Since beating Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 36, SmackDown star Drew McIntyre has presided as WWE’s lead babyface. Through the 311 days that comprised his two reigns as champion, McIntyre helmed the Raw brand through the rough stretches of the empty arena/Thunderdome era, producing good matches and carrying himself like the top star the company viewed him as.
After his second run as champion ended at The Miz’s hand via a Money in the Bank cash-in — Miz would quickly lose the title to Bobby Lashley — fan reactions to McIntyre’s proceeding pursuit of WWE Title reign number three weren’t as enthusiastic about this chase as they were in 2019-2020.
Getting several WWE Championship rematches against Lashley despite losing clean to “The All Mighty” at WrestleMania 37 accelerated the exhaust that a lot of fans had for “The Scottish Warrior” in the main event scene. But did McIntyre feel the same?
Drew McIntyre on whether he remained in the WWE Title picture for too long.
Speaking with BT Sport’s Ariel Helwani, McIntyre said that his character likely spent too much time chasing Lashley and the company’s richest prize (h/t to Fightful’s Jeremy Lambert for the transcription):
"“It was weird because generally, the good guy, is the one chasing and that’s where the excitement is. I felt for a long period that as champion, that’s where I was meant to be and the chase was exciting from Rumble to Mania when I beat Brock, but there was a period where I felt ‘I’m meant to be. I’m meant to be champion.’“During the Lashley stuff, perhaps the way we set up the matches, perhaps the narrative of ‘Drew keeps getting title matches’ that we were pushing for some reason, didn’t exactly help during that period. Perhaps I could have gotten out of the title scene a little quicker after I lost the first match and didn’t have a couple of follow-up matches and started the rebuild again,” he said."
After his feud with Lashley ended, McIntyre entered a feud with former 3MB stablemate Jinder Mahal that centered around McIntyre’s prop sword, Angela. McIntyre would beat Mahal in less than five minutes at SummerSlam 2021.
After that, he would unsuccessfully challenge current WWE Champion Big E for the title at the propaganda show in Saudi Arabia before getting drafted to SmackDown, where he competed in some open challenges before starting. a program with Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss. McIntyre will face Moss at the Day 1 pay-per-view on Jan. 1.
McIntyre has made comments like this in the past, and just like those other instances, it was refreshing to hear. There are far too many examples of top WWE babyfaces that fans have grown weary of (John Cena, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns to some extent) who blame the fans for being fickle and always looking for something to complain about. Yet here’s McIntyre with some introspection on WHY the fans likely got tired of seeing him in the title hunt.
Sure, it would be nice to also hear him say this about some of the promo material he received — or the segments where he, a babyface, swings a deadly weapon at other wrestlers — but the quotes he gave at least show that, at some level, he gets it.