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Drew McIntyre on WWE WrestleMania 38, the Opponent He's Dying to Wrestle, More

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistDecember 22, 2021

Drew McIntyre has gold on the mind heading into the new year.
Drew McIntyre has gold on the mind heading into the new year.Credit: WWE.com

A whopping 10 months have passed since Drew McIntyre last stood atop the WWE mountain as world champion, and not a day has gone by that he hasn't obsessed over getting that feeling back.

It was nearly two years ago that McIntyre took a giant step toward superstardom when he won the men's Royal Rumble match. His road to WrestleMania in 2020 was unfortunately marred by the COVID-19 pandemic that caused the company to run shows without fans, including WrestleMania 36.

Despite the less-than-stellar circumstances, McIntyre still managed to reign supreme against Brock Lesnar and emerge the new WWE champion. His six-month title run that followed featured successful defenses against everyone from Seth Rollins and Big Show to Randy Orton and Bobby Lashley.

After dropping the prestigious prize to The Miz at February's Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, The Scottish Warrior was in hot pursuit of the prestigious prize for many months. High-profile losses to Big E and Lashley led him to SmackDown, where he now has the Universal Championship in his sights.

Through his open challenges, he hopes to earn himself a shot at the strap. Although winning the Rumble for a second time is an option, he nearly had his chance in last month's Black Friday Invitational Battle Royal before he discovered he was left out entirely by an unknown authority figure.

"I'm not 100 percent sure, I still have my suspicions, but old inspector Drew is on the case," McIntyre told Bleacher Report in an exclusive interview about whom he believes was behind his omission from the Battle Royal. "For those that don't know, my degree is actually in criminology from a university, so I'm finally applying that degree after all these years. I'm narrowing down the suspects and, eventually, justice will be served."

While McIntyre isn't currently contending for the WWE Championship, he has his hands full going into the Day 1 pay-per-view on January 1 with Madcap Moss. Happy Corbin has also been a thorn in his side as of late, though McIntyre hasn't had any issue handling them by himself.

Assuming McIntyre makes quick work of Moss at Day 1, he'll have a front-row seat for the night's main event between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship. He doesn't have a dog in the fight but will be chomping at the bit to get the first crack at the champ coming out of the show.

"I'm watching like anyone else—as a fanat what's going to happen with Roman and Brock at Day 1," he said. "Realistically, I couldn't care less who the universal champion is going into WrestleMania season. I just want my hands on the champion and the universal title. No matter who the universal champion is, it's fine with me. They'll be getting their head kicked off their body by Drew McIntyre."

Corbin and Moss may not be the only Superstars standing in McIntyre's way of becoming universal champion on the road to WrestleMania, however.

The Scottish Warrior recently rekindled his rivalry with Sheamus for one night on SmackDown and won in decisive fashion. Seen watching the match on a monitor in the back was none other than Cesaro, someone McIntyre has never before waged war with one-on-one.

Cesaro told WWE Digital following McIntyre's victory over Sheamus that he enjoyed watching the two-time WWE champion and noted that they had never squared off before. Those comments caught McIntyre's attention and made him want to step in the ring with The Swiss Superman that much more.

"Oh yeah, [Cesaro] is definitely on my list," he said. "I have to mention him any chance I get and the fact we haven't faced each other considering we've been on the same rosters over the years. We've both wrestled 20 years apiece. We've never had a singles match, which is pretty unbelievable. I've been seeing a lot of chatter on my social media that he also brought it up this week, so I think it's only a matter of time before that match happens."

It's a match that not only McIntyre wants but the rest of the WWE Universe as well. It would also provide them with an opportunity to show the world what they're capable of between the ropes.

McIntyre has no doubts that he would win and continue working his way toward title contention in time for WrestleMania 38. Regaining the gold has been a goal of his since February, but the ultimate achievement for him would be to get that 'Mania moment he was robbed of in front of fans in 2020.

It's always bigger in Texas, and considering WrestleMania next spring will emanate from AT&T Stadium near Dallas, nothing would be bigger for him than that.

"Of course, I'm going to have to win in the end, that's what I do," McIntyre said. "It's WrestleMania season! Then I'll win the Royal Rumble and go to WrestleMania and finally get my WrestleMania moment I've been chasing for the last couple of years. As proud as I am of headlining WrestleMania 36 in the times that we were in... I'm still chasing that moment with fans in the building, and hopefully it can happen this year at AT&T Stadium."

With the year coming to a close, McIntyre reflected on his 2021 and how it compared to his 2020, where he reigned as WWE champion for a majority of the year. He believes his trials and tribulations throughout 2021 were best for his character's journey and that the backlash from fans would have worsened had he stayed champion for longer.

The whole idea of his open challenges on SmackDown has been to work with fresh faces and earn the opportunity to contend for a championship again without having it handed to him. He's ready to bring his career full circle from the last time he was on the blue brand over a decade ago by becoming champion once again.

"I'm definitely happy with my 2021," he said. "Obviously, I would've liked to repeat my 2020 where I was pretty much unstoppable the whole year and won every match, but it gets boring if the same person is on top the entire time. WWE and life in general is about ups and downs and peaks and valleys and we've seen a little bit of that with Drew McIntyre in 2021. That's what my character is all about: overcoming adversity just like a real person.

"With all those ups and downs and when things didn't seem to be going too well for me, I got back on track, moved from Raw to SmackDown, and had that fresh start and been on a roll recently heading into the new year," he added. "I expect big things for Drew McIntyre in 2022."

              

Tickets for WrestleMania 38 are now available through SeatGeek.

           

Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more wrestling-related content.

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