The WWE 2K22 roster is in great shape, despite what you may read elsewhere. Sure, some of its names have departed the company – but that enables you to create a fourth Universe show for the likes of Braun Strowman, Kyle O’Reilly, and Toni Storm. Below we profile every grappler in this year’s edition. We also have a separate WWE 2K22 DLC guide featuring Ronda Rousey, Logan Paul and Omos. Want Daniel Bryan and Dean Ambrose? Then you need the AEW roster instead. Welcome to your WWE 2K22 roster guide.
Adam Pearce & William Regal
We kick things off with an NPC. Adam Pearce is one of five options to front your show in MyGM, along with William Regal, Stephanie McMahon, Shane McMahon, and Sonya Deville. However, he’s the only one from that list who you can’t use as a playable character. More on Deville and the McMahons later in this guide.
WWE 2K19 cover star AJ Styles is unsurprisingly confirmed after a glittering career spanning WCW, ROH, TNA, and WWE. Former tag partner Omos – previously known as Jordan Omogbehin – had to wait for a DLC spot, despite enhancing his on-disc chances by claiming the Raw tag championships with Styles at WrestleMania 37. But he’s available now, too.
Akira Tozawa & Drew Gulak
All-cruiserweight show 205 Live was still a big deal when WWE 2K20 hit, with names like Akira Tozawa, Drew Gulak, Tony Nese, Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik doing underrated jobs on the very watchable show. Sadly that division has been gutted in the intervening years, and Tozawa and Gulak represent the last men standing.
One of WWE’s most baffling character choices of the last 12 months has been repackaging Bliss as ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt’s sidekick – then having her feud with Randy Orton in the latter’s absence. Mercifully that storyline ended at WrestleMania, with Bliss crying black tears as Wyatt lost clean to Orton following an RKO.
Alexander Wolfe & Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel & Walter
All three of ace European trio Imperium are drafted into the 2K series for the first time, with Gunther mercifully listed under his old (and better) name of Walter. The Austrian famously amassed a record-setting 870 days as NXT UK Champion between 2019 and 2021. Similarly, Ludwig Kaiser is still known as Marcel Barthel. Former member Wolfe is also included, despite being released in May 2021.
Andre The Giant, Big Boss Man & Roddy Piper
A threesome of sadly departed icons who made their name in the era of Hasbro figures, Merlin sticker albums and crazy cartoon-like characters. While Boss Man and Piper make the roster, there’s no place for zany rivals like Akeem, Nailz or The Mountie.
Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo
One of the newer tag-teams on the roster, Los Lotharios were paired together after Carrillo’s promising performances as a high-flying face failed to produce singles gold. He first popped up in WWE 2K20, while this is Garza’s debut series appearance.
Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford
The Street Profits were fast-tracked to the Raw roster in 2019 after shining on NXT, and by the turn of 2021 had enjoyed tag-title reigns on both main WWE brands. The concern is what happens next: WWE has a history of breaking up tandems for the sake of it, such as other former NXT faves American Alpha and Heavy Machinery.
Once beloved on the independent circuit as Uhaa Nation, WWE never quite got Crews’ character right as a babyface – and so turned him heel, complete with cringeworthy fake Nigerian accent. He overcame the dodgy new voice to claim the Intercontinental title from Big E at WrestleMania 37.
Ariya Daivari & Brian Kendrick & Gran Metalik & Kalisto & Lince Dorado
Looks like we spoke too soon in that Tozawa and Gulak entry. WWE’s cruiserweight roster may have been gutted in 2021, but shortly before the game’s street date this quintet of released grapplers were confirmed for WWE 2K22 regardless. It means one last hurrah for the Lucha House Party.
Presented with the Raw Women’s Championship upon Becky Lynch’s maternity leave, Asuka briefly traded the belt with Sasha Banks before slaying all comers in 2020. Aussie newcomer Rhea Ripley finally dethroned her at WrestleMania 37, but it won’t be long before she’s back in the gold.
