The forgotten man of Smackdown was omitted from August's Summerslam show completely, amid rumours that his contract is nearing conclusion and he has no plans to renew. This, then, may be Ziggler's final appearance in a WWE 2K game for some time.
Drew McIntyre (DLC)
The Scotsman's first stint in WWE from 2007 to 2014 saw himself, Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater reduced to comedy troupe 3MB – but all three are now enjoying their best spells in the company. Slater recently nabbed a Smackdown tag-title run with Rhyno, Jinder spent the summer as WWE Champion, and McIntyre grabbed the NXT title from Bobby Roode at Takeover Brooklyn 3 in August.
12 years following his untimely death, Eddie remains one of the most popular stars ever to set foot in a WWE ring, and actually shares an unlikely family link with a current member of Smackdown Live. Former Vaudevillains member Aiden English is married to Shaul Guerrero, who once sought her own wrestling fortune as Raquel Diaz – and is Eddie's daughter.
Edge & Christian
Six years after an emotional in-ring retirement, Edge remains one of the highest-rated wrestlers in 2K's grap series – and as ever, he's joined by hilarious sidekick Christian. Edge's wife Beth Phoenix is inbound, too. She was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame in March, and as a result is headed to 2K18 post-release, in DLC form.
It's rare that a wrestler struggles in developmental territory NXT only to find their feet on the main WWE roster; but Elias has done exactly that. His cringeworthy guitar-playing before matches attracts hearty boos, and he showcased some surprising in-ring fire in a summer feud with Finn Balor.
For approaching a year, WWE’s developmental division has centred on Asuka – but with a main roster move likely imminent for the ruthless Japanese bone-bender, Moon is being groomed as the next queen of NXT. She's already been tweeting excitedly about this year's game, and was confirmed for the roster in August.
Missing from WWE for the latter half of 2016, Emma finally returned in the guise of Greek goddess 'Emmalina' – and immediately renounced the character. With more than 1m Twitter followers, her social media army would love to see a Raw Women's Championship run, but summer booking decisions suggest it'll be one limited to the virtual ring.
WWE seems constantly perplexed with regards to the ginger one's best role: often the sacrificial lamb of the Wyatt Family, an uncomfortable face turn failed to garner fan interest and he's since struggled to find any definable character. Barring a miraculous winter turnaround, this may be Rowan's final 2K series appearance for some time.
The Fabulous Freebirds were a very welcome DLC addition for WWE 2K17 – although WCW member Jimmy Garvin took Terry Gordy's spot, after 2K was reportedly unable to agree terms with the latter's family. In-game, then, the trio is made up of Garvin, Buddy Roberts and Michael Hayes, though you'll be able to add Gordy too once the community's talented 'CAW' makers get to work.
WWE's County Wicklow boy entered the annals as the first ever Universal Champion in 2016, but it was a reign that lasted just one night due to injury. Sadly, he's not snared gold again since his return, and a heel run surely beckons. In 2K18 we again get both standard leather-jacket Balor and his demonic face-painted counterpart.