It’s WrestleMania season! Which means speculation surrounding WWE 2K19’s roster (likely bigger than ever) and release date (likely October) is already underway despite the grap-sim remaining unannounced until June at the earliest. Despite the absence of concrete info, recent trends make it possible to confirm a number of certainties for this year’s game way ahead of the roster’s official Summerslam reveal. Below you’ll find 19 of them, beginning with the UFC 2 cover star making an imminent switch from octagon to squared circle…
1. Ronda Rousey
UFC’s biggest ever female star takes her WWE bow at WrestleMania 34, and instantly becomes 2K19’s biggest draw. You know what that means, if the precedent of 2K17 (Goldberg) and 2K18 (Kurt Angle) is anything to go by: pre-order DLC. GR would love to be proved wrong, but fully expects Rousey to be the prime downloadable offering for this year’s game.
2/3. Dudley Boyz
Technically the Dudleyz aren’t brand-new faces given that they appeared as recently as WWE 2K17, but they still make this list after being unceremoniously axed 12 months later. It’s traditional that all real-life Hall Of Fame newcomers make the roster in the year of their induction, meaning D-Von and Bubba Ray should also be joined by Hillbilly Jim, and a certain country superstar…
4. Jeff Jarrett
Okay, so ‘country superstar’ was only meant in the wrestling sense – Jarrett’s onscreen singing performances were the definition of excruciating. Still, his inevitable return to the series as a member of the 2018 Hall Of Fame class is a big deal. Out of favour for more than a decade, he’s not appeared in a WWF/E game since WWF WrestleMania 2000 on N64 and GameBoy Color, all of 18 years ago.
5. Andrade Cien Almas
Rumours abound that the former La Sombra turned down a spot in WWE 2K18 due to feeling underwhelmed by the compensation offered to NXT and 205 Live wrestlers – though no official source has confirmed this. If the murmurs are true then he’d be jeopardising his career by adopting that strategy for 2K19: as reigning NXT Champion, he'll surely be in alongside vivacious manager Zelina Vega.
Norwich brawler Paige is a 2K series mainstay, but on her return from a long injury lay-off last year she brought with her two upstarts from NXT to form ‘Absolution’. Mandy Rose has the aura of a young Trish Stratus, while Sonya Deville boasts a legitimate MMA background – and the ‘push’ given to both since debuting guarantees each a place in WWE 2K19.
9. Pete Dunne
Last year WWE signed five outstanding British wrestlers to their real-life roster, but the move happened marginally too late for them to make the video game cut. Instead expect the entire quintet in WWE 2K19, with UK Champion Dunne likely joined by English compatriots Tyler Bate and Trent Seven, Welsh scrapper Mark Andrews, and beardy bruising Scotsman Wolfgang.
10. Shayna Baszler
While Rousey’s debut has understandably garnered column inches and internet headlines, a former UFC cohort will also be in action over WrestleMania weekend. Baszler takes on Ember Moon at NXT Takeover, and is expected to come away with the NXT Women’s Championship – perhaps cementing herself as a future tag partner for Rousey once a main-roster call-up materialises.