The former two-time WWE Champion Drew McIntyre turns 36 years old today, so happy birthday to Drew. We first saw him appear on WWE TV in his early 20s, then he got fired, then he came back and reached the top of WWE by becoming WWE Champion for the first time last year at WrestleMania. McIntyre was recently a guest on the Rasslin’ podcast hosted by Brandon F. Walker (listen here) and here are some highlights of their discussion. Thanks to our friends at WrestlingInc for the transcript.
McIntyre was told that Bobby Lashley mentioned how Drew encouraged the members of the Raw locker room to have more physical matches after Drew became WWE Champion last year. Here’s how Drew reacted to that.
“I never knew he said that, so it’s pretty cool that he said something nice about me. But, yeah. I’m always challenging our roster to step up, and I had been since before I won the title. But my big thing was not directly telling everybody, you know, do as I say, not as I do. I tried to lead through my actions and I made sure every single time I was in the ring, and I always wrestled this way, but in particular now the WWE Champion is out there and he is laying everything in and he is bringing this believable style. And if you’re in the ring with him you have to be able to step up to his standard, because if you don’t step up to my standard in that ring then I’ll eat you alive, quite frankly, inside that ring.”
“And it has brought the best out of a lot of people that I have wrestled. It’s the same when you’re watching a Sheamus match, a Lashley match, a Drew McIntyre match, you know we’re going to bring the fight. Especially in that Performance Center when there are no fans there to kind of cover up some superstars whose games were not exactly on point. There was some daylight between other holes that you had to make sure all of your stuff was effective, snug, and believable for the people who watch wrestling in general, but especially for the new fans who are watching boxing and UFC, and they turn on WWE for the first time and it’s in the Performance Center. You better have your stuff down really well, and turn it up. Because realistically also, you’re only wrestling one day a week now. It’s not four days a week, 52 weeks a year anymore. You get time to recover. You’re two grown ass men. Go out there and make them believe. That’s my mentality, and if it trickled down from the top then that’s fantastic, and it’s really cool that Bobby said that.”
McIntyre talked about the weather delay at WrestleMania 37 as well as his thoughts on competing in front of WWE fans again for the first time in over a year.
“Unbelievable. Obviously you mention the buildup to it was interesting. We almost got rained out at times and I was trying to keep myself motivated and in the right frame of mind. But at the same time, just seeing the weather going on, and people being asked to leave the stadium [then to] come back inside, oh my goodness. Last year I’m fighting for the title and there is a worldwide pandemic, and this year I’m fighting for the title and we’re about to get rained out, there must be some kind of jinx. And as it gets closer to showtime and finally we start on time, we’re on the stage and I was actually supposed to be at the front of the stage, but somebody was standing in my spot. And I went, ‘Yes, perfect. I want to blend into the background.’ So, I kind of hid during the anthem as best as I could, because I didn’t want to look up and didn’t want to feel the crowd until it was time for my entrance, because I knew I was the first one walking out.”
“So, I was very conscious of staying as small as I could at 6’5” legit, in the background and all I would do is look up and watch the anthem. I didn’t look at the crowd, obviously I could hear them, and the people around me were excited, the fellow superstars were jumping around and making noise. But I tried my best to drown everything out. Because I was like, ‘Nope, nope. I’ve waited one year, one month, and one day, and I’m the first one out here. I’m not experiencing it until I walk out for my entrance.’ So, I head to the back, I’m the first one through the back, and I hear, ‘Drew, there is a 40-minute delay.’ That’s when everyone is walking past me, fist bumps all-around, you know, ‘Start them off right big man,’ and, ‘Let’s do this,’ you know, ‘You’ve earned this moment,’ and, ‘Kill the show.’ Just person after person, and through my head and my fist is up, just anger in my eyes, [thinking], ’40-minute delay…’ So that was interesting, that 40 minutes.”
McIntyre spoke about the emotion he felt after making his entrance for the first match at WrestleMania 37.
“[When] I came out it kind of occurred to me before I walked through the curtain that there was a lot of Drew content last year, I wonder how they’ll react. I’d been a good guy this whole time, but we’ll see. In the past when people have kind of been in the fans faces for a long time they go, ‘Okay, we like this guy. He’s cool. But what’s the new thing I want to check out?’ And that new thing was Lashley at the time, he was on the rise. He’d finally reached the top. He was where I was at a year prior, and I had constantly been in the title scene for a year and a half now, how are [the fans] going to react? And that kind of goes through your head real quick before you walk out.”
“And to walk out and hear the big cheer, and hear the big response, I decided on the fly to do the 3-2-1 with the crowd live before I stuck the sword in the stage, which was really cool. You know, walking down [the ramp] you can see me get emotional and almost teary-eyed, almost actually crying to be honest, before I got in the ring. . . It was just such a great night for everybody.”
Lastly, McIntyre was asked if Bobby Lashley could be Drew’s greatest rivalry and then talked about another rivalry that he thinks is the best of his career so far.
“Yeah, I really do. Thus far I think it’s Randy Orton. We spent four months with each other and that was my ultimate test of, ‘Can I step up to Randy Orton’s level on the microphone, in the ring as a storyteller, and can I hang with the best in the game?’ And that was such an important development and stage for me, keeping up with Randy and proving myself, and cementing myself at the top of the mountain. But Lashley and I are so similar and are at similar levels, and are trying to pull each other up through our work. And every time we get in there together it is easy. We know we can lay it in to each other any way we want. We can make people question do we like each other. And at times, we don’t. You can tell just by watching our matches sometimes on Monday Night Raw. You know, you can put us in there with not as much time as a WrestleMania, but you know you’re going to get a hard-hitting and exciting match for the duration of Lashley vs. McIntyre together. And keeping that storyline progressing, and adding wrinkles, like Braun Strowman, in keeps things interesting.”
Check out Drew McIntyre’s full interview on the Rasslin’ podcast hosted by Brandon F. Walker (listen here).
Drew McIntyre challenges Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship again at WWE Hell in a Cell on Sunday, June 20.