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WWE 2K20 Lio Rush: why is the cruiserweight champion missing from WWE 2K20?

(Image credit: 2K)

On Wednesday 9 October 2019, Lio Rush became WWE cruiserweight champion. On Thursday 10 October, he was confirmed for the WWE 2K20 roster. On Friday 11 October, that confirmation was retracted when his image on the official WWE 2K20 website mysteriously disappeared. Since then: nothing. The cruiserweight champ is most definitely not in the game, and publisher 2K has offered no explanation for that bizarre un-reveal. This is the unresolved tale of WWE 2K20 Lio Rush.

WWE 2K20 Lio Rush: Who is he?

(Image credit: 2K)

As of mid-October, Lio Rush is the reigning WWE cruiserweight champion, having captured the gold from Drew Gulak on the 9 October episode of NXT. It was his first title win in WWE. 

Rush – real name Lionel Green – has been with the company since July 2017, following spells in Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) and Ring Of Honor (ROH). His first WWE match was a defeat to Velveteen Dream three months later. In September 2018, he was called up to the main roster as a member of Monday Night Raw, aligning with veteran grappler Bobby Lashley. He then made his debut in the videogame series as a DLC character for WWE 2K19.

WWE 2K20 Lio Rush: Why is he missing from WWE 2K20?

(Image credit: 2K)

There’s no official reason, and the chain of events surrounding his disappearance is curious. On 10 October, 2K uploaded what was supposed to be the final set of roster images to the official WWE 2K20 website. Lio Rush’s render was included, sandwiched between Lita to the left and Kevin Owens to the right. In the early hours of 11 October, the image disappeared, and suddenly Lita and Owens were side-by-side.

(Image credit: 2K)

Fans immediately swamped @wwegames Twitter handle to ask for an explanation, but none was forthcoming. The only thing close to an official response came from @2Ksupport, addressed to a single Twitter user, on 11 October.

“Why was Lio Rush removed from the roster page of WWE 2K20 after being shown on the page previously? No one is talking and it's really annoying,” wrote Sattaar Khan.

“There is no news to share on that topic, but check out blog.2k.com for updates!” was the official reply.

Neither 2K nor Visual Concepts have offered any further comment on the matter.

Among the community, most believe that 2K can’t talk about Rush’s absence because the decision to omit him was made by WWE, rather than the publisher. That would tie into rumours that Rush was at loggerheads with his bosses over the summer, which saw him take a five-month sabbatical from the company.

In April, Rush even removed all mention of WWE from his social media profiles, and shared a private email address to invite independent bookings. The roster cut-off each year is around that time, so it’s perhaps understandable that he’d be taken off the list at that point if his relationship with WWE was rocky. But that doesn’t explain him being announced, with a properly mocked-up render, five months later.

WWE 2K20 Lio Rush: Why is any of this a big deal?

(Image credit: 2K)

2K does a more reliable job with the annual videogame roster than predecessor THQ, but each year it appears to develop a blind spot with regards to wrestlers at the less-famous end of the WWE food chain. Tommaso Ciampa, Nikki Cross and Brian Kendrick were all omitted from WWE 2K19, despite being regulars on either NXT or cruiserweight show 205 Live. Again, little official justification was offered, and fans expressed disappointment at paying 90 bucks (or 50 pounds) for an incomplete roster.

This latest absence has triggered the same reaction, in part because it’s a repeat of what happened with Ciampa. Just as Rush is missing despite having recently captured the cruiserweight title, so Ciampa was left out after becoming NXT Champion. Throw in the decision to axe more contracted main roster members in Konnor and Viktor (The Ascension) and Epico and Primo (The Colons), and you can understand the community’s annoyance.

Again, all these decisions are very likely made by WWE rather than 2K - but with no explanation offered for them, it’s easy to see why blowback is aimed at the studio in the first instance.

WWE 2K20 Lio Rush: Will he be added back in?

(Image credit: 2K)

The chances are infinitesimal. The only way to restore Rush would be to package him in a WWE 2K20 Originals DLC offering, but he was a downloadable addition last year: the community will come down hard on the notion of paying extra for a wrestler in consecutive editions of the game.

In all likelihood there will be no Rush in WWE 2K20, unless you download a fan-created version from the Community Creations servers. That isn’t apocalyptic news. But 2K could put a lot of fan discontent to bed by offering a short statement which outlines why.

WWE 2K20 is out now. Prefer your superstars of an older-school variety? Then you need our guide to the WWE 2K20 legends list.

I'm GamesRadar+'s lead sports writer, obsessed with NFL, WWE, MLB – and very occasionally things that don't have a three-letter acronym. Namely: Bill Bryson, Pitch Perfect, and the Streets Of Rage series. I have two kids who aren't quite old enough to play Madden yet. Soon, though…