WWE Champion Drew McIntyre was a guest on Steven Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions where he and Austin discussed McIntyre’s career and his WWE Championship run. Austin noted that Vince McMahon doesn’t typically give people second chances, and he asked if McMahon told McIntyre anything before his main roster WWE return.
“No, there was nothing said before I actually hit the ring,” McIntyre revealed. “The first time with Dolph, I was underneath the ring, I came out, same feeling under the ring. ‘I hope they know what I’m all about.’ I came out. I took out Titus O’Neil and Apollo and sided with Dolph. They started a ‘McIntyre’ chant, and I was like, ‘Oh, thank God they know me.
“I got backstage to Gorilla and gave Vince a hug, and he told me, ‘Welcome home.’ And then it was later on we started having conversations, and he was very much about the present during that period. It wasn’t until later on we started kinda talking about the past and reminiscing, but as far as he was concerned at this stage, when I first returned, it was about what happens from here forward not going backwards.”
McIntyre said he was in the UK when COVID-19 hit the world. He said he filmed a commercial just before he left to the U.S.
“I’d done media in London, flew after a RAW taping. I was going to Scotland,” McIntyre recalled. “We’re filming a commercial for the TV partner, BT Sport, over there. I was going to go to Glasgow to see my family. There was going to be a surprise party for me. They were going to film the whole thing. I’m in Scotland, [and] I go to bed.
“I wake up at like four something. I see my phone blowing up. ‘We’re pulling you out right now.’ What do you mean you’re pulling me out right now? I’m filming a commercial. ‘No, you’re not. You’re leaving at 1:00 now.'”
WrestleMania was held in the Performance Center this year without fans due to the pandemic. McIntyre admitted that he accepted the situation when it came to the date of the show, but he said before then, he noted the journey he was on leading into the main event.
“By that time, accepted what it was,” McIntyre stated. “I pulled out of the UK. The week later, I was more angry than I’ve ever been. So down and frustrated and I can’t believe after 19 years, things finally come together. I’ll be myself on TV. My real character’s coming out, and fans are responding positively to my real personality, which led to the Royal Rumble.
“I’m on a different level. I’m getting the biggest reactions on the house shows. I’m gonna main event WrestleMania, 90,000 people, has come full circle. It’s in Tampa where it all began, American hometown, where I lived 20 minutes from my doorstep, and there’s no one going to be there. It’s gonna be at the PC instead.”
McIntyre admitted that he was upset over not having fans in attendance. However, he told himself that he had a chance to provide an escape for people, and his victory of Brock Lesnar would provide people joy in a difficult time.
“So I was really upset for a while, and as I’ve watched the media and I started to understand how big this COVID situation was, how this pandemic was affecting people and people were actually losing their lives and all the sports had stopped,” McIntyre said. “There was no escape… I was like, alright Drew, take a step back. I know what you want. I know what you expected, but let’s be grown up about this.
“What you’re doing right now, you’re giving the world an escape from the worst situation in modern times. You’re in the main event. You got this feel-good story. You told your real story. You’re against the big, bad guy. They want to see you win. They want to see you beat Brock Lesnar [and] become champion.”
McIntyre talked about how the silence and the lack of people around made it difficult for him to get into the zone for the match. However, he said that after his music played, something changed within him, and he discussed the private moment he had when he won the WWE Championship.
“As soon as I walked through the curtain, something came over me, and I was just in the zone 100%,” McIntyre described. “When I saw Brock come out, he was there as well. He was game face on. We’re in the ring, and I was like, ‘Okay, I’m feeling this right now.’ There’s nobody here, but I’m in the moment. I’m more in the zone than I’ve ever been in. I could tell Brock was in the zone.
“I imagine if there was a crowd there, on that F-5 kick out, they would’ve lose their minds, but still, that time, accepted the situation. No one will forget the WrestleMania where the world stood still, I’ll get my second moment in front of a crowd. I know that. This meant the world to me (when McIntyre is handed the WWE Championship). I was almost like a private moment.”
McIntyre lost the WWE Title to Randy Orton at Hell In A Cell but regained it on an episode of RAW. He compared and contrasted his first time winning the title and the second time he won the title.
“That second one was really good. The first one was unbelievable, but that match with Randy, the title hadn’t changed hands on RAW for five years,” McIntyre noted. “Winning the title there felt different because when I won it the first time, I started figuring out how to be in that top level, worked with Randy to be comfortable with that top level and won it back. ‘Okay, Drew’s ready. He’s the guy right now,’ and Randy kind of gave me that kind of seal of approval, but that was pretty good. I didn’t feel it at the time, but watching it back, I was like, ‘Man, that is pretty cool.'”
