Drew McIntyre was just 24 years old when he re-debuted on SmackDown on August 28, 2009. Unlike, his previous forgotten run on the blue brand, in 2007, this time McIntyre was pegged as a somebody.
On September 18, 2009, WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon proudly declared the Scottish native was ‘The Chosen One’ and a future World Champion.
Almost 11 years later to the day, on September 27, 2020, McIntyre repaid that early faith from his boss, tenfold.
His decisive victory over former 13-time World Champion, Randy Orton at Clash of Champions 2020, in a brutal Ambulance Match, proved without any doubt that McIntyre is ‘The Man.’
It has been a long road to the top for the Scotsman, who seemed fast tracked for a World title over a decade ago when a six month reign as Intercontinental Champion kicked off at the TLC pay-per-view on December 13, 2009.
In storyline, McIntyre received preferential treatment as champion from WWE boss, McMahon. Indeed, McMahon frequently overruled then-SmackDown General Manager, Teddy Long to ensure McIntyre remained as champ. The most notable occasion being on the May 7, 2010 edition of SmackDown when Long stripped McIntyre of the belt, for repeatedly attacking Matt Hardy, only for McMahon to return it to him the following week.
However, when The Nexus debuted and took out WWE’s head honcho in storyline, McIntyre’s onscreen and offscreen preferential treatment evaporated and his push dissipated.
The man who had dominated SmackDown from 2009 to 2010 spent the next two years either looking at the lights or off television completely.
His return to a featured role on TV was not one that is fondly remembered. In September 2012, McIntyre was packaged into a trio with fellow underutilised performers, Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater in a comedy stable, The Three Man Band (3MB).
3MB were the very definition of jobbers to the stars and McIntyre’s career was going nowhere fast. The man who a couple of years earlier had been earmarked as a future World Champion was now barely an afterthought in the minds of fans.
On June 12, 2014, the former Intercontinental Champion was released from his WWE contract. The dream was over.
McIntyre, to his credit did not wallow in his misfortune. He began using his real name, Drew Galloway and returned to ICW in Scotland. He soon won the company’s Heavyweight title and would later defend it against old rival Matt Hardy amongst many others.
Rebuilding his career with other independent promotions, most notably Evolve and and PWG, Galloway found his way to TNA (now Impact Wrestling) where he became the big fish in a small pond. In the low pressure environment of Impact, Galloway put on considerable muscle mass, improved his ring and microphone skills and developed a fearsome aura. Galloway was putting the entire package together.
On March 16, 2016, Galloway defeated familiar foe, Matt Hardy once again, to become TNA World Heavyweight Champion. After a fruitful run in the promotion, Galloway and TNA parted ways in February 2017.
He next appeared on camera, billed as Drew McIntyre once more, at WWE’s NXT TakeOver: Orlando on April 1, 2017. It was then confirmed the next day that he had signed a new WWE contract.
On August 19, McIntyre won the NXT Heavyweight Championship from Bobby Roode at TakeOver: Brooklyn III. The following April, McIntyre jumped to the main roster and appeared on Raw for the first time in almost a decade.
As a heel, McIntyre was pushed as a threat to star babyface’s such as Roman Reigns. However, at this point in time, McIntyre was the bridesmaid and not the bride and invariably looked at the lights for the stars above him in WWE’s pecking order.
However, this was a different McIntyre to the one who had been discarded by the company in 2014. Maintaining his composure and continuing to develop his character, the ‘Scottish Psychopath’ as he was now known, was clicking with fans who were eager to cheer the take no prisoners, no nonsense superstar.
The 2020 Royal Rumble was his coming out party. The capacity crowd at Minute Maid Park, in Houston, Texas, cheered wildly when McIntyre sent WWE Champion, Brock Lesnar, tumbling over the top rope during the Men’s Royal Rumble Match. After Lesnar had previously sent 13 competitors packing, this show of force by McIntyre meant something.
McIntyre backed it up at WrestleMania, by dethroning the ‘Beast’ to win the WWE Championship for the first time. However, it was a bittersweet moment for the Scotsman.
What was meant to be the crowning moment of his career, the first British born wrestler to win a WWE Heavyweight Championship in the main event of WWE’s flagship show, did not occur in front of 80,000 fans at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida as planned.
McIntyre’s World title win came before an empty arena at WWE’s training facility, The Performance Center, in Orlando, due to the COVID-19 pandemic which was sweeping across the United States and the World.
Making the best of a bad situation, McIntyre excelled in the no crowd era. Displaying improved charisma and growing into the role of figurehead, McIntyre dominated feuds against veteran names such as Dolph Ziggler, Bobby Lashley and others.
However, they were all placeholders for his feud with the ‘Legend Killer’ Randy Orton.
Orton himself had also excelled in 2020. Looking more motivated than he had in years, ‘The Viper’ had put on superb matches and rolled back the clock with razor sharp promo’s ever since January when he began his feud with WWE Hall of Famer, Edge.
Opposite such a force, McIntyre could have wilted. However, he rose his game and met the challenge. Despite trailing Orton in status, titles and experience, McIntyre has never appeared to be the underdog in this feud.
Not one to be overawed, McIntyre is the kick-ass babyface champion fans can believe in. A Stone Cold like force who when he says he will do something, follows through.
McIntyre declared he would defeat Randy Orton at SummerSlam and he did. When Orton hospitalised McIntyre and the champion declared he would kick the dastardly Orton’s head off, he did. When he said he would hospitalise Orton at Clash of Champions once more, he delivered.
McIntyre has worked hard to develop a superstar aura and presence. His performances have repaid WWE’s faith in him. WWE, in turn are protecting their star man by making him the number one babyface in the entire promotion.
On October 25, 2020, McIntyre is scheduled to defend his title once more against ‘The Viper’ at Hell in a Cell. Presumably, that bout will take place inside the demonic structure. Few now could bet against McIntyre making it a trio of victories against the ‘Legend Killer.’
From there, new opponents will be lined up to face the champion, following WWE’s Draft, which will take place on the October 9, 2020 SmackDown and the October 12, 2020.
The confident, assured McIntyre will relish the challenge of competing against a new set of stars. After six months on top, with a slew of victims in his wake, he is a bonafide main eventer.
WWE was right. McIntyre is the ‘Chosen One.’ It was only a matter of time.