WWE Champion Drew McIntyre made his return appearance on WWE After The Bell recently to chat about his role as WWE Champion and the top star in WWE. McIntyre talked about adjusting to wrestling without a crowd and coming up with ideas to keep the viewing audience engaged.
"Now, I'm a lot more comfortable in the role, but certainly not content in anyway," McIntyre noted. "From day one, when I won the title, the next day on RAW was my first time in front of no fans. Then I, instantly, was trying to find ways to connect with the audience at home since there was no audience in the building, and I was trying to set an example to the rest of the roster like, 'hey, I'm going to try some wacky out the box things here' because there's no wrong answers. And it starts at the top and rolls downhill. So from that first week, I even said to my wife, 'dare me to do things, whatever you've got.' She's not a wrestling fan.
"Whatever would make you tune in, my job right now is to get people that aren't watching to tune. We're watching Tiger King at the time. One week, she said, 'I dare you to look in the camera and say, hey all you cool cats and kittens.' Got it. One of the weeks, sure enough, I looked in the cameras and 'hey all you cool cats and kittens,' and since then, I've just been trying some things outside the box.
McIntyre also praised everyone else in WWE for stepping up and working outside of the box to entertain the fans at home. He said he's excited for fans to come back and react to the characters that have been building during this time.
"Glad to see everybody else is really trying to find themselves as a character in this unique environment we've got," McIntyre expressed. "This is a cool time if you look at the positives within the negatives, really find yourself as a character, add some extra layers. You don't have the crowd shouting over the top of you. If you know what you're doing, you know yourself, you can really go over on a deeper level right now, and I've seen a few people do that over the past few months.
"I think when we get back, I know when we get back to the arena's, there's a few characters that are really going to connect on a deeper level, and the industry can be better for it. We could be bigger than we ever were."
"Over on SmackDown, I've seen Sonya do a great job every time she gets presented an opportunity," McIntyre highlighted. "She really seems to know herself and maximizes every chance she gets, especially that microphone.
"On RAW, I'd say Apollo is really stepping up. He's somebody we've both known for many many years and was a little un-confident in certain areas. I think it's because he just was trying to play a character rather than be himself, and now he's finally relaxing. He's being the real person, and people, I reckon, at home are starting to connect, and right now, it's hard gauge without an audience there, but I keep up-to-date on was happening socially and how people are responding to our Superstars. I think Apollo's done a great job right now."
McIntyre spoke more on getting rid of complacency for himself and everyone in WWE. McIntyre revealed that he has tried to help WWE grow by learning more about the company and the ins and outs of what makes WWE Superstars who they are. He said John Cena is an example of someone who did that as well, and he is following in those footsteps.
"Right now, everything is uncharted waters as to WWE Champion. I certainly believe my journey has prepared me for it," McIntyre said. "I guess for me personally, as you say, complacency is something I would never allow to happen to me again. Since the day I won the title, I finally said to myself, 'OK Drew, you're in this spot. You've got this unique opportunity. I'm going to start learning how this company truly works. I'm going to start reaching out to all the different departments and find this giant company.' I'm aware of how big WWE is.
"I want to know how it works from the inside, and over the past few months, as big as I thought it was, it's even bigger like there's so much that make us Superstars. I mean when you realize how many people around you, including yourself on the commentary, make us larger-than-life, make us Superstars, the people that bring those packages together, the theme music, the edits and crew, the community.
"There's just so much that goes into this. I've really been learning a lot about it, and I'm really, I don't know, damn proud of everything this company does. And I just want to keep learning more about the company, like I guess like a John Cena. He's the last person I guess that did all this so that if I truly understand how the company works, I'll truly know how to take us to that next level."
Many wrestlers including Drew McIntyre have talked about their excitement to see crowds return. Graves believes that when crowds return, the crowd enthusiasm could be as high as a RAW after WrestleMania. McIntyre agreed saying he can't wait to have that moment of when crowds return as WWE Champion.
"I had that conversation with I believe was Edge or Christian several months back on the show here. It was right when pandemic began," Graves recalled. "It was shortly after, I think, WrestleMania. How the fans, hopefully, are just going to be so rabid and hungry that I predict, hopefully with any luck, the first few RAW's and SmackDown's, after things get back to normal, are all going to feel like the RAW after WrestleMania. That environment that is just second to none because everyone is just excited to be out of the house and amongst friends and celebrating this thing we once loved.
"They are 100% no matter where we go," McIntyre agreed. "I think there's a few markets where perhaps we're hitting a little too much, and they were so great, but we can always rely on a New York and a Chicago to be loud. And they always are, but we were hitting them a lot. But now, they've been deprived of wrestling for so long. They're going to be absolutely out of control, and no matter what area of the country we go to, it's going to be absolutely insane. I'm so excited about it. I can't even imagine. Our UK fans are crazy to begin with. It's going to be an absolute riot when we get over there next time.
"I'm so excited just to get back in front of those fans, and hopefully, I get my moment. I've got the title. It's always by my side. To get that opportunity to walk in front of the live crowd. We've been waiting for it for a long time. I might have gotten my WrestleMania moment in the traditional sense, even though I did, but here's our freaking wrestling moment right here. So I'm excited about that."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit WWE After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.