This article is about a guy who I believe is being horribly underused in the WWE. He went from challenging the best of the best to being a jobber in a three man team. He held the Intercontinental Championship for 161 days (the 21st longest run in the championship’s 35 year history), but is now lucky to be on TV. This article is about the man who at one point had arguably the best entrance music in the WWE. This article is about Drew McIntyre.
Drew McIntyre could be a top guy in the WWE. There is no doubt in my mind about that. You could already argue that he is one of the top 5 British wrestlers in WWE’s long history – though granted there isn’t all that much competition. This is a column I have had in mind for months, and have just never quite gotten round to writing. Part of it will be looking at his WWE career so far, part of it will be why he could potentially be the first British World Champion in WWE history, and I may even throw in some ideas of how to go forward with him at the end (because let’s face it, what’s writing about wrestling without a spot of fantasy booking?).
McIntyre signed with the WWE in 2007 at the age of 21, and was briefly Dave Taylor’s tag team partner on the Smackdown brand before being pushed down to developmental for a couple of years to refine his craft. He was there for 2 years before re-debuting on Smackdown in August 2009 as a serious heel. His first “feud” was against R-Truth, where McIntyre made a habit of attacking Truth as he got into the ring. Straight away, this put him over as a vicious guy, and it caught people’s attention as he started to make an impact.
It wasn’t long before the chairman himself, Vince McMahon put him over as a superstar the boss had personally signed, and called him a “future World Champion”. This meant Drew transitioned from an aggressive wrestler to a cocky guy who was full of a sense of entitlement – he became the “Chosen One”. He had several run-ins with the Smackdown general manager at the time Teddy Long, as Drew would always use his relationship with McMahon to undermine T-Lo. He soon became the Intercontinental Champion, all while still undefeated on TV. This only made him more arrogant, and he was clearly seen to be favoured by Vince time and time again in Money In The Bank qualifying matches in 2010, where losses to Kane and Matt Hardy were expunged, and he eventually only had to defeat a local wrestler to qualify for the last Money In The Bank ladder match to be held at Wrestlemania.
Unfortunately, you could argue that is where the good times ended…
McIntyre’s first definitive loss came against The Undertaker just before that Wrestlemania. He then failed to win the MitB match (losing out to Jack Swagger), and fell into a feud with Matt Hardy after Wrestlemania. This feud basically consisted of attacking Hardy over and over again until he was “suspended”, which lasted all of a week as McMahon reversed the decision. Upon his re-instatement as IC Champion, he faced Kofi Kingston (who had won a tournament to determine the new champion in McIntyre’s absence), who defeated McIntyre for the belt. His at best very poor rivalry with Teddy Long then took centre stage again, this time with Long gaining the upper hand as McMahon was written off TV thanks to the Nexus.
He moved into a feud with both Matt Hardy and Hardy’s friend Christian, soon aligning himself with Cody Rhodes who was also having issues with the pair. Rhodes and McIntyre won the Tag Team Championships at Night of Champions 2010 in a tag team turmoil match (also featuring The Hart Dynasty, The Usos, Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov and Evan Bourne & Mark Henry – the division was in a real lull at that point). Rhodes and McIntyre proved to be transitional champions however, as they lost the belts the next month to the Nexus pairing of John Cena and David Otunga. After this McIntyre’s fall rapidly accelerated, barely being featured on TV and generally losing when he did.
The next big step in his WWE career is where he is currently at – part of 3MB. He has been unlucky with injuries while part of the group, relegating him to managing Slater and Mahal more often than he should have, and the group as a whole are jobbers to the jobbers, and are essentially a joke today.
He still has a hell of a lot of potential. At 6’5, he is a good size – if a little on the lean side. I would liken him to Triple H back in his blue blood days as Hunter Hearst Helmsley, which also happened to be before HHH really bulked up. Personally I don’t think McIntyre has to muscle up, but it would probably help him catch the eye of key officials if he was more aesthetically imposing. There aren’t any issues with his in-ring work – he is more than capable of handling himself if not quite outstanding – and I think his mic work falls into the same category. What I would stress though, is that experience can play a big part in him getting better, and at 28 still has a long time to improve. What will also help him is that he is Scottish, which makes him more distinctive when speaking, and also opens up the possibility of him getting pushed if WWE wants to do more business in the UK.
It has been widely rumoured that part of the reason for the fall described above was his failed marriage to former WWECW diva and current TNA knockout Taryn Terrell. She was arrested for assaulting McIntyre, an incident which sparked their divorce. It has been rumoured that Vince McMahon was less than impressed with McIntyre over the incident, feeling that it was embarrassing for Drew to have been beaten up by a woman. It certainly has been the case throughout wrestling history that promoters want their wrestlers to be legitimately tough, and be able to defend themselves if attacked. That Drew was assaulted by Terrell presumably meant that Vince lost faith in McIntyre’s believability as a tough guy, and derailed his push.
While we will probably never know all the ins and outs of exactly why McIntyre’s push was suddenly halted, the effect cannot be denied. He looked at one point like a nailed on future World Champion, just as Vince had claimed in storyline. Now he’s lucky to be on TV at all, and because of that has been in danger of getting released from the company.
