sport news Drew McIntyre reveals 'bittersweet' decision made for his Clash at the Castle ... trends now
Drew McIntyre has a wrestling story unlike many. He was the prodigy when he burst onto the scene of WWE, but would be the first to admit he took his opportunity for granted.
He was released. Again, he'd be the first to say rightly so. But he fought back, returned to the WWE, and became their first ever British WWE champion.
He held the title for a 300 days across two reigns, but in front of no fans. McIntyre was a stalwart of WWE in the Covid pandemic, but, by the time the fans were back in arenas, his title was gone.
The Scot has been eyeing up a run with the WWE title ever since, but first he has a triple threat match booked in for WrestleMania against current champion Gunther and Sheamus.
McIntyre spoke exclusively to Sportsmail's Alex McCarthy to discuss his run with the belt, aspirations to win it back, his Mania plans, his match against Roman Reigns at Clash at the Castle, being the first person to kick out of the End of Days, and more.
Drew McIntyre is amidst his second run in WWE and has enjoyed plenty of success so far
The Scot spoke to Sportsmail's Alex McCarthy to discuss several different topics surrounding his career
How are you Drew?
'I’m marvellous. I think I get home for seven hours this week so that’s pretty sweet. A good week, a busy week, but it is Mania season, so it’s all go, go, go. I like to see my cats.'
It’s starting to heat up on your end. Gunther has the intercontinental title, yourself and Sheamus jostling for position. You wanted to face Gunther when he was NXT UK champion right. Now you’re on the cusp of doing it on the biggest stage possible, some things are worth the wait.
'100 per cent. I was after it from the second he signed to WWE. I was pushing, pushing, pushing to be involved it NXT UK. It never happened, I was a little bit upset and I never had the chance to wrestle him in the independents either.
'I’d seen him a couple of times and I knew I really wanted to get into the ring with this guy. We’ve had the chance to get our hands on each other, or each other’s chests, once or twice in the Royal Rumble.
'This past year he’s done things that are worth the wait and some other people around me see the bigger picture rather than the talent like myself saying that I just want this match right now because I want it.
'People around us make me think of the bigger picture, like, "Yeah, I want that too, but let’s save it for a bigger stage". That stage will be the biggest stage of all with WrestleMania.'
You’ve had Roman, you were in with the Bloodline story back end of last year, Karrion Kross... When did the idea that you could do something with Gunther or Sheamus come along? And when that idea starts unfolding, is it something you’re really excited about out of all the options?
McIntyre is set for one of the biggest matches at this year's WrestleMania
'The way everything went down at Clash at the Castle with Roman and Solo getting involved and the follow up with The Usos and myself and Sheamus and the Bloodline’s strength in numbers meant the heavyweight championship and tag team championships weren’t even options, as much fun as Sheamus and I have been having recently.
'There was no way after all the work in the last few years and past year specifically, there was no way I was going to miss Mania. I sat down and looked across the board and thought, "Where do I see myself? Oh that’s handy, there’s a dream match right there!"
'Gunther is on the run of a lifetime, he’s in the best shape of his life, he’s got a lot of attention, he’s really found his footing, his Imperium group and I are perfect together and it’s the Intercontinental Championship, the first Championship I ever won in WWE.
'What a perfect moment. I’ve been searching for this moment since the crowds returned after being champion for 300 days with no one there pulling the loads, waiting for that moment with a singles championship with the fans for so long, and how poetic it might be that the championship that I might be able to raise in front of fans at WrestleMania will be the first one that I won and the one that I didn’t appreciate when I first won it.
'I was 24, I was like, "Ah, intercontinental champion, it’s part of the plan, you win this then you win the main title!" It was more of a steppingstone and that was my mindset at the time, and now, after everything I’ve been through, this would be a full circle moment if I’m able to finally have that moment with the championship and the fans at WrestleMania.'
On Cash at the Castle, it felt like the right time. Did it feel like that for you? With the atmosphere, who would be the one to dethrone Roman, you could see it and feel it... why not now? You can’t always get that magic in wrestling. Is it bitter-sweet?
'For sure. It’s very rare that you ever get moments like that. There’s a stadium full of people 100 per cent on one guy’s side and the story has peaked at the right time and you have the chance to take a talent to that next, next, next level. That’s what we had at Clash.
McIntyre went one-on-one with current WWE champions and universal champion in September
Reigns is the leader of the Bloodline stable, which has been the centre of one of the longest-running storyline
Reigns, who has held the universal title for well over two years, will face Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania on Sunday
'But you need to look at the bigger picture. What are the plans for Roman and the Bloodline storyline, but at the same time it’s like, "Ah, could we do both? Theory has the Money in the Bank briefcase, there might be a way to pull this off, to look after Roman and the Bloodline story, which is the bigger picture, but at the same time take a talent to the next level?"
'Everything happens for a reason and sometimes old McIntyre doesn’t quite get it done. It’s the story of my life and my character’s life I guess, that I keep getting knocked down and I guess that’s why my fans keep rallying behind me and pushing me and believing in me because they see how hard I work and how much I believe, no matter how close I get and keep on getting it taken away from me, I’ll keep pushing forward until I finally get that moment.'
If feels so long ago that we were in the pandemic era. You were the guy propping it all up. When you look back on the title reign now, how do you feel