This is part one of a countdown exploring superstars who deserve to make an appearance in the upcoming WWE 2K20. Criteria for this list included their previous appearances in WWE games, their fit in the current product or modes, and their influence on the world of wrestling.
Buddy Rogers – The inaugural WWE Champion and original “Nature Boy” was pivotal to the McMahon family early on and helped jump start the career of his successor, Ric Flair.
Gillberg – Last year, WWE 2K introduced squash matches, activated depending on certain variables. A fantastic introduction, but if we’re not going to get “local talent” in the game, the next best destroyable man is the diminutive parody of Bill Goldberg, Gillberg.
Joey Mercury – Have you ever seen that bald guy who comes running out with Finlay to help when things go awry between superstars? That is none other than MNM’s Joey Mercury. Adding these cutscenes of chaos and including a real-life figure to help break it up would go a long way.
Harley Race – Harley passed away just this month and is one of the true legends of the industry. A legitimate tough man, Race would be a welcome addition.
Kaitlyn – After exiting WWE in 2014, Kaitlyn made her return to the most recent Mae Young Classic. The veteran powerhouse was well-received by the audience, leaving the door open for her return to action in the flesh and digitally.
Frank Gotch – Competing in 1900 and carving a path through the champions of his day, Frank Gotch more than anyone deserves recognition for professional wrestling gaining its initial momentum. In a video game in which we imagine all-time dream matches, one of the true pioneers would be a treat to include.
Marty Jannetty – One half of The Rockers along with hall of famer Shawn Michaels, Marty Jannetty was once thought to be well on his way to the sort of meteoric rise his former tag team partner saw. A lot of missteps later and Marty is today struggling with his demons. An appearance in WWE 2K could show that the fans appreciate him, and I would appreciate reuniting one of the most exciting tag teams in WWE history.
Crush – The big man from Hawaii was never in the main event picture but still played a formative role in the ‘90s. Whether it’s the neon-clad kid favorite, the member of Demolition or the Attitude Era biker, the adaptable Crush is a solid mid-card option for both singles and tag teams. Shaka!
Brooklyn Brawler – Viewed as one of the best ‘job’ guys for many years, the Brawler’s signature look made an appearance as recently as Raw 25. Having never been included in any game, this enduring figure may just deserve to make his home borough proud.
Wild Samoans – There are only a few truly dynastic families in the wrestling world. McMahon. Hart. Anoa’i. Hall of famers Afa and Sika tore a dominate path through the tag-team ranks during the golden age of wrestling and have left their mark on it after by training stars like Batista and Roman Reigns, Sika’s son. We can never go wrong with more representation from one of pro wrestling’s royal families.
30. Ashley Massaro
Entering the WWE in 2005 at a time when women’s wrestling was transforming into the Divas division, Massaro was perhaps a bit too ahead of her time. In the current more serious environment and with a platform such as NXT around, her potential may have been better realized. Her stories of abuse echo a time when the value of women in WWE was destructively shallow.
After requesting a release from WWE in 2008 to take care of her sick daughter, Massaro announced in March 2019 that she was training to make a return to wrestling. With ever-growing opportunity in events such as the Mae Young Classic and the all-women PPV Evolution, it’s not hard to imagine finding Massaro back in the WWE fold under much better circumstances, similar to Mickie James.
While we tragically won’t see a potential comeback, we can place her in the ever-growing, and respected, women’s division via WWE 2K20.
29. Crash Holly
A man who packs his own scale to strike opponents with can go a long way in the WWE. 22 ways, in fact, the number of times Crash Holly held the WWE Hardcore Championship during the latter part of the Attitude Era. Brought in as the kayfabe cousin of Hardcore Holly, Crash was consistently finding new ways to procure the belt after it was taken from him, often sleeping with it like a baby.
Why is this relevant now? Look no further than the 24/7 Championship, the surprise hit of the summer for WWE. R-Truth, Drake Maverick and a host of others have made the title must-see television, performing numerous memorable title changes in often awkward and hilarious situations.
While it is Raven who holds the record number of times holding the Hardcore Championship (27), Crash has the comedy chops to fit in with the current title and the chance to outwit the incomparable R-Truth.
28. Dan Severn/Ken Shamrock
In the ‘90s, around the same time the Monday Night Wars were set to heat up, another organization was finding success. The Ultimate Fighting Championship featured martial arts disciplines coming together to decide who was the best. Dan Severn, a wrestler, and Ken Shamrock, a shoot fighter, were both early stars who took the leap to professional wrestling.
Ken Shamrock would be featured heavily during the Attitude Era as a man that had a tendency to “snap” and severely hurt his opponents, often after the bell. His intensity was unmatched, and he was featured in some major set-pieces during this time, even destroying Rocky Maivia (aka The Rock) at WrestleMania 14.
Dan Severn took professional wrestling so seriously that he carried his NWA World Title with him to his UFC bouts. Even though that title wasn’t on the line in the Octagon, he earned his nickname of The Beast before also making appearances during the Attitude Era.
Shamrock and Severn looked legit because they were legit, and fighters such as Don Frye, Tank Abbott and Steve Blackman followed suit. With the UFC and MMA still going strong, having a pair of Ultimate Fighting legends duke it out with Lesnar and company is too good an opportunity to pass up.
27. Luna Vachon
The year is 1994 and I’ve just rented a copy of WWF Raw for the Super Nintendo. Scrolling through the selectable superstars, I see Razor Ramon, Yokozuna, 1-2-3 Kid and Luna Vachon?
This was my first time laying eyes on the striking, raspy-voiced wrestler. She definitely looked like she could slap Doink around, and after witnessing her real-life counterpart I was not mistaken. Luna is another case of a woman being introduced long before her time, as she would shine brightly in today’s WWE.