Fantasy booking time! The first thing for Drew is that he needs to separate himself from 3MB. I would do that by having him grow frustrated by the antics of his stable-mates, eventually refusing to team with them because he’s better than that. Have him beat Slater and Mahal in matches, and cut promos saying that the time for joking around is over, and that people should be on the lookout because things just got serious. We have seen hints in matches of a really vicious streak in McIntyre (see Elimination Chamber 2011), and I would make that the focal point of his transition. Tapping into that frustration and anger over his place on the card should convince the crowd that he is a changed man, and above all a threat. Early on I would even have him lose a match or two by disqualification, where he just keeps beating on guys until the referee has to step in. The attacks would continue after the match, putting guys (like R-Truth or Xavier Woods) out for a few weeks to sell McIntyre’s new aggressive streak. Second thing I would do while a lot of this is going on is to bring back his old theme – Broken Dreams – as it’s one of my favourite entrance themes possibly ever.
Then you would have to give him a bit of a winning streak to establish himself as a contender for championships. I would move him nearer the top of the card by attacking say CM Punk. I’ll qualify that by saying Drew’s split from 3MB and introduction of the new edge to his character would all happen before Wrestlemania. McIntyre doesn’t have to be on the Mania card, but around that time or just after I would have him beating increasingly higher profile names – Kofi, Miz, Big Show, Christian; that kind of level – before attacking Punk from behind during a promo around Extreme Rules – or even Payback or Money In The Bank. I would keep Punk going with what looks like the current plan of Punk vs HHH at Mania in what is the anti-authority vs authority feud. That wouldn’t be the end of the feud, though maybe it would be the end of HHH’s in-ring participation. Have HHH trying to pit people against Punk, only for Punk to overcome it all. You could even re-hash the Goldberg storyline where HHH puts a bounty on Punk’s head, which the ever more aggressive McIntyre – seeing an opportunity – takes.
I would then play off the similarities that I see between McIntyre and early-HHH, and use McIntyre as HHH’s new protégé. They could bring in Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, the New Age Outlaws, Kevin Nash and anybody else associated with HHH to help him in matches, put him over or just help him improve. After Punk beats McIntyre in a competitive match on PPV (Punk would still be by far the bigger name, so a loss wouldn’t hurt McIntyre too much, and a good showing could actually boost him instead), McIntyre would beat Big E Langston for the Intercontinental Championship. He would have a long reign as champion, so much so that I would wait until 2015 to really try and push him to the next level. Have him win Money In The Bank 2015 as IC Champion (probably having traded the belt a couple of times before then with others, and then losing it shortly after), and give him some victories over the likes of Cena, Bryan and Batista if he’s still there. They could all avenge the losses, but having beaten top names like that gives him credibility for when he does eventually reach the top. I would have him become World Champion sometime in 2016.
Even in 2016, McIntyre would only be 31, but would have been with the company for nearly a decade. You could even push the world title step back a year or two, and still get another decade out of McIntyre as a top guy. Even longer term, what I would like to see is McIntyre as a faction leader, with a group of Brits or (dare I even dream it) Scots with him. If he has distanced himself from HHH by then, he could still use his faction to help him win matches.
It’s interesting to note I only envisage McIntyre as a heel going forward. Maybe a brief run as a face when he initially turns on Slater and Mahal, but the aggressive streak is much more threatening in a heel, and makes it easy for his opponent to be the babyface in peril. Alternatively, you could team him up with Sheamus as the Celtic Connection, playing off their legitimate history behind the scenes and how they came to the WWE together (the pair had two tryout matches against each other to get into the WWE in the first place), or else teaming him up with Wade Barrett with the UK link. The latter would then lead to a natural split when national identities come into play.
Note: This morning news broke that CM Punk may have walked out of the WWE. While nothing has really been confirmed at this stage, for the purposed of my storyline above you could probably just substitute Daniel Bryan for Punk if he’s not around.
I just think it’s really exciting to think of the potential matchups that we have never seen before, and especially those at main event level. Of course, new faces at the top depends on the likes of John Cena and Randy Orton at least temporarily stepping aside, which is always unlikely. But there is so much talent across WWE’s roster, even if it’s not always booked well, that it is difficult not to be excited about the direction the company is going in.
But getting back to the focus of this article – Drew McIntyre. He is being wasted where he is at, and while he is stuck there, I fear for him. The problem is, aside from a total repackaging of him, there isn’t much room for growth where he’s at, because there is very little depth to where he’s at. There’s not much to work with at the minute, and the sooner that changes the better.
And as always, I want to know what you guys think. Am I crazy for seeing so much potential in Drew McIntyre? What would you do with him going forward? And the most important question of the three, how much do you love his old theme? Let me know by getting in touch by the usual methods – either by commenting below or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you’ve got this far and are still paying attention, please take the time to share this blog on the various social medias that are again below, or even just by word of mouth with friends. I can’t stress enough how grateful I am for your support.
And again, unusually, this will not be the last you hear from me this week! We’re working on posting more regularly, and this is just the start. Keep an eye out for more content at the end of the week.