The current WWE Champion's journey to the top has been far from straightforward but those unbelievable highs coupled with some devastating lows have lead him to the top of the ladder in the WWE and I'm certain he wouldn't change a thing.
From young debutant Drew Galloway, to Vince McMahon's 'Chosen One', to the 3MB, the Scottish Psychopath is finally able to portray the real Drew McIntyre.
I have watched just about every single show, network special and interview on Drew McIntyre over the past few months and I couldn't be more impressed with a man who seems so humble and grateful despite his superstar status. This hadn't always been the case however as I look back at his journey to the top.
He made his WWE debut at the tender age of twenty one, defeating Brett Major aka Zack Ryder on the October 12th, 2007 episode of Smackdown.
He revealed that just minutes before his debut match as he stood in the Gorilla position, Stephanie McMahon advised that he changed his surname. So, he and Michael Hayes rushed to the back, looked through Wikipedia for Scottish surnames to replace Galloway and they settled on McIntyre. Despite being announced as Drew McIntyre the titan tron still read Galloway, this is an early indication of the journey to finding himself in WWE.
After his rapid rise from a University Student wrestling in the UK to wrestling on the main roster in WWE he was deemed not quite the finished article and was subsequently moved to the developmental Florida Championship Wrestling. His time there saw him clinch the FCW Heavyweight Championship as he gained the knowledge and experience required to make his return to the main roster when the time was right.
Reflecting on his time in FCW he told the story of Vince attending a show however Drew wasn't booked for a match so was disappointed he wouldn't have a chance to impress the boss. Last minute he was told to lace up his boots for an impromptu match, in his own words he kicked the crap out of his opponent who did have a brief spell in which they rallied for a baby face comeback only to run out of steam. This angered Drew as his opponents poor conditioning had a negative effect on the match so, Drew give him a good kick in the ribs, maybe another in the face, and finished him off with added venom. It was that intensity that got the bosses attention.
Upon his return to the main roster Vince McMahon himself proclaimed Drew as the chosen one, the future of the company and the future World Heavyweight Champion. While he didn't quite live up to that billing he did have a hint of success as he became the Intercontinental Champion, defeating John Morrison as well as capturing tag team gold.
The Scotsman's next act in WWE was to become a member the Three Man Band. Lead by the One Man Band in Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre joined the band to form a trio which failed to make any real impact.
His time in 3MB was the next stage of an identity crisis as what was almost a comedy act didn't fit with McIntyre's character and intensity. In a recent interview with Noel Clarke as part of the Career Chronicles series he was asked whether he'd lost his focus of becoming WWE Champion while in 3MB, this was his response:-
“I wasn't getting much match time but whenever I did, I would always get such positive feedback. Heath would generally be doing the wrestling because he kind of was 3MB, he was the entertaining, over the top character and was very funny. Whenever I wrestled it was very aggressive and serious and didn't really match with 3MB. So, in my head I thought maybe not WWE title, but at least if I get the proper opportunity I can get a run at that IC title, and who knows beyond that.
It became apparent that he was living a so called rockstar lifestyle outside the ring and whether it was just method acting as part of the 3MB, culture, or just a case of self destruction this lifestyle may have contributed to his release from the company in June 2014.
During an interview with WWE's Charlie Caruso he discussed his initial feeling of bitterness in the aftermath of his release which would see him become fueled by anger, however once the dust had settled he was big enough to look himself in the mirror and admit that he was the only person to blame. At that point the chip came off his shoulders and his quest to get back to the WWE would commence as the last thing he wanted to be remembered as by WWE fans was an idiot playing air guitar.
Drew also confessed that being told 'you're the guy' in the indies then being told 'you're the guy' by Vince McMahon himself probably did go to his head when he was younger as he probably became too comfortable in his position.
Following his release Drew went on to have success with Evolve, ICW, TNA (Impact) to name a few however despite that success his wife Kaitlyn was instrumental in encouraging her husband to continue improving and strive to be the absolute best version of himself.
