WrestleMania 36 is set to air this weekend over the course of two days and Drew McIntyre tells us being able to give WWE fans something to look forward to each week during a difficult time around the world makes him proud.
Drew McIntyre was riding high just a few short weeks ago.
The 19-year veteran had accomplished the biggest achievement of his career winning the Royal Rumble and was on track to main event WrestleMania against Brock Lesnar in front of a jam-packed Raymond James Stadium. There he was destined to finally live up to his “Chosen One” monicker from years prior and win his first major title in WWE in front of tens of thousands of fans.
Unfortunately, weeks later life changed for people all across the world and major venues were shut down in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. This led to WWE announcing WrestleMania would instead air on April 4 and 5, with matches filmed at the Performance Center and various closed-set locations with essential personnel only behind the scenes to abide by CDC suggestions/government recommendations.
While some in his position would get down about a major change like that regarding the biggest opportunity of their career, Drew McIntyre sees it in a different way.
In an interview with Pro Wrestling Sheet last week … McIntyre talked about how he now looks at WrestleMania as something bigger than just him and his possible moment.
Read below for his full thoughts on the matter, as well as details on his relationship with Vince McMahon, WrestleMania being a two-day event, WWE’s planned off-site matches creating a Mortal Kombat-style vibe to WM36 and more.
Pro Wrestling Sheet: Back when you won the Royal Rumble, a clip was released of you thanking Vince McMahon for the opportunity backstage. Seeing as how he’s always seemed to be interested in your future, and aware of your potential, what is your relationship like with him now?
Drew McIntyre: Good. I have always had a good relationship with the boss. Especially when I’m in something significant, he’s even more hands-on, and I want to get his opinion. And basically, the way it works – the way it should work in any business – is, obviously, he delegates and people are in charge of segments throughout the show. If you have a question, they’ll generally relay what the boss wants. If it makes sense, and I’m in agreement, then no problem. Don’t have any further questions. But if I do, instead of going through ten different people to get there, I’ll go straight to the horse’s mouth if I have a thought, or a question, or an idea. And that’s the way you should operate in any business. If you’re unsure, ask the man himself.
PWS: Absolutely. I know you’ve also talked about wanting to transcend to that next elite level like some of the people you’ve been in the ring with throughout your career. Is there anything Vince has told you since winning the Royal Rumble, now that you’re in this position, that has helped you with your mindset in trying to make that happen?
DM: Not anything official that I can think of except he made it very clear it’s “go time.” I know exactly what that means. I think we’re very much on the same page after I won the Rumble in that it’s WrestleMania season and you’ve gotta be putting everything you’ve got into it every single time you’re out there.
So, if he didn’t like what I was doing, I assure you he would let me know. He’s not afraid to speak his mind, Vince McMahon.
But I know what it takes during WrestleMania season. It takes everything you’ve got and he can tell when you’re giving it everything you’ve got.
PWS: I know the road to WrestleMania is a stressful thing when you’re trying to give everything you’ve got to make the most of a big opportunity being given to you, but how has it been having to deal with the stress of WrestleMania while also dealing with the stress of what the world is going through right now in regards to a global pandemic?
DM: It’s not something that’s driving me crazy. I’m older, wiser, I’ve been through a few things. And, obviously, this is a very different situation. It’s not just a different situation for me or the company, it’s a different situation for the world.
My dad’s having an interesting time of it right now and the family and friends over here have been having an interesting time of it. Trying to follow the guidelines and keep themselves secure and inside. And people inside are kinda struggling to keep themselves entertained. That’s why I’m so proud that WWE – obviously following CDC guidelines, health protocols, having multiple crews and sets – are still producing content to keep people entertained.
The fact that we’re bringing WrestleMania still is mind-blowing to me and I’m so excited to be doing that. So proud to be doing that. Hopefully, whatever is going through people’s minds in the world, it takes away any stress that I have to know that they’re gonna get to take their mind off things, turn on WWE every week, and especially turn on WrestleMania, and hopefully be invested in my story of all the ups and downs leading to this match with Brock.
By the end of it, if I can put a smile on their face and give them a happy ending and be the one to carry the company forward, it’ll be very big for me. It’ll be my moment. Even though it’s not how I pictured it … hopefully, more importantly, we’ll give everyone else in the world something to smile about.
PWS: It’s interesting to me to hear you say that it’s less stressful for you. I would think that because of what’s going and because people now more than ever need an escape, I would think that would add EXTRA stress. But it’s cool hearing all of that just makes you want to work harder and doesn’t stress you out more.
DM: Like I’ve said all along, before all this happened, I’m ready to be the guy in WWE and be the guy in wrestling in general. Because nobody has been through the kinda journey that I’ve been through over the past nineteen years. The ups and downs and everything I’ve faced has prepared me to be the guy in anything you throw my way. Obviously the world could never have predicted what’s happened right now, but I still stand by that. That I’m the guy. I can carry the load when times get tough. There have been champions during downtimes for the company like Bradshaw and in the ‘90s Diesel, but this isn’t a downtime for the company … it’s a downtime for the world. I want to be the guy pulling the wagon and giving everybody something to look forward to every single week and giving out that positive message to make them smile even if it’s just during the time they’re watching WWE.
