Drew McIntyre's return to WWE last year took place after he spent three years on the independent scene. He recently spoke to Lilian Garcia on Chasing Glory about his WWE release. McIntyre used his 2014 separation from WWE as motivation to go out and prove himself. However, that didn't make it any less shocking to get the news he was no longer an employee of Vince McMahon and Company.
"It was a shock initially. At the time, I was doing the 3MB with Jinder and Heath and we were on literally every show so it was very unexpected. Even though I'd see my Twitter popping up that some people have been released or whatever, it still never cross my mind that a missed call from WWE might have been to tell me that I was getting released. I assumed it was 'Hey Drew, you're on the road a week earlier.' When I got it I was like, 'Oh, okay. I'll be seeing you very soon.' And I sat and I thought about it.
"My girlfriend at the time who is now my wife and I had just moved into the apartment that I got the call three days prior. It was our first place together, so I was thinking, 'how am I going to tell her? How am I going to tell my dad?' He's always been my number one fan. I've just been released from WWE after eight years and then I get worried about the next step and then eventually I told myself, 'You know what, this is the opportunity you've been waiting for.' The position I was in it'd be very hard to hotshot me into anything serious. I'd been there for so many years.
"It was the right time to be away from the company for a while and to have learned so much. I really believed in myself and knew this is all I know and I can really do something and the wrestling scene outside of WWE is really picking up, I believe I can make a splash and I was ready to prove it to the world so I got a little excited after the initial shock first."
During McIntyre's WWE hiatus, he picked up several championships on the indie wrestling scene. He appeared for promotions like Evolve, Defiant, ICW, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and many more. While using his real name Drew Galloway, he also became TNA World Heavyweight Champion and Impact Grand Champion.
McIntyre had a desire of returning to WWE, but he wanted to go through NXT first. The popularity of NXT drew him in and he wanted to be a part of the passion surrounding WWE's developmental territory. McIntyre knew he would eventually be back in WWE as well. He saw NXT as an excellent way for a faster return to Raw or SmackDown.
"[NXT] was what I wanted. I told my wife in the beginning when NXT really started catching fire, 'You know what babe, ideal when I go back there first, if I do my thing here and I get a reputation in the independent scene, then I believe I can get an angle to NXT because it's such a passionate fan base. I think that would be the place for me to go to really show what I can do. And then when the time is right, because the transition is so much smoother from NXT to RAW and SmackDown because it moves so fast. RAW and Smackdown, there's so many hours of unique TV every single week all year round.'
"That was the way I saw it and that's what I told her in the beginning. I told Chris Jericho, he was the first podcast I did. [Jericho is] another one who really helped me in the beginning and really get my message out there was Chris and I told him, 'I will be back.'"