On May 31, WWE 2K announced that if gamers pre-order WWE 2K17, they will receive two different versions of Bill Goldberg. Goldberg was wildly popular in the Monday Night Wars (the ratings battle between WWE Monday Night Raw and WCW Monday Nitro), known for having one of the longest undefeated streaks in professional wrestling history. His undefeated streak included a WCW United States Championship victory, and peaked when he defeated Hollywood Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. The last time Goldberg competed in the ring was at WrestleMania 20 against Brock Lesnar, which was widely considered a huge disappointment.
This is an interesting reveal considering Goldberg was featured in WWE 2K14 without a pre-order, so this seems a little strange to have to buy Goldberg specifically after he was previously included in the normal roster.
Along with the announcement of Goldberg, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) earlier today, artist Rob Schamberger was on site in Los Angeles to reveal more Superstars in the game with a painting. The first three Superstars to be revealed for the on-disc roster are John Cena, The Ultimate Warrior, and “The Boss,” Sasha Banks.
John Cena, also known as “The Face That Runs the Place,” is no surprise to anybody for being in the game. Cena is arguably the epitome of a WWE Superstar, winning 15 World Championships in an almost 15 year-long career. Cena rose to the top in 2005 when he defeated JBL at WrestleMania 21 for the WWE Championship, and has been the top Superstar in the company ever since. This is impressive considering that Cena was seen as “above” Triple H, Sting, Ric Flair, Randy Orton, and even The Undertaker after he cemented his legacy. Cena was featured on the cover of (the all-around terrible) WWE 2K15, and has pretty much been the highest rated Superstar in each game over the last decade.
The Ultimate Warrior is a surprise for such an early announcement, but it confirms that 2K Games is determined to keep WWE Legends in the game for fantasy matches. Before The Ultimate Warrior returned to WWE for a Hall of Fame induction, he was announced as the pre-order bonus for WWE 2K14. After the impact his death had on the WWE Universe, including the memorializing Warrior Award, keeping The Ultimate Warrior in WWE video games is a nice way to keep fans remembering the high-octane Superstar.
What is most surprising about the early roster reveal is that “The Boss,” Sasha Banks, was featured on the painting. After the “Divas Revolution,” it is no surprise that one of the Four Horsewomen of NXT would be featured in the latest iteration of the annual wrestling franchise. Sasha Banks has a huge fanbase, and is one of the best merchandise sellers for the company, so of course announcing her for the game is a smart marketing decision.
There are two reasons why Sasha Banks is the surprise choice for the first confirmed woman to be in WWE 2K17. First, they chose Banks over the current Women’s Champion, Charlotte. Second, Banks has not been on WWE television since she defeated Summer Rae two weeks after WrestleMania 32, which is a whole other problem in itself. Sasha Banks had a huge following going into WrestleMania 32, where she made history when she faced Charlotte and Becky Lynch in an amazing triple threat match for the Women’s Championship. Banks even made it a point to note that prior to the triple threat match, she was undefeated in singles competition. It is strange to take a very talented woman with so much fan support and just leave her off of television. Hopefully she will be back to challenge Charlotte for the Women’s Championship soon enough.
With only four Superstars announced for WWE 2K17, there are sure to be more roster reveals in the relatively near future (this game would be weird with only four Superstars). If 2K follows the usual roster reveal traditions, we will get a complete list of who is in the game during SummerSlam weekend. For now, there is only room for speculation. WWE 2K17 will be released for Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 4, and Playstation 3 in October.
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