2020 saw Drew McIntyre become the first-ever British WWE Champion. However, it was two decades of hard work that got him there.
A portion of that hard work came on the road to recovery, as McIntyre enlisted the help of DDP to rehabilitate an injury in 2018. Following an arm injury sustained while defending his NXT Championship against Andrade, the Scotsman would make a 15-hour round trip to Georgia to work out with Diamond Dallas Page for four hours.
“I’m surprised it didn’t come earlier. I remember telling people, ‘I think he’s going to be the biggest star in the world.’ A year, year and a half later, it hadn’t happened yet. I remember people saying to me, ‘So, do you think Drew is still going to be the top guy?’ I said, ‘Yeah, when they start letting him be himself.’ He’s not a f***ing psychopath. First of all, he’s got a huge heart and the best work ethic – outside of me – that I’ve ever seen. When you drive seven and half hours to work with someone for four hours, and drive seven and a half hours back the other way, you’ve got a good work ethic.”
DDP would continue, likening the WWE Champion’s current form and demeanor to some legends of the squared circle.
“If you look at Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Rock, Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Kevin Nash, DDP – it’s all us amped up. Unless you have to play a character, like Scott Hall.”
The Hall of Famer’s praise doesn’t evaporate when McIntyre leaves the ring, though, with Page stating that the WWE Champion is a champion in every sense of the word. DDP reveals how McIntyre is one of the greats for WWE outside of the ring, comparing the Ayr-born Superstar to 16-time World Champion John Cena.
“A lot of guys don’t want to do, outside of the ring, something they are not getting paid for, which is all the promotional stuff. Like, when you’ve got the mantle, when you’ve got the belt, and you carry the company, John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, they did non-stop PR. Drew is like, ‘Bring it.’ Some guys complain about it. Drew is like, ‘No, give it to me. I WANT to do it. I WANT to be the face of the company’.”
That work ethic is evident in WWE 24: Drew McIntyre – The Chosen One but McIntyre said it best – “you won’t outwork me” in a video for DDPY in 2018.
DDP went on to reveal that he spoke to Drew McIntyre ahead of the Scotsman’s monumental ‘Mania moment, and stated it’s a testament to the WWE Champion that he can even get an amazing reaction in an empty arena.
“It’s really interesting because Drew is getting such an amazing reaction…when everybody left. I remember talking to him right before ‘Mania, and here’s his big main event moment. A lot of people are talking to him going, ‘Oh, dude. What a drag. You finally get your spot and no-one’s going to be there. That’s the sh**s.’ Like, everybody was reacting like that. I reacted like, ‘Do you want to know why I think it’s amazing? Because this could be the only time this ever happens’.”
The WWE Hall of Famer went on to say that he told McIntyre the unique circumstances make his WrestleMania moment that more special.
“That’s what I told him. I said, ‘Dude, this makes you unique, this makes you special and everything that happens moving forward is what makes you who you are’.”
One thing that came up during McIntyre’s WWE Chronicle, where footage of a much-fabled seminar with Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts in East Kilbride, near Glasgow, saw another legend identify McIntyre’s potential from an early age.
“I have a picture of Drew when he’s 15 at a workshop with Jake Roberts. Jake pointed at him and said, “That kid’s got potential to be a star.” He pointed him out. For me, starting at 35 and to finally get my positioning to where my career took off, and I was almost 41 at the time. In my 40s, I appreciated it so much and then to finally get that world title. I was in the ring with Flair and Hogan, and Sting. Three of the biggest names ever. I appreciated that at a different level. That’s what Drew’s going through right now. That’s why his work ethic is second to none.”
You can read ITRWrestling’s entire interview with Diamond Dallas Page here, or watch WWE Hall of Famer DDP speak about Drew McIntyre’s rise to the top via Inside The Ropes’ YouTube channel below.