wrestling / News

Drew McIntyre Talks Preparing For WrestleMania, Watching the Match With His Family

September 23, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Drew McIntyre Raw

Drew McIntyre’s WWE Championship reign started at WrestleMania, and he talked about the lead-up to the match in a new interview. McIntyre spoke with GQ in the UK about the days leading up to and immediately after the match; you can check out some highlights below:

On WWE adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic: “WWE innovates and adapts to any situation that presents itself. We have our Performance Center in Florida, which we were able to set up so it followed the strictest of COVID guidelines and only a small limited personnel needed to be present to make the shows happen. We were adamant that our job was to put smiles on faces, especially during the worst of times in the world.”

On his physical management leading up to WrestleMania: “When it comes to diet and fitness I don’t change anything in the run up to a big pay-per-view event. I get why people turn it up before WrestleMania because they want to look good – and people will always remember how you looked – but I’m not a big fan of that. I’m not really good at it either. My philosophy is to look good all year round, rather than look decent and then look really good for WrestleMania. I eat as much as possible, and Brock Lesnar is much the same, to maintain the size and energy. I work with a meal prep company who’ll send me meals every week and that’s how I supplement my diet because my metabolism is so high. If I don’t eat enough I drop weight like crazy. I want to look big and intimidating rather than like a body builder: I’ve got to be functional, especially when wrestling someone like Brock Lesnar, who is just an absolute giant freak of nature. He’s big and fast and strong, everything you could possibly think of. He’s a proven WWE champion and two times UFC champion – he’s the baddest of the bad. I want to be as big as possible but maintain my speed and be known as the bigger, more athletic guy. The only person who could take down Brock Lesnar.”

On doing media for WrestleMania: “The media schedule became nonstop. WWE is not just based in America, where I’m at right now, it’s in 800 million homes worldwide, 180 countries, 20 different languages with a billion social media followers. It’s a huge, global company. A unique story developed and it became almost an impossibility that I could ever fight for the title after becoming the first Brit to win Royal Rumble. Thankfully people wanted to hear about that story and get my feelings on what was going on. I loved every second of it, but it was basically all day every day. I was talking to media in America, the UK and even Japan, talking about how I’m wrestling in the main event during such unique times. I was representing the company, being the flag bearer and I was trusted with the opportunity to present myself and WWE in a positive way. I didn’t care if it was 24 hours every day.”

On the day of his WrestleMania match: “I drove to the Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. With the situation and the way things were, nobody else could come in the building, so my wife couldn’t even come with me to watch. I had my gear bag and my new ring jacket that I was going to wear for WrestleMania, which was specially made. In the car I was listening to a mix of Oasis, Guns N’ Roses and Johnny Cash. I actually listened to Brock’s theme music: I normally listen to it when I’m struggling on my heaviest sets in the gym and suddenly I’d be able to squat more than I ever have in my life. I’ve done that for years. I go up to 100 per cent as soon as my music hits and I’m in the zone, everything is easy from then on. There was no one in the world but me and Brock at that time. He came into the ring and I stared him down. I wasn’t listening to anyone, not even the referee. He had to push me and get my attention a couple times because I was so in the zone and thinking to myself: ‘This is it. This is a real fight and I’m going to fight Brock Lesnar for the title.’

“You’re coming up against someone who is 6ft 3in, legitimately 250lbs. He’s been such a high level athlete his entire life. Everyone knows what he did in the UFC. I remember when Braun Strowman kneed him hard in the head and he stood up and dropped him with one punch – make sure to google that. My favourite part is the visual of me and Brock face-to-face and I’m looking down on him. People were thinking, ‘Oh, my goodness. Look at Drew besides Brock.’ I knew he was a dangerous man but I was going to do whatever it took to become WWE champion and I did.”

On his reaction following the match: “When I won, the feeling of fighting Brock goes away and I’m just thinking: ‘Holy crap. I did it. I’m the WWE champion.’ There wasn’t a soldout audience roaring my name, it was complete silence. Usually when you win something the only time you get a moment’s silence is when you get back to the hotel. On this occasion there were no people going crazy, but it was a huge rush of emotions as I had this private moment with the title. I was just staring at it and thinking of everything I’ve been through. I clicked back to reality and saw Brock lying there and thought I better do something. The first thing I did was crawl to the floor camera and said thank you. It was a thank you to all the fans for tuning in to WrestleMania during this difficult time as an escape, but more importantly to my family, who are the reasons I became champion. Whatever you think about wrestling and WWE, all the stars have to align, management have to believe you represent the fans and the fans have to choose you. At some point along the way to WrestleMania the fans decided, ‘This is our guy,’ and I wanted to make sure they knew I appreciated that.”

On watching the match with his family: “My match at WrestleMania aired on the Sunday night and it started at around midnight in the UK. I was on a Zoom call with all of my family and it was unbelievable to see their reactions. They stayed up so late to watch it. My wife presented me with the title, which was cool. Then I just sat there and thought: ‘This is real. I’m WWE champion. It’s finally happened.’ I couldn’t have slept even if I wanted to. I got word that the two trending topics on the BBC website were ‘Queen gives speech’ and ‘WWE wrestler Drew McIntyre becomes first ever British champion.’ I heard the audio of the broadcast and it was all just so surreal to me. Realistically, I’m a kid from a small town in Scotland who had this crazy dream of making it into WWE and heard his whole life, ‘Why would you be the first Scotsman ever signed?’, never mind first to ever win the title. I just kept believing, had a lot of bumps on the way, and it finally happened. To see everyone back home talking about it meant the world to me, especially during these difficult times. It gave them something to talk about when they were stuck indoors. It gave them something to smile about. I can’t wait until I can travel to the UK and see everyone back home. Hopefully my story has inspired people.”