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By Mike Johnson on 2020-09-22 10:01:00

With a WWE Championship defense set for this Sunday at WWE Clash of Champions on the WWE Network and a WWE 24 documentary on the horizon debuting soon on the streaming service, WWE Champion Drew McIntyre sat down with on Monday afternoon 9/21 while preparing for last night's edition of Monday Night Raw, reflecting on his title reign, performing within the WWE Thunderdome, Randy Orton, what to expect from his documentary and even a little touch of the paranormal.  Transcription by Billy Krotchsen.

Mike Johnson: It is Monday, September 21st, 2020. It seems weird to say this but I feel like just yesterday I was writing about this person being the hottest free agent in all of professional wrestling but today, in September 2020, he's the reigning and defending WWE Champion - Drew McIntyre. How the hell are you sir?

Drew McIntyre: I am fantastic. I'm at the ThunderDome, sorry it took a couple of hours, I've been running about like a maniac, I like to make sure I was in the one quiet room in the building so we could do this conversation properly. Your article was a big part of my journey, I remember that particular time in my career - I became a free agent, I was obviously in contact with William Regal but he read your article and I think that was a big difference maker of what was going on in my life and career at the time, and I think he presented that to Triple H and it was a big, big part of my journey so you're also a big part of my journey so I appreciate that which has taken me to WWE Champion, where I am right now - crazy times, crazy journey.

Mike Johnson: It has been a crazy journey, it's been a crazy year. I thank you for being so kind. If I was any part of that I take that as a huge compliment but I think your work ethic was the driving factor in everything and I think it's still the driving factor. Tonight in just a couple of hours you're going to be on Monday Night Raw. This weekend you're going to be defending your championship in the main event of Clash of Champions. I got a million questions I want to throw at your but we'll start here - obviously being the WWE Champion has changed your life drastically. Certainly the circumstances in which you won it and defended the championship would not be what you had hoped for growing up, but what have been the biggest life lessons learned, being in the top of that pyramid for the company? How has this run changed your life, how has it changed how you look at performing, your relationship with Vince McMahon, like everything had to have changed as of Wrestlemania on. Looking back 6 - 7 months later, when you look at where you were and where you are now, how has all of this experience changed you?

Drew McIntyre: It's changed in a lot of ways. I finally have the responsibility I always wanted and the opportunity to be not just a top guy, but the top guy and have the responsibility of taking all of the media commitments and representing the company in every possible way I could. At the same time, I'm also figuring out a new way to do it because we're in uncharted waters - Drew McIntyre finally wins the World Title and a worldwide pandemic happens. So at the same time I'm just learning a lot and doing a lot that previous champions have been able to do, I'm also trying to figure out a new way to do things, I'm kind of innovating and adapting, and that's what WWE is all about is just rolling with the punches, gong with the times and it has been a fun process for me on television as a character to figure out things, like looking at the camera, and sending little messages to the fans at home which we couldn't have done before and making it clear to the rest of the roster, hey if the Champ's doing it, we can do it too, let's try new things. Backstage, I'm obviously building my relationship with Mr. McMahon, it's a big part of it and there's always lessons to be learned, when you get to interact with the boss I always take great pride in maximizing those minutes with the boss because every single second is a learning experience, and just overall - this is what I've been waiting for, this is what I've been looking forward to, and I am maximizing every second, I'm not wasting one second of any day. If I'm not doing a media interview, Adam will tell you on the line - Drew wants to be doing something every single day, all day, because I want to be getting better, because every single day is Day one as far as I'm concerned. 

Mike Johnson: You teased on your social media about the upcoming WWE 24 documentary about you. Obviously, everyone saw the Chronicle that aired Wrestlemania weekend, which was just amazing and really went into a deep dive of what it was like being in the middle of this vortex as the world changed due to COVID-19. What can we expect from the WWE 24 documentary? Obviously you're not going to spoil it, but how long were you shooting, what was this experience like for you, and what can we expect when we get to see the documentary? 

