Interviews

Interview With . . . Drew McIntyre

Drew McIntyre

It’s been a long time coming, but WWE is finally returning to the UK with two-time WWE Champion Drew McIntyre making his homecoming after reaching the summit of the industry.

The last time Drew McIntyre was in the UK, the Scottish Warrior was whisked away in the middle of the night as his trip was cut short due to a global pandemic. Since then, McIntyre has won two WWE Championships and headlined WrestleMania – but, as he told Inside The Ropes’ very own Kenny McIntosh, there’s no place like home.

How’s it going today, Drew?

I’m absolutely marvellous Kenny, so close, so close – I’m almost back to the UK, almost back home. Almost get to see my family that I haven’t seen in 18 months, I’m buzzing.

You’re coming home, it’s exciting.

I’m coming home! It’s so exciting, I cannot put it into words, its been 18 months but it literally feels like it’s been about three, four years since I’ve been home. I’ve seen my nephew twice, he’s now three years old. I haven’t seen my dad that entire time, my number one fan. My brother who is my online number one fan, and if anyone’s ever said a negative word, they’ve probably heard from my brother threatening to show up at their house and batter them. So I’m excited to see everybody.

And you’re coming to the Hydro, it’s weird because a couple of months ago, the Hydro was where people were getting their vaccines and it was being used for getting us back to where we need to be and now – I think you guys are the first show back at the Hydro, the first big show on Wednesday 22nd September, it must be like “Finally!” for you, you’re getting to come back and do a show in front of people as a former WWE Champion.

Yeah, it’s amazing that we have this tour as things are getting back to normal. It’s amazing that Scotland is on the tour, that the Hydro’s on the tour.

It wasn’t amazing that it was SmackDown. I was like, “Wait, I’m on RAW, I need to get on this thing” but thankfully I pulled some strings and managed to get on there, not just the Glasgow show but for the whole tour. And yeah, I get to travel around my old haunts, where I kind of re-made my name throughout the UK with Newcastle, London, Cardiff and then finishing it off where my favourite time was during that period when I was away from WWE – back in Glasgow, home of ICW obviously, and the Hydro where we put on a big show with ICW. I haven’t wrestled there since being back in the WWE for a start, and also all the stuff that’s happened over the last couple of years.

I’m so excited to get back and thank all the fans for rallying behind me so much and giving me the motivation I needed to finally become the WWE Champion, first ever Brit, first ever Scot, and those videos from the bar and the pubs back home when I won the Rumble, I can’t even put into words how much that motivated me and told me, “All right, I’m doing something pretty cool right now.” You don’t see reactions like that except for like football cup finals or something where someone scores a goal in the last minute.

Even watching your documentary on the Network – you saw your family and how much it meant to them to see what you went through and getting to win the title at WrestleMania, and you’re going to be in a Glasgow Street Fight in Glasgow. I mean what better way to come back than just to beat up Jinder Mahal all across the Hydro.

Poor, poor Jinder, he doesn’t even know what’s in store for him. It’s one thing having a street fight in America, but he doesn’t know what we get up to in the streets of Glasgow, where anything goes.

You have wrestled where you actually wrestled into the streets of Glasgow once before, right?

Yes, myself and Rhyno wrestled into the actual streets of Glasgow, made it into the national papers for battering each other. Rhyno’s like, “Man, you guys are crazy.” I was like, “Yes, we are crazy, we’re absolutely mental actually.”

Poor Jinder, I just feel bad for him, we’re such close friends over the years and seeing as all my friends turn on me in the WWE, from Sheamus to Jinder, maybe I’m the problem. But he’s going to get absolutely battered, and it’s going to be amazing, and we’re going to have a big party afterwards in Glasgow. I can’t wait.

I know every time you do an interview this gets asked, but I do need to bring it up, you’ve been kinda talking about how you want a UK Pay-per-view & how you want it to happen, how close did Drew McIntyre, Tyson Fury get? I know you’ve said, that maybe there was an idea of it – did it ever get close sort of pre-COVID?

We’re going back and forth with each other, the idea’s out there. I don’t want to go into too much details but it’s basically when the pandemic situation happened, it was a case of ‘put a pin in it for now, and come back to it later’ – because something like that can ignite at any second.

