WWE 2K22 modders have been hard at work digging into the game's source code, and the latest revelation is that an NJPW legend was slated to kick off the Showcase with Rey Mysterio.
We've got details on how a cancelled Showcase match in WWE 2K22 turned into special edition content once the game was finally released.
WWE 2K22 Showcase with Mysterio was set to feature an NJPW legend
In the buildup to WWE 2K22, bits and pieces about the title continued to filter out as some sources learned about the arenas and superstars that would make the final roster.
One of particular interest was the inclusion of Rey Mysterio '96 featuring his attire from WCW Starrcade 1996, and that's because of who he was up against at that event.
Looking back to the earliest days of his career, Mysterio found himself taking on Jushin Thunder Liger, a man now recognized as arguably the most prolific junior heavyweight in Japanese wrestling history.
Several WWE 2K22 modders have been able to dig into the game's source code in recent days, and Status was able to locate the screen seen below for a previously included Showcase match with Mysterio and Liger:
Dummy text appears to be present where a match description might go, but the image itself existing within the game's files shows there was a solid chance it would've made the final cut.
While we don't know for sure why this didn't end up being finished and included in the launch version of WWE 2K22, the most likely culprit is that negotiations over licensing and copyright hit a snag.
Japanese copyright law works very differently than US copyright, and while WWE owns the footage of WCW Starrcade 1996 that doesn't necessarily mean they own the right to sell a game with Jushin Thunder Liger built in as a playable character.
Liger was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame last year, but it was an induction accepted via video message due to the ongoing global pandemic, and it saw much less fanfare on WWE's part than the average induction.
WCW Starrcade 96 content was still included in WWE 2K22
While the match itself didn't make it into the WWE 2K Showcase mode, and unfortunately we may never see the interview segments with Mysterio or Liger that could've been filmed, the arena and attire did make it into the game.
If you want to play as Rey Mysterio Jr. in his WCW Starrcade '96 attire from that match with Jushin Thunder Liger, he's available as DLC in the Starrcade '96 Rey Mysterio Pack that is exclusively included with next gen versions of WWE 2K22 on PS5 or Xbox Series X|S.
Even if your copy doesn't have the attire, players on all platforms should be able to unlock the WCW Starrcade 1996 arena by going to VC Purchasables where it's available for just 500 VC.
Based on the image of this now removed Showcase match, it definitely looks like both the attire and the arena would've been part of the WWE 2K22 unlockables in Showcase and available for completing that match.