Drew McIntyre's road to the WWE championship was a tumultuous one. When he was first brought into the organization by Vince McMahon in 2007, at just 21 years of age, it was clear that he was a special talent just rife with potential. But it was a potential he never fully exploited. Call it timing, or just not living life enough, but Drew wasn't able to capitalize on his time with the WWE. The story of what happened to him after Wrestlemania 36, however, shows Drew in a much different light.
That's not to say his first run with the WWE was wholly unsuccessful. He was still a Tag-Team and Intercontinental title holder. And he still got in the ring with some big names, chief among them, Brock Lesnar. Back in 2013, however, their match went a lot differently than their last scrap at Wrestlemania 36, however.
Some seven years ago after a RAW taping, Brock summarily beat Drew, but asked to see him backstage.
Drew spoke of the life-changing moment, which occurred almost a year before he was let go from the company and started hitting the independent circuit to rebuild his name: "I remember it well. Brock was not long back at that point from UFC. He pulled me aside, and he straight-up asked me, ‘Why are you involved in this?’ He was so confused, but he saw something in me and believed in me. It’s pretty crazy, all these years later, I was the guy to take the title from him at WrestleMania."
What happened to Drew after Wrestlemania?
"The Scottish Psychopath" ended up having a heartfelt celebration with Triple H and Vince McMahon after winning the championship belt. Like Brock Lesnar, both Vince and Paul LeVesque (Triple H) have notoriously undying work ethics and an extreme dedication to the WWE and its success.
When Vince initially brought Drew into the WWE, he called the professional wrestler the future of the company, but things didn't quite pan out for Drew back then.
The celebration after the pay-per-view that saw a new champion crowned, however, was an emotional moment for both Drew and Paul who lobbied to bring him back into the organization, as well as Vince. It was the realization of a moment he had worked ridiculously hard for and to finally see it come to fruition was something Drew had only dreamed of previously.
"This is what I’ve always been preparing for. Before I wasn’t ready, but my journey prepared me to be the top guy. The boss has got a saying that, ‘Sometimes you’ve got to eat crap and learn to like the taste.’ I’ve eaten banquets of crap, and I’ve learned from it and I fought through it. I can lead the company in any situation, especially the difficult one we are in right now."
Drew continued to talk about the special moment he shared with Vince: "He was happy for me. He knows the journey I’ve been through and how hard I’ve worked, and nobody works harder than Vince McMahon, so his respect means the world to me. Triple H was there too, and he’s the reason I’m back in WWE. Both of them believed in me, and it was very special to hear them say they’re proud of how far I’ve come as a performer and a man."
It seems that tons of other Superstars have a tremendous amount of respect for Drew outside of the ring, as well. Brock reportedly broke character during a RAW taping that saw Drew land three Claymore Kicks on "The Beast Incarnate." During the suspension of kayfabe, he praised Drew in front of the crowd to get the audience on Drew's side. It didn't occur during the broadcast, but getting a "blessing" from someone like Brock, who doesn't really do that, made a huge impression on fans.
Drew now is primarily concerned with "leading by example", and embracing his role as the top guy in the organization, especially during these uncertain times: "I already etched my name in history as the first-ever British [WWE] champion, but I want to be one of the greatest champions of all time [I want] people to remember that when the chips were down in the world, Drew really stepped up for himself, WWE and the fans."
What's surreal for Drew is that he was able to watch the moment with his wife at home, as Wrestlemania 36 was a pre-taped event. As the organization's champion now, it's clear that he takes his role very seriously and it looks like he has no intention of giving up that belt anytime soon.