Controversially – and some would say bafflingly – the Hitman spent the early '10s on and off the 2K roster, but Hart has been a series regular since the switch to PS4 and Xbox One. As one of the greatest of all time alongside Shawn Michaels, The Rock, and Steve Austin, let's hope it stays that way.
The Brian Kendrick
The man once known as Spanky was utilised as a comedy figure during two WWE stints during the noughties – as tag partner to high-flyer Paul London, then ‘nefarious’ heel ‘The’ Brian Kendrick. Those bad-guy tendencies have been much better deployed third time around, during a short run as Cruiserweight champ and recent feud with Akira Tozawa.
Only once in the history of WWE has Vince McMahon elected to hold a 'big four' pay-per-view outside of America: Summerslam '92, where the final bout saw Davey Boy Smith snatch the Intercontinental Championship from brother-in-law Bret Hart. In an instant, Bulldog cemented his status as a Britwres legend, and – not that he'd have known it back then – future videogame favourite.
The mayor of Suplex City, and Universal Champion throughout this summer, was one of 2K's first official inclusions for this year's game – and his character model is a huge improvement upon the 2K17 equivalent. Expect advocate Paul Heyman to be confirmed as a non-playable extra before release.
Brutus Beefcake & Greg Valentine
Beefcake – AKA the WWE's greatest on-screen hair stylist (sorry, Rico) – made WWE 2K17 as a DLC character, and a sighting of his shears in the cover reveal trailer suggested he'd be upgraded to an on-disc wrestler this year. That tease was made reality in mid-August, and he's joined by one-time Dream Team tag partner Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine.
It's a little tenuous to consider Luke and Butch 'legends' after their mediocre run in early-'90s WWE – memorable for them licking opponents' heads, rather than any particular match – but a Hall Of Fame induction in 2015 means they're 2K regulars for the time being. This will be their second consecutive on-disc appearance.
While the talented Charlotte and Becky Lynch struggle to exit midcard drudgery, Smackdown Live writers have placed Carmella in the limelight; and while it's a move questioned by most wrestling fans, she's done her best. As the first Women's Money In The Bank winner an upcoming title reign seems guaranteed, hopefully with an entertaining Lynch feud as part of the package.
A right-knee injury cost Alexander much of 2017's opening half, but he's now back to full fitness and ready to challenge for Championship gold in both real and virtual rings. Like fellow cruiserweights Akira Tozawa, Noam Dar, Gran Metalik and TJP, this is his first appearance in a WWE game.
After splitting from long-term American Alpha tag partner Jason Jordan, Gable has now been paired with veteran Shelton Benjamin – although the latter's WWE return came way too late to make 2K18. Instead consider utilising Gable as a single, and challenger to the US Championship; many would argue it's a role long overdue him in 'real' WWE.
WWE's most puzzling move of the year involves Ric Flair's baby girl. After a tremendous run as a heel on Raw, including four championship reigns, she was switched to Smackdown Live, turned face, and… completely forgotten about. Utterly baffling. Hopefully a heel turn and 2018 feud with Becky Lynch revitalises both's fortunes.