Drew McIntyre recently spoke with The UK Mirror. Here are some highlights from the interview:
WWE Return: It’s been a crazy couple of months. I was basically the busiest independent wrestler in the world, travelling the world back and forth. I was under contract at the time [with IMPACT Wrestling] and I elected not to sign my new contract. I had to make the best decision for my future and my family’s future. I was very, very lucky after so many people believing in me and working my arse off that I was able to take a pick of where I was going to go. But my mind was made up, if I got the opportunity… William Regal is one of my mentors and I had been talking with him the whole time I have been away from WWE. He has been giving me advice, watching my matches, so that’s pretty much where it came up. I had a good conversation with Triple H on the phone and as I say, my mind was made up where I wanted to go. NXT is the top roster in the world as far as I’m concerned, the work ethic and fans. Once I had that conversation my mind was beyond made up. That day when I showed up at the show was one of the wildest days of my life. I had a very busy day! I started at 8am, I had a signing, then a show in the afternoon, then a radio appearance, I had an additional signing, then showed up at the Evolve show at 8pm it started, I was out in the first segment, I believe I left the building at 8.20pm, drove straight to the Amway Center in Orlando, my wife was waiting with a suit at the back door. We ran in the back, I put the suit on, this was about 9pm, Orlando traffic so it took a while to get there, and I was sitting in my seat in front of 15,000 fans, and at not one point did I think to myself ‘I wonder how they’re going to react?’ until I sat in that seat, got my head down and thought ‘oh my God, I hope they remember me and have been following what I’ve been doing!’ When I showed up on camera and I saw and heard that reaction it was one of the best feelings in my life and I knew I had made the right decision.
Competing For The WWE UK Title: Absolutely. An opportunity to wrestle those guys would be a privilege. They are so talented and so young, it’s amazing the difference in the scene now, that people have so much talent to work with and get so advanced, those guys like Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne are just so unbelievably advanced for their age. I just had a match we taped for television just before the TakeOver, I was getting my gear off and watching it on my phone on the Network, and I stopped in my tracks as I was watching the match, sat in my underpants! I could not get changed, I just had to watch the entire match. I was blown away, I tweeted right away, ‘NXT UK TakeOver’ because I was shaking my head like ‘wow, when we first came over, there was nobody, just Sheamus, myself and Wade Barrett, there was nothing like this going on’. To watch the level of talent and that show-stealing performance just made me very proud of the lads and the UK scene in general.
The Rise of Jinder Mahal: I made the loudest noise in the world backstage when he won that title! I think I almost punched the roof I jumped and punched the air so much. Just to watch his turnaround is the biggest thing for me. I remember about a year and a half ago having a conversation with him. The second I was gone from the WWE, as you know, I started to write my mission statement, I just kept going, there was nothing else I was going to do. I had a clear vision and thankfully it just came out. With Jinder he went out, he wasn’t too sure what he wanted to do, and he talked about this on Chris Jericho’s podcast so I’m not speaking out of turn. He got himself out of shape, not wrestling so much. He wasn’t really sure what to do and we had a conversation when he wasn’t too sure about his future and was talking about opening I think it was a Subway franchise he was leaning towards and he’s got a couple of houses and real estate. Wrestling was pretty much off the table. Then one day he made a decision, ‘no, I’m going to get back in shape’. He started taking it seriously again, got back in shape, got the call from WWE, continued his path, worked hard, gave up alcohol, made these positive changes in his life and just started working his arse off. To watch him go from that conversation when he was out of shape to where he is today, the most in-shape guy on the roster and one of the hardest working guys, I’m very proud of my brother for earning that. That was a big moment for him and I couldn’t be prouder of him.
Being The Top Guy: I always have, 100%, I’ve never changed my opinion since I said that. He didn’t say the things he said for his health, he has done a lot with this business because of his eye for it. I wasn’t necessarily the guy he was looking for back then in a few different ways, but he certainly saw that raw talent and potential. I’ve been lucky that I’ve got myself through various opportunities and platforms and people believing in me, my wife helping in a lot of different areas, and growing up a lot, I’ve shown I am ready now to be a top guy, to hold that position for the company and show what it is to represent a giant, publicly traded company like WWE. There is so much more than just what you do in the ring and what you do on the microphone. As a kid I didn’t quite comprehend that, but now that’s something 100% I’m ready for. I’ve represented many people as the face of the company, proudly and I do it with joy and I do it with respect and make sure I elevate everywhere I go. I came to NXT to elevate it and I came back to WWE to fulfill the prophecy.