Drew McIntyre: You can expect everything. Chronicle basically told the story, leading to the situation we're in now, leading to the pandemic and you know, after all these years, like I'm going to have my moment in the stadium, you got to see me go through every emotion of anger, frustration, to acceptance, to realizing that it was so much bigger than my selfish moment, that we had a chance to take people's minds off such a difficult time and that's something that I'm most proud of, and that Wrestlemania moment means the absolute world to me, and you got to kind of experience that journey with me and I've said this before, I've said this to yourself in the past, my ups and downs prepared me for any situation and I feel the same regarding the current situation, so that kinda followed that story up to Wrestlemania. With the 24, you're going to see things that I promised myself you would never, ever see. Stories and videos that I promised myself the world would never get to see because these days what you see on TV is basically Drew Galloway with the volume turned up ever so slightly. I'm a bit silly, I'm a bit goofy, I'm a bit sarcastic, I'm not funny at times, I'm not afraid to fall flat on my face but I love wrestling and when the bell rings I kick ass. So you're going to get to see the whole journey, not just the beginning of WWE and the time I was away and everything I was able to achieve and the ride to winning the WWE Championship, you're going to see Drew Galloway, Drew McIntyre's backyard wrestling footage he swore the world would never ever ever ever ever see. It's in there, and it's going to be my closest friends and family, and I don't even know half the people they spoke to but I made it very clear - just don't hold back, I'm an open book, I don't want to lie to my fans, you know I've been in the public eye for so long, they've seen my ups, they've seen my downs, we've been through it together, that's why we have this connection, and it's going to be all the good times and the bad times, that it's going to get that detail.

Mike Johnson: I feel that over the the last couple of weeks especially, we've seen where the company is starting to build around you. Obviously, if you're Batman, Randy Orton is kind of The Joker, I feel like Keith Lee has kind of emerged almost like Superman. Obviously at Clash of Champions you're looking at facing one, perhaps both of these competitors based on how things go in the next couple of days, but what has it been like kind of finding yourself, and have you found yourself comfortable in the role as the WWE Champion and starting to have talents who are rising up alongside you to work with and build off of.

Drew McIntyre: Yeah I mean, I felt comfortable being champion from the second I got it. I felt fully ready, the pieces had fallen into place as a character and as a performer, and I said the whole time, you know, that I was building during those first few months. perhaps my first few opponents, aside maybe Seth, they were kinda building them up before the match they had with me, so I was kind of pulling people up, but I knew myself, I'm a new Champion, I'm still on the rise, I still feel that way right now, I'm still trying to establish myself at the top of the heap, and I saw Randy Orton from a mile away. He's not just one of the best of all time, he's Randy Orton, when he's not trying he's one of the best of all time, but he's been firing on all cylinders for the past 5 months or whatever and I looked ahead and went, that's what I need - I need to step up to Randy Orton's level - on the microphone, in the ring, as a character. You know, like you said already, if I'm Batman he's The Joker. I never wanted to be Superman - no one can relate to Superman, he's from a different planet, he's made of steel, he shoots laser beams from his eyes, he doesn't sell, brother. So I never wanted to be that. Batman is flawed, Drew Galloway is flawed, I'm like everybody else except I'm a giant guy and I knew Randy was my Joker and I'm happy with the work we've done. I've been able to step up and go to Randy's level and swim with him because if I can't swim with Randy Orton I don't deserve to be WWE Champion. Then you get someone as talented as Keith Lee, getting in the mix, that's really exciting for me because he is so, so talented. I'm excited for him to get an opportunity, I'm excited to see where the story goes, and we've got a big match tonight, we're big guys and we can move and I guarantee people are going be blown away.

Mike Johnson: So you're going to be in the ThunderDome tonight obviously as you have been in recent weeks and as Clash of Champions will be presented from. What's it like standing in the middle of the ring in that ThunderDome experience in terms of a performer? Does it feel closer to your typical WWE live event or pay per view performance when there's actual fans in the building? Obviously it doesn't look and doesn't sound like the WWE Performance Center, but as a performer, does it feel more like the usual home that you expect it to feel like when you step inside the ring or are there still differences?

