WWE superstar and former world champion Drew McIntyre recently spoke with ET Canada to hype up this Saturday’s SummerSlam pay per view, where the Scottish Warrior takes on his longtime friend turned rival Jinder Mahal in a grudge matchup. Highlights from the interview are below.
His experience with scripted promos versus improvised promos:
I think the best is a marriage of both that you mentioned. I think if you read it off the paper, then that’s on you. You should not just take somebody’s words and try and recite them word for word because it’s not going to be real. It’s going to come across as fake. People are going to see it in your tone, in your eyes. If they don’t feel it, then you’re just wasting TV time and wasting your opportunity. If you’re able to work with the writer and get your voice, you’ve got to stay within the confines of the story. You can’t just go out there, just do whatever you want. Go into business for yourself and not match the storyline that you’re in. You do have to match what you’re doing that week with whatever the long-term goal is. So you get with your writer. ‘OK, this is the story. This is what we’re trying to get to. This is what we’re trying to convey tonight.’ For me personally, once I know that much, I get an idea in my head. Perhaps the finish. Ideally, I like to go out there and just kind of see how the crowd is responding. I’m very interactive. I like to go back and forth with the audience. Sometimes I’ll do stuff that people go, ‘Oh, obviously they planned and whatever.’ This week on Raw, for example, I did a thing where I raised my hand and I had everyone raise their hands with me. Like ‘Who thinks Jinder is going to win?’ And I looked around. ‘Who thinks Drew is going to win?’ And everyone raised their hands with me and like, ‘Survey says, you’re screwed.’ I knew I was going to get to ‘You’re screwed.’ I didn’t know I was going to do the hand thing. It just felt right when I was out there. I love having back and forth with the fans so much. I think people would be surprised how little is planned sometimes on a microphone.
His advice to other WWE superstars:
I would say just learn as much as you possibly can and take advantage of every opportunity you’re given. I see stuff like this when I talk about the interviews. This isn’t work. This has never been work. This is my entire life dream to be a part of WWE. I get the chance to talk about myself, talk about WWE, represent the company. That’s a dream. And for the newer superstars, any chance you get, push people. ‘Here’s a little interview here I can do. A little local market there.’ Get the reps and prove yourself outside the ring because one day when you get that big chance on TV, you’re going to get the big chance for the interviews. You have to be ready. You have to be able to represent yourself for the company, the correct manner. And remember, it’s not a frickin’ job. This is literally the easiest thing in the world because it should be a fantasy we’re living right now. That’s how I feel. I talk to my friends back in Scotland. They’re working real jobs. They’re nine to five. They put the work in and they’re really hardworking and I admire them for it. This is a dream. So do what you can to prove yourself outside the ring and get more opportunities. And then you get to do the really cool stuff. Like when I get to do the charity work or do the children’s hospital visits or the Make-A-Wish, or Special Olympics. When you start getting the chance to do that stuff. Then you’re like, ‘This is what it’s all about.’ The in-ring stuff is cool, but there’s so much more outside the ring.
The way WWE is perceived today and how it compares to 20 years ago:
I mean, it’s interesting you say. Ratings-wise, I never really get into that because TV is so different now, the streaming platforms, etc. WWE is still top of the cable basically every week. But yeah the difference now, the respect level, I think wrestling is seeing a lot more differently than it used to be. It’s not seen as the lowbrow form of entertainment people used to look down on. People understand. Now, the WWE is a huge global company. 800 million holds 180 countries, 20 different languages, over a billion social media followers. And some of our talent are going out there outside the company proving how talented the performers are. Like you look at “The Rock”. Unbelievable. A top Hollywood actor, made billions of dollars in his movies, has his own company. And then you mentioned Cena is branching out. Now, Batista is the one that surprised me the most. He’s so quiet in real life. But he went out there and worked on his craft and he’s a genuinely good actor and he takes it so seriously. And they have shown themselves are capable of so much more than has been everyone’s perception. Big Dumb meatheads. If you take the time to look at most of our roster, everyone’s basically got a degree. We’ve got a few Ph. Ds. I have a criminology degree. We’re all educated these days. So if you take a second to look at it, you realize, ‘Oh, they’re not just big dumb meatheads. They’re actually talented in many ways.
On his book:
Yeah, I brought this up earlier and it’s the book. I basically covered what it talks about. The idea behind the book was just to inspire people. Chase your dreams and know that no matter how dark times get, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Just got to start becoming accountable to that person in the mirror. Trust me, I wake up every day, look at myself in the mirror and say, ‘I’m going to give it my all today.’ If I can look at myself at the end of the day, back in the mirror, and say, ‘I gave it my all today,’ things will work out. It’s written not just for wrestling fans, for everybody. The wrestling business is explained. It’s broken down. It’s simplified and hopefully helps a few people out there. And that’s really what it’s all about, just to inspire and help everybody.