Drew McIntyre has had quite the wrestling journey. He started his career in the UK before joining WWE where he was instantly christened “The Chosen One.” However, he fizzled out in WWE before going back overseas, working the indies, and going to Impact Wrestling before returning to WWE.
McIntyre talked about his pro wrestling beginnings when he joined Stone Cold Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions.
“The wrestling scene was dead in the UK for years. It wasn’t until I was 15 that I discovered one of the two schools of quality in the UK and they were in the exact same area which was about as far as you could go in England. They were 12 hours away from there to Scotland,” said McIntyre.
McIntyre said he had to convince his mother to let him go to the school. She did, so McIntyre and his friend took a train to the school where he found out that wrestling training wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be.
“I had been training for 8-9 months before I had my first match. Not long after that, we started the shows in Scotland,” McIntyre said before mentioning some of the former WWF guys who passed through. “We had Barbarian, Marty Jannetty, Honky Tonk ? the guys who were still traveling the circuit at that point and I would always be put with them. That was the deal ? ‘whoever comes in, Drew works with them.'”
McIntyre said he was put with those guys because the promotion was always positioning him as the top guy and a future star.
“Jake Roberts was there and we had this particular training session,” recalled McIntyre. “I was 16 and they had about 30 of us there. He walked around and pointed at me at one point and said, ‘This guy might make it.’ And that was a crazy impression that he left on me. He then just carried on walking and I stood there going, ‘Jake The Snake Roberts just said that I’m gonna make it!’ So that motivated me to keep pushing forward because no one from Scotland had ever been signed by WWE.”
McIntyre said he had tunnel vision in regards to his dream to make it in pro wrestling. During his training he also met Sheamus and he talked about their relationship in the early days.
“The first time I met him ? when I came to Ireland ? there was one TV show in all of Europe called Irish Whip Wrestling. I got booked for it and they put Sheamus and I together. We had a match and it was fine for the time but whenever I watch it back, I think it’s terrible,” stated McIntyre. “We got to talking and realized we had similar goals and missions and not just saying, ‘I want to go to WWE? No, we’re going to go to WWE.'”
Sheamus and McIntyre would study Bret Hart matches together and Sheamus even taught the younger, and smaller, McIntyre about weight training and nutrition. Sheamus also had connections to WWE that got McIntyre’s foot in the door with the promotion.
“He explained to me, ‘This is the person you need to contact. Send in your picture, your details. Lie about your weight. Lie about your height a little bit ? a couple of inches and pounds here and there? I got an email back that said, ‘Make sure you come down to the Manchester tryout,'” said McIntyre.
McIntyre and Sheamus were wrestling during the tryout and The Undertaker was outside the ring laughing. McIntyre assumed he was laughing at their match but years later he would find out that ‘Taker was laughing about something that had nothing to do with their match.
“We do our thing and one of the agents comes up to me ? Steve Keirn ? and says I did a great job. ‘If John Laurinaitis was here today, you’d be signed. But he’s not’ and he walks off. So I go, ‘So what happens next?’ ‘Oh, well come back in six months.’ At least it was a positive comment,” stated McIntyre.
“Sure enough, six months later we come back in better shape and a bit more of an idea of what’s going on. We got in the ring, rolled around, slowed down a bit and tried not to do anything too over-the-top. Johnny told me, ‘Take a walk with me kid. We’re thinking about signing you.’ At 21 years old I look him in the eye and say, ‘Well, I’m thinking about letting you [laughs].'”
McIntyre signed with WWE and went to OVW where on the first day, the writers had him cut a promo while talking to his kilt. He later got a call from Howard Finkel he told him he was going on the road with the SmackDown crew.
“I tell Al [Snow], ‘Is this perfectly normal where everyone that comes here in their first week is told their gonna be on TV?’ ‘No Drew, this is not normal. This never happens and you need more time here.’ He gives me a crash course and tells me the things I need to learn,” recalled McIntyre.
“I go out there [for my first SmackDown match] and I not so much crapped the bed, but I learned pretty quickly that there was a lot I had to learn. Like the hard camera ? I had a hold on in the middle of the match and the referee says, ‘Work the hard camera’ and I asked the referee, ‘What is a hard camera?’ And that was live on SmackDown.”
After a short stint on the main roster, McIntyre was sent back to developmental, this time in FCW. He said going from OVW to FCW was like going from black and white to color.
“We started training with Dr. Tom, Steve Keirn, Billy Kidman and Norman Smiley. I was like, ‘Ok, this is exactly where I need to be,'” said McIntyre.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Broken Skull Sessions with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.