Number one contender for the WWE Intercontinental Championship, Drew Gulak, took some time out of his busy schedule to speak with Newsweek about his rise through WWE. Gulak overcame a defeat in the 2016 Cruiserweight Classic Tournament and then spent most of his WWE career as a part of 205 Live before coming to SmackDown.

He has since made his way into the Intercontinental Championship picture with guys like Daniel Bryan and the current IC Champion, AJ Styles. Gulak commented on what it is like working with both guys, and especially expressed his fondness for working with Bryan.

“[Bryan is] awesome. He’s a really great person,” Drew said. “He’s super passionate about wrestling. If there’s anyone who is as passionate as me about wrestling, it’s him. We can talk about it non-stop and our passion never wavers. Someone like AJ Styles, I feel like his passion is kind of wavering, which is the dichotomy of the two people. It’s been great working with Bryan.”

The fact that Gulak will soon get an opportunity at the Intercontinental Championship elates him. He explained how it’s a Championship that he’s always been drawn to because stars like Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon created such a legacy with it.

“It’s crazy man, I keep thinking about it. The Intercontinental Championship has always been a highly regarded and prestigious title, especially amongst wrestling fans,” Gulak said. “People who love the sport of wrestling and the competition of everything. I’ve always been a fan of that. I think back to Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon fighting for the Intercontinental Championship and watching that growing up. Now, I have my first shot on SmackDown. This is huge for me, personally.”

The Intercontinental Title recently had a makeover of it’s design, now featuring a black strap and unique plates for the Championship. Gulak mentioned how he’s a big fan of the direction WWE went in for the belt.

“The Intercontinental Championship is how it’s always looked, it’s a classic everyone recognizes it,” Drew said. “But when they redesigned it, I was surprised. But when I saw it, I friggin’ loved the new design. It looks like if you took the Intercontinental Championship and said this is how it was going to look like in the year 2020. A version of that – it looks like that to me. I really do love it.”

Gulak gave his take on what an ideal future would be with him as SmackDown’s Intercontinental Champion. He is adamant that he would be a fighting champion like Bryan was, and he would try to defend the Title as often as possible.

“Bryan said in his interview before his championship match with AJ Styles that he wanted to defend it every week on SmackDown,” Gulak explained. “It will be the ‘wrestler’s’ championship again and he will have these classic matches against everyone he missed out on having a match with. I feel very strongly the same way he does as far as I want to be a fighting champion and I wouldn’t mind defending that thing every week, every night if I had to, just so I can create opportunities for other people. I think that’s one thing where me and him would be different.

“Bryan comes from being a multi-time champion. For me, this would be my first title on SmackDown,” Drew continued. “I would be this guy who worked from the bottom and I want other people in the locker room to say, ‘man, if Drew can do it so can I’. That’s where I want to challenge them and they show me that they can hang. That’s how I feel as champion, it’ll be slightly different.”