Q&A: Drew McIntyre Talks Titles & Swords
By Ryan Satin
Drew McIntyre became a two-time WWE Champion this week on Monday Night Raw.
After losing the title to Randy Orton last month at Hell in a Cell, McIntyre proved he's not just a flash in the pan on Monday by defeating "The Viper" with a Claymore kick to reclaim Raw's top prize.
"The Scottish Psychopath" doesn't have much time to celebrate though, unfortunately, as he'll be wrestling against Roman Reigns on Sunday at Survivor Series in one of the biggest matchups WWE has to offer.
McIntyre joined me via Zoom on Tuesday to chat about both of these topics and more – including how it felt falling off the Hell in a Cell structure and his wish for a singles match against Undertaker.
Watch the interview, which goes live at 4 p.m. PT or read the full transcript below.
RS: Since we’re only a few hours removed from you regaining the WWE Championship on RAW, first and foremost, how are you feeling after becoming champion for the second time?
DREW: I’m feeling pretty awesome.
Looking at the title like I showed you a second ago, I’ve got Randy’s nameplates still on there.
I plan to make that into a belt buckle as soon as I can.
So, yeah. Good day for Drew!
RS: What’s different about how you feel now compared to how you felt after beating Brock for the title at WrestleMania?
DREW: They asked me this last night as soon as I finished, so I guess I’ll kind of reiterate myself.
I feel much the same. It feels like the first time every time, I guess. For me, anyway. It never gets old to hear WWE Champion Drew McIntyre.
I’m so proud to be in WWE. To be on top, to be champion, is so so cool and I feel exactly the same as I did the first time.
RS: Was there any difference for you in having the ThunderDome crowd watching at least, since you could actually see more eyes on you this time when you won the title?
DREW: Yeah. The whole experience was different last night being in the ThunderDome.
Being in an arena, having that real-time reaction from the ThunderDome and the fact that I was running around in my kilt again, with a giant ass Claymore and fire going on, it was special from that perspective.
When it comes down to it, winning the title feels the same, but it was cool to have the fans there reacting in real-time.
To have my wife watching me for the first time in a World title match, even in just the ThunderDome, she was in the background, which meant a lot to me too.
But yeah, to have my big sword and kilt and pyro on top of it was awesome.
RS: Your wife was one of the people on the screens?
DREW: Yup. She was there.
She was in the background for my promo in the beginning in-ring and for the match, so that was really cool. Really special.
RS: Since you just brought it up, and because I had it high on my list of things to talk about, I want to talk about your cool entrance on Raw with the sword.
Was this an idea that you had? Or was this something that was brought to you?
DREW: I’ve always wanted to incorporate the kilt and the Scottish heritage. I think it’s important.
One, I think it’s cool. I’m from Scotland and I’m proud of it.
Two, a branding perspective.
Just thinking of what separates me to the outside eyes, as opposed to just the wrestling fans who check out WWE.
I always wanted to be larger than life. And what makes me different. I’m the biggest, dark, long-haired, bearded guy on the roster. We got a bunch of them. If you don’t watch wrestling, you just kinda go, “Oh, those guys kinda look alike.”
What separates me, aside from being the most jacked one, is, “Oh, that’s the Scottish one! The Braveheart guy. I want to know more about him.”
So I thought it was important for me, heritage-wise, presentation-wise, and branding-wise, but it was never the right time.
They weren’t feeling it until recently when we had a conversation about it and once the boss gets something in his head … I was just thinking of walking out with the kilt.
Obviously he likes to take it further, and so suddenly we had the sword. Then we had the pyro. And he was very hands-on with this.
I guess I’ll let the cat out of the bag: The sword that I had is actually Vince [McMahon]’s sword.
It was gifted to him by Stephanie [McMahon] and Hunter [Paul Levesque].
I believe the conversation went, “We need the sword. We don’t have a sword, sir.” …. [imitating Vince McMahon] “I have a sword.”
I heard that story and told him, “Of course you have a sword.”
RS: The fact that that was Vince McMahon’s sword you walked out with just made my day.
Do you know when they bought the sword for him or if there was any special meaning behind it?
DREW: I believe Hunter and Stephanie were in Scotland and they got it, legit, at a sword manufacturer.
I’m from Scotland and I’ve never seen the sword store.
They went out of their way to get a legitimate Scottish Claymore as a gift, then suddenly I was walking by the ring with the big sword and Hunter was like, “Didn’t I get that for Vince?”
Yes you did!
RS: I love the idea of Vince in a meeting going, “Fetch my sword from Stamford!”
DREW: He gets an idea in his head and thinks bigger. When I saw it last night, I was like, “Wow. He’s a genius.”