As highlighted in our extensive WWE 2K22 preview, the most requested new feature this year is MyGM – and its announcement came alongside confirmation of Theory as one of the roster’s freshest heels. After a false start on Raw in 2020, he was recalled a year later in order to feud with the evergreen Jeff Hardy (more on whom later).
Drax The Destroyer is back in a WWE ring, albeit only in the virtual sense. Big Dave hasn’t wrestled an actual match since facing off with Triple H at WrestleMania 35, in 2019 – and you have to go back yet another five years for his previous bout before that. Now’s your chance to make him guardian of a world championship, in addition to the galaxy.
In May, new WWE 2K22 supremo Patrick Gilmore revealed that Bayley was the very first wrestler captured for this year’s game. “First to get scanned this year was @itsBayleyWWE,” he wrote on Twitter. “Thank you, Bayley! I owe you a bottle of wine. Name your grape and it’s on the way.” Her response? “I’ll take a case of 19 Crimes Snoop Dogg Edition and the cover of the video game too, thanks!!”
WWE’s biggest star of recent times had the misfortune of being cover athlete on total dud WWE 2K20 – but enjoyed much happier real-life news with partner Seth Rollins (who’s also a cert for WWE 2K22), giving birth to daughter Roux in February 2021. She returned at Summerlam, immediately capturing the Smackdown Women’s Championship from Bianca Belair.
Beth Phoenix & Chyna & Trish Stratus
This trio of female legends boasts 12 women’s championships and two Intercontinental title reigns between them, with Chyna having invaded the WWE male division to feud with Jeff Jarrett and Chris Jericho. Phoenix’s appearance is timely, as she teamed up with real-life husband Edge as 2022 got underway.
After graduating from developmental brand NXT in 2020, Belair stormed to victory in January’s female Royal Rumble – then claimed the Smackdown world title from Sasha Banks at WrestleMania 37. She followed that up by downing Becky Lynch for the Raw equivalent one year later.
Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods
Collectively known as The New Day, this timeless trio shockingly split in 2020 – with Big E claiming Intercontinental title glory on Smackdown, followed by a much-deserved world championship reign on Raw. It was a great year for Woods too, as he won the King of the Ring tournament. The threesome still appear together at big events and inevitably have a trio entrance included in WWE 2K22.
Billie Kay & Peyton Royce & Ember Moon
Impact Wrestling’s recent tag champs score a last hurrah in 2K’s series, despite being let go by WWE in 2021. The Aussies were known as The IInspiration in Impact, but to WWE fans Kay and Royce will always be either the Iconic Duo, or The IIconics. Moon had an enjoyable feud with the pair during their NXT days, back in 2017.
Bobby Lashley & MVP
August’s gameplay trailer, unleashed at Summerslam, confirmed 15 names for the WWE 2K22 roster – with the ‘All Mighty’ chief among them. Victory over Goldberg that night extended Lashley’s WWE Championship reign to six months, and he is joined in the videogame by long-time manager, and occasional tag partner, MVP.
A five-time WCW World Champion and one-time WWE World Champ, Booker was confirmed for WWE 2K22 via a behind-the-scenes video showcasing the scanning tech being used in this year’s game. A May patch added his King Booker alter-ego, too.
Braun Strowman & Brock Lesnar
With Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman released and Daniel Bryan jumping to rival AEW, the WWE 2K22 roster was in need of a star-power injection – so you sense developer Visual Concepts rejoiced as one when the larger-than-life Lesnar returned at Summerslam. He’s one of the game’s highest-rated characters. Strowman was surprisingly also confirmed at the last minute.
Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart
Collectively the Hitman and Anvil formed one of the ’80s’ greatest tag teams, the Hart Foundation – before Bret broke away and established himself as an all-time solo great. Keeping it in the family, Jim’s daughter Natalya also features in WWE 2K22. More on her later in this guide.
