Drew McIntyre wasn't the most confident when he was first released from WWE in the summer of 2014.
McIntyre said as much in an interview with Inside The Ropes, where he revealed he was nervous when he first returned to the independent circuit and he was faking how confident he seemed. He used the promo Mick Foley sent to Triple H from his ICW return as an example of how he was faking his confidence
"I did send him to watch, and like I said when I was out in front of the camera I was very confident, I had a clear picture in my mind of what I wanted to do and I got it out there," McIntyre said. "Thankfully it went well, like the first few appearances, especially that return to ICW and that promo Mick sent, or talked to (Triple H) about, but before it I was crapping myself I was so worried.
"I was thinking, 'Oh my god, this 3MB guy is going to say I'm about to take over the world and ICW is going to take over the world,' and I went out there and I said it so confidently, but it's so weird recently going back with my wife and stuff and realizing that I was terrified the whole time and I was a lot of the time faking it until I made it."
McIntyre went on to say his work with ICW, Evolve and the rest of his work on the independent scene helped build that confidence in him to the point he was ready to be the face of the WWE. He revealed, though, some of that self-doubt lingered to NXT Takeover: Orlando, where he returned to the promotion sitting in the crowd.
"I raced to the amway, my wife was waiting on the side of the road with my suit," he said. "Jumped in the car, we got to the arena, in the back door, into talent relations, I quickly had a shower, she's dressing me, they rush me straight to the ring and finally I had a chance to process what was happening. I was like, 'Wait a minute, what's going on?' I sit down and the camera is on me and I go, 'What if they don't know who I am? What if they don't remember me? What if there is just silence when I come on the screen?' I just didn't think about it until that moment sitting in that seat 'cause I had such a crazy day that all these thoughts are swirling in my head. Thankfully when I come up on the screen everyone reacted positively, I get a big genuine smile on my face because I'm like 'Thank god, they know who I am.'"
McIntyre said that run in NXT was essential for his successful second run with the company. He said he wanted to be in NXT because that was where all of the hardcore fans who would remember him were and because he wanted to help the younger generation of wrestlers that were on the developmental brand.
"So I have to go there for one, that reason for myself," he said, "and two, as somebody that's been around and kind of changed his career around, would hopefully be helpful to the younger talent there to kind of bring them along and not only teach them some positive lessons I've learned, but also not make some of the same mistakes I did, and my gimmick obviously was going around and raising the profile of the companies and I believe an individual can make a difference in NXT when the name WWE is what sells the other shows."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Inside The Ropes with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.