The WWE 2K Battlegrounds roster is a big deal with WWE 2K21 (opens in new tab) cancelled. This is the only way you can play a new, officially licensed wrestling game on console in 2020, and it’s an arcade one with absurdly OTT moves and characters redrawn to be even larger hulking masses than their already-musclebound selves. 70 wrestlers feature on disc, with a further 63 coming as free DLC. Below we profile our top nine, before listing every fighter on the 133-strong WWE 2K Battlegrounds roster.
Make the most of this appearance: Lesnar’s contract with WWE expired earlier this year. So while WWE 2K22 is expected sometime towards the end of 2021, at this point Lesnar is unlikely to appear in it, given the mountainous sum 2K would have to fork out just for him to drop by as a legend. The final match of his latest WWE run occurred at WrestleMania 36, as he dropped the WWE Universal Championship to Drew McIntyre. Speaking of whom…
It’s been a bizarre year in WWE, as in the real world, but McIntrye has been the reliable constant in an ever-changing wrestling environment. He captured the Universal Championship from Brock Lesnar behind closed doors at WrestleMania 36, then tackled Andrade, Angel Garza and former partner Dolph Ziggler on Raw. The first Scottish world champ deserves a starring role on the WWE 2K Battlegrounds roster.
If Scotland provided WWE’s biggest success story of 2020, Ireland was the origin of 2019’s. ‘Lass kicker’ Becky Lynch talked at length of her lofty career ambitions when speaking to GR in 2016 (opens in new tab). In the last eighteen months she’s achieved them all, becoming WWE’s most marketable and popular star. She held the WWE Women’s Championship for 13 dominant months before stepping away from the ring in May, upon revealing that she’s expecting a child with her partner, fellow wrestler Seth Rollins.
Now one of the key minds behind WWE’s third brand NXT, Michaels is best known for his run as one of the greatest solo wrestlers of the 1990s and 2000s – and days teaming with Triple H as DX. Both make the on-disc WWE 2K Battlegrounds roster, while everlasting rival Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart is on the free DLC list. As you can see from the above image, Sgt Slaughter and Big Show make the shortlist for the new madcap brawler too.
Pictured duking it out with Lucha House Party member Kalisto, Joe’s colossal form has been absent from WWE rings for much of the year due to injury, but he’s been a strong addition to the Raw commentary team. Mauro Ranallo and Jerry 'King' Lawler are on play-by-play duties in Battlegrounds, freeing up the Samoan to go face-to-fist with old rivals such as AJ Styles and Bobby Roode. Sadly there’s no spot at all for his most famous foe, Kurt Angle.
Well, duh. There was no way the biggest actor in the world right now was being left off a new WWE game, and Dwayne Johnson is joined by other legends of the ring such as ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, Mick Foley and John Cena. In early September, Johnson revealed that his entire family had been struck down by Covid-19, and all are thankfully now on the road to recovery.
After an extended absence, the ‘charismatic enigma’ (WWE’s dreadful nickname, not ours) returned to the ring in March 2020 and put an uncomfortable feud – based around his real-life addiction issues – with Sheamus behind him to grab the Intercontinental Championship from AJ Styles. Sadly, brother Matt won’t be in this year’s game after departing WWE in the spring. Instead find him on the AEW Roster (opens in new tab).
In a feature which must carry over to WWE 2K22, every wrestler in Battlegrounds has at least one alternate attire. Wyatt comes with two. As well as the pair of alter-egos he’s currently using on WWE TV – terrifying clown The Fiend, and ‘normal’ Firefly Funhouse presenter Wyatt – his previous cult leader gimmick is represented too. Mercifully, there’s no mention of Husky Harris.
This year’s most shocking return occurred at the Royal Rumble. Nine years after a retirement that seemed permanent owing to a damaged neck, Edge entered at number 21 to genuine shock from both the live audience and millions watching around the world. His comeback sparked an immediate feud with Randy Orton. He’s back on the injury list again now, but expected to be fit again in order to headline WrestleMania 37 against his ongoing nemesis.
WWE 2K Battlegrounds roster (on-disc)
Andre The Giant
Edge (Pre-order bonus)
Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Stone Cold Steve Austin
WWE 2K Battlegrounds roster (DLC)
Big Boss Man
Bret “Hit Man” Hart
Doink The Clown
“Macho Man” Randy Savage
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper
The Brian Kendrick