Drew McIntyre Talks WWE Royal Rumble & Wanting to Face Off Against Brock Lesnar
And the Raw superstar has every right to feel this way considering his impressive outings in the weeks leading up to the beloved event. The “Scottish Psychopath” is among the favorites for who will be the last man standing out of the field of 30.
Days before the historic battle royal, McIntyre has never been more focused. The 34-year-old speaks like a locker room leader and someone intending on finally reaching the top of the WWE mountain.
Here, the imposing superstar looks back at his current run in the company so far and why everything he has been through prepared him for the ultimate success to come.
WWE has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs for you, even in the past year. There were moments where it looked like you were moving into the Universal title picture, only to fade back into the background. What is your mindset going into the Rumble having experienced the ebb-and-flow of 2019?
Drew McIntyre: I feel really good about things right now. I think the pieces are coming together where I’m ready for bigger opportunities. I’m ready for the top spot and the world title that has eluded me for all this time.
Regarding the ups and downs, peaks and valleys, getting to close to the top and not getting there, thankfully, my entire career has taught me how to deal with that. You have to have patience in this business. You have to learn to eat crap and like the taste. I learned to eat banquets of crap and learn to like the taste. I’m a patient man. I understand there are going to be ups and downs. You can’t let it get to you. A lot of people lose their mind in those stages. That’s why I’m ready for that moment at the top because I know I can handle it. You can hear it in the crowd.
You talk about the fans. What is it like for you to have that groundswell of support building more recently? There is a new level of respect there between the audience and yourself?
I didn’t ever say I was a good guy or bad guy. The thing now is that I'm giving them a little more of the real me. When I first came back to Raw, I was serious all the time. I was talking about eating carcasses and the like is not necessarily the real me. I was a strong bad guy for the good guys to wrestle. I had a lot of big moments including at WrestleMania. Over the past couple of months it was made clear to me by the boss himself, Paul Heyman and all of creative that they wanted me to show them the real me.
When I got the okay to finally be myself, that’s when I started loosening up out there and having fun. I started to show Drew Galloway, the real me. The one who was successful outside the company and wound up successful in NXT. I think when the crowd saw me relaxing and having fun, they started having fun with me. That’s the key there. In the past they couldn’t relate to this giant, hairy, scary Scotsman that beats people up all the time. They see my personality. What you are seeing now on TV is the real me.
That appears to be a recipe for success for a lot of guys. You could definitely see that in your recent match with Randy Orton. There was that instance where you said, “Give me a microphone that works.” There is this whole perception that WWE has these scripted promos and overproduced segments. From what you tell me it sounds like the contrary, where you get to share your ideas and open up and make things your own. What is the misconception about the creative freedom you might have?
I think the biggest one is that you’re given a script and are told to read every single line exactly how it is written. That’s not true at all for anybody. You’re given a guideline. It’s up to you to know who you are and put that into your own words and present the message how your character would convey it. The reason you wouldn’t know to do that is because you don’t understand the character or the situation.
The ones who start publicly blasting it are mostly the ones who can’t quite figure it out. You do have that freedom. It’s obviously within the confines of the story. You can’t go crazy and say whatever and it makes no sense with the story you’re trying to tell. You can get your message out there. It’s a lot more loose environment out there. Now go out there and get yourself over. That’s the thing if you can, you’re going to do really well right now.
One of the exciting things about WWE is seeing NXT moving up the ranks, leveling the playing field a bit. How do you feel that has changed the landscape of the company and added another layer of competitiveness?
When I first came back to WWE I was in NXT. The first thing I said is that this was not developmental. I was in developmental. I was in OVW and FCW. That was developmental. This is truly a third brand. With television, nobody can deny it. I look at it now as a war between the three brands. You have that mindset to want your show to be number one in the ring and creative. With NXT having such high level talent, everyone should try to up their game. If you’re not, then you don’t belong.
You’ve been outspoken in past interviews about a feeling within the locker room that some colleagues are just coasting along. They are too comfortable in their spot. Do you feel that has changed in the past few months with a higher profile of SmackDown on Fox, as well as NXT and Raw on USA Network. Not to mention other competition outside.
I would say there is a vast improvement. We all have such an insane schedule. We are all working incredibly hard, no matter what position you’re in. Those who are willing to put in the extra work. This job is 24/7, so I’m looking at those who I want to be part of the Raw roster. Everyone has upped their game, but there are still some who are too comfortable. They collect their weekly check and constantly complain on Twitter. That’s not going to help. I think, “How is that going to benefit you in any manner? It’s not even creative.
You’re just blasting the company. The only way you’re going to help yourself on social media is to have an intelligent approach. Someone like a Becky Lynch is unbelievable and got herself over using that medium. That’s how you use social media. Not just posting random nonsense and appearing bitter. You’re just hurting yourself. But I have seen vast improvement with the work ethic in a lot of people.
Heading into the Royal Rumble, it’s such a unique match. What insight can you give about the challenges in this environment knowing there are so many moving parts? How do you prepare for it?
Upping your cardio is one way. It’s nonstop strikes and trying to put someone over-the-top rope and a lot of movement. It’s a lot of moments where you can’t catch your breath. So, if you’re in there for a long time, you better be excellent at cardio. Ir really enjoy the Rumble matches. For someone like myself, it goes back to my striking days. Back when I just beat people up with strikes. There is going to be a chop party in that Royal Rumble. A lot of people are going to be terrified when they see me coming out.
Brock Lesnar is entering the mix here as the champion. How do you think this affects the dynamic?
Brock Lesnar going in one as the champion. It’s really never happened like this before. It’s not some guy doing it either. It’s Brock Lesnar. A once-in-a-lifetime athlete. I think it’s going to be interesting. I hope he is in there when I am. There hasn’t been a confrontation between myself and Brock since I came back. Very briefly when I was younger, he got the upper hand on me. I certainly wasn’t ready for that moment. These days I’m bigger, stronger. I’m also have a lot of experience. I’m very excited for that potentially happening.
When you talk about that road to WrestleMania and potential future marquee matches, I can’t help but remember that interaction you had briefly with The Undertaker. Has there been any discussion of revisiting that?
If it was possible to have that singles match with The Undertaker, it would be a huge moment for me. I know we can give them an incredible match. I know just based on that face off we had and the response we got, I know visually it would be impressive. I know in-ring wise I can help him The Undertaker match he deserves and the fan’s deserves.
If or when you win the Royal Rumble, who do you want to see on the other side at WrestleMania in Tampa?
If I won the Rumble, it’s the same guy I’ve had in mind for years. I’d fight Brock Lesnar in a second. A lot of people on the roster genuinely wouldn’t want to get in the ring with him. They are terrified of the idea. I want to get in the ring with him. I know we could put on a heck of a spectacle and a fight.
There aren’t many who can stand toe-to-toe with me. That’s someone definitely want. He gets this criticism that he doesn’t show up to work all the time and this and that. The way I look at it, he was offered the contract. He signed the contract. It’s not his fault. The only problem I have is the title is not on the shows and live events. We need the title back. I have no personal issues with him. Who wouldn't sign that contract? I just want that opportunity to get the title back on Raw because it belongs on the shows and live events.
WWE Royal Rumble, Sunday, January 26, 7/6c Live, WWE Network and Pay-Per-View