Interview: Drew Galloway aka Drew McIntyre

Drew Galloway is a professional wrestler who has achieved so much already in his career, a former WWE Intercontinental champion, current TNA star and current title holder in multiple Indy promotions.

The 29-year-old from Ayrshire, Scotland was known as Drew McIntyre during his time in WWE where he was endorsed by Vince McMahon as ‘The Chosen One’ and a future World Champion. Although he never hit those dizzying heights with WWE he was a one-time Intercontinental champion and Tag Team champion.

The Scottish grappler made his TNA debut at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow earlier this year during the company’s annual UK tour standing up for the fans of wrestling.

We caught up with Drew to talk about Vince McMahon’s endorsement, wanting to wrestle TNA World Champion Kurt Angle and wanting to emulate Ric Flair plus much more.

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How did you first get into the sport of professional wrestling?

It’s all I ever wanted to do, I can’t even pinpoint a time where I wanted to be a wrestler, I just knew wrestling is what I was going to do my entire life. I remember watching it with my cousins as a kid but I’ve always been obsessed with wrestling. I was such an obsessive I purchased from America the book, Inside Secrets on how You Can Enter the Exciting World of Pro Wrestling! by Dennis Brent and Percy Pringle.

I was looking for wrestling schools when I was 11-years-old, and finally when I was 15-years-old my mum agreed to let me go to Portsmouth which is 12 hours from where I lived in Ayr, Scotland. That’s when my training began and about a year later we began the independent Scottish wrestling scene, which has evolved into something incredible with Insane Championship Wrestling.

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When growing up who were the wrestlers that you enjoyed watching and influenced you to get into the sport?

Bret Hart was always the guy when I was younger, Shawn Michaels was another person that I enjoyed watching. I was generally a fan of the guys that were the ‘wrestlers’, I didn’t realise it at the time but I was always drawn more to the wrestling then the larger than life characters. I don’t know what it was, I guess I just enjoyed the actual in ring action more from guys like Curt Hennig than the over the top presentation of Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior and the likes.

Where you a fan of the British wrestlers when growing up, the likes of Dave ‘Fit’ Finlay and William Regal?

The old World of Sport got cancelled when I was 3-years-old, so I never really got to see much of them but I watched a lot back and I’m a big fan of it and it has influenced me. Regal and especially Finlay who was my mentor was a big influence on me when I was in WWE and I’m still friends with both of them. They helped shape and mould me into the wrestler that I am today.

When you first came through on the Indy scene in the UK, you got to work with a number of former WWE Superstars, Honky Tonk Man, Marty Jannetty, D’Lo Brown and Mick Foley, what were those experience like?

It was unbelievable, I think D’Lo was the first one I wrestled and I was crapping my pants thinking oh my gosh he has wrestled in WWE, this could make or break me. I was nervous, very nervous when getting in the ring to wrestle all of those guys but it was always easier to be in the ring with the American guys.

A lot of us new guys would wind ourselves up so much and try and do every single move in 10 minutes instead of taking our time, having a good match and telling a story.

What was it like coming through the British Indy scene at the same time as Sheamus, you had a big rivalry?

It was awesome, Sheamus and I both really started to progress when we started working with each other. We became good friends because I missed a flight once when I was working in Ireland and I stayed at his place. We were both obsessed with wrestling and we both had the same goals and dreams.

A promoter put us together and we were just obsessed with getting better, we would watch our matches back together, we would critique them, we would work different kinds of matches, we would just work our arses off to get better.

We then started working a program together in Scotland and we took our feud all over the place. Wade Barrett (as Stu Sanders) became part of my faction and we became really good friends with him and all three of us getting signed to WWE at the same time was just an amazing achievement.

When you signed your contract with WWE, what was that moment like?

I will never forget it. I was in the ring with all of the agents and John Laurinaitis who was head of talent relations at the time asked me to take a walk with him. We took a walk and he told me he was thinking about taking me over to America, and I replied I’m thinking about letting you, it was pretty unbelievable.

I then found out Wade had just signed as well, we then spoke to Sheamus and he hadn’t spoken to John yet so we told him to go talk to him and he offered Sheamus a deal as well. None of us could believe what had just happened and we went and celebrated straight away by having a beer at the concession stand in the arena.

What was your time in OVW and FCW like?

With OVW I didn’t get to spend that much time there, I was on the road my third week in America for television when I was 22-years-old. I was only on TV for a few weeks at the time but I was on the road full time doing house shows and learning, so I didn’t get to experience OVW properly.

FCW was unbelievable, you had Dr. Tom Prichard, Steve Keirn, Billy Kidman, Norman Smile and Dusty Rhodes, they all really helped bring out the aggressive side in me. Keirn would encourage me all the time and by the time I was sent up to the main roster I was so aggressive they put me with Finlay to try and help me calm down a little. It is a lot easier to dial someone down than it is to dial somebody up. They dialled me up and paired me with Finlay and that is when I actually started learning.

After working with Finlay for three months that has really shaped the way I think now.  I’m really thinking outside the box and I try to do as much creative stuff as I can possibly do. I wrestle as aggressively as possible and that is all of Finlay’s influence.

