This past Friday, WWE Champion Drew McIntyre talked exclusively with FanSided Daily DDT about facing Randy Orton at SummerSlam, Keith Lee, RAW Underground and more.
WWE SummerSlam is the biggest party event of the season. Drew McIntyre is going up against his toughest challenger yet after capturing the championship at WrestleMania 36 by defeating Brock Lesnar.
Randy Orton is on a whole different planet right now, and is arguably the best heel in pro-wrestling right now.
This coming Sunday, McIntyre will go up against Orton, and he talked about his game plan against the challenger.
"“I mean, I won’t get to the ins and outs of my battle plan, exactly, but Randy is very methodical in his style, very calculated, he’s one of the best of all time,” he said. “I plan to bring a level of physicality and violence that Orton’s never experienced in the ring. I plan to make Orton suffer for everything that he’s ever done, and in the end, I plan to Claymore him as hard as I possibly can in the head.”"
Last week on Monday Night Raw, Ric Flair was on with Orton, and closing the show, it showed The Legend Killer punting Flair while the lights went out.
This past week on Monday Night Raw, Orton RKO’d Shawn Michaels, and then punted Michaels, just like the same fate of Flair last week.
The attack on Flair was a heinous act that McIntyre did not like, and it is clear in this message.
"“Oh, I think it was despicable, I guess, is the best word actually to describe it,” he said. “Let me think about it. From our point of view, Ric Flair is an absolute legend, and an icon, generation after generation look up to him, he’s crossed over into mainstream, everybody knows who Ric Flair is, but from Randy’s point of view, this is somebody he grew up around with his dad, and more importantly, for the past 20 years they’ve spent together on the roads, this is somebody who has mentored him, has been a friend to him, most importantly protected him, because when he was younger, he made some terrible decisions, should have been fired a bunch of times, and it’s because of guys like Ric Flair and he wasn’t fired, and after all that guiding, getting him to where he needs to get to, and look, he said last … A couple of weeks ago, why he’s made his money, and why he is on top of the world, why he can call his own shots now is because of guys like Ric Flair.”McIntyre continued: “And what did he do to repair after he made one mistake? Although it was mistake after mistake after mistake that Randy’s made, Ric makes one, he punts him in the head, so that says all you need to know about Randy Orton, the kind of person he is, you don’t kick … Doesn’t care about anybody, he cares about himself. He’s not been trying to pull up the rest of the roster and guide the rest of the roster as a leader, like he should’ve been over these past few years, and my intention at SummerSlam, originally, I didn’t need a reason to take out Randy Orton. I was around Randy when I was younger. I remember what it was like. I remember the fear he struck in younger guys, that perhaps get us fired, I’m a grown ass man now, the WWE champion now, I was going to take him out no matter what, I was looking forward to this opportunity to beat up Randy Orton, and now he’s giving me every reason in the world, and I take it all of the legends, including Ric Flair.”"
Orton has been on a whole different level this summer, and continuing his streak being a legend killer. Orton’s rise as the best heel in the business is in large part due to his promos, and what he continues to do in the ring.
This is McIntyre’s biggest defense in his title reign thus far. It is certainly to say that Orton is bigger and better than when McIntyre faced Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 36.
However, McIntyre believes Orton and Lesnar are on the same level.
"“I think it’s on the same level,” McIntyre said. “This is the biggest challenge since WrestleMania, and SummerSlam’s the biggest show since WrestleMania. With Brock, everybody knows, he was one of the greatest combat sport athletes of all time, most dangerous people on planet earth, and I went in there and I beat him in five minutes, which no one’s ever done before, set the tone of the champion I’m going to be. At that particular time, Randy was on the rise, which is weird considering how long his career and has gone, but for some reason, Randy Orton not trying is one of the best in the world, and he would let himself, and he’s talked about it, I don’t always care, I don’t always give it a hundred percent, but realistically he’s still one of the best without caring, and over these past few months, he’s certainly cared.”McIntyre continued: “He’s certainly been firing, and also and just bringing it in the ring, on the microphone, every aspect, he’s on a different level right now. If Randy was that good without trying, he’s trying right now, he’s on a different level, which means it’s just as big a challenge as Brock Lesnar, the biggest challenge since WrestleMania, and I’ve got way more strong feelings heading into this match. With Brock, it was all about achieving my childhood dream, and getting the title back on RAW. With Randy, this is an evil human being that’s going to get what’s coming to him.”"
