“This man will be a future world heavyweight champion” said Vince McMahon, before introducing Drew McIntyre to the WWE Universe in 2009.
Little did McMahon know that his prophecy would take eleven years to come true.
McIntyre was one of the most famous stories of wasted potential in WWE history: a superstar handpicked by the chairman to be world champion that was relegated to a comedy act with his work in ‘3MB’. After five disappointing years, he was released in 2014.
It was the best thing to ever happen to his career.
McIntyre returned to the independent wrestling scene, where he remade himself. He changed his look, he developed his character and he never stopped working. He could’ve always been that famous wasted potential story, but he was determined to change his future.
In 2017, McIntyre returned to WWE, under the NXT brand, with a new hunger for success. He would work his way up to the top of the ladder, eventually winning the NXT championship. The title had been a springboard to success, held by some of the hottest names in wrestling, like Seth Rollins, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Now, it was in Drew McIntyre’s hands.
The journey could’ve ended there, but McIntyre knew there was only one way to right all of his wrongs, to make good on McMahon’s prophecy of him being a future world heavyweight champion.
McIntyre got the call up in April 2018, aligning himself with Dolph Ziggler to create a heel faction. After working so hard to be taken seriously again, even casual wrestling fans saw that this wasn’t the same guy who was fired in 2014.
‘The Scottish Psychopath’ became one of the top heels in the company, facing off with the likes of Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Finn Balor and the Undertaker.
It was clear McIntyre had the potential to be a fixture in the main event, management just had to pull the trigger. Finally, at this year’s Royal Rumble, the decision was made.
After winning the rumble, McIntyre was officially a face, and the fans were behind him. The pop when he claymore kicked then WWE champion Brock Lesnar over the rope was deafening, and when he came out and announced he would be challenging him at Wrestlemania 36, fans rejoiced.
Eleven years after McMahon unofficially crowned him, McIntyre’s journey came full circle – he defeated Brock Lesnar for the WWE championship at Wrestlemania 36.
There would be no giant celebration with confetti and screaming fans, a once in a generation global pandemic prevented that. That didn’t sour the moment for McIntyre though, as his unique ‘Mania moment still meant the world to him. As he finally captures the championship, he does something no wrestler has ever done at the end of Wrestlemania, he breaks the fourth wall.
With that ‘thank you’, McIntyre’s demons were exercised. He finally reached the heights that he was expected to years prior, he grabbed that brass ring and he firmly entrenched himself into WWE lore. This time though, his story would be written as one of redemption and success, not wasted potential and failure.
McIntyre’s thrived on uncertainty his entire career, and that makes him the perfect champion to lead the company into this new era. His inspirational underdog story is one that will be told for years to come, and now that he’s reached the top of the mountain, his goal is to stay there.
McIntyre is a leader inside and outside the ring, he’s somebody fans can naturally get behind and support. He’s real. In this day of age where everything is changing, he should be WWE’s constant.
A lengthy, entertaining title run should be in McIntyre’s future, anything less would be a mistake.