If you’re going into battle, it pays to follow the guy with the really big sword. By that logic, Drew McIntyre will be worth watching as he heads up Team SmackDown alongside King Woods, Jeff Hardy, Happy Corbin, and a partner to be named later, against Team Raw’s Seth Rollins, Finn Bálor, Bobby Lashley, and Austin Theory at WWE Survivor Series.
The “Scottish Warrior” is looking to make an immediate impact with the Blue Brand after being drafted back to Friday nights a few weeks ago. It’s a full-circle moment for the former WWE champion, who started out on SmackDown and was billed by Vince McMahon as “The Chosen One.” We caught up with McIntyre heading into the fight for brand supremacy.
You’ve had quite a few days presenting of late, at the MTV Europe Music Awards and performing on WWE shows overseas, including one with Mel B of the Spice Girls in attendance.
Drew McIntyre: Part of the joy of being in WWE is you never know what to expect. You always have to be on your toes. Getting the opportunity to present “Best Rock” at the EMAs was incredible. It’s something I watched growing up. I didn’t know Mel B was there until [fellow wrestler] Cesaro came through the entrance after his match. Mel B is WWE’s latest brand ambassador in the UK. I thought to myself, “I can’t let this go to waste.” She was there with her family, so I didn’t really want to single her out to everyone. I thought I would do something for a laugh. I grabbed Jeff Hardy right before we walked through the curtain. I asked him if he knew the words to “Wannabe.” I did my promo on Corbin and Madcap to set up the tag match and said, “I’ll tell you what I want. What I really, really want.” It was having fun with myself and everyone backstage. It was fun to see her reaction in the front row and then meet her and her family backstage.
Does being on SmackDown feel different than Raw?
It does, which is interesting. Things move quicker. Maybe because it’s not a three-hour show. When I was on segment one of Raw and then on the last segment of the night I knew I could do my segment and have some downtime to get ready and do my routine. On SmackDown, I’ve learned you have to change pretty freakin’ quick because it goes quick. For me, moving to SmackDown is moving to where it all began 14 years ago for Drew McIntyre.
I have a chance to do it right given my history on the show where things didn’t go right the first time around. Everyone may say to me that I’m going to wrestle Roman Reigns and that Roman is the match. But I keep reminding them to look where Roman is at right now. He has all the momentum in the world. Drew McIntyre needs to build his momentum and make that match as big as possible, which is why I like the open challenge so much because I get to go out there and reintroduce myself again. I’m re-proving myself. I’m happy to do that. I’m a patient man with over 20 years of experience. I not only want to show what I can do but what my opponent can do.
Is there anyone in particular you hope takes you up on that open challenge?
Cesaro. I never wrestled him in a singles match ever. We’ve both been wrestling for over 20 years. You look up underrated in the dictionary, and you’ll see a picture of Cesaro in there.
Before you moved from Raw you had that great match with Big E at Crown Jewel. How do you feel he has done as WWE champion?
He has done a great job. Everyone who has been in that position knows it comes with a lot of responsibility. You don’t have a lot of free time. You see it’s an absolute honor. He is someone who is very smart and has maximized his opportunity. He deserves to be WWE champion. They made the right call, 100 percent. Getting the chance to work with him was awesome as well. I knew I could help show the world what he can do in a big-time championship match. I stepped up, and he stepped up, and I’m very proud of it.
With Survivor Series coming up, do you have a favorite match or moment from the event?
My brain goes to 1997 and the “Montreal Screwjob.” I have to throw Nattie under the bus a little bit. We’re over in the UK and Nattie, Jeff Hardy and WALTER is at this event with me. A WWE fan asked who our favorite wrestler was growing up. Nattie happened to say Shawn Michaels as did Jeff and Walter. It was 24 years to the day where Shawn Michaels faced Bret Hart. I turned my head and looked across the stage. “Well, it’s lucky I’m here Nattie Neidhart because Bret Hart is my favorite on my day of all days.” For me personally, I think about the first time I was a part of it in 2009 with Sheamus. We came to America together and were given this big opportunity. We were on Team Miz, and I was the sole survivor for Team SmackDown.
There is a little mystery with your team with an open slot. What do you think of your team?
Can we coexist? We will have an easier time than our opponents. With Corbin, we’re not always on the same page. We’ve been part of teams before. Jeff Hardy, I’ve tagged with him across Europe. King Woods I might have to play well with him because he doesn’t like the idea of me being team captain. I think we’ll compromise because the king doesn’t ride into battle first. Maybe I’m the knight that rides into battle first. The last position needs to be filled. If I could throw anyone in that position, for me, it would be Sheamus. Even though he will attack me after the match. I feel good about our team.
What do you say to the people who feel there is a lack of real stakes in this match compared to the past?
The way I look at it is a match featuring 10 of the top superstars in WWE. Who is going to survive? They will build serious momentum on the brand. I’ve talked about not fighting Roman right now because I want to build momentum. That means I have to keep racking up the wins. What could be bigger to Drew McIntyre than to be a survivor? It’s all about those big moments.
WWE SmackDown, Fridays, 8/7c, Fox
WWE Survivor Series, November 21, 8/7c, Peacock, and Pay-Per-View