It’s WrestleMania week! Which means that this coming Monday, what amounts to a new season of WWE begins on Raw – as gamers start looking ahead to the release of WWE 2K18, likely in late October.
The WWE 2K17 roster impressed, but with the addition of cruiserweight show 205 Live, and WWE creating a new UK division, there’s a good chance of at least 25 fresh (or returning) faces appearing in WWE 2K18. As such just getting this list down to 18 has been a challenge, with no space for main roster names who missed out last year, such as Curt Hawkins and Jinder Mahal. But the cull has been made, and below GR+ presents all the key faces that need to be playable in WWE 2K18 – and the inarguable reasons why.
The former ECW veteran returned to WWE after a ten-year absence in 2015, to form a comedic tag team with Heath Slater – and score a three-month tag title reign as a result. With that division now dominated by the Usos and American Alpha, a heel turn on Slater seems likely in the weeks following WrestleMania. WWE 2K17 CAW by wwe_rr2000
17. Billie Kay & 16. Peyton Royce
WWE has increasingly looked towards the Southern Hemisphere for talent in recent years, but its Aussie contingent has floundered thus far: Nick Miller, Shane Thorne and Buddy Murphy are no closer to a main roster call-up than when they signed for NXT, and Emma is fantastic but has never been treated as such on-screen. Sydney sistas Kay and Royce have shown huge promise in the last six months, and hopefully can break that cycle of mediocrity – and crack the 2K18 roster at the same time.
WWE 2K17 CAWs by GiovyEd94
15. Brian Kendrick
The man once known as Spanky was utilised as a comedy figure during two WWE stints during the noughties – as tag partner to high-flyer Paul London, then as ‘nefarious’ heel (who seldom won a match) ‘The’ Brian Kendrick. Those bad guy tendencies have been much better utilised third time around during a short run as Cruiserweight champ and recent feud with Akira Tozawa. The Japanese import likely arrived too late to make the 2K18 roster; Kendrick should face no such problem.
Image from Smackdown vs Raw 2009
14. Ember Moon
For approaching a year, WWE’s developmental division has centred on Asuka – but with a main roster move likely imminent for the ruthless Japanese bone-bender, Moon is being groomed as the next queen of NXT. She shone on debut against Bille Kay at NXT Takeover last August, giving 2K18’s brain trust more than a year to prepare for her first WWE videogame appearance.
WWE 2K17 CAW by GiovyEd94
Last year I wrote about the 9 superstars shockingly dumped from WWE 2K17 after appearing in 2K16, and Big Dave topped the list. Wrestling video games have long focused on bridging past and present in order to create dream matches, and Evolution vs the Wyatt Family, Fabulous Freebirds or The New Day should all be possible in the 2K series – but Batista’s mysterious omission took that option away. Let’s hope it’s rectified this year.
Image from WWE 2K16
12/11. Authors Of Pain
In wrestling terms, ‘green’ means inexperienced to the point of making fans grimace – and NXT tag champions Akam and Rezar have often epitomised that description. Yet in a video game, their power-packed catalogue of brutal moves should make them super fun to control. Now into a third month with developmental gold, it’d be a sizeable shock if they didn’t make the cut this year. WWE 2K17 CAWs by PH_Guy