Forget the fact that WrestleMania 36 will play our behind closed doors – for Drew McIntyre this weekend represents the biggest match of his career to date. After winning the Royal Rumble, the Scotsman will go one on one against Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship.
It has been anything but an easy road to the main event of WrestleMania for McIntyre. Released from the WWE in 2014 after never really living up to the moniker of ‘The Chosen One’, bestowed upon him by none other than Vince McMahon, McIntrye reverted to his real name, Drew Galloway, on the indie scene around the world. He quickly became a star elsewhere, focusing his efforts and attention towards proving all the doubters wrong before returning to WWE via NXT in 2017.
Should McIntyre overcome the odds and dethrone Lesnar, he would become the first ever UK WWE Champion – a status McIntyre has promised fans on numerous occasions would be his. Before WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans, our King Of The Ring Andy Spoors caught up with Drew and what better way to get ready for WrestleMania then revisiting their chat from the Rushonrock archives?
Rushonrock: Hi Drew, how are you doing?
Drew McIntyre: I’m good, how you going?
Rushonrock: Good thanks! You were recently inducted into the ICW Hall Of Fame, how was that?
DM: Oh it was amazing! It was amazing as well because I told Triple H about it and he said not just “what’s an ICW?” he knows all about ICW, he knows what ICW is and he’s been on ICW shows and he said “I want you to go there, be there physically and be part of it!” WWE has a good relationship with ICW because they support companies that are helping grow the future talent like ICW and Progress. For him to say go back there meant the world. Mark Dallas the promoter was the first guy in wrestling that I ever met. We were both 14 and I was trying to find a wrestling school, he found one in Falkirk. It wasn’t really a wrestling school, it was some guy claiming he was a wrestling trainer. I remember the first time we met, I told him I wanted to be a part of WWE, he told me he wanted to be a promoter like Paul Heyman, that was his goal. From that day we became very good friends.
Rushonrock: But not everything went to plan?
DM: We put on our first show, had a total of 50 people at a community centre, it was terrible. He went away for a while and spent all his money on it and then when I came over here, I saw that it was growing and was trying again. It was creeping up and it got to the point where there was 1500 people there at the biggest show and that was the show I made my return at. We then took that 1500 to 2000 at my next show after that, to 4000 the following year and then nearly 7000 people for the biggest independent show of all time in Scotland with ICW. We did that together and did it with my friends and that was very cool. To be recognised for that in the Hall of Fame, has meant the world and maybe recognise my contributions to ICW, but for me it just meant the world to do it with my friends and succeed with my friends.
Rushonrock: We actually attended a talk show with Mark in Newcastle and he speaks very highly of you. He also talked about meeting you at a bus or a train station?
DM: Oh yeah he remembered and talked about it!? Oh my god! Yeah it was Glasgow train station and he was a bit of a Ned back then or a chav in England I guess. We clicked right away, that’s the thing, we had such different backgrounds but we clicked right away. He took us to this training place and the guy was completely clueless. Even as 14-year-olds we knew the guy was completely clueless but we didn’t have anything else. We had a crash pad, some mats and some guys that liked wrestling. So Mark and I would just work on the RVD vs Jerry Lynn sequences that we watched in the ECW PPVs as we didn’t know what else to do!
Rushonrock: And then you go on from there to now! Last year you were at Download Festival with NXT, how does it feel to have gone from a dodgy wrestling school when you were 14 to representing WWE at a music festival?
DM: It’s mental and it’s wild! Obviously I had the experience with WWE already, I’ve done multiple WrestleManias, I had Wrestlemanias as Intercontinental Champion etc. and then I went back and had the opportunity to grow as a person, to become the talent I should have been all along. I cut all the negatives out of my life and can really feel the difference. I returned here as a new person, as a businessman, as a man. But I came back home and to get the opportunity to go to Download, which I went to as a kid multiple times, where Robbie Brookside once dropped me off after an All Star Wrestling Tour. That’s where I used to spend my summer holidays, I’d wrestle for All Star Wrestling as a kid. Robbie Brookside dropped me off at the door for Download one year, my buddy and I went and it was Guns N’ Roses and Metallica headlining. When I was younger, I wanted to be in a band or a wrestler and then suddenly I was a wrestler on the biggest rock festival in the UK. Aleister Black and I were just walking around looking at everybody thinking this is pretty cool. Makes you feel like you’ve really made it now, you get the best of both worlds!
Tune into WrestleMania to see if Drew McIntyre can create history, exclusively on the WWE Network on April 4 and 5. For the first time the grandest stage of them all is ‘Too Big For One Night’ so be sure to check in with Rushonrock as we bring you previews and reactions to all the action.