Drew McIntyre has climbed many a mountain in WWE: from salvaging a crumbling career to winning the Royal Rumble and capturing the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. Not every moment can be actualized as one hopes, and McIntyre experienced this at one of WWE's most tenured pay-per-view events.
Heading into WWE SummerSlam in August, McIntyre hoped to bring out the best in his real-life friend Jinder Mahal. A match between McIntyre and Mahal, which lasted 4:40, did not live up to McIntyre's expectations. The former WWE champion opened up the contest in an interview with CBS Sports ahead of WWE Day 1 on Jan. 1, where he will face Madcap Moss.
"No, definitely not," he said. "I didn't expect Becky [Lynch] to return. The match prior gave the crowd that reaction, that moment. Then when they expected the lengthy match with Becky and Bianca [Belair], it took the wind out of the sales by having the match be 20-something seconds. To walk out after that, the crowd was a bit deflated. It wasn't quite what I hoped reaction was.
"Perhaps it wasn't what I was hoping for match-wise, but, it gave Drew McIntyre the big win on a big stage, a very dominant win. Even though sometimes I'm like, 'I want to go out there and have the best match possible and do all the cool near falls and stuff,' sometimes, you have to be saved from yourself and protect the character and elevate the character. That was about elevating Drew McIntyre and it did do that on a huge stage."
Check out the full interview with Drew McIntyre below.
McIntyre was a focal point of WWE programming through the crowdless pandemic era, successfully capturing the WWE championship in the main event of WrestleMania 36. It is a moment he cherishes; however, it doesn't quite measure up to McIntyre's desire to hoist WWE gold overhead in front of a full-capacity WrestleMania audience.
"I'm satisfied with everything I've done in my career, especially since I returned to WWE," McIntyre said. "I want it, absolutely. I'll work for it, but there's only so much I can control and I work as hard as I can at all the things I can control. If it doesn't happen, it wasn't meant to be. But I will get a significant moment on Mania, maybe not in the final match, but it will be in the final match. I'll be making that happen, but I'll be having that significant moment.
"Two years ago I won the title with nobody there. It meant the world to me and was necessary during those times. The following year, I'm fighting for the title. Once again, my goodness, two years in a row, what are the chances. A limited capacity crowd at Raymond James Stadium, I'm going to have my moment. Then I get choked out, so I don't get my moment in front of the fans. So maybe Mania might not be my greatest luck charm, but I've got a good feeling there's going to be a significant moment for Drew at a Mania. I've got many years left in me. Everybody thinks I'm in my forties already... Even though it feels like I've been around forever, I'm still 36. I've still got plenty of time left."
McIntyre is rumored to be returning to the world championship scene against the winner of Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar. The chance to compete for the Universal title is a salivating one, but McIntyre has enjoyed his time away from the main event scene.
"You get to try new things," McIntyre said. "When you're the champion, you really want everything to hit. You're expected to have everything hit. You can throw some things against the wall when you're not the champion and see what sticks. What works and what's not working, there's not as much on you when you're not involved in that title scene. Also for the fans, it gives them a chance to see you in a different light. See you doing something else. And eventually, hopefully, they get to the point where they're like, 'Why is this guy not in the title picture? This is driving me crazy. I want to see him there again...'
"It's cool to get away, add some layers to the character. Maybe get a new hold as they like to say in the wrestling industry and have the fans start rallying behind you and chase the title. Cause you know, the interest and the money, generally, is in the chase as opposed to holding the title."