The WWE 2K19 roster (opens in new tab), much like the game itself, borders on exceptional. But as discussed in GR’s WWE 2K19 review (opens in new tab), it contains some surprising omissions, not least Tommaso Ciampa, Nikki Cross, and The Brian Kendrick – all active wrestlers who were in WWE 2K18 (opens in new tab). So why have these NXT and 205 Live favourites been axed, and who else has joined them on the Summer-slammin’ scrap heap? Read on to find out…
Who is he? The reigning NXT champion, and best heel in WWE on the back of a barnstorming feud with former best friend and tag partner Johnny Gargano.
Why’s he out? In a tweet which was swiftly deleted, Ciampa proclaimed that his exclusion was down to the fact that, “I don’t lose. Not in real life. Sure as hell not in your fantasy world.” More likely, he simply couldn’t agree to terms with 2K, as – unlike Raw and Smackdown stars – NXT wrestlers negotiate their own deals to be in the video game on a case-by-case basis.
The Brian Kendrick
Who is he? The veteran of the cruiserweight roster, who enjoyed multiple WWE runs during the noughties, and returned for another stint in 2016. He’s the only active member of WWE Network show 205 Live not included in WWE 2K19.
Why’s he out? Again, this is likely a simple contractual issue. 205 Live wrestlers sign individual video game deals, and as a result last year Tony Nese, Mustafa Ali, Ariya Daivari, Drew Gulak and Lince Dorado all skipped WWE 2K18. So losing one cruiserweight rather than five this time around isn’t the end of the world.
Who is she? Scotland’s kickass brunette, who rose to prominence in the UK as Nikki Storm. Contracted to WWE since 2016, she earned NXT popularity as the female quarter of Sanity before her three male stablemates were called up to Smackdown earlier this year.
Why’s she out? Possibly contractual, but there’s also a chance this was WWE’s call. 2K19’s roster cut-off point came at the precise moment that Killian Dain, Alexander Wolfe and Eric Young were called up to Smackdown without Cross. With future character plans uncertain at that time, it may be that the decision was taken to pull her from the game.
Who is he? A three-time WWE Champion and Hall Of Famer for his weapons-heavy ring work as Mankind, Cactus Jack and Dude Love. Away from the ring Foley is also a best-selling author, and has toured a successful stand-up comedy show.
Why’s he out? Foley hasn’t discussed his omission from WWE 2K19, but has complained about video game royalties in the past. “Honestly, I’m probably not going to sign my Legends deal with WWE because I don’t think they did the right thing by the guys with the video game,” he said in 2014. “The check was a little low. Last year, there was a bankruptcy, but this year there wasn’t. So, I don’t see the upside to signing when the carrot isn’t there dangling.” He’s appeared in the game since, but it’s likely the two sides couldn’t agree on terms this year.
Rob Van Dam
Who is he? A chair-swinging, Five-Star-Frog-Splash-hitting favourite from the ECW years. Van Dam’s two spells with WWE have both contained ups and downs, but his popularity remains as strong as ever.
Why is he out? This one is curious. RVD was included as DLC for WWE 2K18, and most other wrestlers who enjoyed that status were upgraded to the on-disc roster for 2K19. Not so Van Dam. When asked why on Twitter, he replied, “I don’t know. Ask them.” So it appears that either 2K or WWE simply chose not to offer him a contract.
Who are they? Earthquake and Typhoon, a monstrous tag-team from the early ‘90s adored for their size if not their in-ring work. ‘Quake, AKA John Tenta, sadly passed away in 2006, while Fred ‘Typhoon’ Ottman is also known for his spells as Tugboat and the Shockmaster.
Why are they out? Until this year, all WWE Hall Of Famers signed two-year contracts to appear in the videogame upon their induction, with the option of a third. The Disasters’ deal was agreed ahead of WWE 2K16, making 2K18 the final game of that deal.
Full list of WWE 2K18 wrestlers not in WWE 2K19:
- Big Cass
- The Brian Kendrick
- Buddy Roberts
- Bushwhacker Butch
- Bushwhacker Luke
- Darren Young
- Enzo Amore
- Jimmy Garvin
- Kerry Von Erich
- Kevin Von Erich
- Larry Zbyszko
- Mark Henry
- Michael Hayes
- Mick Foley
- Nikki Cross
- Rich Swann
- Rob Van Dam
- Sawyer Fulton
- Summer Rae
- Tatsumi Fujinami
- Tomasso Ciampa
- Tyson Kidd
WWE 2K19 is out now and, as GR revealed last week, has gone Minecraft mad by pitching Block Lesnar vs The Block (opens in new tab).