Cameron Grimes & Dexter Lumis
Two strong NXT names take their series bow, despite Lumis being released from the company in April 2022. The pair feuded throughout the second half of 2000, with Lumis eventually emerging on top in a brutal strap match at NXT TakeOver: War Games.
Candice LeRae & Johnny Gargano
A three-time North American champion, Johnny Gargano opened up 2021 as leader of stable NXT The Way. Real-life wife Candice LaRae was in WWE 2K20 and so also makes the roster as expected, but there was no place for team-mate Indi Hartwell. She does, however, instead get a slot as DLC, and is out now.
Close inspection of 2K22’s Summerslam trailer confirmed Carmella’s spot on the roster – by taking a clothesline from the aforementioned Bayley. She feuded with Bianca Belair throughout the summer of 2021, but was unable to capture the Smackdown Women’s Championship, first won in April 2018, for a second time.
Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin
At the outset of 2021, four-man stable The Hurt Business was WWE’s hottest act – making the decision to split it up just before WrestleMania all the more baffling. Lashley and MVP have prospered since, but the same can’t be said of this pair.
WWE 2K22’s second confirmed wrestler, with the Swiss king of swing being shown chewing a 619 finisher from Rey Mysterio in the game’s WrestleMania 37 reveal trailer. He fared much better at the real-life supershow, defeating Seth Rollins in a technically excellent Saturday night highlight.
Chad Gable & Otis & Tucker
WWE has become notorious in recent times for splitting up tag-teams before their time, and Heavy Machinery are a textbook example. Promoted from NXT to Smackdown in 2019, Tucker and Otis caught on with fans, partly due to the latter’s unique bowling-ball build – leading to an unnecessary break-up. After a short singles push Otis was back in tag action alongside Gable as Alpha Academy, and Tucker was released. Bravo.
Charlotte Flair & Toni Storm
Charlotte’s father Ric Flair was one the first names confirmed for WWE 2K22, so the 13-time world champion was always certain to follow soon after. The daddy-daughter tandem appearing in WWE 2K22 together also means the return of inter-gender tag matches, one of WWE 2K20’s few decent additions. Storm last feuded with Charlotte before her departure in December.
Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez
Raquel Gonzalez was a surprise November 2021 reveal in order to promote WWE 2K22 MyRise, a new mode in which you can ascend to the top of the wrestling world using either a male or female created character. Something she’s doing adeptly in real life, having captured the NXT Women’s Championship from former tag partner Kai at NXT Takeover 36 last August.
Renowned for his work in Ring Of Honor (ROH) as Punishment Martinez, Priest switched to WWE in 2018, and snagged NXT’s North American Championship two years later. His rise continued in 2021 upon joining the Raw roster, and overcoming Sheamus for the United States Championship rubber-stamped Priest’s application for a spot in WWE 2K22.
Now approaching the ninth anniversary of her time in WWE, Brooke has often split its fanbase, with some mediocre in-ring performances placed under the microscope. As a result she’s yet to taste title gold inside the squared circle, but can’t be accused of lacking resolve: this will be her fifth consecutive 2K series appearance.
Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan
One of WWE 2K22’s most exciting teams won’t be back for next year’s game: both Burch and Lorcan were released in 2020. Still, we’re grateful to get 12 months’ worth of heavy-hitting digital fun from the shaven-headed pair. It’s Englishman Burch’s first ever appearance in a WWE game, period.
Diesel, Hulk Hogan, Razor Ramon & X-Pac
Otherwise known as Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Syxx, Hogan and pals were confirmed in 2K’s NWO 4-Life special edition announcement. As outlined in our WWE 2K22 cover star story, you get alternate outfits for all four, the WCW Souled Out 1997 and WCW Bash At The Beach 1996 arenas, and an exclusive character we’ll get to very shortly…
Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode
An unlikely pairing thrown together in 2019, this twosome transitioned into genuinely watchable tag title contenders – and finally overthrew Street Profits for the Smackdown gold in January 2021. The only doubt for WWE 2K22 was whether Roode’s superb solo theme Glorious would make the cut. Thankfully, it’s in.
