WWE Champion, Drew McIntyre, has opened up about his WWE tryout and how his initial efforts weren’t enough to garner a contract.
Prior to signing with World Wrestling Entertainment in 2007, Drew McIntyre and best friend Sheamus were hot property on the UK independent scene. Bouts for the likes of ICW, where McIntyre had become the group’s inaugural champion, All Star Wrestling, Real Quality Wrestling and Irish Whip Wrestling garnered the attention of the biggest wrestling company in the world.
Soon, the chums were invited to attend a WWE tryout in Manchester, England, where their performance would decide whether the offer of a contract was forthcoming. However, attending the session didn’t quite result in the desired outcome.
Sitting down with Stone Cold Steve Austin on the latest episode of Broken Skull Sessions, ‘The Scottish Psychopath’ spoke of his WWE tryout and how a second chance lead him to Florida:
“We do our thing and one of the agents comes up to me – Steve Keirn – and says I did a great job. ‘If John Laurinaitis was here today, you’d be signed. But he’s not’ and he walks off. So I go, ‘So what happens next?’ ‘Oh, well come back in six months.’ At least it was a positive comment.
Sure enough, six months later we come back in better shape and a bit more of an idea of what’s going on. We got in the ring, rolled around, slowed down a bit and tried not to do anything too over-the-top. Johnny told me, ‘Take a walk with me kid. We’re thinking about signing you.’ At 21 years old I look him in the eye and say, ‘Well, I’m thinking about letting you [laughs].'”
After two attempts, McIntyre was on the long and winding road to superstardom. However, a pit-stop in Ohio Valley Wrestling threw more spanners in the works when it came to light the powerhouse didn’t know as much as he thought he did when he took a premature step onto television:
“I tell Al [Snow], ‘Is this perfectly normal where everyone that comes here in their first week is told their gonna be on TV?’ ‘No Drew, this is not normal. This never happens and you need more time here.’ He gives me a crash course and tells me the things I need to learn.
I go out there [for my first SmackDown match] and I not so much crapped the bed, but I learned pretty quickly that there was a lot I had to learn. Like the hard camera – I had a hold on in the middle of the match and the referee says, ‘Work the hard camera’ and I asked the referee, ‘What is a hard camera?’ And that was live on SmackDown.”
Al Snow was correct. Drew McIntyre wasn’t yet ready for telelvision and was soon sent back to developmental to hone his ring craft and character. However, this time he was assigned to Florida Championship Wrestling:
“We started training with Dr. Tom, Steve Keirn, Billy Kidman and Norman Smiley. I was like, ‘Ok, this is exactly where I need to be.'”
Drew’s journey from the indies, to developmental, to WWE television and back to square one when he was released from WWE made him the talent he is today.
Not only did it earn him the number one spot in the ITR50 in 2020, but two celebrated WWE Championship reigns and countless excellent main event matches which will stand the test of time.
Credit for the interview: Broken Skull Sessions
h/t for the transcription: Wrestling Inc.