By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Good Karma Wrestling with guest Drew McIntyre
Hosts: ESPN Chicago’s Jonathan Hood, ESPN Milwaukee’s Gabe Neitzel, and ESPN West Palm’s Brian Rowitz
On being an inspiration for wrestlers that find themselves getting released from WWE: “I hope they are inspired. From what I gather, the company literally tells people, ‘Do a Drew.’ My brother once said, ‘You’ve become a verb.’ You have to go out there and reinvent yourself, grow your brand and make yourself more valuable. I believe that’s the advice that the company literally gives people and some of the Superstars that are released and come to me to ask for advice. Hopefully they’ll look at the template of what I did.
“When I left, the model was usually take that WWE character take it around the world, get paid x amount, the second time around you’ll make a little less and finally you’ll find a wage that you’ll stop on and that will be your wage and hopefully one day you will make it back to WWE. My business mindset was, ‘that’s terrible business sense.’ I’m absolutely not doing that, I’m going to reinvent myself, I’m going to show what I can truly do. Social media is becoming really big which it was becoming huge in 2014. I can take everyone around the world with me on my journey and I’m really going to reinvent what it means to be an independent wrestler.
“Thankfully a lot of people believed in me, gave me a lot of opportunities, a lot of platforms to show what I can do and I really succeed and everybody can follow that. The next guy was Cody Rhodes and he had his own version, which led to the creation of another company. You watch Matt Cardona now, while Cody and I eventually kind of went to the TV level, Matt’s been able to keep it at an independent level but really become super popular, super successful. And he has carny in him that I never truly had.”
What would holding WrestleMania in the UK mean to him: “It would be unbelievable. I didn’t even think of it as an option growing up. Just like I never thought Clash at the Castle was an option. I remember doing interviews for that and saying that ‘it’s a dream scenario but a dream I never thought of because I didn’t think it was possible.’ That would be the same case for a WrestleMania, that would be a super dream that I didn’t think would be possible.
“Looking at the way the business has evolved and our business model now and how many international shows we do and how successful they are for the company. The time difference isn’t that bad for the UK. I heard that for years and I complained and I complained and I complained and finally we got Clash at the Castle. Because I was like ‘we’re doing a show in Australia, have you seen the time difference there, don’t be silly, we can do a show in the UK.’
“Now the idea of a Mania is very much possible. I know how successful it would be for the company, but I know how amazing it would be for the fans. And I know how much fun it would be for everyone around the world to watch because we know how crazy and fun and wild the UK fans are. Just take one second to watch Clash, not just for my match but for the whole show, just how wild they were from beginning to end. Just how wild they were from beginning to end and imagine that at WrestleMania.”
Whether he still thinks about how different his WWE Championship win could have been in front of fans: “I try not to dwell on it but too much but yeah, obviously I’ve got feelings on it that I’m talking about on TV now. I guess therapy sessions live on the air these days of what’s really going on deep inside. The truth is, I didn’t grow up dreaming about winning the Royal Rumble to then go to WrestleMania and win in front of nobody.
“Obviously, we couldn’t have predicted a worldwide pandemic. As much as it wasn’t ideal, my match was a very feel-good story. We had taken WrestleMania over two days for the first time, I was going to be in that last match, main event, maybe make some people smile during a time that people needed to smile. Where people were scared so I took that responsibility on happily.
“I’m very proud of what I was able to do and what WWE did during that time to help people escape. But nonetheless I lost out on a lot of moments, a lot of character-building moments, a lot of connecting with the fans moments that you can’t really capture once that initial period has passed. That first title reign has passed. As much as I’m proud of it, at the same time you’ve got those feelings inside of ‘Man, I need to have that moment again, I’m just going to have to work hard and recreate it,’ which I did somehow with Clash at the Castle in the UK. Got bonked out of that one again. Some other less mentally strong people because of my journey might have cracked but I kept fighting on and hopefully finding that moment again. Got Seth Rollins coming up so hopefully will get that moment with a world title in front of fans.”
Other topics include whether getting back to WWE was always the goal, his dream WrestleMania opponent, and more.