Rey Mysterio’s son was confirmed for WWE 2K22 when Visual Concepts announced the new MyFaction mode, in which you build your own squad of past and present wrestlers to compete in weekly challenges. Despite the link to FIFA 22 Ultimate Team, the studio assured GR that the mode won’t be pay-to-win in a November news story.
As in real life, 2020 was a year like no other for WWE, with fans kept away from arenas for more than nine months. McIntyre carried the company during that time, claiming the WWE Championship twice and making hay from feuds with Randy Orton and AJ Styles. He was confirmed for the roster in November 2021.
Viva la raza! This Mexican legend was confirmed for WWE 2K22 by long-time close friend (and in-ring rival) Rey Mysterio, who provides the focal point of Showcase mode. You’re able to relive Guerrero and Mysterio’s clash at WrestleMania 21, a feud based around ‘custody’ of Rey’s son Dominik – who, ironically, is now a wrestler and makes his series debut this year.
Days ahead of his triumphant clash with Seth Rollins at Summerslam, 2K unveiled the above screenshot on Twitter – confirming both that the ‘Rated R Superstar’ had made the WWE 2K22 roster, and that the game looks immaculate. Sadly, tag partner Christian isn’t included after signing with rival federation AEW.
Once known on the independent circuit as curious names such as Heavy Metal Jesus and Logan Shulo, the guitar-playing grappler has featured on WWE’s main roster since 2017 – but never with a fully defined role, aside from his pre-match waxing lyrical. A short-lived tandem with Jaxson Ryker ended in May 2021, casting Elias adrift once more. He’s now back, as Ezekiel.
Remember me mentioning an additional exclusive packaged in the NWO 4-Life edition of WWE 2K22? Bischoff is that exclusive. The leather-jacketed gabbler is synonymous with the rise and fall of WCW, and this will be his first series appearance as a playable character since Smackdown Here Comes The Pain way back in 2003.
Erik & Ivar
Long known as one of most-feared teams on the US circuit, WWE transformed the War Raiders into first the Viking Experience, then the Viking Raiders – and much of their intimidatory aura disappeared with that beloved name. Even so, in 2019 they made history by becoming the first tandem ever to win tag championships in ROH, New Japan and WWE.
Faarooq & JBL & Papa Shango
Unite Faarooq and Papa Shango in WWE 2K22 and you’re unwittingly reforming the faction that launched The Rock towards superstardom. After taking off the face paint, Charles Wright became part of Faarooq’s ‘Nation of Domination’ troupe as Kama Mustafa – and young member Rocky Maivia would go on to outshine them all. Faarooq and JBL famously later teamed as the APA.
Fandango & Tyler Breeze
Fandango’s theme made a little bit of history in 2013, hitting number 44 in the UK charts – and falling just 239 sales short of the Top 40. That can be considered the peak of his WWE career, after both him and partner Breeze were released by WWE in the summer of 2021.
The traditional modern career path in WWE sees a grappler spend a couple of years in NXT before ascending to the main roster. Balor followed that trend, eventually capturing the WWE Universal Championship in 2016 – then returned from whence he came. Re-established in NXT from October 2019 onwards, he became champion of the brand for a second time by defeating Adam Cole last September.
Famed for obliterating all comers in a dominant late-’90s WCW spell, Goldberg’s return to the ring at Summerslam 2021 ended in defeat to WWE Champion Bobby Lashley. Still, there was some good news on the same night, as the WWE 2K22 trailer confirmed his spot in the upcoming game.
There are plenty of fans who’d like to see Corbin disappear from WWE 2K22 – and the company altogether – but the man himself enjoys riling up his haters on social media, and survived the early-2021 round of cuts which bade farewell to Braun Strowman and Aleister Black. Sidekick-turned-enemy Madcap Moss misses out on the roster, given that he only aligned with Corbin in September.
