The WWE 2K20 roster is fascinatingly poised ahead of its release sometime following Summerslam. With rival company AEW gaining traction, a handful of WWE 2K19 roster participants have already left the famous fed, including Tye Dillinger, Hideo Itami and Nick Miller – and Dean Ambrose is also on the way out. It means more uncertainty ahead of a new game than we’ve seen in some time.
However, it also means opportunity. Each name that leaves Vince McMahon’s goliath opens up a new slot on the WWE 2K20 roster, and below we profile 13 grapplers you can expect to be added in place of Ambrose, Dillinger and company. Some are household names, others fresh blood recently introduced to development territory NXT or cruiserweight show 205 Live. What they have in common is that each would be a worthwhile addition to the two-decades-young wrestling sim.
Want to download the creations pictured here? Then check out GR's guide to WWE 2K19 CAWs.
‘Double J’ was a surprise omission from the WWE 2K19 roster – entrants into the WWE Hall of Fame usually make the videogame immediately following their induction, and we fully expected him to feature in GR’s WWE 2K19 DLC guide. Yet the six-time Intercontinental Champion wasn’t afforded such privileges. That should change this year, following his Royal Rumble appearance and brief feud with fellow guitar strummer Elias.
Wrestling’s gaming community was left up in arms last summer when three names under contract were omitted from last year's roster despite appearing in its predecessor. That understandable backlash should protect Cross (and fellow 2K19 rejects Tommaso Ciampa and Brian Kendrick, who I’ll get to shortly) from a similar fate in 2K20. The firebrand Scot graduated from NXT in the summer, and can currently be seen on both Raw and Smackdown.
Justifiably dumped by WWE in 2015 following an ugly racism row, Hogan’s many apologies finally saw the company offer him an olive branch in 2018. He took on a hosting gig for the controversial Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia, and appeared on Raw soon after to pay tribute to legendary announcer and close friend Mean Gene Okerlund. A WWE 2K20 roster appearance would trigger a mixed reaction, but the game reflects recent WWE TV, and in that sense, he should be in.
Since 2013 WWE has inducted a former female wrestler into its Hall of Fame every spring – and all six (Trish Stratus, Lita, Alundra Blayze, Jacqueline, Beth Phoenix, and Ivory) are now regulars in the video game series as a result. Wilson, who’ll be inducted ahead of WrestleMania 35, is sure to follow suit, with various Royal Rumble and Raw appearances over the last 15 months providing ample chance for her facial likeness to be scanned.
Ciampa’s omission from WWE 2K19 was even more shocking than third-brand comrade Nikki Cross: he was the reigning NXT Champion when its roster was announced, turning what should have been a landmark event into an almighty PR gaffe. There’s a danger he misses out this year too having recently vacated that title after suffering a serious neck injury. Good luck to both WWE and 2K Sports if they decide to go down that route.
Murphy’s 2K19 absence was less of a surprise than Ciampa’s – but it again looked a foolish decision when he captured 205 Live’s cruiserweight championship in October 2018. After holding the belt for six months going into WrestleMania 35, there’s no chance lightning misses twice. He’s appeared in the series before, alongside NXT tag-team partner Wesley Blake in WWE 2K16 and 2K17. Trivia note: the Aussie is engaged to Raw vixen Alexa Bliss.
December 2016 saw WWE unleash its long-rumoured NXT UK division, and a trio of its superstars already appear in 2K19: Tyler Bate, Noam Dar, and champion Pete Dunne. Expect that list to expand now the brand offers a regular TV show, beginning with Bate’s ‘Moustache Mountain’ tag-team partner Seven. Mark Andrews, Wolfgang, Walter and sparky female rivals Rhea Ripley and Toni Storm are also likely to be in contention.
Jessaymn Duke & Marina Shafir
Longstanding Raw watchers know WWE’s ‘Four Horsewomen’ crew as Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Bayley – but there’s an MMA quartet who call themselves by the same moniker, all of whom are now contracted to WWE. Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler have already claimed gold on Raw and NXT respectively, and stablemates Duke and Shafir look set for a similarly dominant future. Expect all four on the WWE 2K20 roster.
Much like Rousey and Baszler, hardcore MMA fans are well aware of Matt Riddle – he competed in legitimate fights from 2008 to 2014, appearing on reality show The Ultimate Fighter 7 and scoring seven wins in UFC. After switching to wrestling he built a reputation for incredible matches on the independent circuit before singing for WWE in July 2018, debuting on NXT the next month. Expect championship glory this year, then a Raw call-up in 2020.
The Brian Kendrick
Effectively the third member of WWE 2K19’s unholy trinity: like Cross and Ciampa, Kendrick was puzzlingly left off last year’s roster despite being under contract and the senior pro of its 205 Live division. He should make this way back in this year, and with numbers on the cruiserweight show thinning out you’d hope Visual Concepts finds a way to include recent debutant Humberto Carrillo too.
After making a name for herself in Japan’s Stardom federation, Sharai switched to WWE in June 2018 – appearing at a show in the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan to announce her arrival. She became an instant favourite on NXT in the aftermath, allying with country-mate Kairi Sane to feud with the trio of Bazsler, Duke and Shafir. As a result, a videogame appearance and main roster call-up both feel imminent.
Weighing a colossal 320lbs, Lee is something of a throwback to titans of the ‘80s and ‘90s - though you’d never catch Earthquake or Typhoon doing a topa suicida. The big guy had success in Evolve and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla prior to signing with WWE in 2018, where he’s slowly worked his way up the NXT rankings. He’s the biggest outsider on this list but 2K always throws in a surprise name or two, and Lee would fit that bill to an XXXXL tee.
WWE 2K20 is expected to be announced at E3 and released in October 2019. Still playing last year’s? Then you need to check out five must-play moments in the WWE 2K19 career mode.