After being under-utilised throughout 2015, Jim Neidhart's daughter has featured more prominently on WWE TV this year, although seeing her turn from face to heel and back every 12 weeks grew tiresome eons ago. Perhaps her new role as Smackdown’s chief villain will stick until WWE 2K18.
Fred Ottman and Jon Tenta fought under many guises over their grap careers – Typhoon, Tugboat and The Shockmaster among the former's; Earthquake, Golga, and The Shark the pick of Tenta's. WWE 2K17 sees them reunited as the mammoth tandem which held the company's tag titles in 1992, after appearing as DLC in last year's game.
Newcastle's pocket rocket took his videogame bow in WWE 2K15, and soon followed that up with a promotion from NXT to the main roster. Now established as the company's premier high-flyer, his supremely acrobatic moveset should mean lots of online use and a disheartening amount of top-rope move spamming.
New Age Outlaws
Billy Gunn appeared in WWE 2K16 solo – a strange choice, given that he's best remembered for his tag team with Road Dogg Jesse James, who was absent. The Dogg's omission came about because Gunn featured as part of 2K16's Stone Cold Showcase, and with that mode removed this year, we finally get a New Age Outlaws reunion.
The New Day
Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods all make the WWE 2K17 cut – the latter with a long-overdue new character model. Their inclusion is no surprise: the trio's laugh-out-loud funny promos quickly turned them from heels to faces at the back end of 2015, and they entered Summerslam having held the tag titles for a full calendar year.
Nia Jax (DLC)
Many tabbed beloved NXT grappler Bayley for a main roster call-up during July's WWE Draft, but instead the first female selected from WWE's developmental territory was Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's cousin. That family pedigree will increase interest in her first year on Raw, although she's still a little way off the calibre of Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch. Jax is initially exclusive to the NXT Edition.
Last year, John Cena's other half was a fixture on WWE TV thanks to a record 301-day reign as Divas Champion. In 2016, however, she's barely been seen (other than in a brief WrestleMania 32 cameo) after suffering a serious neck injury. Bella returned at Summerslam and immediately entered the Smackdown title mix, alongside Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss and Natalya.
The lass from Norwich transformed the women's division on her first main roster appearance, defeating AJ Lee to claim its title the night after WrestleMania 30. Things have significantly soured since – a suspension for failing the company's wellness policy this summer, for instance – but the Brit remains wildly popular, and at 24 should still have a Championship-packed future.
Papa Shango/The Godfather (DLC)
Charles Wright counts twice towards the published character list, as he has two guises in WWE 2K17: Ultimate Warrior-hating voodoo king Papa Shango, and 'Ho Train'-riding pimp daddy The Godfather. He was in last year, too, under yet another gimmick: Nation Of Domination muscle man Kama Mustafa.
The man once known as K-Kwik has had a truly bizarre 2016 – not that you should be surprised, given that he used to come to the ring with an imaginary friend called Little Jimmy. His tandem with Goldust even lost a match in August after R-Truth was distracted *looking for Pokemon on his phone*. No. Just no.