PWS: When and where were you when you found out WrestleMania was being relocated to the Performance Center, as well as off-site locations, and what was your initial reaction?
DM: I think it was a message first, then a call. They’re doing a documentary on me right now, WWE Chronicle, with Joey. He does a phenomenal job on those. He’s been filming me since Royal Rumble. I’ve told him it’s going to be “Citizen Kane,” it’s possibly going to go inside of some museum, because it’s such a wild wild tale. Basically the story of Drew’s life and Drew’s career, because nothing ever goes smoothly, and the emotion along the way.
So I think that documentary will kind of show everyone exactly what was going on because he’s got a very interesting story that’s become not just a WWE piece, but a historical piece I think.
PWS: With WWE being so good at documentaries, I’ve been hoping they were filming as many things as possible right now behind the scenes since we’re dealing with such crazy times.
DM: That’s why when people are sending their commiserations, etcetera, “you don’t get the moment,” or whatever. That’s not how I’m looking at it. Aside the fact that we’re bringing people entertainment in a tough time like this, people aren’t gonna forget this WrestleMania.
This is not a moment where people are gonna go, “Wow, that was great.” And a month from now, “That was great.” And as time passes they forget. And as the next Mania happens they forget. And as time goes maybe it’s lucky enough to get featured in a big video package or somebody watches it back and goes, “Ahh, that was a good moment!” But it’s been totally forgotten about.
This isn’t going to be forgotten about.
This isn’t just WWE, this is literally the whole world that’s going through this right now and I’m trying to look at it that way. This is a Mania no one will forget.
We can make jokes about a record-breaking crowd of zero, etcetera, but it’s such a crazy situation that people will be talking about this for the rest of time.
PWS: Did you think it was smart to split the show into two-nights because of everything going on? And would you like to see them continue with that going forward to allow for two actual main events?
DM: Yeah. I think WrestleMania would be good over two days. Especially if we’re gonna do it the way we’ve done it for the past few years, because it’s too long (for one). But also, it’s once a year and the fans look forward to it, and generally they travel from all over the world. To spread that over two days to give them something really big to look forward to, so you have that one night and you’re talking about it the next day, and you’re all excited like “Oh I want to do it again.” Then you will be able to do it again the next day and it’ll give you an even bigger memory when you’re going home.
I think this is the ideal year to start it and test it out. Spreading it out over two days gives people something to look forward to in these times, but going forward I really think it would be a good model so it’s not overkill.
As good as a lot of the matches will be, there is such a thing as too much wrestling … even in these times! Spreading it over two days would be perfect because each time you give people something to look forward to each day. But also in general, we could give the fans coming something to be really excited about.
PWS: WWE has said some of the WrestleMania matches this year will be taking place at off-site locations, which imply they’ll be special gimmick matches like the recently announced Boneyard match. Was there any talk of you vs. Brock taking place elsewhere?
DM: To be honest, I’ve not heard anything. But for me, personally, I don’t think the title matches should be gimmick matches.
I think that takes away from the prestige of the titles. It’s cool that we’re being creative in these times, cause it will be a hard watch if you sit there and every match is from the PC from top to bottom. I think it’s so cool that we’re creating “WWE Presents: Mortal Kombat” and all these different closed sets, and nobody knows what each set is gonna be like until the day, only the crew that are there at each closed set, which is awesome.
One, it won’t be spoiled. And two, I can sit as a fan and watch myself and go, “Whoah, this is gonna be crazy. I have no idea what’s actually going to happen.” I’m actually going to watch WrestleMania as a fan myself for two days! And I’m excited about the fact that we’re going to be presenting this Mortal Kombat-style WrestleMania.
But when it comes to the title matches, I do believe those should be straight singles matches.
PWS: If (or when) you beat Brock for the title, how do you plan to celebrate?
DM: I’m so boring now. In this climate you don’t have a choice, but basically my wife and I were talking about how everyone is basically living how we already live our life right now. We’re very boring. We stay inside, we watch TV, we sit on the couch. So, basically, we’re going to celebrate how we always live our lives indoors on the couch with the cats watching TV. And that’s the perfect celebration for Drew after nineteen years. In my twenties I was the craziest man in the world, but I’m thirty-four now, people believe I’m in my early fourties I’ve been around so long, but that would be the perfect celebration for me.
PWS: What’re you watching right now?
DM: Random movies and TV shows right now. I saw a movie called “Swole” that was weird, but good. We watched one that was really weird called “The Lobster.” I don’t know if I want to recommend it to anybody, it’s so freaking weird, but I enjoyed it.
PWS: That movie was wild! Have you watched “Tiger King” yet?
DM: We started last night finally because AJ Styles talked about it in his promo and I was like, “If Uncle Allen is referencing this TV show like he’s a young, cool kid, then I really gotta watch that show.”
WrestleMania 36 streams live on WWE Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 4, and Sunday, April 5. The show will be hosted by Rob Gronkoswki and additionally include John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt, AJ Styles vs. The Undertaker in a Boneyard match, Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley for the NXT Women’s title, Edge vs. Randy Orton in a Last Man Standing match, Becky Lynch vs. Shayna Baszler for the Raw Women’s title, Sami Zayn vs. Daniel Bryan for the Intercontinental title and more.
*INTERVIEW SLIGHTLY EDITED FOR LENGTH AND CLARITY*