talent deserves to be showcased.

The celebrated new performer of the second Mae Young Classic, Io Shirai has undergone a transformation in recent NXT programming. While it’s unlikely that version will be included, her incredible talent most certainly will be. Her inclusion bolsters the representation of the NXT women’s division.

This an interesting inclusion, not because Ryker doesn’t deserve it but because of context. Where are the other members of The Forgotten Sons? The NXT faction of which Ryker is a member has existed for some time, which makes missing Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake feel like a strange omission.

Often included as a commentator but not too often as an in-ring performer, The King is making his way back to active competition in 2K20.

One of the most popular current superstars in NXT, the Spirit Bomb-specialist makes his way to 2K20. Historically, the NXT roster inclusion has been on the lighter side, so this is a great vote of confidence from the developers and WWE.

Mick Foley has been vocal in the past about royalties from the games, though this is believed to have been a one-time issue at the time THQ went under. Whatever the case may be, Mankind makes his return in WWE 2K20.

I wondered how many stars from NXT UK would make the cut, and Andrews has made his way in (although he also performed on 205 Live). Although missing his current tag partner, Flash Morgan Webster, Andrews is a dynamic performer and a welcome addition to the roster.

One of the most imposing performers in WWE history, Mark Henry makes his return under the 2K banner. With performers such as Henry making more appearances outside of the WWE, it’s good to see them still be able to circle back with no harm or foul.

The inclusion of Riddle appeared to be a lock as one of NXT’s most popular current stars. That lock is now confirmed, with The Original Bro ready to kick off his sandals in Full Sail Digital.

One of the breakout stars of the Mae Young Classic, the popularity of Yim has continued to grow and earned her a prime spot in the NXT lineup. Her hard work is recognized yet again.

Joining Chyna as replacements for Jacqueline and Ivory from their era of wrestling, Molly is a beloved personality who has been missing for too long.

Getting lost in the shuffle for a time after the dissolving of Sanity, Nikki Cross has come back in full force over the course of the year. Appearing in 2K18 before missing 2K19, Cross deservedly makes her way back to the roster.

The transformation of Ripley from the first Mae Young Classic to the second, from good-natured girl from Down Under to the hard-nosed biker chick we see before us today was amazing. She continues to develop her skills and look, and players would have cried foul if she was not included in 2K20.

Working his absence from WWE 2K19 into his character as a heel, it still didn’t heal the fact that the NXT champion at the time was not in the official video game. That was odd. Luckily, Ciampa is back both in the game and in NXT. Timing is poetic sometimes.

Storming onto the scene in back-to-back Mae Young Classic tournaments, the dynamic performer from Britain has proven herself invaluable to the NXT UK brand. Storm is likely a cornerstone of the future, and her 2K journey begins here.

Another star from the UK scene joins the roster, joining his Moustache Mountain teammate Tyler Bate.

The return of ‘Kid’ to the 2K lineup is more than welcome. An awesome performer and stablemate, X-Pac will fit right back in.

Wrapping Up

Beyond those who are included and the never-ending list of missing legends, there are in fact other curious absences from the current roster. WALTER, Kay Lee Ray, Deonna Purrazzo, Dominik Dijakovic, Jessamyn Duke, Marina Shafir, Kacy Catanzaro, Killer Kelly, Piper Niven, Taynara Conti, Tino Sabbatelli, the list is always going to be extensive with any release.

Who do you feel got snubbed? Who should be included as DLC? Sound off in the comments and this list will be updated as we receive more information.

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  1. Just want to put a quick edit out. Corny was a rival of the Rock N Roll not the manager. 
    thank you for this list though. The new cast doesn’t really do anything for me with the crew out. Hoping DLC does something. 
    I tend to not use many of the classic wrestlers. Even though I was an 80s and 90s kid. I will miss Mr. Perfect who is one of my all time favorites. Also Rick Rude because how do you not love that theme song and him berating the Motor City sweat hogs. lol
    KInd of a bummer about removing some of the legends but I'm excited about some of these new ones. As a Ruthless Agression era fanboy really appreciate the addition of Molly Holly
    Edit: Also, I mostly use current superstars so it's nice to see Ciampa and Nikki Cross back. I also like there are a lot of NXT superstars
    scottyo60
    Just want to put a quick edit out. Corny was a rival of the Rock N Roll not the manager.*
    thank you for this list though. The new cast doesn’t really do anything for me with the crew out. Hoping DLC does something.*

    You're right, he's more known as their rival but did manager them for a short time (and turned on them fairly quickly if I remember correctly).
    Honestly. This is the first time I have been disappointed with this roster in a long time. I can live with the legends being cut but some of he current roster omissions for current superstars is head scratching. Lip Rush has one of the best move sets in the entire game last year and he will definitely be missed. You can say what you want about his shaky ground during the development cycle, but he is the current crusierweight champion and could have easily just had last years model ported over and we could have just updated his attire though community creations. Same goes for wolfe and rain. Another Champion ominously missing is Walter. In fact the NXT UK brand is almost non existent in this iteration. WWE complains about ratings for some of its smaller shows such as 205 and UK and this game would have been a good way to get some eyeballs on the more notable stars.
    Overall we are all aware that yukes leaving was going to lead to a transition year somewhat like 2k15 was on new generation consoles. I think visual concepts over estimated people excitement level was going to be for fantasy elements such as zombies and monster characters (don’t get me started on the book of death), and the career mode has taken a significant step back with its cringe inducing and flat out bad dialogue and story arc. I think this will be the lowest selling WWE game in some time. On the bright side I think this years failure will lead to a change in philosophy for visual concepts. If you want to get into the fortnite, mortal combat, arcade style of game then this series is not the place for that experiment. A lot of the simulation elements 2k introduced when taking over this series were very well received so this direction they have decided to take this year is strange to say the least. This game is rated T for teen but has clearly been built to appeal to a younger audience. Bringing in the younger fans is a great way to grow the game but with yukes on board this series did a better job of being well rounded in the past.
    Too many legends removed - no purchase for me. I'm more of an old head, Monday night wars kinda guy, don't even know who half these NXT people are.
    Pretty much only buy the game for the legends.
    Ah well, I'm fine with sticking with 2K19.
    Early on I was somewhat hyped to get this game but as more details have come out and seeing the roster, I'll be sitting this year out. There's just not enough *new* to pull me in.

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