McIntyre has been champion since April, and from all accounts, has done a pretty good job at being the champion given the circumstances that have been happening.
In his title reign thus far, he has defeated Big Show, Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley and Dolph Ziggler. Four worthy competitors to try and dethrone McIntyre.
The champ gave his honest opinion of how he thinks he has done being champion in his title reign.
"“I’m not one to toot my own horn,” McIntyre said. “Obviously, when I won the WWE title, we’re in unprecedented times. No one’s ever been champion in a pandemic, so it’s kind of figuring it out as I go, but the thing I’ve said before I won the title, and I still fully believe is my journey, all the ups and downs of my career, all the negatives and the positives prepared me to lead the company in any situation. It didn’t matter what situation was presented to me, I would be able to lead this company because of my journey, and then the pandemic hit, and then when it did hit, I felt exactly the same, and I felt I was a man to carry the load, and I don’t crack under pressure, because I’ve been through it all, and I found that exciting, to be honest, I take it as a challenge to find new ways to innovate and adapt, WWE’s always innovating and adapting dramatically, I was always innovating and adapting, and from the first show, when there’s no fans there, I was trying to think of ways to connect with the fans at home, because they weren’t in the arena.”McIntyre continued: “So the WWE universe is our biggest superstar, number one superstar, we feed off of them, and I was looking right down the camera lens on that first show, trying to connect to everybody home and make that connection since he went there personally and trying to set an example for the rest of the roster that, hey, this is a new time right now, and I’m going to try things, I’m going to throw things against the wall to see if they stick, because there are no wrong answers right now, so let’s just try some stuff, and I wanted to set the examples from the first RAW, but let’s just do whatever it takes, see if the fans react to it, if they like it, cool. If they don’t, then we’ll change it, and we’ll keep trying, we’ll keep adapting, and hopefully I’ve been setting an example to everybody to do that as well. I had a few characters over the past few months really step up and really find themselves, which is awesome; and outside the ring, I’m very proud of my role as WWE brand ambassador, and get to do all the media, trying to get new eyes on the product, and that’s the role I take very seriously. Somebody like Randy Orton, I assure you, is just sitting home, chilling out, counting his money, and he’s not doing all the work. Hey, outside the company is the real responsibilities of a champion, and I’m really proud to say that I do put in the work when it comes to my responsibility as a champion, so hopefully get a high grade.”"
McIntyre said facing Orton in a match is a dream match for him. He also names one other person he wants to have a dream match with: Intercontinental Champion AJ Styles.
Styles has been one of the best in the world for a long time now, and he is also great on the mic as well.
He describes how he has been wanting to face Styles since their days back on the independent scene.
"“Randy was the top of the list, and that’s SummerSlam,” McIntyre said. “I got a few in mind, a A.J. Styles certainly floats around the top of the list, and he’s currently on SmackDown, unfortunately, but him and I have been like ships in the night for the past few years. When I was gone from the company, he was the biggest star for years, independent wrestling, and he was in Japan at the time, and there was a chance we were going to be the same company and things didn’t work out, and then a bunch of independent companies decided to book us together and timing didn’t work out, then he came back anyway to WWE, and then finally I came back to WWE, eventually we’re on the same roster, and I think I was a bad guy, he was a good guy, and then suddenly he’s a bad guy, and oh, that other match is probably not going to happen, and then I’m a good guy, he’s a bad guy, oh, we got a match that is going to happen, then he goes to SmackDown, so over the years when I look at the lay the land and A.J. and I keep missing each other, and I think recently on his Twitch stream, he talked about a few dream matches of his, and one with myself at WrestleMania would be high on his list, which is so cool, because I really A.J., I really want that match. When it happens, I want people to know it’s been a long time coming, years coming.”"
