Ranking the 5 Superstars Who Could Realistically Grace the Cover of WWE 2K22
After all the recent releases from WWE, the roster for WWE 2K22 will look rather interesting. But at least one wrestler will be chosen for the honor of gracing the cover.
Previous years have seen industry juggernauts such as The Rock, John Cena, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and CM Punk featured on the front of the game, as well as main event players like Seth Rollins and AJ Styles.
Last time around, it was Roman Reigns and Becky Lynch who shared the spotlight. But who could be in the running for the cover star of WWE 2K22?
Let's break down some of the most likely options.
The year 2021 has been kind to Bianca Belair, who won the women's Royal Rumble and defeated Sasha Banks in the main event of the first night of WrestleMania 37. She may not hold the SmackDown Women's Championship by the time the game comes out, but she's easily one of this year's MVPs.
Rhea Ripley has had similar success, but to a lesser extent. As the runner-up in the Royal Rumble, she still managed to win the Raw Women's Championship at WrestleMania when she defeated Asuka.
What rules her out of the running, though, is that she's already lost the title and the red brand is much more focused on Charlotte Flair in comparison. Also, given a choice between Ripley or Belair, the latter has more of a claim to this spot.
If WWE is feeling nostalgic and continues to think only older Superstars are draws, Goldberg could be on the cover. Despite his 54 years, he's regularly brought back to serve in roles such as Bobby Lashley's challenger for SummerSlam, meaning WWE knows he's a marketable entity.
Alexa Bliss has been heavily featured on WWE programming since the start of her career. These past few months, she's remained a priority even when not feuding with anyone, since the powers-that-be in WWE clearly love her Bray Wyatt offshoot gimmick.
A less traditional cover that focuses on her more ethereal and mystical elements could be a way to change things up.
Last, but certainly not least, is Big E. He's the current Mr. Money in the Bank and could well hold a world title by the time this game is released. Either by himself or alongside his New Day teammates, that could be another idea being considered.
5. Charlotte Flair
Every accolade in WWE that can possibly come Charlotte Flair's way will inevitably be checked off the list, so it's only a matter of time before she's the cover star of one of the video games.
Since Lynch has already been on the cover, there may be a feeling within WWE to ensure The Queen doesn't take too long to follow suit. The Man couldn't even main-event WrestleMania 35 against Ronda Rousey without WWE feeling as though Flair needed to be inserted into the mix as well.
That's not to say Flair isn't without her merits as the cover star. She's won more championships than any other woman in the company's history, along with a women's Royal Rumble match.
In all likelihood, she's probably holding the Raw Women's Championship at least one more time this year. She may even have the gold when the game is released, which is usually around the time of the Survivor Series pay-per-view in the fall.
Flair is a huge name, a recognizable star and someone who hasn't been on the cover before. She'd make for a great candidate, but there are others who might edge her out this time around.
4. Sasha Banks
Flair, Belair and Ripley all stand a chance to be on the cover, but if one woman can beat them to it, it's The Boss.
Sasha Banks is not just one of the company's biggest stars and a multi-time champion, she's also broken out recently into more mainstream media with her appearances on The Mandalorian, which earned her an Emmy nomination.
As the other half of the equation for WrestleMania 37 Night 1's main event against Belair, she is in that elite league with only four other women. On top of that, she may win the SmackDown Women's Championship back at SummerSlam or later down the line.
It would make more sense to put Banks on the cover rather than Belair as she's been on the roster longer and has developed a stronger fanbase over time.
3. Drew McIntyre
Had WWE 2K2021 come out last year, the cover star would have been Drew McIntyre.
The Scottish Warrior was on fire prior to the coronavirus pandemic when he took out Brock Lesnar on his way to winning the men's Royal Rumble and again to claim the WWE Championship in the main event of WrestleMania 36.
Outside of a short stretch when he dropped the title to Randy Orton and won it back, McIntyre was on top of Raw for the entire year. This year hasn't been quite so kind to the Scot, though. He lost the belt to The Miz and failed to recapture it from Bobby Lashley.
However, these games are often years in the making, so plans may still see McIntyre as the featured Superstar.
Edge has to be in the running to grace the cover as he's one of the most decorated champions in WWE history.
The Hall of Famer had his triumphant comeback at the 2020 men's Royal Rumble and easily could have been the 2K21 cover star.
This year has been great for him, too. He won the men's Rumble match, challenged for the Universal Championship in the main event of WrestleMania 37, fought Roman Reigns once again for the title at Money in the Bank and is set for a big contest against Seth Rollins at SummerSlam.
Perhaps even more importantly, he's a star from a previous era. Tapping into the nostalgic fanbase with a cover star older fans recognize may be a means to draw more buyers who are willing to pick up the game since The Rated-R Superstar is in it.
1. Bobby Lashley
The one and only Superstar who could really lay claim to the cover more than even Edge or McIntyre is Bobby Lashley.
It's unlikely he will drop the WWE title to Goldberg at SummerSlam, and a safer bet is that he's still champion by the time 2K22 comes out.
The All Mighty isn't as much of a mainstream name as others, but he does have the ability to tap into the MMA market after having several fights for promotions such as Bellator and Strikeforce.
He's one of the current faces of WWE, checks the main event of WrestleMania off his list and also looks like what one would imagine a professional wrestler to be.
All these potential options are great, but the smart bet may be to go with the man who is leading the flagship show this year.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.