Drew McIntyre had a roller coaster of 2021.
The native of Scotland entered the year as the WWE champion. Then after successfully defending his title in the Men's Elimination Chamber match in February, Bobby Lashley attached McIntyre, which allowed The Miz to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase to capture the belt.
McIntyre was in several main event matches when Lashley won the championship, but was unsuccessful in his quest to become a three-time WWE titlist.
Then at the beginning of October, McIntyre was drafted back to the brand where he started his WWE career in 2007, SmackDown.
Entering 2022, McIntyre is embroiled in a feud with Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss. McIntyre gets his hands on Moss in an official setting at WWE's first marquee event of 2022, Day 1, on Saturday from the State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
(Editor's note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)
DAZN: I missed you in Chicago when you guys were here a couple of weeks ago. I was in Tampa for the Jake Paul fight. So I think our paths can still not cross Drew except for that one time at SummerSlam.
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Drew McIntyre: I say there’s plenty of time. Let's make it happen in person. I'm assuming that Jake Paul's fight was cool to see in person. Number one heel in the world right now. So when I have that big heel turn down the line, I'm going to start taking tips from that guy as everybody freaking hates him.
DAZN: What do you make of Jake Paul? I know Logan (his brother) has done some stuff for WWE in the past. He's done some stuff on SmackDown and appeared at WrestleMania this year.
DM: Honestly, I get confused between them both. But every time I hear in Logan and hear the name Logan, everybody's saying the same reaction, ‘God, this guy’. And when they walk into buildings, I assume it's more Jake Paul. He walks into the building, and he gets booed wherever he goes.
DAZN: Who would be the Jake Paul of WWE?
DM: Would have said Corbin before the Happy Corbin thing. Now the character is a little different, but it still gets a similar reaction. But there was a point when Corbin had zero redeeming qualities. No matter what he did, whatever we went, people were like, ‘God, I just can't stand this guy’. It was awesome because that's a true genuine bad guy through and through. And that's what we really need for what we're missing. I think it's just that genuine bad guy with no redeeming qualities. Nobody's saying, ‘Wow, he's a really good bad guy’.
So if anyone says there is a really good bad guy is not really a good bad guy. Some people say, ‘My goodness, I just can't stand this guy. I want someone to beat him up once. I want someone to shut them up’.
But that's a great bad guy. That's why Paul (Heyman) is so good because people would just roll their eyes and boo him wherever he goes. He talks his trash and is a perfect heel. People will pay money to see him get his ass kicked.
DAZN: We talked the day you moved to SmackDown. You were genuinely excited about the move. How would you make of your time so far on the blue brand?
DM: So far, so good in my mind. It was exactly how I was hoping, not being in a rush to jump to the finish line. My concern was getting to that title match with Roman too quickly. We talked last time that everything's come full circle, back to where it all began in my early 20s. I have a chance to kind of redo what went wrong in the first part of my career and 52 weeks a year, no reruns, no offseason, every single week. I just want to have great matches, be in great storylines, reestablish Drew McIntyre, build up momentum, and make people want that title match, whether it’s Roman or Brock (Lesnar) after this Saturday. And when the time is right, I wouldn't have to say I won this match. The crowd will be saying we want him to have this match like 2020 leading into the (Royal) Rumble. So as long as it's done the path we're on, I think it's going to happen organically down the line. We'll also be establishing McIntyre and momentum.
DAZN: There was an unfortunate incident recently in the six-man tag match on the house show with Jeff Hardy and him ending up being released from the company. How weird of a situation was that for you in particular?
DM: For one, as usual, the internet can take something and blow out of proportion. But all I'll say on the matter is I just want what's best for Jeff and for him to be healthy. As long as he's good, as long as he's healthy, as long as he's happy with his family, then Drew McIntyre is happy.
DAZN: You've had an interesting 2021. You went from being the WWE Champion to no longer having the title to being in a number of main events, and, unfortunately, not being able to regain the gold and then also going back on SmackDown. And how would you characterize 2021?
DM: 2021 was peaks and valleys for Drew McIntyre. That's what it's all about, like not just in WWE, but in any movie and TV shows you watch, real life, there's always going to be ups, and there's going to be downs. My whole life has been about ups and downs. As part of the Drew McIntyre story, obviously, 2020 was very much and living in the peaks for basically the whole year. And then, during 2021, I've had to go into some of those valleys, but everyone watches my journey to get to take the ride with me. It makes me more relatable as somebody who's six-foot-five, 270 pounds, hairy and Scottish. Not exactly the most relatable and blessed to tell my story, which is Drew's had to go through a lot and had to work really hard. Sometimes it's not done, but he always gets back up, and people can relate to that. That's what 2021 was for me. As much as I reached the top, I went down again, had to find a way up, down, and get my way up. I can hear by the reactions on a SmackDown show and the live events, people are digging that. They're getting louder and louder all the time because we're taking people on that ride where, ‘Oh, yes, first violin bag, that's our guy. He's one of us’.
Nobody beat me for these last couple of years, which has been awesome that I don’t have to play a character anymore. Big, angry, hairy, Scotsman, just not really characters generic as hell.
(Seeing) the real Drew. I'm real. Obviously, it's been Drew Galloway as Drew McIntyre.