During his Career Chronicles he also stated a turning point in his career being an incident at a TNA event. Before a big PPV he had an accident in Newcastle in which he broke two vertebrae in his neck. This moment shocked him into drastic lifestyle changes with the support of his wife Kaitlyn as he explains below:-
"I had maybe three weeks off before I returned and started cutting promos, but she asked me during that time if I think I've given it my all? Well, I'm basically the number one guy in the world outside of WWE. She was like you could be even better, could be looking better, and this should scare you into making the required changes. That's the day I was like alright, the partying is out the window. I returned to the independent scene looking completely different within a matter of weeks, with dieting and working out harder in the gym suddenly people were like oh my goodness you look crazy. Within a month after that I was talking to WWE, then I was back in NXT and that was the final steps and it was all her advising me the whole time."
Upon the expiry of his Impact Wrestling contract in 2017 wrestling in Japan was considered however the lure of NXT was too strong and he signed a contract with what he sees as the third brand in WWE lead by Triple H. His first appearance as NXT's newest acquisition was as a takeover spectator, admittedly he was nervous about the reaction from the fans but any fears were allayed by a fantastic reception from a rapturous Takeover crowd.
The new and improved Drew McIntyre made his NXT debut on April 12, 2017 where he faced one of his favourite opponents, Oney Lorcan. Just four months later he became the NXT Champion as he defeated Bobby Roode at NXT Takeover Brooklyn. His rapid rise to the top in NXT was a testament to the man and performer Drew had became during his time away from WWE as he began to find himself and become a new leader in the locker room.
His short stint as champion would come to an abrupt end as he dropped the title and suffered a torn bicep in a match with Andrade Cien Almas at NXT Takeover Wargames.
His return from injury in April, 2018 was another milestone in Drew's redemption story as he made his long awaited return to WWE's main roster as the newest member of Monday Night RAW. The man that was released compared to the man that stood before the WWE Universe was almost incomparable as the idiot playing air guitar had transformed into a Scottish Psychopath with a point to prove.
The months that followed saw heel Drew align with superstars such as Dolph Ziggler, Braun Strowman as they went to battle with The Shield. This would set up a singles feud between McIntyre and Reigns which would culminate at Wrestlemania 35 and despite coming up short this was another sign Drew is gaining an identity worthy of the main event scene.
In the aftermath of Wrestlemania he was appointed Shane McMahon's enforcer which led to a tag team match against Roman Reigns and The Undertaker. In a recent interview Drew recalled his feeling of inferiority during his first encounter with the Deadman but this time he stood face to face with an icon as an equal showing how far he had come.
As his confidence grew another legend got on board the McIntyre freight train as he was announced as the final member of Team Flair ahead of their match with Team Hogan at Crown Jewell. This was cited by himself as another turning point in showing his personality, he requested that Flair gave him the big 'Wheelin Dealin Son of a Gun' build up, The Nature Boy was happy to oblige.
On the subject of bringing out his personality he also explained on Career Chronicles how Paul Heyman has been influential in encouraging the WWE to give him more mic time. Drew explains:-
"I was in a dark match, it was a cage match and they needed to buy time when the cage was being set up. Paul said just go out and speak on the mic Drew, which a lot of people panic about, the idea of talking, it's what I love to do, when I was outside of the company that's all I did was talk on the microphone because I wanted to be comfortable and good at it. So, I went out and I sat on the barricade and I just had a laugh with the crowd, I was very interactive with them just being Drew, being my real self. They saw that and went well let's give him a little more opportunity, with Paul Heyman at the helm he knew I could do it already but he was able to point and say that's the Drew we need on TV now."
With Wrestlemania just around the corner, could he have what it takes to win the Royal Rumble and go on to main event at the show of all shows? Old Drew would have had no chance but this Drew, you bet he's got what it takes.
He went on to become the first British wrestler to win the Royal Rumble in what was one of the greatest Rumbles in recent history, largely thanks to the unbelievable performance and storytelling from Brock Lesnar. The reaction he got from the crowd when he eliminated Brock gave me goosebumps and coupled with the emotion pouring out of him at the end, this was a moment that will live long in the memory and it seems a new star has been born.
What was evident following the biggest win in his career was the gratitude he showed towards Vince McMahon as the bosses faith in 'The Chosen One' finally paid off.
