It’s been just over nine months since Drew McIntyre was last WWE champion, and yet he has remained a major focal point on WWE television. The same can’t be said for all former world champions, but he’s managed to stay toward the top of the card and continue to kill it.
After accomplishing all he could on Raw, McIntyre made the move to SmackDown in the 2021 WWE Draft, the same show he debuted on when he first joined the main roster in 2009. He quickly captured the Intercontinental Championship starting out on the blue brand but eventually fall out of favor with Vince McMahon and was later released.
Now, he’s looking to right the wrongs from over a decade ago, starting at Survivor Series by becoming one of the sole survivors in the men’s Team Raw vs. Team SmackDown elimination match.
Ahead of the event, The Scottish Warrior caught up with Daily DDT to talk about what the event means to him, who he wants at WrestleMania 38, not using the same sword as he did a year ago, and more.
Drew McIntyre talks Survivor Series, representing SmackDown and his ideal WrestleMania 38 opponent
In addition to being integral part of Team SmackDown at Survivor Series, McIntyre has stayed busy lately with various media appearances, including presenting an award at the MTV EMA Awards and leading the charge for WWE’s recent tour overseas.
“I never get content,” he said about how he’s been able to stay successful. “Treat every day like Day 1. It’s one thing to get to the top of the mountain, but it’s a whole other ballgame to stay there and I learned all about that in the ups and downs in my life and career and I know it can all go away tomorrow.”
WWE announced all members of the Raw and SmackDown Survivor Series squads ahead of time on Twitter with McIntyre being the first name added to Team Blue for the men. He joked about whether the team could coexist before making a case for why he’s technically the team captain.
“If you ask Xavier Woods, he’d probably say otherwise,” McIntyre said. “I was announced first and I’ve got a history of being a captain if you look throughout my career, especially if you look outside of WWE. There’s been a few different times I’ve had to lead a company to glory over other companies. I’m experienced in that area, but we’ll see on the night.”
The Raw vs. SmackDown matches have never had any stakes at Survivor Series and this year will be no exception. McIntyre echoed Woods’ idea of putting the winners in matches to determine the final spots in the Royal Rumbles, but also had his own interpretation of what these matchups mean on Sunday night.
“I know everybody’s talking about what’s at stake and do you really care about the brand you’re on considering you were on the other brand literally a few weeks before, but for me, it’s about individual bragging rights and building momentum,” he said. “I know if I happen to one of the sole survivors on Team SmackDown, that just goes into building momentum, equity, and a legitimate reason for fighting Roman Reigns who is on top of the world right now… I’ve had a couple of matches not go my way, so I want to start at the beginning. I want to put my time in, we’re 52 weeks a year, and I want to build as much momentum as I possibly can, and that includes being a survivor for SmackDown at Survivor Series and that’s what it’s all about.”
When asked if Reigns is indeed his ideal opponent for WrestleMania 38 (which tickets are now on sale for), he confirmed that he has his sights set on whoever the champion is come The Show of Shows.
McIntyre and Reigns have a rich history dating back to 2019, and at Survivor Series 2020, Reigns beat McIntyre in a champion vs. champion main event. In fact, The Tribal Chief has emerged victorious any time they’ve gone one-on-one, so McIntyre wants to rectify that next spring with the Universal Championship up for grabs.
“The answer is whoever the champion is,” he said about he wants at WrestleMania 38. “If it’s Roman, that’s the match I want. If it’s Sheamus who manages to get himself in there and win the championship after a few years of not being champion, then I want him. If I’m the champion going into WrestleMania, then happy days, I don’t care. Realistically, it’s all about being in that title match. If it does take until ‘Mania to get Roman, I want to keep building that momentum to make that match as big as possible, not just because that’s the match everyone wants right now.”
The Universal Championship is one of the few titles that has alluded McIntyre up to this point in his WWE career. Winning it on the show he started on would make the moment that much sweeter, and the road to that title match starts now.
He dominated Raw from 2018 through 2021 and his focus has shifted to doing the same on SmackDown. The Scottish Warrior looks at this career move for himself as a “fresh coat of paint” and that he sees it as an opportunity to make up for all the “personal strife and anguish” his first run on the blue brand caused.
“My career has very much gone full circle being drafted to SmackDown,” he said. “Initially, when I got drafted, I remember turning to one of the writers and saying, ‘I feel like a traitor right now.’ I came back to WWE, then NXT, and then Raw. I started with Dolph and found my footing again, but something was missing.
“The final piece of the puzzle wasn’t there and then it happened on Raw when I became champion and the face of Raw,” he continued. “I was synonymous with that show and it felt like home… SmackDown is where it all started. I started on SmackDown in my early 20s with the Chosen One thing, but it didn’t work out, so that’s a part of my history. That’s a part of my history I want to make right.”
Drew McIntyre on fan backlash dying down and not using the same sword
Upon losing the WWE Championship for a second time at Elimination Chamber 2021, McIntyre started to fall out of favor with a certain segment of the audience who wanted fresh faces in the title picture. The fan backlash grew when he received rematch after rematch and fell short every time.
Thankfully, he’s been back on the right track for the last few months and has regained most, if not all, of that fan following. That’s mostly been thanks to how he’s been booked and not being featured toward the top of the card constantly, instead working his way back up the ranks by issuing open challenges on SmackDown.
“I’m always pleasantly surprised when the sword hits at the beginning of my music and I hear all those cheers because I spent so many years as a bad guy,” he said. “So many times, I got boos or a mixed or a lukewarm reaction or barely anything at all. These days, ever since we got the fans back, it was a bit mixed on the first night and it was a bit up and down at the beginning, but it’s gotten to the point where it’s basically all cheers when I come out. Maybe you expect it in the U.K., I am from there, but to go Saudi Arabia and hear the chants from the crowd, it’s amazing how many countries WWE is featured in and how well they know the product and how well they’re receiving Drew McIntyre.”
This past week also marked the one-year anniversary of when he started coming out the ring with a sword, which he later named Angela, and sticking it into the stage during his entrance. It was right before he won back the WWE title from Randy Orton on an episode of Raw.
McIntyre once said that the sword legitimately belonged to Vince McMahon, and while that was the case initially, he’s been using a different one ever since. While looking back at the anniversary of the sword’s debut, he shared a funny story about not knowing it was time for his entrance due to a miscue from the referee.
“I don’t believe it’s the same sword, not to ruin anyone’s fantasies,” he clarified. “It was a stand-in initially until we got my current sword, but I’ve had this one for a while. If you watch my very first entrance with it, the night I wrestled Randy and won back the title, I was informed our match wasn’t for another 20 minutes. So, I was in the training room getting ready and we were at the Amway Center.
“I was putting on my wrist tape and I heard my music play,” he said. “I turned to somebody and said, ‘That’s weird, are they testing the music?’ They said, ‘No, that’s your entrance.’ I was misinformed, I was actually up in two minutes. I sprinted all the way to Gorilla for my entrance and they’re wondering where I am. It’s my first entrance with the sword, so I said, ‘I’m building anticipation!’ I walk through the curtain and if you look closely, I only have one wrist tape on.”