Instead, Luna was made to feud with the nonathletic Sable and was relegated to the Oddities, a stable of outcasts who weren’t going to bring the house down. The truth is that Luna’s immense talent was held back. No more. Her first and only appearance in gaming was a quarter-century ago, a game which featured no other women. A recent addition to the WWE Hall of Fame legacy wing, Luna deserves to anchor the Universe mode as a top heel.
26. Dynamite Kid
In the mid-‘80s, while Hulkamania was just starting to run wild, the tag team division saw a pair of talented newcomers win their debut match in WWE. Just weeks after, Bret Hart and the Dynamite Kid would split up to create two new teams: the Hart Foundation and the British Bulldogs.
The man who most fans know today as the British Bulldog is Davey Boy Smith, a powerhouse of a man married into the Hart dynasty. The other was the Dynamite Kid, explosive both in the ring and out. While the duo were well-known for their in-ring work, as well as their out-of-ring pranks, their run in the WWE was short-lived when the pair quit due to backstage disputes.
A rift growing between them, Davey would suddenly return to the WWE, where he solely held the trademark to the name British Bulldog. Prevented from using the name again, Dynamite Kid would work throughout much of the ‘90s under the team name British Bruisers, inspiring a legion of superstars with his technique and skill.
With British Bulldog a regular in recent years, and Dynamite Kid passing just last year, perhaps it’s time for us to relive their run in the tag team division. Matilda included, of course.
25. Molly Holly
Originally introduced as a kayfabe cousin of Hardcore and Crash Holly, Molly came into the WWE at a time when women’s wrestling was forced to pick up steam by sheer will of the competitors involved. Trish, Lita and others were determined to break the bikini contest mold that had been set out for them, and Molly Holly was a linchpin for this process.
Able to diversify her character from a Holly cousin to the superhero sidekick Mighty Molly, her versatility was somewhat unappreciated. Perhaps no woman at the time could play a more compelling heel as well as a crowd-pleasing, bubbly figure.
Molly has made recent appearances on WWE programming, and whether she’s taking part in huge milestones such as the first women’s Royal Rumble or the first all-women’s PPV, Evolution, the crowd pop is something that will put a smile on your face. You can tell that she’s genuinely proud to be there, and we’d be proud to see her among the women’s division in WWE 2K20.
Make some noise for a member of the 2019 Hall of Fame class. X-Pac is synonymous with the periods of time many fans recall in wrestling. The one-time 1-2-3 Kid (there’s an alternate attire) stormed onto the scene by shocking Razor Ramon on Monday Night Raw before quickly making a name for himself in the mid-‘90s.
As his friends divided and conquered the wrestling world, Sean Waltman would find himself in WCW where the nWo welcomed him with open arms as Syxx. Not long after, he would again find himself as a pivotal character in the Monday Night Wars, becoming the first member in a rebuilt Degeneration-X and finally switching to the name most know him by today, X-Pac.
Affectionately known as “Kid” by his Kliq buddies, X-Pac has appeared in WWE titles sporadically, most recently in WWE 2K16. But his high-octane energy and flare will hopefully bring him back to the series for a much longer stay.
23. The Stooges (Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco)
Recently, WWE put on a Raw Reunion show that featured a plethora of past superstars on the program. Among them were Patterson and Brisco, Vince McMahon’s stooges who were at his beck and call every week during the Attitude Era. Their on-screen chemistry was a product of their very real influence behind the scenes, becoming two of McMahon’s most trusted figures.
During the late ‘90s, hilarity ensued as Patterson and Brisco became a part of iconic moments from that time period, interacting with mega stars such as Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. Eventually becoming part of the chase for the Hardcore Championship, the Stooges were exactly the kind of bumbling sidekicks the uptight McMahon needed.
But underneath the veneer of comedy lies two true legends of the squared circle. Both were well-respected for their in-ring talent, with Patterson being crowned the first-ever Intercontinental Champion. Perhaps two versions are in order, the legends of yesterday and the Stooges of today.
22. Great Muta
One of the true legends of Japanese wrestling, finding his fame in New Japan Pro Wrestling as well as All Japan Pro Wrestling (where he served as president), the Great Muta is one of the names most often found on a modern superstar’s “inspired by” list.
Muta’s work in WCW through the ‘90s helped to bridge the gap between Japanese and American wrestling fans, with American audiences being transfixed by his colorful scheme and use of a mysterious mist to blind his opponents.
The mist, in particular, would fit in well with the payback system introduced in WWE 2K19, with Muta able to turn the tide of a battle in his favor with the substance. The flash and immense talent creates a comparison to current superstar Asuka, and an alliance between the pair could prove lethal in Universe mode.
21. Sensational Sherri
A star-maker, Sherri has graced the sidelines for the Macho King, HBK and Harlem Heat, among others. But it’s easy to forget that Sherri Martel was herself an in-ring competitor. The headstrong Sherri was removed from the Fabulous Moolah’s school while performing in Japan, before finding her way back to America and eventually debuting for the AWA in 1985.
Within two years, under recommendation by Jesse Ventura, Sherri was under the WWE umbrella, defeating the Fabulous Moolah for the Women’s Championship. Her title reign was substantial, at just over a year, and Sherri would also appear in the first women’s Survivor Series matchup in 1987.
It wasn’t until 1990, when the WWE began to phase out their women’s division, that Sherri turned her attention to her iconic managerial roles. While she wasn’t afraid to have a tussle with the likes of Miss Elizabeth and Luna Vachon on the sidelines, Sherri’s first love was for the ring. Introducing Sherri to WWE 2K20 provides a multi-faceted personality, both wrestler and manager.
Stay tuned for more of our countdown of superstars who deserve their turn in WWE 2K20. 20-11 coming soon.