Drew McIntyre won the WWE Championship off Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 36, but he could drop it at Clash of Champions more than five months later.
When Drew McIntyre Claymored Brock Lesnar straight over the top rope and later won the Royal Rumble, he was a made man. And when he defeated the Beast Incarnate in the main event of WrestleMania 36’s second night, he was entrenched as the top male babyface on Raw.
McIntyre has held the WWE Championship with conviction in 2020 amidst a difficult time. His reign began when there were no fans, NXT Performance Center recruits, or Thunderdome audience around him. He was flying solo but putting on excellent performances.
The Chosen One put on a classic with Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank. He had a great match at Backlash against Bobby Lashley. And he even blew people away with his old tag team partner Dolph Ziggler in a one-sided Extreme Rules match that fans initially didn’t care much about but were praising by the end of it.
And now, McIntyre is headed for his toughest test yet. After facing Keith Lee on the Sept. 14 episode of Raw, branded as “In Your Face”, he’ll have a huge Clash of Champions title defense against the man who Punt Kicked him thrice, Randy Orton.
Will Drew McIntyre lose the title at Clash of Champions 2020?
McIntyre, of course, repaid the favor to Orton, hitting him with three Claymores. Orton vs. McIntyre already took place once at SummerSlam, with Drew winning via surprise roll-up. The Viper didn’t take that well, as you’d expect, and has been hot on the trail since, earning himself No. 1 Contendership by pinning Seth Rollins off Keith Lee’s finisher in a Raw Triple Threat.
It seems like the writing may be on the wall for McIntyre’s WWE Title reign. Orton is the top heel on the brand and ready to hold that belt until putting over a rising star at WrestleMania, in the same way Lesnar put McIntyre over big-time in the spring of 2020.
If that’s the case, McIntyre’s reign could end after about five to six months. That’s a decent-sized reign for a WWE Champion. Long enough so that fans got to see him get a run and a few feuds, but not long enough for McIntyre to get overexposed so that the fans turned on him as a babyface champion.
Whether in NXT or on Raw, McIntyre has proven that he’s a highly effective babyface, which isn’t easy to do. McIntyre is a great promo and a phenomenal athlete and story-teller in the ring. He makes fans care about what’s going on and can hold his own on the mic with the likes of Rollins and Orton. Again, that’s not easy to do. Further, McIntyre is adept at using real-life stuff to build his rivalries, such as with Orton before SummerSlam.
Drew McIntyre’s done well, but there’s something missing
The highlight of his reign in the ring was the match with Rollins at Money in the Bank, which was one of the best men’s title matches in WWE this year. And in terms of storytelling and promos, his best work has, naturally, come with Orton. It’s important for a champion to elevate wrestlers who don’t seem to be as credible, too, and McIntyre did a good job of getting fans interested in his Extreme Rules match with Ziggler when the bell rang.
For all these kind words, though, McIntyre’s had something missing in his reign. He feels like a star and is doing a great job, but he isn’t destined for a long title reign since he hasn’t done anything truly memorable. McIntyre is a great wrestler in so many ways, but he’s still not on the level of a Roman Reigns or a Becky Lynch who hits every match or promo out of the park or does things that fans talk about for weeks.
And for that reason, McIntyre gets high marks, especially considering the circumstances of his reign. But he does not receive the highest marks of an “A”. That grade should be reserved only for the absolute elite. McIntyre is great, but he still has a little bit of work to do.