The UK pay-per-view idea, that’s not something that’s ever going away for me. That’s happening one way or another and for me I don’t think we necessarily need it, but for something within the UK to kind of get the eyeballs on the product, that maybe aren’t watching WWE right now, the lapsed fans, to say, “Wait a minute, Tyson Fury’s fighting that big wrestler who won the WWE title from Scotland? Yeah, I want to pay attention to that” – and you could bill it as the Battle of Britain or whatever just something like that at the top of the card. I could imagine that would be something awesome to draw those outside eyeballs, and really make a spectacle of the week.

I don’t see it as a one-night event for the UK pay-per-view, I see it as a week event, I see it as like weigh-ins and training videos, myself and Tyson throughout the week. This is, again, just a vision I have in my head and leading to that inevitable UK pay-per-view, but realistically you could have one with the RAW and SmackDown rosters right now and I know it would sell out, I know it would be amazing, I know it would be talked about for years.

SummerSlam ’92, how many years is that we’re coming up for now? 30 years? What more appropriate time than to do it next bloody year. It’s happening, one way or another it’s happening. That’s just my vision right now and the match I saw, but with the roster we’ve got right now, wrestling’s got such a buzz again right now in general. I feel good about our current roster doing it and if it’s me and Fury then good because I get to batter him, and I’ve been talking about battering him for a while – and he’s ducking me.

He was at one of our shows, he literally avoided me the whole time, and I didn’t go out of my way to go and get him because his family were there and I didn’t want to smack him around in front of his kids.

That’s the classy guy you are – you wouldn’t do that.

No, because I’m a lovely lovely man, not in front of your kids pal, but in a Glasgow Street Fight, you’ll find out what that’s all about when I fight Jinder and kill him.

Let’s talk about earlier this year, finally the crowds first came back for the two nights of WrestleMania this year and you got to obviously be in that big match with Bobby Lashley, there was the weather issue that was almost halting proceedings. How was that night for you? Was it as good as you hoped when you were- I’m sure throughout the ThunderDome era just imagining that moment of finally being able to get out there and do it?

Yeah, I mean obviously aside from the weather issue, Lashley and I were so amped up, we did those live interviews, just with no planning, saying how you felt in the moment. It’s so fortunate that MVP was between us, because I was ready to go, Lashley was ready to go, and if he wasn’t between us, none of us guys were going to back down; we would have ended up fighting backstage for real, and they would have had to have separated us, and I can’t imagine how many people it would have taken to separate myself and Lashley. But we were ready to fight, no matter what. If they had said, “Sorry, the show’s cancelled because of the weather,” we would have fought backstage for as long as it was needed to keep people entertained throughout WrestleMania. We were amped up.

But thankfully we got to have the match, it was incredible to be back in front of the fans, at that time, I remember the last thing I thought before I walked through the curtain. There’s been a lot of Drew in your face over the last year and a half, I’ve been the premier guy on RAW with the opening promos and long matches etc, and in the media and we’ve seen in the past fans can kind of turn on that. If you get too much of the same thing and Lashley had finally reached his potential and had put the last pieces of the puzzle together with himself and MVP and had really good momentum – so I was curious about the reaction.

But to hear such a positive reaction for myself meant the world and also for Lashley as well, to see him, where he was at, It would have been nice to win in front of fans, get my title back, but at the same time, we really cemented Lashley as a top player and look where he’s at today, not lost since WrestleMania, and for McIntyre, I think it’s important for me that I’m not sSuperman, like a few of our top babyfaces of the past have. I’ve got to keep on overcoming, overcoming and find ways to keep fighting and clawing my way back to the top. Like right now, I can’t compete for the title, how am I going to get back to the top? I think that’s what keeps my story interesting, because if you look at my real history, nothing ever goes to plan for Drew, including WrestleManias. One year, I was fighting for the world title – worldwide pandemic. The next year, almost get rained out. It’s just part of the story.

I wanted to ask actually, you said how fans can turn on ‘too much of the same thing’ or whatever, on RAW you’ve kind of fought most people that you could fight, I mean down the line are you open to exploring a more villainous side again or do you want to stay a fan favourite long-term?

I just go with how the fans react. I’m just kind of myself most of the time, especially since the fans came back. Obviously within the ThunderDome, and Performance Center, you can explore some different things, try some different things – throw it against the wall, see what would stick from a promo perspective, because you’re not going to get people walking over the top of you or reacting negatively to you like perhaps ‘Storytime with Drew’ or whatever people referred to it as online with Loch Ness Monsters. I’m getting on well with a live crowd but I’m willing to try stuff.