Drew McIntyre: Yeah, it's a big difference maker. It has that kinda, big feel that you expect from WWE as a viewer and as a performer. Not that I didn't have the butterflies in the PC, I certainly did and always do, but I especially have them here. Right now I'm just getting into the zone, getting ready for Raw as I always do and man, the entrances are something else. When I first came out, on the first Raw in the ThunderDome and I raised the Title and freaking fire started going off around me and pyro going off around me, you know I'm still a wrestling fan at heart, I'm just standing there trying to keep a straight face, but in my head I am marking the hell out, man this is really freaking cool. And then when it comes to the matches themselves and the atmosphere, I've been able to see faces react but also hearing and feeling them in the arena. When Randy and I were in that match it was such a difference maker for the emotion and that's kind of what Randy and I are about, is telling the story, and you really need that feedback from the crowd to kinda dictate where you're going and feel that emotion. It made such a difference during that match, again we're feeling things out as we go, maybe my initial promo I realized that the reactions weren't quite going to be from a live crowd, we have a slight delay, it kinda threw me off but we tweaked it a bit, we figured it out. I did a promo last week and OK, we'll figure that issue out and it's a figuring out process every step we go, you know we progress and our team are so unbelievable and they're making us look like stars, it feels closer to what you would expect with WWE with the pyro and the lights and those drones flying overhead, so we feel good. Hopefully the fans feel good and tonight you're going to feel really good after you see Drew McIntyre versus Keith Lee. 

Mike Johnson: You mentioned the drones and you're the first performer I can think of to mention them - did those throw you off in the beginning at all? Was it weird having the drones flying around in your periphery as you're bouncing around the ring and running around?

Drew McIntyre: No, one got close enough to me and I warned the crew, like if you fly that close enough to me, I'm going to grab it and I'm going to use it as a weapon, and I was half joking but I'm not joking because like I said, I do whatever I feel when I'm out there. Last week with In Your Face Raw, I walked out with a camera in my face and I could not help myself because I heard so many times "In your face!" I looked in the camera and went "In your face!" I do whatever feels right and at least people I hope can see that I'm having fun and they're having fun with me, but if this Ambulance Match happens, be it with Randy Orton or Keith Lee, if a drone gets close enough to me I'm going grab that thing and bash them over the face [laughs].

Mike Johnson: Well let's talk about the Ambulance Match at Clash of Champions. Obviously, to the best of my knowledge, I don't think you've ever competed in one of these - do you go back, do you watch old tapes? What do you do to start to strategize in your head as you kind of conceptualize what you'd like this match to be when you guys hit the ring on Sunday? 

Drew McIntyre: Yeah I mean first of all - once I know my official opponent I'll be able to think of the appropriate story to tell, let's say, but I've never been in an Ambulance Match. I've only ever been unfortunately in an ambulance a couple of times, not for reasons I wanted to be, for injuries, so I'm excited for the challenge. I've watched a few of them back, and there are a couple of good ones, but I think a lot of them are kind of just action for the sake of action. I think it's an opportunity to tell a really compelling story while having all the action you expect from a gimmick match like the Ambulance Match, so I'm pretty excited for that challenge. You know I've been obviously checking out all the videos, I'm a wrestling nerd, I've been checking out Shane versus Kane, I think the last one I watched was Braun and Roman and surprising, I think I found at least 5 or 6, Mike Awesome was the master of an Ambulance Match in WCW, I didn't realize that. I did my research and remembered.

Mike Johnson: Yes he was.

Drew McIntyre: Yeah of course he was, I remember now. I'm excited about the prospect of it, I love a challenge.

Mike Johnson: Well as we start to get out of here, what's the next challenge for you in your mind - is it just maintaining where you are? There's a famous Broadway actor, Andre De Shields, who says, "The top of every mountain is the bottom of the next one", so as you start your climb, what do you envision as being the next mountain that you'd like to hit the summit of?

Drew McIntyre: I've got a lot of goals, you know, like I said already, Day 1, every single day for me no matter what happens, I train like I'm number 2, I never think of myself at the top of the mountain. I've got some big goals, I don't want to give them all away, but one of the big ones when things get back to normal - I've started a little rivalry here and there on social media with big goals in mind and one of them is the Tyson Fury battle I want a UK pay per view. There's not a big one since Summerslam 92. I'm the first British Champion, the first Brit to win the Royal Rumble and I really think it's long overdue. So when things get back to normal that's certainly on my list of things I want to pull off.