He always shocks me with how smart he is and these visions that he has. They’re like, we need a sword. We don’t have a sword sir. I have a sword! I’ll get you a sword. We’ll get it from my house.
I’m sure he has every medieval weapon in there.
RS: I picture him having a vault full of medieval weapons and weird artifacts you wouldn’t expect him to own.
Do you know if the sword entrance will become a weekly thing? Or was it just a special occasion thing for now?
DREW: I’m not too sure.
I hope we keep it for now. With a lot of special entrances it might lose its luster after awhile. Hopefully it won’t. It’s really cool. But, either way, we’ll just roll with the punches and go with it.
Hopefully the people are digging it.
I just don’t know. I’m just sitting here like this [crosses fingers].
I hope we keep doing it and if we need to change it up, we’ll change it up. There’s a lot of possibilities now. Rather than just, I walk to the ring like everyone else.
Now we have the Scottish heritage. Now we have the sword. We have the flames. We have so many things we can do.
We can change things up.
We can be at a pay-per-view and have a bunch of people lined up with swords, Undertaker style with torches. Now we have so many avenues we can go character-wise that I’m really excited about.
RS: You and Randy have been going back and forth the past few months, with multiple matches now under your belt. How have you felt about the program you guys have had?
DREW: Very proud of everything we’ve done.
I said since I won the title at Mania, I know Randy Orton is the one.
He’s the one that I have to face. It’s already Randy Orton, one of the best of all-time, but since he worked with Edge he started kicking up another level.
Best in the industry, promos, in-ring, and I knew I had to face him and keep up with him to prove myself as a top level talent.
The fact that we’ve been doing it for four months now, which is such a rarity in today’s day and age. People have no attention span these days. They’ve got no idea if people feud for a month and we’ve been going for four months now.
I feel like we’ve done a lot, as the video package showed last night.
Achieved a lot and I’ve been able to step up and prove myself at a top level and it’s thanks to Randy Orton. So I’m very very grateful for the opportunity to work with Randy.
RS: I’ve actually really enjoyed WWE seemingly doing longer programs as of late.
You mentioned the usual short attention span of fans, but it’s kind of felt like they’ve gone against that more recently. Like the Seth Rollins/Rey Mysterio feud has been going for months, your program has been going for months.
I like that. It seemed to be missing for awhile.
I’ve felt like you guys have done a great job in not only telling a story that never got stale, but also making the story progress in ways that felt natural.
For example, I enjoyed you pinning Randy Orton at SummerSlam with a backslide. That’s not a thing we normally see in main event matches and I thought it helped keep the program alive well.
So it’s nice to see you all continually keeping it fresh on TV.
DREW: Thank you. That’s what it is all about.
At the core, that’s how you can get invested in the product. Invested in the characters. And it’s fifty-two weeks a year. You can’t just feud with everybody on the roster cause we’ve got a limited roster.
You want to be in a feud and keep it interesting. Keep it fresh. And I’m so glad that we’re able to do that for the past four months.
Like you said, I got him at SummerSlam with the backslide and at Clash of Champions it was the Ambulance Match. The legends got their revenge. Put him in the back of the ambulance.
He had the excuse that it was multiple people interfering in the match, so then we had Hell in a Cell where I crashed off the cell and he beat me with an RKO.
I never had pinned him clean with the Claymore and we finally got to the point where I finally hit the Claymore, finally pinned him clean, and now Randy Orton has no excuses.
RS: Was it crazy for you to step into the Hell in a Cell? It’s a pretty intimidating match. Lots of legends have been involved in it. How did you feel doing it for the first time?
DREW: I always wanted to do it as a kid. I remember sitting with my brother watching the first Hell in a Cell with Shawn and Taker, being like oh my goodness. This is unbelievable.
I remember watching Mick getting thrown off the cell in 98 and jumping out of my bed the night before school. It was on Sunday at like two in the morning, UK.
I remember the 2000s with Triple H and Foley again, watching it in my bedroom telling my brother, “I’ll take the bump off the cell one day.” He goes, “Alright, Drew.”
Then you start wrestling and realize that … it hurts.
Then you do it for a long time and finally you get that opportunity where you’re in the cell and you’re thinking about thirteen or fourteen year old Drew wanting to jump off the top, and you’re like alright … thirty-five year old Drew is a bit more grizzled.
The cell is technically a few feet higher than it used to be and I’m afraid of heights. So, maybe I won’t be jumping off the top.
But I still, for the sake of history, I was like: “We gotta go up there! I hate heights with a passion, but we gotta go up there. That’s what’s gonna make us different. I’m gonna come off the cell. It sounds horrible. I hate heights. It’s gonna hurt like hell. I’m one of the bigger guys, aside from Foley, that’s come off the cell. I’m like 6’5, legitimately 270 pounds. That table’s gonna hopefully break my fall.”
