Drew McIntyre on His Plans to Take the Torch & Reign at the Top of WWE
In 2009, Vince McMahon introduced Drew McIntyre as the “Chosen One” on SmackDown Live. Now almost a decade later the imposing Raw superstar is making the most of his second run in WWE and now living up to the endorsement.
Perhaps the “Scottish Psychopath” won’t officially feel anointed until he captures the Universal championship. The top prize on the red brand a symbol of true excellence in the WWE Universe. Hours before his match with Braun Strowman on the May 13 installment of Raw from the O2 Arena in London, McIntyre checks in from across the pond to talk about his road to reaching the top of the proverbial mountain.
You’re in the middle of the European tour right now. What has been the highlight?
Drew McIntyre: All the crowds have been great. We’ve hit Belfast, Brussels, Marseilles, New Castle, Liverpool. Now we’re in London. Every crowd, every night has been out of control. They are always so excited when WWE comes to town. As the days go by, the more tired you get, but you want to give an incredible performance because of how lively the crowd is. If I were to pinpoint one favorite moment, it’s seeing my nephew for the first time in Scotland. He is 11 months old. All the shows have been better than the next.
How do you compare the experience working European crowds versus those in the United States?
With the U.K. crowd, you don’t know what to expect. That’s what’s cool about it. I always compare it to the soccer fans over here. They get a little rowdy. They have their little chants. They know all the players, and perhaps they get a little crazy in the crowd fighting over their favorites. That’s what happens at our shows to an extent. When you’re watching a show in the U.K., you’re also watching the crowd itself besides what’s going on in the ring because you want to know what they’re going to do next. That alone makes it worth tuning in for. You never know what wild chants will be going on tonight.
You’re having an incredible year so far. What has that ascension been like, even in NXT when you came back to WWE? You’ve really found your groove and identity.
It has been quite the journey. When I spoke to Tripe H on the phone when I was trying to decide what the next logical step would be after my time with Impact had finished. I was thinking possibly Japan, possibly the independents. We thought, “Am I going to NXT and reintroducing the WWE Universe who I am today?” That was the best place because the fans are so knowledgeable. I was the top talent in NXT working with more experienced superstars to lead the brand and lead the locker room.
That was very important to me. It was important to show who Drew McIntyre was today, but also get the chance to lead NXT like I had done with so many other companies with my time away. I gained that trust from WWE. To get to be NXT champion meant the world to me. I tore my bicep, which is the only reason I lost the NXT title.
When I returned from rehab I got to be on Raw. It has been a wild year, so much has happened. The run with Dolph Ziggler. We clicked so well and had fun as tag team champions. I was Intercontinental champion and had that match with Kurt Angle where I made him tap with his own Ankle Lock. This led to my first singles match at WrestleMania with Roman Reigns, who was just returning from illness. That was a huge personal moment for me because it not only showed the trust the company had, but also Roman to have that spot on the biggest show against the top superstar. It has been a whirlwind. I’m just getting started.
Do you feel you’ve earned the “Chosen One” moniker now?
I think the “Chosen One” kind of gets put in that spot. For me, I did a reverse where I was supposed to be the “Chosen One.” I inevitably became the underdog and worked my way back. Drew McIntyre obviously has some strong viewpoints because of the journey I’ve taken. The things I’ve seen, and I’m back being the “Chosen One’ of sports entertainment.
I’m here to take it to the next level and cleanup the crap and superstars who remind me of my old self who lost that fire. Perhaps they aren’t adding to the show. I know what it’s like. I was there. I’m trying to give them the answer. Don’t be like me. Figure it out while you are in the company because if you do it the way I did it, it’s not very easy. So start giving your all while you’re here and stop complaining on social media.
You’re in this year's Money in the Bank match. Does this match feel more important considering where you are now?
This is my third Money in the Bank, but it has been nine years since my last one. I’m a little older, wiser, bigger, hairier. I’m looking for that Universal title shot. I’m the last person to pin Seth Rollins before he won the title. It looks like I’m going to have to take the Money in the Bank contract and finally take my destiny like I’ve done all along. I’ve not been given a thing. A lot of people don’t like the way I do it and stand up for my convictions with what I feel is best for the industry. I plan to win the Universal title and become the first British title holder in its history.
You share similar ideals to John Cena when it comes to feeling talent need to create their own opportunities and not wait for it to get handed to them. You’ve spoken in the past about wanting to work with Cena more. What kind of inspiration has he had for you and the current path you are on?
We have the mindset everyone should have. He is someone I watched growing up and see how insanely dedicated he was and the work ethic he had. That’s what I tried to model myself after when I was outside the company. I said I would give it my all and asked for as many opportunities I could to not only promote the brand I was on but also promote myself like I am right now. I go until six in the morning to about three or four in the afternoon. I’m happy to do media all day because I want to promote the company and help myself move further forward and help the industry. That’s how John looks at things. Never stop. Before he hangs it up, I want that match with him.
I want to not be passed any torch. I want to take it. Two guys at the top of the list are John Cena and The Undertaker. I know Undertaker has a few more matches in him. When I was younger, he was someone I was around all the time. He was someone Vince McMahon actually put in charge of me from the original youth movement. That was a match supposed to happen but never did. I’m glad it didn’t because I wasn’t ready. I’m certainly ready now. I want both before they hang it up.
You have the match with Braun Strowman coming up. How do you like working with him?
Braun is an anomaly. He is a giant of a man who literally had four or five matches when he showed up on Raw. He went into a program with Roman Reigns. A lot of people gave Roman a lot of crap, but you watch what he did with so many superstars and helped elevate them and got them to the point right now. He took someone as inexperienced as Braun, who along with his natural talent and charisma, got over. Roman guided him along pushing forward.
To watch what he became in the last two or three years has been incredible to watch. He is pretty terrifying and a legit former strongman. I’m 6-feet-5, 265. He dwarfs me and when he throws you, you hope you don’t land on your head. The key for me is using my experience. When he messes up, I’ll be there to kick him in his head. Ideally, I want to throw him off London Bridge. That’s my mission tonight.
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WWE Money in the Bank, Sunday, May 19, 7/6c, WWE Network & Pay-Per-View