As recently as 2010, it appeared as though Drew McIntyre was on the fast track to becoming a world champion in the WWE as he held the Intercontinental Championship and was billed as "The Chosen One." Things have gone downhill quickly for the Scottish star, though, and his long-term term viability appears to be in jeopardy.
There is no question that the 26-year-old McIntyre is loaded with potential and still has time to reverse his downward trend, but it all depends upon whether the creative team intends to use him. If he continues along the path that he is currently treading, McIntyre may find himself elsewhere at some point during the next year.
McIntyre is the latest superstar being broken down in my 25-part series examining the direction and long-term potential of every significant WWE competitor. Keep reading for in-depth analysis on "The Chosen One" and ideas for how he can fulfill his true promise.
The case of McIntyre is certainly an interesting one as he has had a good mix of success and failure over the course of his career. McIntyre was a budding star in British Championship Wrestling where he made his debut as an 18-year-old youngster in 2003. He became the BCW Heavyweight Champion as Drew Galloway before moving on to Irish Whip Wrestling and winning that promotion's top title as well.
McIntyre was so impressive that he eventually caught the eye of WWE talent scouts. McIntyre had a short run with company in 2007 as a face with Dave Taylor as his manager, but he was soon demoted the Ohio Valley Wrestling developmental territory and moved to Florida Championship Wrestling when that became WWE's minor league, so to speak.
He would go on to win the FCW Heavyweight Championship and re-debuted in the WWE in 2009 as a heel without mention of his previous run. McIntyre was pushed instantly as he was hailed as a future world champion by Vince McMahon and took on the moniker of "The Chosen One." McIntyre would beat John Morrison for the Intercontinental Championship in late 2009 and continued to ascend before his precipitous fall began.
While pretty much every superstar on the roster has a storyline, regardless of how often they are used, McIntyre has absolutely nothing going for him. It looked like McIntyre might be regaining his groove a few months ago as he was assigned to SmackDown by John Laurinaitis while Randy Orton was injured. It appeared as though he might be the one to get the rub while "The Viper" was on the shelf.
McIntyre was put into a storyline where he continually lost, however, and he was perpetually threatened by Teddy Long that he would be fired. Laurinaitis reinstated McIntyre, though, after he defeated Hornswoggle. McIntyre was on Laurinaitis' winning team at WrestleMania, but since then he has very rarely been seen on television.
Although McIntyre just had a highly-entertaining match with new Intercontinental Champion Christian on Superstars, that is not likely to lead anywhere. Christian is feuding with Cody Rhodes, and it would be a long shot for a guy like McIntyre to come from out of nowhere and challenge for the title. In short, McIntyre simply needs an angle of any kind right now.
McIntyre is one of those guys who just seems to have it all at first glance. At 6'5" and 254 lbs. he has excellent size, but he is not too hulking or muscle-bound that it affects his in-ring performance. There are several WWE superstars who simply would not look right with a world title around their respective waists, but McIntyre is undoubtedly a guy you could imagine wearing the World Heavyweight or WWE Championship and it would not seem out of place.
He is also has quite an impressive presence in the ring. He is not the type of wrestler who is going to pull out some sort of incredible maneuver that you have never seen before, but he is very solid. He uses a lot of old-school moves and likes to utilize the ring as was often customary 20 years ago or more. He likes to ram his opponents into the ring posts and focus his attack on certain body parts, and that is somewhat of a lost art.
On top of that, his character is that of a very good heel. He has not been given the chance to refine it as of late, but when he was at his high point in 2010, McIntyre was a great cocky, arrogant, egotistical and snobbish heel that the fans grew to detest. He has pretty much lost all his heat, but if given the chance he can get it back again.
Perhaps the biggest complaint regarding McIntyre is that he is boring, although I would prefer to call him methodical. McIntyre is methodical in essentially everything he does from the way he walks to the ring to the way he operates within it to the way he delivers promos. He is very deliberate and careful, and it is understandable that such a style may not appeal to everyone.
McIntyre could probably afford to show more aggression in the ring, and he could be a bit more dynamic on the mic as well. I would not call his speaking skills bad by any stretch of the imagination, but I do not consider them to be a strength of his either. Cutting a promo is such a big part of what makes a superstar marketable these days, and McIntyre just does not compare to top guys like CM Punk, John Cena and even Sheamus in that regard.
His biggest weakness may be something that is not even entirely his fault, though, and that is the perception the fans now have of him. McIntyre is now viewed as a jobber for all intents and purposes because he has not been given a win over anyone other than Hornswoggle in singles competition for what feels like a year. McIntyre's character has been ruined and that is his main issue right now.
While McIntyre's performance at last year's Elimination Chamber in the SmackDown Chamber match might have been his most impressive to date, he did not win and was in the ring with too many other competitors. With that said, McIntyre's greatest match would have to be his victory over John Morrison at TLC 2009 for the Intercontinental Championship.
That victory signaled the start of something special for "The Chosen One," and although it was ultimately squandered, it began the golden age of McIntyre's WWE career. I was never a big fan of Morrison, but he was a good, athletic in-ring worker, and McIntyre managed to keep up with him quite well. McIntyre looked very good in the match, and the win meant that perhaps he could be a world champion one day.
The prestige of the Intercontinental Championship had begun to wane by the time McIntyre won it from Morrison in 2009, but it was still a measuring stick that suggested the titleholder was in line for big things in the future. McIntyre was a major player on SmackDown for about a year and was teetering on some main-event feuds, but he never quite got there. His match with Morrison at TLC is a good one to look back on, though, if you long for the good old days with regards to McIntyre's career.
In 2010 there was little doubt in my mind that McIntyre would become a world champion in the WWE at some point, but that is obviously a major question mark now. No matter how deep a talent has been buried, though, it is never too late to bring them back from the dead and thrust them into the spotlight. All it takes is one good storyline to make McIntyre important again, so it is incumbent upon the creative team to do that.
McIntyre has already been a mid-card champion and he held the Tag Team Championships briefly with Cody Rhodes, so the only thing he has left to accomplish is to become a main-eventer and win the world title. It seems unlikely, but I do not want to totally discount it because he is only 26 years old and oozing with potential.
The depth on the roster is pretty thin right now, so if ever there were a time to bring McIntyre back to prominence, it has to be now. Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio are literally the only main-event heels right now, while The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger and Rhodes are wandering around aimlessly. If the WWE brass regains its confidence in McIntyre, he has a chance.
How He Gets There
In my previous analysis of Antonio Cesaro, I suggested that he and McIntyre should form a tag team and join a stable led by Wade Barrett upon his return from injury. All of them are European and all of them have elitist attitudes, so I believe such a union would work well. McIntyre and Cesaro can perhaps hold the Tag Team Championships for a period of time while Barrett goes after Sheamus and the World Heavyweight Championship.
Barrett could fail on several occasions before McIntyre is finally given an opportunity to get the job done. McIntyre and Sheamus have a long history together as they feuded back in Irish Whip Wrestling, so the rivalry would be a good one. In time, McIntyre could win the title from Sheamus, but when McIntyre goes to celebrate with Cesaro and Barrett, they attack him out of jealousy.
It would be akin to Evolution turning on Randy Orton when he won the World Heavyweight Championship for the first time. A face turn would ensue for McIntyre, which could result in he and Sheamus forming an alliance in an effort to vanquish Cesaro and Barrett. All of this may seem farfetched based on where McIntyre is now, but as always, the components are in place. The wheels just have to be set in motion.
Check back daily for new entries in the WWE 25-superstar countdown. Here is how the list looks thus far:
25. Damien Sandow
24. Alex Riley
23. Antonio Cesaro