Austin asked McIntyre if he is more comfortable in the chase or as the champion. McIntyre noted that babyfaces are generally better chasing the title, but he feels the most comfortable as the champion.
“It’s weird because generally, babyfaces you want chasing the title, but I feel like the title and I have a good relationship,” McIntyre said. “We help each other out, and I think it’s a good combination, which is weird because I always would have said it would make more sense to be the babyface chasing the title, but I feel better with the title. The fans, socially at least, respond better with me with the title.”
Austin noted the difference between McIntyre at WrestleMania 35 against Roman Reigns and this year’s Survivor Series also against Reigns. McIntyre discussed what was the difference between those times and how he and Reigns continue to push each other to higher levels.
“At that time, Mania 35, I was still finding myself,” McIntyre admitted. “I didn’t know who I was. I wasn’t being the turned up version of myself, and I was just big angry Scotsman. They were still looking after me, but they didn’t quite know what to do with me yet because I hadn’t quite put the pieces together, and that’s the difference. That Mania 35 match, that was all for Roman, as it should have been. He was coming back from the illness. We had to make sure the world knew Roman was back. It was all about him, understood that.
“That was the business that night, but this time period (Survivor Series 2020), I’d found myself. I’ve been doing it for a while, and I was so confident in my abilities and everything I was saying to Roman. He’s been on top for a long time, deserves to be. He’s a workhorse. He gets it. He’s phenomenal in every aspect, but I believe I should be the guy. He feels that way. I feel that way. We’re so competitive, and we get it.
“At the same time, we help each other. He helps me out behind the scenes to keep up in those levels because he wants to make sure everyone gets as high as we can. We pull each other up, and that’s what it’s all about these days. We want everyone to come up.”
McIntyre talked about wrestling at the ThunderDome. He talked about how it’s been a massively help in performing without a crowd.
“Yeah, massively, just being back in an arena and just having the feeling of, okay, we got the lights, the smoke, the special entrance, especially with the sword and the fire, everything you expect from WWE from a fan watching at home,” McIntyre described. “As a Superstar, you’re like, okay, this feels more at home. I feel more comfortable here, but the fans can’t be here in person. We’ve got them virtually now.
“Now we can actually see them and see them reacting, but we’ve got an atmosphere in the arena coming through the speakers. That makes the world of a difference. You can feel those moments when there’s no fans there. You’ve been doing it for so long, but it makes such a difference for these kinds of moments like having a stare down. Roman set that up.”
McIntyre also discussed his new sword entrance. He revealed McMahon was the one who came up with the entrance after playing around with his sword in his office.
“The sword entrance, he had a different vision for it where it was gonna come down and get in the ring with it on my back and raise it,” McIntyre recalled. “I saw the giant sword. It was his sword from his house. I walked around with it on my back, and was like, ‘This sucks. This is not going to work.’ From the beginning, I was like, ‘This is a bit over the top. This might not work.’ It’s visually impressive.
“I can’t get off my back. I’m gonna look like a dumbass, and he took the sword, just me and him, and swung it around in his office, held it up, spun it around [and] did this (McMahon does the sword entrance). Why don’t we do this? That’s great. Just genius. He just stands there, waved a sword around his office and came up with what we did for the entrance where I walk out, spin it [and] stick it in the ground.”
McIntyre will be WWE Champion heading into 2021. Austin asked what McIntyre hopes for in 2021.
“Fans,” McIntyre answered. “I got a lot of big moments that would have been really cool and would have helped me a lot if we had fans. I’m proud of everything we’ve done, giving everyone an escape during the most difficult times of COVD.
“I’m proud that I was the representative and the one carrying the load during that time and proud of what we’ve done in the ThunderDome, but I can’t wait till we get the fan back in person, get back on tour and just feel the fans in the building. I’ve always said it, and it’s trues, they’re our number one Superstar.”
Austin also asked what goals McIntyre still wants to accomplish in the future. McIntyre expressed his desire to see a big PPV in the UK similar to SummerSlam ’92.
“My biggest one is the UK PPV like the big ones, SummerSlam ’92,” McIntyre stated. “I want one of the big four there. I’d love a Royal Rumble in the UK. I think the UK fans deserve it. Everyone talks about it. We love being there. It’s so crazy, wild. I know it would sell out. If it takes a marquee match, myself and [Tyson] Fury doing something, that’s fine with me as long as it happens, and it’s gonna be cool. I think it’s going to happen, and I’m going to push until it does happen.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Steven Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.