Drew McIntyre had a couple of early WWE appearances from 2007-08 before being sent to FCW for more seasoning. He re-debuted on SmackDown in 2009 and Mr. McMahon introduced McIntyre as a future world champion.
That would put a bull’s eye on anyone’s chest but especially for McIntyre who was a 24-year-old from another country. But he took the pressure in stride as he told Stone Cold Steve Austin on Broken Skull Sessions.
“As weird as it is to say, it wasn’t as abnormal as it should be when I saw that [McMahon] promo. When I started my career, I was always on top,” McIntyre said before revisiting every stop in his career and how he was always pushed instantly. “I’ve always been educated to be that guy and, in my mind, I was always training to be the top guy. I understand this is amazing, but at the same time, this is my storyline to always be that guy. So, I never quite felt the pressure that I probably should have.”
McIntyre recalled a conversation he had with McMahon where he told the Scot that they were going to eventually build to a feud between McIntyre and The Undertaker. The plan was for that match to happen at WrestleMania 26 but it never transpired.
“I certainly wasn’t ready for that opportunity at that time. But it was right after Mania that things started going downhill personally. This is the time my mother got sick for the first time back home in Scotland and she got a cancer diagnosis. It rocked my world as she was the most important person to me. I started acting out and drinking basically every night,” revealed McIntyre.
“Things started going downhill professionally as well as personally and it was just a vicious spiral that kept going and going and going every night. I was out and about taking my mind off things and it was directly affecting my work. My personal life was not good.”
The Undertaker was McIntyre’s mentor at that time but he didn’t reveal to Taker all that was going on in his life and he kept it inside. McIntyre said that if WWE knew what was going on, then they probably would have sent him back home. But one piece of advice that Taker gave McIntyre that did stick with him was to stop “playing the wrestler and be the wrestler.”
“It took a while before the light bulb turned on and I understood what he was talking about,” admitted McIntyre. “I’m out there stressed and thinking about the next move. You can see it in my eyes that I’m not in the moment and the crowd can see that this guy is not with us right now, so we’re not gonna be with him…
“Little lessons like that he was telling me but it was like he was talking in riddles… One of the many lessons he taught me was, ‘Just stand there and give it a second. Let it breathe and you don’t have to rush to the next thing every 2 seconds.’ In my head I’m going, ‘More is more’ but he was trying to explain to me, ‘No, less is more.’ I’ve heard that a million times but it took so long for me to apply it.”
After being relegated to the bottom of the card and not having a set storyline or gimmick, McIntyre then got an unlikely opportunity. WWE wanted him to be a part of 3MB alongside Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater which was a vast departure from McIntyre’s “Chosen One” character.
3MB actually lasted a couple of years but McIntyre revealed why he had his legs cut out from under him in the group from the beginning.
“It was dead on arrival,” McIntyre said before revealing that Vince McMahon put him and Mahal in the group alongside Slater to see different sides of their personalities. “He wanted to bring something out of us so he put us with Heath. They told Jinder in the backstage area that this was the plan and he was fine with it. Then from what I gather, they drew straws to see who was gonna tell Drew [laughs].
“They walked me to the stands, sat me down and explained it to me. I said, ‘Great, I just wanna do something. I’ve been on Superstars for two years; I’m just looking for an opportunity. It’s not what I’m looking for but it’s something so I’ll make it work.’
However, McIntyre needed surgery on his wrist and no one told Vince beforehand. 3MB made its TV debut and McIntyre had surgery a week later and couldn’t touch anyone or be touched for six months which essentially killed the gimmick.
“This thing was dead on arrival but it was fun as well. I love Heath and Jinder and I got to show a different side of my personality. What I was going through at the time, it was the probably the best role if you were gonna keep me in the company because I can’t be trusted with a spot any higher in the card,” admitted McIntyre.
In mid 2014, McIntyre was released after seven years with WWE. He talked about the emotions he felt at that time and why it ultimately ended up being something he needed.
“I felt a lot of emotions. I was surprised at first because 3MB were on everything. We were on every tour, every TV. We were featured. We knew our role and you knew that role in wrestling and we were fulfilling it,” said McIntyre who then realized he wasn’t good enough and thought he left many people down including Vince, his family and himself.
“To be honest, looking in the mirror I felt this was all on me. It wasn’t their fault. I felt I did this and what am I gonna do next? All I know is this business so what am I gonna do? I need to put together a plan. I was worried about telling my girlfriend at the time who became my wife. I was worried about telling my dad that the dream was over.”
Austin asked him if he needed to fall on his ass to which McIntyre responded, “100 percent.
“I had to step outside the bubble. I had lost perspective and had forgot this was the dream. I felt entitled – why am I not getting these opportunities?
“…I had to fall on my ass and it allowed me to not be under the microscope and built myself up and get confident because I had lost my confidence a while back.”
McIntyre went back to the indie scene and he told the promotion – ICW – and its fans that he was going to become the biggest non-WWE star and put ICW on the map.
“I could see it was on the rise. I understood it was on the uptick and it needed a face. I was like, ‘I’m gonna be that face. I’m gonna be that representative of independent wrestling. I’m gonna be the first traveling World Champion since Ric Flair’s days.’ That was my plan. I didn’t know how I was going to put it into effect but Day One, that’s what went through my head.”
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.