Drew McIntyre is a two-time WWE Champion, but leading the company’s return to the UK for its first stadium show in 30 years will be part of his legacy.
The Scot is aiming to take the undisputed WWE title from Roman Reigns at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on September 3, or he could be content to knock out WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
WWE recently had a four leg European tour and the Scottish Warrior was kind enough to come to talkSPORT Studios for a catch up.
He discussed taking on Baron Corbin at WrestleMania, talking to Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker at the same event, pitching to face Triple H on his return to WWE, and his love for the European title at retirement.
On Baron Corbin saying, “What do Drew McIntyre’s sword and his mother have in common?” He lost them both.
“Nothing like that is said on our TV program without talent approval and being comfortable with it. Where we were at with the story, we were there for six months, they took credit of the neck injury that kicked me out.
“Then after I came back to the Rumble, it was really me beating Madcap the whole time. I felt like we weren’t quite where we needed to be for a ‘Mania match. It needed something more, something more personal to take it to the next level.
“I spoke to the man himself [Vince McMahon] and we were able, on Monday, to finally get some heat on Drew McIntyre, which hadn’t happened until then. I felt it was important.
“I said I’d like a line in there to make it more personal. I’ll approve it, I’ll make sure it’s not too far but enough for people to say ‘ooo, that’s a lot” but not out of line, because I know she would [his late mum, Angela] like that, it would make him happy.
“That’s 100% why I was comfortable doing it.”
From big title matches at WrestleMania to his singles with Corbin…
“There were a few people who said that before ‘Mania [that his match with Corbin wasn’t a big match] and that’s why I wanted to take it to the next level more than anything. One of these matches is not like the other:
“Roman to ‘Mania coming back from leukemia, my first WrestleMania since coming back, beating Brock for the title, fighting Lashley for the title – then the match with Corbin.
It had been a six month build. We treated it like the rest was about glory, championships but this one is personal.
“And I really wanted to make sure like, ‘OK, we need one more thing for this to cross the line. It’s personal, but let’s make it really personal, let’s make it memorable and there were some things I wanted to happen there.
“And I know how good Corbin is. He’s one of our real bad guys. People love to boo him and say negative things about him online. People say they don’t like him, but that’s because he’s a bad guy.
“People say ‘this guy is such a good heel’ – that means he’s really, really bad, mean [laughs]. He’s a real villain.
“I knew it would be a very good game. He can presumably beat me, which isn’t easy to do at my height. I also wanted something special to pay for the sword. I started bringing him into the ring and throwing him at people’s heads… people still cheer me on for some reason I don’t know how the good guy am [laughs].
“But I wanted to finally use the sword and pay. Obviously, I can’t ram someone, so I suggested sticking the sword in the ring – which is what we did on SmackDown and cutting the top rope, which was really a terrifying moment.
“It was going to work and look awesome or it wasn’t going to work, but I would be horribly embarrassed in front of the world.”
Conversations with Steve Austin and Undertaker at WM38
“I have to talk to all of them and catch up. It’s crazy for me, even today as I speak to them as peers on the same level and on the same page, deep down inside I’m still that kid in Scotland who watched them grow up in dreaming of being in the WWE.
“I saw Steve right before he started working on what he was going to do for ‘Mania’. I walked in like ‘this is so crazy, you’re going to be at WrestleMania with Steve Austin.’
“On Mania night, I gave him advice that is also surreal. He hasn’t done this in 20 years and I could see… Even though he’s a very confident and intense guy – the way the character is, that’s how he is in real life – but no , I mostly just reminded him to breathe.
“I think it’s the one you think you forget when you’ve been out of the game for a minute. Even with the injuries I’ve had, you come back and forget. The adrenaline is so high and the crowd is so loud that you forget to breathe and blow yourself up. We’ve talked about that.
“And I spoke with ‘Taker from the Hall of Fame and it’s the good start he deserves. He gave me some advice like he always does because I always ask him how to approach different games and things to do with my character to move forward.
“I saw him after the Hall of Fame and I said ‘That was one hell of a ‘Taker ‘Ted Talk’ you gave there! I hope you plan to take it down the road and to get some money out of it [laughs].
“I was dazzled. All those years he spent saying ‘I’m going to bury you man’ [Undertaker voice] he could have been there talking for an hour! Such an eloquent speaker.
On Triple H bringing him back to WWE
“I wanted a game. It’s unfortunate that it’s not happening, but I’m just glad he’s healthy for him and his family. He’s the reason I’m 100% back in WWE. My mind was set on when I was not going to re-sign with IMPACT that I was going to Japan.
“I was determined and nothing could make me change my mind, but then [William] Regal, who has always been a mentor, called me and told me to talk to Triple H before making a decision. This led to a phone call from Triple H, we spoke for about 40 minutes and my decision was made within the first 10 minutes.
“He’s like, ‘I watched you’ and I think I appreciate that, Hunter, but no you didn’t. [laughs]. You are too busy, you have too much to do. You’re not sitting around watching Drew’s indie matches! But of course the way he talked about some of my games and the way I moved on, I was like wow, he really looked.
“Besides the fact that he was proud of how far he had come as an artist, it meant more to me how proud he was of how far he had come as a man, and he made it clear to me that he was time to go home. I didn’t know that until I talked to him, but I knew that right away.
“I also knew it was NXT. Somehow I could tell the difference. He had the same thoughts. We had a deal and he stuck to it 100%.
Wanting to face Triple H at WrestleMania
“I threw every chance I could. What about us at WrestleMania? ‘What’s the story?’ [Triple H said] and I was like ‘What’s the story? We’ll find a solution, but what about you and me at WrestleMania?!’ How awesome would that be?
“We got in the ring together a few times in my first run, but when I came back, we had a match in Japan with myself, Dolph Ziggler and I can’t remember my other partners. It was against The Good Brothers, AJ Styles and Hunter. It was really cool.
“We got in the ring together, we didn’t have anything in mind and we went for it. It was cool to go back and forth a bit and you understand how good he is, what a ring general he is.
“You can see watching, but you don’t know until you’re there with them how good it is. Just a few interactions during an 8 man tag in Japan, I could say like ‘wow, he’s really good.’
On the return of the European title…
“Yes! I just want it. Because when I was a kid and I saw it I was like ‘ah man, I want to be European champion’ and now I can’t because it doesn’t exist not at the moment. I don’t like too many titles and there are a lot of them at the moment, but I just wanted it when I was a kid.
“So bring it back, let me win it and then I’ll take it away. You never want too many titles in the company because then it’s not as special. I think the current situation is good, but give old Drew the European title for young Drew.
Be sure to get your tickets for WWE’s Clash at the Castle on September 3. Pre-sale tickets available May 18, full sale May 20