It didn’t. It was the worst fall of my life.
RS: That’s the worst fall you’ve ever taken?
DREW: Twenty years of wrestling, the worst bump by far. Horrible.
But again, I just wanted to do it for the sake of history. I wanted to do it for the fans. Thinking of Foley, I was like, “Think of the virtual pop!”
When I was up there, it’s legitimately ten feet the plate I was standing on, but with my boots on I’m 6’7. So it was 17 feet basically. I was looking down before I fell off.
When I hit that table, I was like, “Ok table, break my fall.”
As soon as I landed I bit through my tongue. Blood coming out of my mouth. Whiplash. Sucked.
When I was selling back to the ring, it really added to the story though. Like, when I came off, and I was able to get to the ring, and I got in there and we had the sequence with the RKO, it wasn’t planned that way. It just felt right because of the violence of that bump.
I was done for at that point. That wasn’t how we planned it necessarily, but it’s how it felt right.
That’s the thing, when you’re out there, even without the fans there live, the ThunderDome helps you feel what the right thing is to do and how to tell that story correctly.
I knew that was the way to sell that Drew’s done for. He’s tried, but he’s done for. RKO. 1-2-3.
But I’m never coming off a cell again. No matter what they pay me.
RS: Did you at least call your brother afterwards to say I told you so?
DREW: Yeah! He texted me and called me an idiot.
But I did say I was going to do it as a kid and I did. I did the Shawn bump. It was higher too since the cage is four feet taller!
RS: Lately on TV we’ve seen your interactions with Sheamus. Can you talk a little about your relationship with him for those fans who maybe aren’t familiar with all you’ve done together in the past?
DREW: Hopefully it feels different for fans that are watching.
Aside the fact that it’s a heel/babyface dynamic, they’re friends. It’s real. Hopefully it feels more natural than what you usually see from wrestling interviews because everything that we’re doing is based on truth.
We’ve known each other, I’ve always joked, since I was like eighteen, nineteen and he was forty-seven. He’s a little bit older than me.
We’ve been friends for a very long time. We’ve been through everything together.
As soon as we met we clicked right away. We had the same goal to make it to America in WWE. We were on the one television show in the whole of Europe, Irish Whip Wrestling.
He was the big Irish babyface champion and I was the evil foreign invader heel that had Wade Barrett in my group. The Foreign Legion.
We defeated him for the title. We wrestled across Europe. He had his video camera there every time. Video'ed the matches. We’d watch it back, we’d critique ourselves, try to get better.
We got signed on the same day.
Both Heavyweight champion in FCW.
The night I won the IC title, he became the Heavyweight champion.
Best friends living together for years. Inevitably, I got married. He was the best man at my wedding. It’s a real story. A real friendship.
What you’re seeing on-screen now is very exciting for me because I don’t know where we’re going. We’re just basing everything in truth and hopefully the fans enjoy the ride.
I think I know they’re waiting for him to turn around and Brogue Kick me the second I turn my back, but I think there’s a lot of possibility of just taking the friendship and him being what he is, away from me, and when he gets to me I’m the one that calms him down.
It’s just a real friendship.
Maybe we kick some butt together. And whatever happens definitely happens down the line with the big brother, little brother relationship, I think there’s so many possibilities and it being so real is what makes it so compelling.
It’s the same way with Roman [Reigns] and his character right now, it’s all based in truth. That’s why it’s so compelling.
If you can do something based in truth, that’s the most exciting television.
RS: Absolutely. The best wrestling is when you can blend reality with fiction to some degree.
I’ve actually been really intrigued by whatever is being set up with you and Sheamus – whether it’s him turning on you or an eventual team-up.
While prepping for this interview, I was actually shocked to learn your last singles match on TV against him was in 2012 and it was for less than 3 minutes.
I think that’s a fresh matchup now that people would want to see.
DREW: Yeah, it was like a throwaway or something and we lost ti- we hadn’t lost time. We had no time to begin with.
Pretty sure, unless you’re sitting on Google, nobody remembers that.
So it’s pretty much brand new. Not just to the casual wrestling fan, but to the hardcore wrestling fan too.
RS: Looking ahead to this weekend, you’ve got a match at Survivor Series against the Universal Champion Roman Reigns. What are your thoughts heading into the event?
DREW: I’m excited. Very excited.
I know Roman has been “the guy” for a very long time. He’s proven himself over and over and over.
He looks the part, he acts the part, he is the part.
He talks about the levels and how much goes into this. It’s not just what you see on-screen. There’s so much more off-screen and a lot of people can’t handle it. A lot of people complain.
He’s handled it for a very long time.
He went away after Mania, as I pointed out on SmackDown, it allowed me to step up and represent the company when they needed someone to step up to that level.
