As one of the weirdest years in the history of professional wrestling draws to a close, we decided to share some moments that made us smile.
Much hype was bestowed upon Drew McIntyre back in 2009 when Vince McMahon anointed him as a “future world champion”. It would take 11 years for that prophecy to come to fruition. And when it finally happened, not even a global pandemic could completely crush its impact.
If it weren’t for the bizarre circumstances under which it occurred, it would be tough to accept that the crowning achievement of McIntyre’s career happened this year. It feels like several lifetimes have passed since he Claymored Brock Lesnar into oblivion at WrestleMania 36 and captured the WWE Championship for the very first time.
It’s impossible to separate the moment from the real-world events surrounding it. It was meant to take place in a stadium in front of tens of thousands of fans. No doubt the slaying of “The Beast” by a former member of 3MB would have elicited an ecstatic reaction from the WWE Universe, had they been present. But alas, there were no fans in attendance. McIntyre’s gargantuan achievement occurred in a near-empty room.
Needless to say, for WWE, the COVID-19 pandemic could not have come at a worse time.
2020’s road to WrestleMania began with much excitement and anticipation from the WWE Universe. Edge’s shocking return at the Royal Rumble had fans pumped for the months ahead, as did McIntyre’s victory in the Royal Rumble match that same evening. To be sure, “The Showcase of the Immortals” was shaping up to be a good one.
WrestleMania 36 was scheduled to take place on April 5th. The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Plans had to change.
The event was pre-taped in the Performance Center and aired over two nights. The end result was … interesting. It was more enjoyable than it had any right to be, but overall a truly bizarre experience. All things considered, it’s remarkable that McIntyre pulled-off his “WrestleMania moment” so successfully. Not as special as it would have been under regular circumstances, of course. Still, McIntyre’s talent and charisma shone through despite the real-world dread which lingered over the Performance Center.
Drew’s journey to the top was a long one, and he came so tantalizingly close to getting the payoff he deserves that it’s difficult not to wonder what could have been. After defeating Lesnar, he’d carry the WWE Championship for most of the Pandemic Era as a fighting champion who did absolutely everything he could to cement his status as THE guy. He’s done an amazing job considering he hasn’t had an audience to sustain him. Here’s hoping he gets an opportunity to carry the company when the crowds return. After all, he is “The Chosen One”.