Examining Drew McIntyre's Direction, Upside and Long-Term Potential
Drew McIntyre is miscast—a bronco asked to be a rodeo clown.
Teaming with Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater, McIntyre plays air guitar in WWE's trio of easy victims. Being asked to be an enhancement talent is bad enough, but the wannabe rocker gimmick is ill-fitting on McIntyre and a waste of his potential.
WWE certainly needs its jokesters and punching bags, but let someone else play that role.
McIntyre is too adept at telling stories in the ring, at fighting, flying and entertaining to be the guaranteed win for everyone else. The trick to maximizing a wrestling company's roster is to find the best fits for all of your talents and 3MB is not that for McIntyre.
McIntyre certainly has his supporters, but unfortunately for him, Matt Hardy, Jim Ross and Kevin Nash don't make decisions in WWE.
Talent Recognized by Some
Hardy pointed out McIntyre and Antonio Cesaro as being undervalued Superstars.
Nash said in an interview in The Glaswegian that McIntyre has "good size, good presence." He went on to compare him to two of WWE's other European wrestlers.
I think that in Drew McIntyre, Wade Barrett and Sheamus, you have got three really good UK guys in the WWE. But I think McIntyre has a little bit more quickness than the other two guys. He's a good talent.
Both Sheamus and Barrett have reached higher points with the company than McIntyre. All three made the journey from Irish Whip Wrestling to WWE. Sheamus is winning the race between the three of them in terms of WWE success.
McIntyre can certainly catch up, but there's work to be done, as Ross points out.
Ross wrote of McIntyre, "lots of potential, nice look, seems to be athletic, but it needs to be established as to who the Scot is and what his immediate objectives are."
This assessment speaks to the biggest issue regarding McIntyre—direction. Ross notes many of the former Intercontinental champ's assets while pinpointing what has held him back.
McIntyre's persona was difficult to define before he joined 3MB. He was Vince McMahon's chosen Superstar, but the audience didn't get to see that persona develop. Before we knew it, McIntyre was rarely used and then put into team of bottom feeders.
Awarded air time, focus and the creativity of WWE officials and McIntyre's stellar ring work will mean far more. We can see the warrior inside McIntyre come storming out.
In his faux rocker gear, asked to lie down for the sake of other Superstars, fans haven't seen much of McIntyre's skills as of late.
He is among the most versatile in-ring performers in the company, but is forced to keep the majority of his weapons in their sheaths. Go back several years to his match against PAC (NXT's Adrian Neville) for Real Quality Wrestling to see what McIntyre is capable of being.
From his midair cutter to a more vicious version of the hip toss than one often sees, McIntyre delivers hard-hitting, entertaining moves.
He's far more of a high flyer here than he's allowed to be for 3MB as well. He also shows off a talent for showmanship and crowd-riling heel tactics. Watch him sneer, bark at the referee and spit water in Sheamus' face at ringside.
His match against Kofi Kingston at Fatal 4-Way is more evidence of his in-ring capabilities.
Beyond being athletic, smooth and surprisingly powerful, McIntyre is also adept at in-ring storytelling. Once Kingston began to favor his arm, McIntyre zeroed in on it and amped up his viciousness.
With all this talent, why then isn't McIntyre’s resume more littered with classics? Lack of opportunity assumes some of the blame, but there's something else at work.
The problem with McIntyre's matches weren't what he was doing between the ropes, it was that fans weren't given enough reasons to care before the battle began.
Not All Stars Shine the Same
During his run as "The Chosen One," McIntyre was light years more interesting than his current 3MB persona.
Here he was a brooding, cocky fighter. His nastiness in the ring and disdain in his voice were compelling. WWE forced him to slide far down the ladder after this angle faded.
His story is one of missed opportunities. Why weren't there more angles, more feuds and buildup to his bouts? He would have done better with more of any of those things, but perhaps WWE sensed what McIntyre lacks and backed off him because of it.
McIntyre is good but not great on the mic, he has solid presence, but not the kind you see from the top stars. His charisma is more average than elite.
It's these reasons that it will be a struggle for McIntyre to surpass the crowded WWE roster to stand on the mountaintop.
Not every wrestler can be the face of the franchise, but McIntyre is clearly more talented than his current position. Any middling wrestler can play the part of jobber, to suffer RKOs and knockout punches after two-minute matches.
Even if McIntyre can't challenge CM Punk and John Cena as company pillars, his ceiling is still a high one.
Look back to Barry Windham's career to see the height of McIntyre's long-term potential.
Windham was a talented worker who knew how to brawl as well as he knew how to grapple. Throughout the '80s and '90s, Windham compiled great matches and championships such as the WWE and WCW tag team titles, the WCW TV title and for much of the first half of 1993 he held tight to the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
Like Windham, McIntyre is a wrestler capable of producing classic matches.
WCW never asked Windham to carry the franchise. When he won the NWA title, it was Sting and Big Van Vader who headlined SuperBrawl III.
This is likely McIntyre's path as well.
McIntyre, like Windham, can better a wrestling card but not be the main reason to tune in. That could mean high-profile feuds against guys like Randy Orton, Sheamus and others, but likely in bouts that don't end a pay-per-view.
None of that can happen in his current role. Toss his 3MB gimmick aside and a warrior will emerge.
He can be a contender in Money in the Bank matches, a productive member of a stable, or like Windham hold the secondary world title for a few months. WWE just can't find out if he's capable of these heights weighed down by acid-wash jeans and a ridiculous gimmick.
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