There is a lot of young and upcoming talent on the NXT roster. This is what the NXT roster is about: Developing talent and catching peoples eyes.
McIntyre talks about who has caught his eye, and who he wants a match with in the future, and gave a history lesson as to why he wants a match with this individual from NXT.
This could be another dream match in the making for wrestling fans if this ever comes to life.
"“Seeing the people has always, again, with last night, in NXT, so much talent who’s stepping up right now, I know Karrion Kross and Scarlett are really making a name for themselves right now, and they kind of come out of nowhere,” McIntyre said. “They didn’t have the big independent run of a lot of NXT superstars kind of just, their name popped up and suddenly they were in NXT, so they’re kind of unknown right now, but they’re really making an impact. I really need that thing with, match with Keith Lee, I think, and this is, and we can take a little history lesson with Keith Lee and I, this is basically how it’s gone. My last night in Evolve, Keith Lee was kind of on the rise, really turning heads, in independent wrestling and then Evolve, and my last night, the night I showed up in NXT TakeOver, when I returned to WWE, Keith Lee spirit bombed me out of Evolve, and then when I was in NXT and I tore my bicep, I was champion. I never had the chance to return and thank the fans and had my goodbye moment. I was straight to RAW. I kept a video on the road, never really had the chance to go back, the first time I showed back up prior to Survivor Series, I have my return moment, the fans are going crazy, who shows up to power bombs me once again, Keith Lee, so basically everywhere I go, he sneaks in, hits me with that power buff, so I think I owed him a few receipts, and I know that a heck of a match is two big guys, but they are really athletic also, so Keith and I’ll definitely have it down the line.”"
Speaking of Evolve, the WWE recently put Evolve and many other independent wrestling footage on the WWE Network this past Saturday, and this is something that McIntyre is thrilled this is finally happening.
This also helps wrestling fans get to see their favorite wrestlers in the WWE, and how they have grown and mature, while also seeing new wrestlers they have not seen.
"“It’s wild,” McIntyre said. “I can’t believe it’s actually happening. Then I remember hearing rumors about it over the past few years, and the fact that it’s finally happened is unbelievable. I’ve spoken to superstars all across the world from multiple different companies, and just independent wrestlers in general, and everybody’s just in shock and so excited with WWE showing the rest of the world out there, the scene that kind of developed some of the superstars of today, especially Drew McIntyre, like the footage that’s going on there from Evolve and ICW in Scotland is really going to let everybody in on my journey and how I left as DMV Drew and really found myself on the microphone, in the ring, as a person, as a character, and grew from a boy into a man, you’re really going to get to experience that journey on the WWE Network, it’s so surreal to me and so cool that WWE is really open to putting this kind of content on the Network.”"
RAW Underground has premiered recently with some mixed reviews by the fans. However, for McIntyre, he loves this new style of concept, and to try to keep the show fresh.
It also gives a chance for current wrestlers on Raw to build up their brand, and also gives a chance for new wrestlers to show what they can do when they are given a platform like this to perform on.
"“Yeah, I like RAW Underground, I like it a lot,” McIntyre said. “I was pretty excited when I saw Shane McMahon was in charge of it, and that’s just so his environment, I got to spend a lot of time with Shane and got to know him and learned so much from him, and I know he’d have a smile from ear to ear having the responsibility of RAW Underground, and I just love it. It’s different. Like, as I mentioned, we’re trying things with doing things against the wall, seeing what sticks, and I think because of the nature of the performance center, you want to move around different environments and keep it exciting and keep the show flowing, and I feel like that really lends itself to that where we’ve got one segment in the ring, and then suddenly we’re to the RAW Underground, which is gritty underground feel this more hard hitting, Fight Club style atmosphere, and really giving you something different. I think that’s the key, is just a three hour show, and just keeping it interesting, keeping it different throughout, keeping that flow going, and I think RAW Underground is perfect for that, and I’m excited to see a few guys get some opportunities to show what they can do from their fighting backgrounds.”"
McIntyre has held the title for 135 days and counting, will be defending his title and is facing Orton this Sunday, August 23, and you can see, and stream it on the WWE Network.