Drew McIntyre has recounted one of his early experiences in WWE where ‘The Samoan Bulldozer’ Umaga purposely messed with the young Scotsman.
When McIntyre first came on board with WWE, working for their then developmental territory OVW, he soon found himself sharing the ring with Umaga. Umaga was part of the fabled Anoa’i Samoan wrestling dynasty that included his brother Rikishi and nephews The Usos.
Writing in his new book, A Chosen Destiny, Drew McIntyre discussed Umaga making the young rookie sweat, all to entertain Jimmy and Jey Uso.
“When I was 22 and was first on the road with OVW, Vince specifically put Umaga with me to see what I could do. And he was a little frustrated to be in a ‘dark’ match that was nontelevised because he was a significant character on the show. In fact, he was genuinely upset, but he clearly thought, Screw it, I’ll have some fun with the kid here.”
The Usos were there; they weren’t signed to WWE, but Umaga had brought them along hoping to get them into the scene. I learned all this later! To amuse them as much as himself, he said, ‘I’m going to mess with the kid because he’s nervous’ – and I was nervous as hell. This was big scary Umaga, this huge guy who had been around forever, playing this savage character on TV.”
According to McIntyre, the big Samoan refused to discuss the match with him to make the two-time WWE Champion squirm. In the end though, Umaga gave McIntyre the heads up of what to do in the ring.
“I kept trying to ask him what he wanted to do in the non-televised match, which is the very first match the crowd see before the show goes live. I kept hovering near him, always in the background, popping my head around the corner to see if he was busy. He knew I was there, he knew I was eager to talk, but he’d pretend I wasn’t there. He was doing this to entertain the Usos and it went on all day long, he could see I was sweating buckets.”
“It reached the point when we were literally counting down to the start of the match, and I thought, we still haven’t talked about it and I’m going to go into the ring and get killed. Finally, he grabbed me, literally just as we were about to walk to the ring, and said, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do, this, this, this, this . . .’ And he made sure that I was going to look good. He could have run right through me if he’d wanted to: he was a significant character up against an unknown 22-year-old who hadn’t been on TV. He won, of course, but he made sure I looked good because Vince wanted to take a look at me.”
Unfortunately, Umaga passed away in 2009 only six months after he parted ways with WWE. McIntyre reflected on his experience with the late star:
“A few years later, I was sad to hear of his death in December 2009, aged only 36. The Usos remember how Umaga had fun at my expense, messing with me all day, but in the end, he made sure I was at ease and looked like a good combatant in the match. Not long after that, the Usos were signed by WWE and came to FCW, where they developed into an awesome tag team.”
Drew McIntyre also discussed receiving advice when still a rookie in the company from his recent WWE Title rival, Bobby Lashley.