If somebody challenges me backstage to try something different, I’m always willing to try but since the fans have been back, I’m more comfortable being the real Drew, saying how I feel and if the fans are reacting one way, I’m going to go in that direction, and I’ll just do what feels natural and when it comes to stories. I’ll stay within the confines of the stories, but if the fans start telling me, “Hey, we’re not digging this,” I’m going to go whatever direction feels right and I think that’s what it’s all about, but right now we’re on the right path and I’m just excited to get back in a significant story to be honest. We’ve got the draft coming up, rosters are going to get shaken up, I’m gonna get fresh new opponents and I’m looking forward to that.

I’d be remiss to not bring up the big Survivor Series match last year with you and Roman Reigns, people still talk about it, people want to see you guys get together again in the ring. Do you think with the draft, it would be a good time for you and Roman to hook up again and is that a match you want to revisit given how well received it was?

Yeah, I definitely want to revisit it, and I know we will revisit it when the time is right. It’s so interesting that for Survivor Series, for that match that had nobody there, we had ten times more buzz than our WrestleMania match, at WrestleMania 35, and the roles were completely flipped where Roman’s playing a closer version to the real person with the volume turned up, as is the case with myself. With one week build, we were able to cause that kind of buzz – and, ma,n I know there’s so much there and I’m so excited to revisit it.

I don’t know exactly when the draft is, I know it’s coming up probably sooner than later, but I don’t know if now’s the time to do it, I know McIntyre’s on his rebuild, trying to get myself back on track and I don’t think the time’s to go after Roman who’s clearly top of the top right now. I think I’ve got to fight, claw, get through some good feuds, get through some good opponents, and when the time is right, walk right out there, in front of Roman and say, “Remember me?” and it’ll be time to battle once again.

Two last questions for you, one that I know a lot of old school fans want to know is, will Broken Dreams ever come back? If you go on YouTube and type in Drew McIntyre, one of the first things that pops up is ‘Drew McIntyre Broken Dreams’ still to this day, is this something that you want to try and bring back in some form?

Yeah – I say it all the time in every interview I get asked, which is almost every interview, eventually it’s going to happen. I imagine it’s going to be in a bigger event, it might be as part of a package – we did that in NXT, prior to my match with Bobby Roode when I won the NXT title, we used a part of it and people were absolutely buzzing.

But I see it more like as a combination like Edge did just at SummerSlam there, with the Brood into his new music. If we could use it in some capacity at the beginning, cutting into the war pipes, which is more suitable for who I am today. The thing I always say is, everybody please learn the words because if I somehow convince management, “We gotta use this, because the fans love it, they’re all waiting for it, they’ve been asking me for it for years, they know all the words,” and I walk out there and nobody knows the words and they don’t sing it like Jericho’s song, I’ll be devastated, and I’m going to have to go back with my tail between my legs going, “I was wrong.”

Well, there is a message to fans everywhere, get on the lyrics on Google and start learning it. Last thing I just want to say to you is everyone’s sending their well-wishes to Triple H because it came out yesterday that he’s recovering from a procedure. I just wanted to ask you about your relationship with Triple H because when you came back to WWE, he was a big part of you being in NXT and can you talk about how important that relationship has been for you?

I wouldn’t be back in WWE if it wasn’t for Triple H, it’s as simple as that. William Regal put me on the phone with him, we talked for 40 minutes, within that conversation at the beginning I wasn’t sure if I was going to come back, I was honestly leaning more towards Japan and, by the end of it, I was 100% coming back.

The thing that meant the most to me was not just how far I’d come professionally but how far I’d come as a man and how proud he was of me, and that kind of meant a lot because I have so much respect for him and that’s grown into a friendship today. He really is somebody who is not just a friend to a lot of people but a father figure to a lot of people, and again the news caught everybody off-guard but he’s got a lot of positive energy coming his way right now and he’s going to be fine, which I’m very happy to hear.

Listen, the big UK tour, the Hydro on 22nd September – I’m gonna be there, I’ll try and keep my chants PG friendly and not the -some of the usual Glasgow chants get a bit filthy with the mouth, but who am I kidding?

If I don’t hear “Here we F–in go” during my match, I’ll be pretty upset.

Well, listen, I’ll start it, I promise. Drew I look forward to seeing you beat the crap out of Jinder.

Oh, I’m gonna, I’m gonna. If anyone wants to bring anyth… I’ll not encourage people, I was thinking of the Big Man with his phone with a Stanley on top but I’m not going to encourage people because they’ll actually do it in Scotland, so just enjoy the match.

Thanks to Drew McIntyre for taking the time and to WWE UK for facilitating the chat. You can grab tickets for WWE Live in the UK here!