Mike Johnson: So last question before we get out of here - it has been well established, you talked a lot about this in media, you are a huge fan of the paranormal, especially UFOs. 

Drew McIntyre: Oh yeah.

Mike Johnson: You talked about being a big fan since you were a young kid - I have been too. Is there like one case that kinda really strikes you that you remain fascinated about and you continue to try and read about in your downtime while you're traveling or while you're training? Is there one case or one instance of an incident that kinda still draws your interest that you love talking about or that you're fascinated about?

Drew McIntyre: Yeah I mean there's a few of the obvious ones, like there's one I like to tell, it's going to take two minutes, I'll give you the quick version of it and I also want to say, I don't know if anyone's noticed on my Instagram but I've started doing like a "Drew and A" where I get to talk to people about topics I'm interested in, and that was just kinda born off of "Hey Drew there's a lot of downtime, people, you know, need content - do you want to chat with some interesting people?" "Yes I do". I talked to a couple bodybuilders this week, I've been talking to a couple of shark experts and let me tell you, paranormal is on my list for the next one coming up to speak to some experts so keep an eye on my Instagram for the "Drew and A". But regarding like specific stories, I love ones off like people that I've met, and my favorite one of all that I sometimes tell people is I have 2 friends in Scotland that I went to high school with them, the most skeptical guys in the world, these guys don't believe in anything unless it's in front of their face. We went to University in a place called Aberdeen, which is about 4 hours from Glasgow, and they were living in an apartment together. I speak to one of them and he tells me this story of, "I think I saw a ghost" and I went "You? You don't believe in that stuff" He tells me about "I was sick one night, I went to bed, and I was just lying there and I woke up and I saw a woman in my room and I thought, oh my goodness, Ian (his roommate), a girl has wandered into my room, she obviously must think it's his room, can you get her, can you get her, can you get her" and he kinda gets a good look at her and realizes that her face was kinda ghostly and ghastly, he freaks out and panics, he went straight to the living room where his roommate is studying, freaking out "I think I just saw a ghost!" So being a kind friend his roommate had to put a sheet over his head and starts going "Ooooh!" running about "I'm a ghost! I'm a ghost". So he kinda calms himself down and from that night on they were just haunted every single night - she'd be poking them in the bed, he woke up one time and saw her in the bed and turned around with what looked like a baby in her arms and he was like "That's it, I'm moving out" and I love hearing that story because I know these guys personally and they're such skeptics and they were like "Bro, it's the most horrible thing I've ever seen in my life, like I contacted ministers and priests and asked advice, and I had like flowers and holy water in the room, and I just had to move out." The other roommate just denies it ever happened, and he did research into where the apartment complex was built and apparently in the past there was a hospital for b****rd babies during the war and he read that after he moved out, and I was like that's fantastic because I knew you guys so well, I know what you're both like and I believe you 100%. Stories like that I'm into, where I know the people and I've heard a whole bunch of them so I want to put that on a show.

Mike Johnson: Wow. Well, that'll be coming up on the Drew Q&A very soon. For those of you who don't follow Drew on social media, you can find him on Instagram, you can find him on Twitter at DMcIntyreWWE.  Sir, I know you've got to go, you've got duties in the ThunderDome tonight and a Championship match with an ambulance this coming weekend so I want to thank you very much for sitting down and talking to us. I look forward to the day where our paths cross again and we get to talk some more wrestling and maybe some Roswell somewhere down the line. All our best to you personally and professionally - we look forward to seeing how things continue to develop this week as we lead into Clash of Champions and obviously the WWE 24 documentary because if it's anything at the level that the Chronicle was, we're looking at something truly special and everything that you talked about leads us to believe that as well, so I just want to thank you for the time.

Drew McIntyre: Thank you Mike as always, I appreciate it. I wish I could stay here and talk ghost stories and Roswell, but I'm getting a text saying, 'Can you come to the ringside now?' so I guess I better go back to work.

Mike Johnson: All right, to be continued everybody!

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