The team at 2K is hard at work on the next entry in the WWE 2K series, which will be WWE 2K22. They've started doing face scans and working on incorporating the large roster of superstars into the game, but according to a new report from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, it appears one star is being removed from the game. Dave Meltzer said that Daniel Bryan has been in talks with All Elite Wrestling for a few months now, and WWE recently sent out a memo to let 2K know that Bryan should not be included in the next game.
Bryan wasn't released by WWE like some of the other talent heading to AEW, as his contract simply ended and he hadn't re-signed yet. He has been considering his options, and reportedly put a priority on wanting to work with New Japan Pro Wrestling. While there were talks that Nick Khan had tried to work out a deal with NJPW, it didn't materialize, but AEW already has a working relationship with them in place.
Now we know why WWE was trying to open up a dialogue with NJPW, but it wasn't enough to make a deal happen, and it seems that was the deciding factor in Bryan heading to AEW. WWE wouldn't pull him from the game if there was still a substantial chance that he would re-sign, so even if he doesn't end up in All Elite Wrestling, he is likely not returning to WWE anytime soon.
It will be interesting to see how the roster in WWE 2K22 is affected, as in the past several months there have been numerous cuts to the roster. Sometimes if it's too late into development we see someone still in the game who is no longer with the company, like what happened with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, who were both in WWE Battlegrounds after they had been released.
This year alone we've seen Samoa Joe, The IIconics, Aleister Black, Braun Strowman, Ever-Rise, Murphy, Ruby Riott, Killian Dain, Tyler Breeze, Fandango, Lana, Mickie James, Chelsea Green, Kalisto, and more. Will some of them make it into the game? That remains to be seen, though Joe probably will since he has since returned to NXT.
As for WWE 2K22, the game currently doesn't have a release date, but we'll keep you posted.
Do you think Bryan is headed to AEW? Let us know in the comments or as always you can talk all things WWE with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!