Having debuted alongside Dakota Kai in December 2018, Shirai is now established as a veteran presence on the NXT roster, racking up reigns as both NXT Women’s and Tag Team champion. Sadly partner Zoey Stark was only signed in 2021, too late to make the WWE 2K22 roster.
Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott
Make the most of Swerve’s surprise call-up to the WWE 2K22 roster – the charismatic grappler was released on November 18, 2021, along with more established names such as John Morrison and Drake Maverick. Like many on this list, he’s now in AEW, as Swerve Strickland.
Jake Roberts & Jerry Lawler
The Snake, meet The King. This pair of in-ring greats from the pre-2000s were two of the best heels going, always capable of riling up a crowd – and yet incredibly popular in their home states of Georgia and Tennessee respectively. Modern-day scripted promos mean we’ll never see their like again.
Jeff Hardy was confirmed in a late-2021 trailer for WWE 2K22 – but then released by the actual WWE. Most assumed that meant him being removed from the final game, particularly with rumours that he’d be a 2022 addition to the rival AEW roster. He has since signed for AEW – but surprisingly makes the 2K22 roster too.
Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso
These multi-time champs will both make WWE 2K22, but they’ve been through markedly different experiences in recent times. As Jimmy recovered from injury, twin brother Jey spent 2020-21 feuding with cousin Roman Reigns, only to align with him and christen himself ‘Main Event’ Jey Uso. It paid off when he won the annual Andre The Giant Battle Royal in April.
You’d have been a laughing stock on wrestling forums in 2014 for suggesting that two members of comedy troupe 3MB would one day be world champions. Yet here we are, with Drew McIntyre’s long 2020 reign following Mahal’s six-month stint as WWE Champ in 2017. Wherefore art thou, Heath Slater?
Joaquin Wilde, Raul Mendoza & Santos Escobar
Given that their stint in WWE has been limited to NXT only, the faction known as Legado Del Fantasma were considered distant outsiders for the roster – until Wilde popped up in a screen captured from the new MyGM Mode. Escobar is the trio’s figurehead, having starred in Lucha Libre federation AAA as El Hijo del Fantasma, and later enjoyed a 321-day reign as WWE cruiserweight champion.
The most decorated wrestler of modern times – and I mean in terms of belts rather than garish T-shirts – hasn’t been a TV regular since 2017, but he’ll still be a fixture of this series for many years to come thanks to 16 world championship reigns, five US Championship reigns, five WrestleMania main events, and TV and film appearances. Yes, even 12 Rounds.
John Morrison, The Miz & Maryse
Three-time tag champions John Morrison and The Miz were surprisingly split up in the summer of 2021, but fans still looked forward to seeing Morrison in his first WWE game for more than a decade. Those dreams looked to be over when the former Johnny Nitro was axed from the company in November 2021. However, the pair remain together in the game – and Miz’s wife Maryse merits a spot too.
In making his series debut, Bray export Devlin becomes the fourth Irish member of the WWE 2K22 roster, alongside Becky Lynch, Finn Balor, and Sheamus. He spent much of the pandemic as Cruiserweight Champion, finally being felled for the gold after 438 days by Santos Escobar.
Glenn Jacobs has been absent from WWE TV through much of 2020 and 2021, with good reason: we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, and he has an important real-world job as mayor of Knox County. Nonetheless, his past as a former WWE Champion and storyline brother to The Undertaker keep his character essential on the video-game front.
Karrion Kross, Keith Lee & Nia Jax
November 4, 2021 was a dark day on the WWE calendar as the company released 18 grapplers in one go, likely causing quite the headache for 2K22 developer Visual Concepts. Despite being axed that day, this trio surprisingly remain on the videogame roster. It’s especially big news for Kross, who makes his series debut.
Kay Lee Ray
Among the welcome additions this year is Scottish grappler, and former NXT UK Women’s Champion, Kay Lee Ray. The timing is perfect: in August 2021 she was switched from the WWE’s British brand to the main NXT roster, immediately entering into a three-way feud with Dakota Kai (who debuted in WWE 2K19) and Raquel Gonzalez. The latter is also new to the series this year.
