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By Mike Johnson on 2024-05-23 12:52:00 sat down with WWE's Drew McIntyre for a deep dive conversation earlier this week.   The 35-minute discussion touched upon a number of topics, including:

Thoughts on changes in the company with the new ownership:

"I think it helps in a few ways. You know different...different people in charge, different philosophies and more long term thinking. Obviously, the way it was, was very successful and brought WWE and wrestling as we know it to where it was at the time and afforded me the opportunity to be a top level superstar, the top level superstar, the guy through the pandemic, and show, you know, what I could do, but knew there was still more to give. In my personal journey, also has a lot of ups and downs, a few frustrations, a few things I didn't understand creatively, during the past few years. But inevitably, if you keep yourself in the game, you work hard, you believe in yourself, it usually turns out that it's the best thing because you have so much material and what you're witnessing now is all of that material and all those moments I didn't understand at the time that would have been a great moment on the night, but what would have came next, and because we didn't pull the trigger in certain moments, like Clash at the Castle, for example, it's all going into the current character and feeds the current character and right now the biggest differences - that storytelling and long term storytelling, and adding layers, the character and depth to characters, where it's not just "good guys" "bad guys" and things could potentially change by the week, which I was kind of used to and was able to navigate, but it's very clear now, it is all about storytelling.   

That's something that has always been very important to me, and if anybody followed my career. I know you did, Mike, obviously outside the company in 2014 to '17 where I had that kind of creative control. You know, I'm very much about collaborating with whoever I'd work with, be it a Mark Dallas, Gabe Sapolsky, the promoters outside during the time. You know, at TNA as well, I'd collaborate, we work in the creative, we think of the long term booking and I felt so creatively fulfilled. But I never imagined that world in WWE where we get so layered with the characters and we think about the future and we'd actually kind of stick to the plan and maybe deviate slightly based on crowd reactions and how angles gonna play out. But basically sticking to the plan and that's incredible to watch it play out all across the board now. I think Bloodline showed everybody. Look at that storyline, it has been going on for years now. Hey, we have 52 weeks a year, we have the time if we take our time to truly tell real in depth HBO-style stories that will invest the fans and take them on a wild journey and really get them into the characters know who the characters truly are, rather than, "Who exactly is that guy?" and "Who are you?", nobody can really explain who they are. Now if you watch the show, just for a couple of weeks, you figure out basically who everybody is."

The creative give and take under the Paul Levesque regime vs. Vince McMahon era:

"In the old regime as well, for me personally, I can't speak for everybody, I would go straight to the boss himself. And I would give my opinion if I didn't like something. I mean, how's it going to change? If you really don't believe, if you don't go to the man himself, and most people would complain about it, then just do it anyway, without going in and having a conversation. I would always have the conversation and honestly 70% of the time, 80% of the time, it would change because I believe this was not right for me and I earned that trust. But there were sometimes, like the history lessons I didn't love, but I'm just gonna set it as a challenge - give it a try and see if you can make it work. I tried - it didn't work, but I tried. And these days it's much the same. If I'm not feeling something exactly, cause I know who I am, I know the character more than anybody, everybody's open to, "Hey, I feel this" and it's usually OK, let's take it this way, and it stays within the confines of the story, or no I feel it's this way because of this, and eventually we come to an agreement in the end. So it's similar in ways where you go in and give your opinion, but in the end the boss is the one who's going to be right, but they're very open-minded and Triple H is very open-minded and is aware, as a former talent, nobody knows your character more than you."

Drew McIntyre's conversation with's Mike Johnson also includes the following topics:

*His new WWE deal.

*Why he placed family first in negotiations.

*Whether there was any point where he believed he would be exiting the company.

*The sacrifices international stars make moving to the United States.

*His evolution as a top villain in WWE.

*The status and true nature of his current elbow injury.

*Whether the injury was a blessing in disguise for the CM Punk storyline.

*Advice to WWE talents who were recently released.

*What he told his wife when he was released.

*The perception he improved after exiting WWE.

*His reaction to being advised to just play off 3MB on the independents in that era.

*Feuding with everyone on Raw.

*What was going through his brain when there was a rain delay at Wrestlemania 38.

*What he and Bobby Lashley initially wanted to do during the delay.

*Whether he considers himself a WWE locker room leader.

*His savage social media presence.

*His memoir and whether he'd like to write a second one.

*What he's most proud of accomplishing with his first book.

*Clash at the Castle: Scotland,

*The support he's received from fans over the course of his career.

*UFOs are real...and the public doesn't seem to care! subscribers are currently listening to the entire conversation - and so can you, by subscribing at this link.

Thanks to Billy Krotchsen for the transcription!


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