Drew McIntyre on his return to WWE: “It was time to man up”

The 33-year-old spoke about how being in WWE a second time was different from the first.

Drew McIntyre was a recent guest on Lillian Garcia’s Chasing Glory podcast. The two spoke about a number of topics, including his release from WWE in 2014. McIntyre said his came out of nowhere.

“It was a shock, initially. At the time I was doing 3MB with Jinder (Mahal) and Heath (Slater). And we were on literally every show. So it was very unexpected. Even though I had seen across my Twitter that people were being released, it never crossed my mind that a missed call from WWE might have been to tell me I was getting released.”

“I sat and I thought about it. My girlfriend at the time who is now my wife (Kaitlyn Frohnapfel) and I had just moved into the apartment that I got the call in three days prior. It was our first place together, so I was think how was I going to tell her, and how am I going to tell my dad who’s always been my number one fan that I had just been released from WWE after eight years. Then we’d have to worry about the next step.”

However, McIntyre admitted that moving on from the company wasn’t all that bad.

“It was the right time to be away from the company for a while. I had learned so much that I really believed in myself and knew this is all I know. I can really do something. The wrestling scene outside WWE was really picking up. I believe I can make a splash. Now it’s time to prove it to the world. So I got a little excited after the initial shock passed.”

Following his release in in June of that year, McIntyre (under his real name Drew Galloway) made his first post-WWE appearance at an Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) event on July 27. However, keeping his return to ICW (his last run coming seven years prior) a secret was no easy task.

“Myself and my brother hid at my dad’s house for three days with the blinds closed just playing computer games that we used to play when we were kids. Playing some Guitar Hero. A couple of my buddies would come in and sneak me out to go to the gym. We snuck in the back door of the show. The show was sold out with 1500 people there. And at the very end, I snuck into the ring when the lights went out, pulled a hood off and revealed myself. Got a heck of a reaction and just delivered that message to the world. It got out there and started going viral.”

McIntyre credits many people for creating excitement around his return to the independent scene, particularly a certain WWE Hall of Famer.

“One of them was Mick Foley, who went on “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s podcast and really took the time to tell everyone “you really need to check out what Drew McIntyre is up to now.” And that’s what got the ball rolling.”

During his time away from the company, McIntyre enjoyed success in various promotions across the world. In ICW, McIntyre became the ICW World Heavyweight Champion for a second time by defeating Jack Jester in November 2014. With stints in Evolve and AAA as well as other promotions, McIntyre most notable stay came in TNA, where he is a former TNA World Heavyweight Champion and Impact Grand Champion.

McIntyre returned to WWE in April 2017 and was assigned to NXT. He made an immediate impact, defeating Bobby Roode for the NXT Championship at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III. After losing the title to Andrade “Cien” Almas at NXT TakeOver: WarGames, McIntyre underwent surgery to repair a torn bicep he suffered during the match. Forgoing a return to NXT, McIntyre joined the RAW roster on April 16, joining Dolph Ziggler in an attack on Titus Worldwide. McIntyre and Ziggler formed an alliance, and have been a focal point of the show thus far. McIntyre helped Ziggler win the Intercontinental Championship from Seth Rollins on the June 18 episode of Raw.

During his time away from the company, McIntyre stated that simply growing up was a big turnaround for him.

“I came from university living with my parents to being in WWE. So everyone telling what to do and where to be in university and living at home and for everyone telling me what to do and where to be in WWE. So I went from one home in Scotland to another home in WWE.”

“Then eventually, I was finally out on my own. Now I have no one telling me what to do…responsibilities. These things coming through the mail. They need to get paid somehow and it’s on me. It was time finally to man up. And it was a decision I made, not anyone else telling me. It was time to put up or shut up. You believe you can do this. It’s time to get it together.”

Throughout theses changes, he wasn’t in it alone. He credits the sacrifices Frohnapfel had to make for him to ensure he would turn things around.

“She stopped school for the first two years to kind of be part of it and work at the same time just in case. She would handle a lot of my scheduling because it was so out of control. She’d put up a lot of me not being there. I was constantly gone and constantly trying to figure out “what’s the next angle to get people talking about me?” She would help with ideas. I learned how to be a businessman during that period.”

McIntyre also spoke on losing his mother and how it affected him and his career, how he and his wife met and how she copes with his hectic schedule, people becoming complacent in WWE and his relationship with Ziggler.