WWE ‘Raw’ Superstar Drew McIntyre on Facing His Fears in ‘Shark Rumble’
You might think former WWE champion Drew McIntyre isn’t afraid of anything. But you’ll quickly see the fearlessness of the impressively large 36-year-old Scottish wrestler wash away as he steps in the water to face an often misunderstood apex predator (And no, we’re not talking about Randy Orton).
Let’s get ready to Shark Rumble!
As part of Discovery Channel and Discovery+’s Shark Week festivities, this toothy special follows McIntyre as he gets up close and personal with sharks alongside host and marine biologist, Luke Tipple. McIntyre won’t be in the ThunderDome or the arenas the Raw superstar is used to, but rather the Georgia Aquarium, home to one of the world’s largest aquatic exhibits. Ahead of the premiere, we sat down with the performer to reflect on the memorable experience.
There are so many celebrities who have appeared on Shark Week shows over the years. How did yours come about?
Drew McIntyre: The initial conversation started [from] my show on Peacock called Drew & A where I spoke with Paul de Gelder and Ocean Ramsey. They are regulars during Shark Week and experts in the shark world. They taught me how endangered sharks actually are. [Humans] kill around a hundred million sharks per year with 70 million just for freakin’ soup. That is pretty horrible. I don’t believe people realize how important sharks are to keeping the ecosystem balanced. I really wanted to do what I could to spread a positive message.
Have you had any interaction with sharks while living in Florida?
Never. When I say I’m scared of sharks, I mean that. I’m scared of the water and the unknown. I never swam in the ocean beyond my waist where I can see the water. I’ve had nightmares about getting eaten by sharks or getting attacked by things in the ocean. It’s a genuine fear I have that I wanted to show on-camera. I have this irrational fear, but I want to overcome it because I know the facts and know [the sharks] need our help. I’ve found them to be such amazing creatures. Next time WWE is in South Africa or Australia on a tour, I’ll be getting in the water and in the cage with the great whites.
Is there anything you did to prepare before facing your fear in this special?
I thought about everything else until that day. I was excited about it, but I didn’t want to overthink it. I learned a lot and got to hang out for the day at the aquarium. I got to feed some whale sharks and hang out with the sea lions. Then, before they sent me down in the cage, I had a quick call with the wife [Kaitlyn Galloway] who gave me a talk to fire me up, which will be featured in the special. I was supposed to be down there for 20 minutes. I ended up being down there for 40. The time went by so quickly. I was blown away seeing them up close by how amazing they are.
What was it like working with Luke?
Luke was very knowledgeable. I was like a kid in school who raises their hand every two seconds. Thankfully, he has this passion where he answers every question.
Are there any other fears you want to conquer now that you’ve faced this one?
I’m not trying to overcome these, but I do have a fear of spiders and insects. Next thing you know, I’ll be on some other show with some deadly spiders or snakes. I moved to Florida from Scotland when I was 22. Back where I came from, there is nothing really deadly aside from maybe [snakes]. Ever since I moved from Florida, I assume everything is dangerous and poisonous.
— Drew McIntyre (@DMcIntyreWWE) June 25, 2021
WWE is heading back on the road later this month. Are you ready to get back on the travel grind again?
I try not to think too far ahead. We are now getting through the last few weeks inside the ThunderDome, the build for the Money in the Bank ladder match. WrestleMania was a little bit of a tease over those two nights. If you watch back to my entrance, you can see on my face how emotional it was for me. You can see people in the crowd literally crying. It took my breath away as I walked out there. It was a reminder for us that our fans are the No. 1 superstars. To be on the road every single night is going to be like a mini-WrestleMania. Every night will bring a different kind of atmosphere, right up to SummerSlam, which feels like this year’s WrestleMania.
As you go into Money in the Bank, how does it feel to go from the hunted to the hunter?
It still feels weird to not be a champion. I won it in front of nobody, going from no fans to virtual fans in the ThunderDome. To represent the company in those difficult times in the last year was great, but the goal was to walk out there as the WWE champion in front of fans. To lose it right at the finish line before WrestleMania definitely showed another side of my character and how he dealt with adversity. It made me more relatable. Money in the Bank and the ladder match are my very last opportunity. I have to win, or I don’t know what will happen next for Drew McIntrye.
You’ve been quite the storyteller in your recent promos. What’s the inspiration behind those?
It comes down to the fans knowing that I’m a butt-kicker. There is this very straight line. This is showing something that’s a little out there. I tell these crazy stories and go on wild tangents. I am getting to show another side. I’ll joke backstage that I never plan to tell these wild stories. Then I walk into Matt Riddle’s room, and he is burning some sort of incense. I’m chatting with him for 10 minutes, and I walk out, and I’m really hungry, and I have these crazy stories coming out. I don’t know why.
Now that you’ve experienced both, how do the shark-infested waters of WWE compare to actual shark-infested waters?
Sharks in the water aren’t anything to worry about. Though in WWE, there was a time there was a lot of backstabbing and thinking about yourself. These days it’s a lot different mentality-wise. I watched the evolution of it all. Everyone wants to be the best across the board.
If and when you win the Money in the Bank contract, who are you looking to cash in on?
Winning the Money in the Bank ladder match does open up a lot of possibilities. The “Head of the Table” [Roman Reigns] is running through everyone. Karrion Kross is dominating in NXT. Can I cash it in on Bobby Lashley? There are a lot of questions. First things first — I have to win the big one.
Shark Rumble, July 11, Discovery+
WWE Money in the Bank, July 18, 7/6c, Peacock, and Pay-Per-View