He’s come back and now he’s telling everybody all the things that he did in the past.
I respected him so much because he did all the work and didn’t complain, didn’t brag about it, and now he’s letting the world know, “I am the man. I’ve proven I’m the man.”
And like I said last night, he’s putting himself on a pedestal right up here way above the rest of us. Nobody watches Raw, brother! Nobody cares about anybody else on Raw and SmackDown. They care about this guy!
That new attitude allows a character like myself – who believes in himself, but has been through some hardships, has not always been the top guy, has taken a lot of falls, has had to work hard and appreciates everything and sees it as an honor to be one of the Superstars, nevermind one of the top superstars, and the cool dynamic is I’m going in there to knock him off his pedestal.
I think it’s a pretty exciting story of a couple of chosen ones that had to take very different paths.
Where I am mentally now because of my journey and where he is mentally now because he wants to brag about himself is very, very interesting.
RS: I also like how things are flipped from the last time the two of you wrestled each other.
Now you’re the babyface champion that people are behind and he’s the heel that people are against, and I think these characters suit the two of you better.
DREW: I’m all about stories and Roman’s all about telling stories, and I’m excited to see the kind of story we’re gonna tell this Sunday.
Man, it’s gonna be fun.
This is the match I’ve really been looking forward to and I’ve really been enjoying what he’s doing.
I think we’ve taken on our full forms now. I think in the past, as good as Roman was, he wasn’t being quite himself and fans could see that.
Now he’s able to just be fully himself, no restrictions, go all out out there. Say what he wants to say.
And I’m able to be myself, say what I want to say. For some people it was shocking because I was so serious for so long.
In real life, I’m just a huge mark. I’m goofy. I’m sarcastic. I tell jokes that aren’t funny.
I probably could say “sufferin succotash” and it would work, because my personality is so goofy. Europeans are just a bit quirky and that’s the real Drew.
Now I get to be myself. When the bell rings, I kick butt.
But I am a bit of a silly guy. That kind of suits me. So me in that role is the real Drew and Roman in that role is the real Roman, and I think that’s what’s really compelling about it.
RS: That’s precisely what I meant by saying that. The two of you do feel much more fully formed than before. These are the roles that both of you were destined to play.
I’m pumped. To me, this is a WrestleMania-worthy main event.
I think Survivor Series is a bigger show now because of this match.
DREW: And Taker’s thirtieth! My god.
RS: Do you think he’s actually going to have his “final farewell” this Sunday at Survivor Series?
DREW: He better not.
I’ve been waiting for that Taker match for a long time.
I sat with Vince McMahon when I was about twenty-three, twenty-four years old when the youth movement was starting and all the old Superstars were going out, retiring.
Sheamus went to Raw. I went to SmackDown. Triple H was kind of mentoring Sheamus and Undertaker was put in charge of me.
Vince told me, “Undertaker is your mentor. You listen to him. No one else.” No problem. I’d harass him all the time getting advice.
It was supposed to lead to a big match at WrestleMania 26.
It never happened and shouldn’t have happened at the time. I wasn’t ready for it. But he defeated me in my first singles defeat as “The Chosen One” right before he retired Shawn Michaels.
I came back eventually, obviously, after I was gone for awhile. Had the tag match with myself and Shane versus Roman and Taker, and we gave Taker the match he deserved after the Goldberg match.
The biggest thing for me was, like, when I was a kid and we went face-to-face, in that first match where he defeated me, it looked like a child standing in front of a man.
Like, he’s gonna crush him and he crushed me.
And we had that moment in the tag match, went face-to-face, and I was equally as tall. I was just as big.
The crowd started rumbling and I was like, “This is pretty cool.”
There’s a cool video package to this if we can delve into the real story, like AJ and Taker, start talking more about Mark and his wife, which was interesting.
I was like, “Wow. If we were able to go into this story about Drew getting mentored by Taker and the first defeat in the match that was supposed be. And coming back. And having the tag match.”
There’s a lot of possibilities.
Obviously it’s on Taker, if he’s able to do it and if he wants to do it.
I watched the documentary “The Last Ride” just like everyone else.
Apparently Vince is the one that calls him and things happen, so every single week I’m just gonna be, “Hey … call Taker … call Taker … call Taker.”
Let’s get that match going!
RS: I love how in the past two weeks I’ve interviewed you and I’ve interviewed Kane, and both of you booked yourselves in final matches with Undertaker after I asked whether you guys thought this would be his actual farewell or not.
DREW: Pretty sure everybody wants that match.
If he’s willing to do it, everyone wants the match.
I’m just saying it makes more sense to do it with me!
Watch Drew McIntyre face-off against Universal Champion Roman Reigns this Sunday at Survivor Series LIVE on WWE Network.