Drew McIntyre has recalled the meeting with WWE CEO Vince McMahon where his “career crashed before his eyes” ahead of a monumental homecoming which saw the first-ever British Champion’s ascent to the summit recognised by the biggest venue to hold a wrestling event in Scotland this century.
Speaking at a media event before his WWE Glasgow homecoming at the SSE Hydro, Inside The Ropes‘ Lead Writer Gary Cassidy asked Drew McIntyre about the many pitches he’s been given over the years, before suggesting that the scarf Drew was wearing that he’d been gifted from the Lord Provost may prompt a Runway Man appearance at the Hydro.
“This is the closest I’ve been to Runway Man for years. I’ll never forget just sitting in Vince’s office, probably the second time I’d ever met him. I’d been on the road initially for six months, was part of FCW, ready to go on TV and, back then, it wasn’t like NXT where you seamlessly transitioned with that character people know to RAW or SmackDown. It was. You’re given a new character. You get dropped right in the mix.”
McIntyre continued, explaining the moment John Laurinaitis pitched the character he would ultimately never perform as, but one which now lives in the lore of his unpredictable career.
“We’re sitting down, myself, Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis, and Johnny’s explaining to Vince that the character is going to be… ‘The Runway Man. He’s going to have his own runway. He’s going to come out basically in underpants, walking down the runway!’ And I just, in my head, see my career crash before my eyes, and Vince said to me, ‘So what do you think?’ ‘If you like it, sir, I’ll make it work.’ I think he could see I did not like it at all so thankfully he just kind of let me be myself and it led to the Chosen One stuff.”
When recalling whether there had been any recent pitches in the past few years to deviate from the Drew McIntyre character who has been so successful, becoming the company’s first-ever Scottish and British world champion, McIntyre said he’s sure there’s been minor suggestions but nothing that stands out like the potential career de-railers he had to overcome in the past.
“I mean, I guess there must have been. There’s nothing that jumps out to me as big as like the stuff I heard during my first run, like winning Money In The Bank one time until 8pm and it changing to Kane the night he beat Rey Mysterio for the title. But also looking back and understanding why certain things were done from a business perspective.”
McIntyre added that things are ever-changing in WWE, but that he can look back now and be thankful things went how they did.
“In WWE, things are changing all the time and we’re every single week, nonstop, and it’s frustrating as it is at the time when and things don’t happen that you really want to happen, I can look back now and say it, ‘My goodness, I’m glad that never happened then or that never happened there and or I wouldn’t have been ready for this’ – and things happen for a reason. And the stuff in my life that happened that I’ve been like, ‘My goodness, that’s the worst thing ever.’ I can look at now and go. ‘That was a blessing, and it toughened me up and made me the man I am today.'”
Meanwhile, Cassidy also asked Drew McIntyre about any hesitation or regret of including the controversial content included in his book, such as naming Chris Benoit when telling a story about how he thought Benoit and Undertaker were laughing at him, as well as noting the Saudi Arabia plane incident, and personal topics such as marital problems, health issues, losing loved ones, and battling alcohol addiction. The two-time WWE Champion went on to say there are maybe a couple of things he wishes were in the book upon reflection, but nothing he’d take out.
“Maybe a couple of things I wish I put in there but there’s nothing I regret putting in there. I mean, anything that’s in there is just me stating facts, and my mindset was not burying anybody, like I don’t see the point for negativity. If anything negative was said, it was negative upon myself and the lessons that I learned throughout my career in life, and that’s why we did the book.”
McIntyre went on to note exactly how the book came about, and the reason he felt it was an important project to take on.
“It wasn’t just, ‘Hey, you know what the world needs during a pandemic is that Scottish wrestler’s life story, that will get everybody a right…’ It was more, an outside company that came to WWE and said, ‘Drew’s really open with his story, all his ups and downs and we think he can help some people. He’s willing to talk so openly on his interviews outside of the ring and talks about it openly on Monday Night Raw and we really think he can inspire some people to chase their dreams.’ And that’s what it was about. The wrestling’s a foundation. Obviously, that’s what I do, I try to simplify the industry for people that are fans and non-fans. But more importantly, it’s more about my life and those up things, but especially those down teams and to let people know, no matter how dark times might get, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. If you just keep surrounding yourself with positive people believe things are going to get better and you’re accountable to the person in the mirror.”