Former WWE Champion Drew McIntyre was at the Las Vegas WWE tryouts held during SummerSlam week. Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman got a chance to speak with McIntyre ahead of McIntyre’s match against Jinder Mahal. McIntyre explained what it means to him to have a match with Mahal on a big stage like SummerSlam.

“It’s awesome, just knowing both of our journeys and how much we’ve been through with the ups and downs. And a lot of the downs we’ve been through together, especially some of my biggest downs, and he was there making sure I was okay,” McIntyre revealed. “It’s so cool that both of us made that change right at the same time. Obviously, different paths. He returned to the company and decided within the system, I’m going to better myself. I’m going to make the most of this second opportunity.

“While I was outside the company, I was kind of making the most of what I saw as opportunity outside of WWE. He became WWE champion first. I returned and became NXT champion, WWE Champion, and now, we’re facing each other at SummerSlam, 40,000 plus people, in a singles match, which is absolutely bizarre. I’m very proud of him, and it makes me so sad that I have to defeat him and embarrass him in a big event.”

McIntyre and Mahal were previously part of the 3MB group along with Heath Slater. McIntyre and Mahal have gone on and won WWE Championships. However, Mahal’s title reign is not seen with the same fondness as McIntyre’s is, and McIntyre gave his thoughts on the fan reaction to Mahal’s title reign.

“I reckon there’s a few reasons. His reign kind of came out of nowhere,” McIntyre pointed out. “There was one week he was just having random matches, if he was even on the show, and then suddenly, it was boom, he’s number one contender, boom he’s WWE Champion. You didn’t quite get to go on that journey with him to the title. With myself, we really took the time to explain my journey, explain my story. The fans got behind me organically, which was cool, all the way up to the Royal Rumble and then up to WrestleMania.

“I think that was the biggest difference, and also, he wasn’t quite where he is now. That’s why I’m so so excited about right now. He’s got this opportunity. He did the best he could with it. He worked extremely hard, but he was still improving along the way. I had a lot of miles and at the time I wanted. I was very confident at the top level. I’ve been able to grow since then, and now Jinder, especially mentally, is at that level right now, and I can’t wait to get in the ring and show everybody he’s way more capable in the ring, more importantly, when it comes to the storytelling and getting here at the top level.”

You can view McIntyre’s full interview below: