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DREW MCINTYRE ON COURSE TO MAKE WRESTLEMANIA HISTORY

By Kendall Jenkins on 2020-02-14 08:11:00

We don't know what the WrestleMania main event will be yet, but given Brock Lesnar opened the pay-per-view part of last year's broadcast, his WWE title defense against Drew McIntyre looks the most likely candidate.

The build to this battle between The Beast Incarnate and the Scottish wrestling star has already begun with McIntyre winning the Royal Rumble. As he eliminated Lesnar en route to victory and then declared he would face the WWE champ in Tampa, Florida on the night of April 5, this looks set to close WrestleMania 36.

It is historic for a number of reasons. McIntyre would be the first British man in WrestleMania history to headline the show. He could in fact become the first non-American male wrestler in the main event in 12 years since Edge lost the Big Gold Belt to The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXIV in 2008.

There have been a few Canadian superstars to lock up last at The Showcase of the Immortals down the years. Preceding Edge were Chris Benoit at WrestleMania XX in Madison Square Garden, Chris Jericho in a losing effort to Triple H on Canadian soil at Toronto's SkyDome at WrestleMania X-8 and - going further back - Bret Hart twice in the 1990s.

It's not unusual for non-American wrestlers to headline WrestleMania then, but it's not exactly common either. Andre The Giant, the legendary French grappler, tangled with Hulk Hogan way back at WrestleMania III in 1986 with the iconic body slam and all that.

McIntyre's push in itself is quite remarkable, given his departure from WWE after his initial run with the company ended in 2014. He was then little more than a jobber in the infamous 3MB stable.

Jinder Mahal has since come out of that ill-fated comedy act and enhancement talent faction and risen to be one of the least likely WWE champions ever with his run at the top of the card for much of 2017. Could lightning strike twice?

When he first had a singles run, McIntyre was billed as the chosen one - shades of Jeff Jarrett's final stint in WCW notwithstanding. It seemed little more than an overhyped prophecy then, but perhaps there was something in it after all?

He has returned bigger and stronger to WWE, playing the perfect heel at WrestleMania 35 last year opposite the returning Roman Reigns, who had overcome leukaemia to resume his in-ring career. After his part in that feel-good story, McIntyre's sudden elevation into a premier angle on RAW is the culmination of a much longer journey.

There are parallels with others who have climbed the ladder before him. McIntyre might be Daniel Bryan, Benoit or Eddie Guerrero in another era, not forgetting Edge and the Hitman who went from wrestling in tag teams to singles success.

Fellow Canadians can enjoy online sports betting at William Hill and, speaking of the odds, they make McIntyre their favorite to take the WWE title off Lesnar. The Beast could well drop a world championship for a second consecutive WrestleMania, then.

A cautionary tale with the market goes two years back, however. Lesnar was a betting underdog and expected to lose his belt to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans. That wasn't what happened, however, as they waited until SummerSlam 2018 to put the Universal Championship on The Big Dog.

The stars may be aligning to make McIntyre follow in the footsteps of Irish contemporary Sheamus, though. He looks set to add the WWE title to previous reigns as the NXT, Intercontinental and Tag Team champions on his resume with the company.

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