What have you made of what FCW was like when you were there to what it has become now as NXT?

It’s now its own brand, developmental when I was there was a place you trained before you hopefully got the chance to move up to the main roster. Now it’s a brand of its own and whatever character you are there you go up to the main roster as that character – it’s seems much more of a smooth process, a comfortable process for the talent.

The wrestlers on NXT are established names, the fans know them and are reacting to them. NXT is making its own money pretty much, it’s pretty much the biggest independent company there is right now, so many of the guys and girls there are so talented.

You went back onto the main roster and were endorsed by Vince McMahon as ‘The Chosen One’, what a surreal moment?

I couldn’t process it, I didn’t know it was going to happen, I got told Vince was going to go out before me when I was in the gorilla position to do a promo and I watched from behind the curtain thinking what the heck is going on.

Something like that had never happened before and is never going to happen again. When people look back in history and see him endorse me it was just unbelievable. When the guy who has created the modern day wrestling scene endorses you like that, it is amazing.

No matter what happened following that in WWE, but what has happened since leaving WWE and the reputation I’ve built on my own back and now being in TNA, hopefully I’m showing the world what Vince saw in me is still there and it was just lying dormant. I’m making sure it comes out now and I’m not going to be happy until I’m the best wrestler in the entire world.

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During the last two years in WWE you worked with Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater as 3MB, did you enjoy the comedy side of things?

Vince had an idea and it was his call to not pick the obvious guys to be in the stable, all three of us at the time were quite serious character on screen. Vince told us what his plan was and he had a clear vision of what he wanted to do, and at the beginning we put the effort in with all the music stuff but someone didn’t inform him that I required surgery on my wrist two weeks later.

Whatever idea he had for me backing up Heath’s big mouth and being the hero of the group just went down the toilet. Due to my wrist I couldn’t touch anyone or be touched for six months and The Shield were there the following month after I lost my grip and that backed us up into a corner and we ended up being in the role we were in.

We were already too far gone in the comedy role. It was fun and it gave me something to do when I was injured, the fans got into it. It was so ridiculous we treated it like such and we just had a laugh with it, we were still in WWE, if you’re given an opportunity to go out there and be on TV you’re not going to turn it down, you make the most of it.

WWE is different, it’s not professional wrestling, if you play a character like an actor plays a role, sometimes it’s not the role you’re after but they are a big company. The reason I’m now able to do the stuff I’m doing is because I got the notoriety in WWE and I’ve been able to use that and go out and reinvent myself.

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What are some of your highlights from your time in WWE?

There are so many, off the top of my head, obviously being endorsed by Vince as ‘The Chosen One’, winning the Intercontinental title was unbelievable and that was always seen as the ‘wrestlers’ title, when I was younger I always dreamed of becoming Intercontinental champion. At the time Rey Mysterio had it, then John Morrison beat him and I beat John Morrison, that was so cool. Winning the tag titles with Cody Rhodes was unexpected but it was still a fantastic moment.

Getting the opportunity to wrestle at WrestleMania, meeting all of the fans at Axxess. Wrestling Undertaker and him breaking my undefeated streak just before he ended Shawn Michaels career. Something that not many people realise is that when I wrestled Undertaker I came out after he did which not a lot of people get to do, Undertaker is usually the last out. At the time I didn’t realise how significant that was but everyone after was telling me Taker always comes out second. Again it was Vince’s call for me to go out second against Undertaker and it was pretty crazy for me to walk to the ring after him trying to keep a straight face.

Wrestling in Scotland in front of a sold out arena and getting the reception I got for coming home, getting the freedom to speak on the microphone and I always made sure I pointed out my parents and that means so much, especially now my mum is no longer with me – that is one of my biggest highlights.

How would you describe Vince McMahon as a boss?

Vince is a genius, he is the most confident man in the world, he knows what he wants and he gets it. His track record proves that but he works so hard for it, he attends every show and he keeps a close eye on everything that is going on,  standing just behind the curtain. Vince was always very personable with me as well and would always make time if you needed to talk to him despite how busy he is.

I’m one of the busiest wrestlers in the world right now I have very little sleep and I’ve learnt how to do that from Vince.

When did you decide to sign with TNA and what was your debut like in Scotland?

TNA first got in touch with me on the Monday and their show in Glasgow was on the Thursday. We talked and I phoned them up on the Tuesday, spoke again and arranged to meet in person a couple of people who I knew already and have history with from my time in WWE. I was able to agree terms and my big thing was being able to keep my commitments to the independent companies that I had agreed dates with like ICW and Evolve.

Those companies helped me as much I’ve helped them and I made a promise to keep on doing that and be part of iPPV’s which TNA wrestlers weren’t allowed to do but now they are. I was the first guy to get the all clear and they’ve given everyone else the all clear. My goal has always been to do the best for wrestling, it’s not a character I’m playing on TV that is legitimately how I feel.

I want to make a difference in wrestling, I want people to look back in history and see that Drew made a difference; I went out there and recreated myself because of the power of social media. I went back to Scotland, my return promo got the buzz, people believed in me and gave me a platform and I was able to do everything I planned in my head times a thousand.