Despite his imminent victory he admitted to enjoying a moment as a fan during the Royal Rumble when WWE Hall of Famer Edge returned following his retirement through injury, this is what he had to say on Career Chronicles:-
“I was so excited to see him and there was a point in the Rumble where AJ Styles had me in the corner, so, I kept us in the corner deliberately because I knew Edge was coming and I wanted to hear the reaction. Then when his music hit I just lay there and looked around because I knew the camera wasn't on me, it was on Edge so I just took that moment to enjoy it. Then I realised towards the end, oh no, when he gets eliminated they might boo, and I'm going to win this thing. So, it got a bit scary towards the end, when Roman eliminated Edge and they booed but thankfully when I put Roman out they exploded again when I won.“
Following his epic victory he was inundated with interviews, television appearances and book signings and despite his superstar status he came across extremely well and genuine. During a meet and greet with fans one fan even shouted "Thanks for being so humble man, you're really nice." He still managed to show his character and personality however as he told fans he's going to cut off Brocks head and mount it on his wall.
After eliminating Brock with the 'Claymore Heard Around The World' He set his sights on the WWE Championship. This was his dream scenario as even during his time away from WWE he used Lesnar as motivation, he was the benchmark and it spurred him on to improve all aspects of his performance.
The build up to their match at Wrestlemania was close to perfect and the fact that Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman went out of their way to put Drew over so well shows how highly they rate the champion in waiting. Unfortunately for all concerned this worldwide pandemic forced WWE to hold the pre-recorded event over two nights in an empty Performance Centre. This didn't stop Drew McIntyre achieving his dream and becoming the new WWE Champion however as he Claymored his way to victory to close a historical event.
Despite achieving his childhood dream he won't be able to complete his road to redemption until he holds that title aloft in a huge arena packed full WWE fans and this is what he had to say on the matter during his Career Chronicles:-
"Yeah the idea of waking out in front of the crowd damn right that's going to be one of the biggest moments of my career if not thee biggest moment of my career. Winning the title at mania there was no-one there there but I looked down that camera and let everyone know thanks for supporting me.
I've said this multiple times and I'll say it again, when we can get everyone in the building again, you know, we have dark matches, we have Main Event which is taped before RAW goes live but I don't want any of that, I'm gonna tell Vince McMahon myself, please for the love of God if I'm the champion do not put anything on before, those fans are so excited to be back we're so excited to perform for them, please let me walk out with the title and that's our freakin wrestling moment right there like everyone is going to be dying for it, I'm going to be just fired up for it, and just, look, it's giving me goosebumps."
Achieving his dream to overcome the man he called the benchmark has given him even more confidence to be the real Drew McIntyre which has been evident every week on Monday Night RAW.
He has fought off competition from all corners with Andrade, Angel Garza and Austin Theory doing their best to derail McIntyre but to no avail. The three men are managed by Zelina Vega and some entertaining dialog between the two saw him label her the big thorn in his a**, again another example of his personality shining through.
He has also held his own against the fantastic version of Seth Rollins we are witnessing right now as the Messiah of Monday Night RAW has targeted the Scottish Psychopath and his WWE Championship. Rollins' mind games have failed to get under the skin of the Champion and during their contract signing for their match at Money In The Bank McIntyre told Seth he was full of s**t.
While some superstars have done their best to bury themselves on social media some have managed to use it to their advantage, most notably Becky Lynch on her journey to becoming 'The Man'. It's been great to see Drew embrace social media in recent weeks and he has been active ahead of his title defence at Money In The Bank.
He's openly stated that he is now able to be the real Drew McIntyre and despite all the ups and downs it was all worth it to be in the position he's in today. He's got the confidence, he's got the ability and he's got the WWE Championship and anyone who tries to take that away risks having their head removed by a Claymore.
The huge concern I have for Drew McIntyre is that of the downward trend for the RAW ratings in recent weeks that have posted some all time low numbers. WWE has a history of reacting to low numbers with extreme changes and it is often the champion who is used as the measuring stick.
It would be ludicrous of Vince McMahon to place blame on the current champion for these all time low numbers. He has carried RAW on his back since Wrestlemania and has done so during unprecedented circumstances. Not only has he produced some of his best work but he has done so without a plethora of top stars to share the workload and responsibility.
The ratings situation all of sudden creates even more intrigue ahead of tonight's Money In The Bank PPV. Will Vince hit the panic button and have Drew drop the title or will he show faith in the real Drew McIntyre who is only just getting started?
Please check back to Wrestling News World and become a premium member for exclusive backstage news and start with a 30 day free trial.