In 2015, the Bulgarian behemoth had his girlfriend stolen and was attacked (by Dolph Ziggler) with his leg still in a cast from a broken ankle. This year, he's been victim to a series of sneak attacks from Roman Reigns, simply for defending his now-wife's honour. Remind us how he's a villain? Hopefully your 2K16 storylines involving Lana's real-life other half utilise more logic than WWE's.
After missing most of 2015 with a busted shoulder, the indie darling formerly known as El Generico returned to feud with long-term best pal Kevin Owens – although six months of seeing the two face off was overkill. Zayn was basically confirmed by his being on the box of the NXT Edition, and this will mark a third consecutive appearance in WWE 2K.
A beastly feud between Samoa Joe and Brock Lesnar has been high on the wishlist of most fans since the former signed with WWE in 2015 – but with no sign of a call-up from NXT to Raw or Smackdown, it'll have to wait in real life. No such problem in the videogame, where Joe is on the NXT Edition box and will be available to pummel Lesnar (or vice versa) from October's release date.
The most talented in-ring prospect among WWE’s ‘Four Horsewomen’ – a quartet who revolutionised female wrestling in 2015 with memorable matches in NXT. She entered WrestleMania 32 as the lady most wanted to capture the Women's Championship from fellow ‘Horsewoman’ Charlotte, and while that didn't happen, she finally held the belt for a month between Battleground and Summerslam.
"Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah." If there's one element of WWE 2K17 where Yuke's could do without striving for realism it's implementing Rollins' patented nails-down-a-blackboard chuckle. His in-ring intensity, upper-tier athleticism, and now-banned curb stomp finisher? All of those things we will happily accept.
Vince Jr stepped down from WWE in 2013 for a new career away from wrestling – only to make a shocking return this year to take on The Undertaker in a WrestleMania 32 Hell In A Cell brawl. He was in WWE 2K16 as a callback to the attitude era; this time around we should get a contemporary character model, with Shane-O-Mac now running things on Smackdown alongside general manager Daniel Bryan.
It’s been six years and despite regular rumours of a squared circle return, Mr WrestleMania still hasn’t had ‘one more match’ since his defeat to Undertaker at Mania 26. The means 2K17 is your only means of resurrecting old feuds, like this classic against Bret Hart, or sparking must-watch new ones – with protege Daniel Bryan, for instance.
It's easy to forget that Sheamus had a WWE Championship run shortly after release of WWE 2K16, so hapless was the League Of Nations faction he joined once Roman Reigns had recaptured that belt. Thankfully, the stupid stable was not long for this world, and he kicks off the WWE 2K17 era doing something vaguely interesting: battling the excellent Cesaro in a best-of-seven series.
Shinsuke Nakamura (DLC)
Disappointed faces were pulled when the King Of Strong Style missed out on a call-up to the main roster in July – but those frowns can be turned upside down come WWE 2K17's release date, as WWE Universe mode gives you the chance to place Nakamura on any brand you like. The catch: he'll initially only be available as part of the NXT Edition, but expect him to be purchasable as paid-for DLC before Christmas.
The former Hunico had a fair run as one half of tag team Lucha Dragons, with Kalisto – but the two were split up by July's WWE draft, and his solo stint on Raw has been a near-anonymous one thus far. Like his former partner, he'll still offer a load of enjoyment in WWE 2K17 thanks to a wickedly quick, high-flying moveset.