I then showed up in TNA as myself on a worldwide stage and I’ve literally been doing everything I’ve been doing [Indy shows] in addition to TNA, which is absolutely awesome.

Before joining TNA did you watch the product, did other people in WWE watch TNA?

Oh yeah, I pretty much watched all the wrestling I could. I kept my finger on the pulse with everything, TNA, ROH Lucha Underground, I would watch shows from Japan and Mexico as well and keeping in touch with what was going on in the UK scene.

There were a lot of guys in the WWE locker-room that watched TNA and there are a lot of guys now in TNA that watch WWE. A lot of us are students of the game and are wrestling fans and if you’re a fan you will watch absolutely every wrestling show.

You’ve formed a new stable ‘The Rising’ working with Micah and Eli Drake, what has that been like?

I didn’t really know Eli before but he was in NXT and he had done a show with The Rock, but I got talking to him it was clear he had a passion for wrestling he was very confident and really well spoken. It will be exciting to see what Eli brings going into the future.

Micah is different, I’ve known him since I was 22-years-old, he lives and breathes this so he was one of my first choices. I think the three of us together can achieve big things and it’s going to make for some pretty exciting TV coming up.

Our rivalry with the BDC is real, it’s unscripted when we go at each other in the ring and on the microphone. We are all looking to top each other and if I can’t top them and they can’t top me that’s down to the other person. The more real it is the more the fans buy into it, it’s a sophisticated audience now.

Who are some of the guys you are looking forward to stepping in the ring with in TNA?

The first name that comes to mind for me is Kurt Angle, he’s the obvious one. Kurt is the World Champion right now, I watched him when I was growing up and he’s known for his intensity, I’m known for my aggression. The possibility that I can step in the ring with one of the greatest of all time, Kurt Angle for the World Title, and the idea that I can win the World Title from Kurt Angle sounds insane to me but that is my goal right now.

At the moment I’m a champion in four different promotions, with five titles in three continents. I have the ICW title, the Dragon Gate title, the Evolve title, the Australian title and the Danish title. I’ve taken the ICW title and the Evolve title around the world and made them world titles, I want to become the first travelling world champion since Ric Flair and I want to win that TNA title and start taking it around the world with my other gold.

You made your TNA debut during the UK tour, do you think TNA will stage a PPV in the UK?

100% they should have had Bound For Glory over here before they had it in Tokyo, Japan. UK fans love wrestling and it is TNA’s biggest market and the television ratings show that. If TNA staged a PPV over here it would be smart business more than anything, it would be awesome for the fans, and awesome for the wrestlers. I know it will happen 100% because it just make business sense to do it.

What do you make of the other British stars in TNA, Rockstar Spud, Magnus and Bram?

They are awesome, I’ve known Spud for a while and I’ve done a number of shows with him. Magnus I’ve done loads of shows with when I was younger. Bram is one of my good friends, we lived together for a while, he was in NXT when I was on the road with WWE.

Bram came over to TNA and has created an awesome look and character. One of the most popular matches people want to see on Twitter is Bram v myself. Every time I see him I tell him I’m coming for him and going to kick his ass, and he tells me I won’t. When that match happens it’s going to be England v Scotland in America and it’ll be an all out war.

What has Dixie Carter been like as a boss?

Dixie has been an awesome boss, she is very personable, and very friendly. She is very open to suggestions, but from my short time in the company so far the thing that has really stood out for me is how personable Dixie is.

You’ve been back on the Indy scene, how would you describe the current UK Indy scene to the American Indy scene?

When I made my return to ICW and the lights come on and I pulled the hood back, I looked around and I couldn’t believe the building was packed with 1,500 people. I’ve been around the UK on a number of different shows and the talent is unbelievable. America has always been seen as the premier place for independent wrestling, when I was starting out AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe were all starting out.

In the UK right now there are just as many talented in ring performers and characters, because you have to be marketable as well. You can only go so far by being good in the ring, there are so many new guys and so much talent, you need to make yourself stand out from the crowd and that is so exciting for British wrestling. There will never be a boom period like there was when we had the Monday Night Wars between WCW and WWE, but there is a real sense that something is brewing at the moment.

The original ICW documentary on the BBC, they would have been happy with a couple of hundred thousand views and they ended up breaking 1.3 million and everybody involved was blown away by the result. They began filming the second ICW documentary on the night when I made my comeback, they followed the three guys, Grado, Jester and Dallas again and then they added me into it. I explained to them who I was and the second one did great numbers and you can expect more still to come.

For more information on Drew you can follow him on Twitter @GallowaySpeaks You can watch Drew on TNA Impact every Friday at 9pm on Destination America in the US and every Sunday night at 9pm on Challenge TV in the UK

Tags

  • Larry Sandwiches

    This guy is delusional.

    • kashoo

      Coming from a guy who calls himself Larry Sandwiches. If pursuing a dream is delusional than I guess so.

      • Larry Sandwiches

        His delusion is where he thinks he stands in terms of being the best wrestler. Even you agree with that. Peace tho. This site is straight trash.

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