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
These real-life best pals finally got the match they’ve always dreamed of in April 2021: a face-off against one another at WrestleMania. Sadly it was only given nine minutes (with Owens predictably triumphing over Zayn), but it still made for a fun flashback to the pair’s heated and hard-hitting bouts in Ring Of Honor and NXT. Owens was confirmed as part of November 2021’s MyGM announcement.
Best known to dedicated grap fans for his nine-year run in NJPW, Kushida signed with WWE in 2019 and has been a fixture on NXT since. He finally scored WWE gold in April 2021 by defeating Santos Escobar for the Cruiserweight Championship, but Roderick Strong ended that reign five months later.
Kyle O’Reilly & Pete Dunne & Roderick Strong
The gritty pairing of Dunne and Strong provided one of 2018’s most enjoyable tag-teams – until Strong shockingly turned on Dunne to link up with The Undisputed Era of Adam Cole, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly. Only one third of that trio appears in WWE 2K22, however, as they’ve all since jumped to AEW.
Lacey Evans, Lana & Liv Morgan
A triple-threat of L-named ladies in this spot, although Liv Morgan is the only one of the trio to have featured prominently in the past year. Evans spent the majority of 2021 off-screen after falling pregnant, while Lana – wife of former WWE wrestler Rusev, who now wrestles as Miro in AEW – was released last June.
Mace & Mansoor & Mustafa Ali & T-Bar
Face, heel, face, heel: Mustafa Ali has struggled to find an identity in WWE. He’s been placed in partnerships with Mace, T-Bar and Mansoor (who all debut this year), only to see them split before gaining traction, each time with an unnecessary personality switch thrown in. His best stint was as a high-flying face on cruiserweight show 205 Live, and they’re the days we’re looking forward to revisiting in WWE 2K22.
Rose’s golden locks and flirtatious ring-entrance ensured huge popularity with a certain section of the WWE audience, so it was a major shock when she relocated to NXT with dark hair and a tougher attitude. It worked, though. As the catty leader of Toxic Attraction she captured the NXT Women’s Championship, and looks primed for an even stronger main roster run in 2022.
Mia Yim & Slapjack
Mia Yim first appeared in WWE 2K20, and is retained here in two different guises: her real name and as Reckoning, part of the short-lived Retribution stable. Slapjack was also in that troupe, and he too has been in the series before – under the name of Shane Thorne, while a member of tag-team TM-61.
The reigning Knockouts Champion had success in Impact after departing WWE, much like Cassie Lee (known here as Peyton Royce) and Jessie McKay (Billie Kay). A six-time women’s champion in WWE, she returned to the company for one night only at the 2022 Royal Rumble.
Mr McMahon & Shane McMahon & Stephanie McMahon
The only McMahon family member who isn’t playable in WWE 2K22 is matriarch Linda – although to be fair it’s 20 years since she was a regular on TV. Make the most of Shane’s appearance. He cut ties with the organisation in February and is therefore unlikely to make the WWE 2K23 roster.
Murphy & Seth Rollins
Fans were desperate to cheer Rollins when the former Shield member returned from paternity leave, having fathered daughter Roux with the wildly popular Becky Lynch. Yet not only did Rollins return as a heel, ultimately – and senselessly – Lynch did too. His 2021 feud with Edge was mostly watchable, but it still feels like an opportunity missed. Ex-partner Murphy makes the roster despite his jump to AEW.
Introduced to WWE television as one half of the pompom-swaying Funkadactyls, Naomi has long outlasted former partner Cameron and stablemate Brodus Clay. She’s captured the Smackdown Women’s Championship twice in that timespan, although both reigns were back in 2017.
Natalya & Tamina
This unlikeliest of tandems became cult favourites in 2021, going so far as to claim the Women’s Tag Team Championships from Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler. Lapsed ‘80s fans will recognise both of their fathers: Natalya is the daughter of Jim ‘The Anvil Neidhart’, while Tamina is the offspring of Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka.
Nikki ASH & Rhea Ripley
An instant hit upon appearing in WWE’s 2017 Mae Young Classic tournament at the age of 20, Ripley regularly outshone the entire NXT female division before finally arriving on Raw this past February. She overcame Asuka to claim the brand’s Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 37, and held the women’s tag titles with Nikki ASH in 2021.
WWE invented the 24/7 Championship in 2019 with the idea of a belt that could be defended in-ring, backstage, on the road or in the air (really) – and it’s become a comedy vehicle for R-Truth, racking up 52 reigns by May 2021. Other past holders such as Doug Flutie, Rob Gronkowski and Santa Claus (!) fail to appear, even as DLC.
Still going strong at the age of 41, Orton clocked up a 14th world title reign in 2020 and was always a cert for WWE 2K22. In May lead dev Patrick Gilmore confirmed his spot this year with a very simple tweet, addressed to @MattyJBayBay: “I think you will be happy with Randy Orton’s entrance!”.
1980s legend Macho Man endured an infamous two-decade absence from WWE games after an acrimonious departure to WCW, finally returning as part of the WWE All-Stars roster in 2011. WWE 2K14 marked his first appearance in this particular series, and he’s been a fixture ever since.
San Diego’s cruiserweight legend was the very first wrestler announced for the 2K series’ comeback edition, by way of its WrestleMania 37 reveal trailer. Ironically, the veteran didn’t feature on this year’s big show, but his athletic moveset and legendary luchador masks assure him of must-play status in WWE 2K22.
Like Booker T, ‘the dirtiest player in the game’ was confirmed for WWE 2K22 by way of a May scanning session. Flair shares the record for the number of world title reigns across WWE, WCW and NWA with sixteen – only John Cena can match him, and all of his championships came in WWE. Next on the list are Triple H and Randy Orton, with 14.
WWE’s best high-flyer was hardly seen on Raw in 2021 – despite a hyper-athletic, match-stealing performance in the Money In The Bank ladder match. Even so, his catalogue of eye-catching flips and moves make Ricochet’s WWE 2K22 character hella playable.
If there was a Raw special effect even more cringeworthy than the now-departed Braun Strowman’s steam train noise, it’s the CGI grasshoppers intended to enhance Riddle’s ring entrance. Thankfully the former MMA star’s matches are often sufficient to overcome such clownishness, and he has shone alongside Randy Orton as one half of the Raw Tag-Team Champions.
Jesse James makes this year’s roster, but don’t get excited for a potential reunion with New Age Outlaws tag parter Billy Gunn. These days ‘Mr Ass’ works for rival organisation AEW, as both a backstage coach and occasional in-ring talent. Sons Austin and Colton are also signed to AEW, collectively forming The Gunn Club stable.
The biggest movie star on the planet raked in $42 million in 2021 thanks to Jungle Cruise and Red Notice, but Dwayne Johnson is still grounded enough to remember where he came from. (Cue J-Lo.) Rumours of an eventual WrestleMania match with Roman Reigns (below) abound, but for now you’ll have to make do with having the two face off in WWE 2K22.
While Drew McIntyre carried Raw through the pandemic, former super-face Reigns was doing the same on Smackdown – now recast as an imperious heel with legendary yarn-spinner Paul Heyman as his mouthpiece. (Just don’t mention the WWE 2K20 cover.) Heyman is also featured in 2K22, as a manager.
The long-time rival to AJ Styles and Kurt Angle was widely considered to have retired upon joining the Raw commentary team in April 2020 – and was released altogether one year later. That appeared to be the end of his WWE 2K22 hopes, until Joe made a shock return to the company in June 2021, before capturing the NXT Championship for record third time at Takeover 36.
WWE’s standout female performer of 2020 and 2021, thanks to a barnstorming run as tag-team champs with Bayley, a fiery feud after that pairing inevitably overheated, and a fantastic Wrestlemania night-one main event in which she dropped the Smackdown gold to Bianca Belair.
Four-time world champ HBK was always a near-cert to make the WWE 2K22 roster, and his placing here was confirmed by cover star Rey Mysterio. Michaels features in Showcase mode opposite Mysterio, with players able to relive the pair’s November 2005 match in tribute to Eddie Guerrero.
With long-time tag partner Nia Jax shockingly released by WWE (and therefore the videogame roster) in November, submission specialist Baszler has again been left to stand alone – a role she thrived in during a dominant spell on developmental brand NXT. Baszler is close friends with Ronda Rousey, who appears as DLC, in real life.
“It’s a shameful thing, lobster head…” The Irishman man no longer uses his comically misheard entrance theme, but is still delivering bruising, highly watchable brawls at 43 – such as a WrestleMania 37 US title victory over Riddle. He’s super fun to smash jobbers with in WWE 2K22.
A wrestling legend in his homeland of Japan, Nakamura enjoyed his best year since signing for WWE in 2016 – overcoming Baron Corbin to become King of the Ring, then capturing the US Championship for a second time. He was confirmed for the game at Summerslam, while guitar-playing sidekick Rick Boogs debuts as DLC.
Shotzi & Tegan Nox
Another series debutant, Shotzi had been with the company for precisely a week when WWE 2K20 landed – so you’d have scored long odds on her appearing in its sequel. Yet here she is, after being fast-tracked to Smackdown in a watchable tag-team with Tegan Nox. Sadly, Nox was released in November 2021, yet remains in the game to resuscitate the duo’s ace pairing.
Daria Berenato came across as a star on the sixth season of WWE reality show Tough Enough, to the point that the company signed the plucky MMA brawler then gave her a new name. Deville later made history by coming out as WWE’s first ever openly gay female wrestler.
Steve Austin & Ted DiBiase
No, we’ve not paired these together by accident. It’s easy to forget that before his ‘Stone Cold’ days, Austin was paired with DiBiase as ‘The Ringmaster’ – although you’re unlikely to bring them back together in WWE 2K22. Almost three decades later both are considered ring legends, just in very different ways.
Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa
As the wily pro of WWE’s third brand, Ciampa captured a second NXT Championship in 2021 – but was mostly been used to get over his successor, Bron Breakker. Son of ’80s favourite Rick Steiner, the brilliant Breakker doesn’t make 2K22’s roster, but is among the most searched-for grapplers on Community Creations. Ciampa’s former partner Thatcher also makes it in.
The former leader of Titus Worldwide hasn’t wrestled since losing a US Championship clash with Bobby Lashley in November 2020. Yet his work outside of the ring, such as helping 245 student athletes from Tampa Bay get into college, make him a great ambassador for WWE – and deserving of a roster spot.
Trent Seven & Tyler Bate
The pandemic saw Brit favourites Moustache Mountain return to their homeland after a successful tag-team run in NXT, but we expect the duo back in the States at some point in 2022. WWE 2K20 saw Seven make his series debut, and to mark the occasion he told GamesRadar about his longstanding love of video games – and why he always chose Ken over Zangief.
The long-time guru of NXT handed the reins back to father-in-law Vince McMahon over the summer, and took a break from WWE TV altogether following a cardiac event in September 2021. Nonetheless he’s a central figure in WWE 2K22, as both a backstage executive in MyRise, and highly rated playable character given his 14 World Championship reigns.
Like fellow yesteryear fave Randy Savage, Warrior was missing from WWE games during the PS1 and PS2 era as a result of a tempestuous ’90s exit from the company. He finally returned as a pre-order bonus for WWE 2K14. Warrior has been ever-present in the series since, but sadly the man himself passed away in 2014, aged just 54.
Taker’s last real match came against AJ Styles at WrestleMania 36, with all signs since pointing to retirement. Just don’t expect that to apply to digital rings. Clocking up more than 30 videogame appearances over three decades, ‘Taker has never missed out on the WWE sim roster – going all the way back to its PS1 debut, as WWF Smackdown.