Drew McIntyre has done enough promotion for WWE Summerslam to notice that Hollywood has changed its tune on WWE and pro-wrestling, thanks in part to efforts by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, John Cena and Dave Bautista.
The relationship between WWE and pro-wrestling, and the greater entertainment sphere seems healthier than ever. WWE Superstars are thriving in Hollywood, and shows like “Heelz” and “GLOW” celebrate the roots of the sport-entertainment hybrid.
“I think wrestling is seeing a lot different than it used to be,” McIntyre tells ET Canada. “It’s not seen as the lowbrow form of entertainment people used to look down on. People understand. Now, the WWE is a huge global company. 800 million holds 180 countries, 20 different languages, over a billion social media followers.”
He went on to credit the likes of Johnson, Cena and Bautista for elevating the idea of what it is to be a WWE Superstar.
“Some of our talent is going out there outside the company and proving how talented the performers are,” he explains. “Like you look at “The Rock”, unbelievable. A top Hollywood actor, made billions of dollars in his movies, has his own company.
“Cena is branching out. Batista is the one that surprised me the most. He’s so quiet in real life. But he went out there and worked on his craft and he’s a genuinely good actor and he takes it so seriously. And they have shown themselves capable of so much more than what has been everyone’s perception of big, dumb meatheads.”
And the talents of WWE Superstars don’t stop at just a few key names in Hollywood.
“If you take the time to look at most of our roster, everyone’s basically got a degree. We’ve got a few PhDs. I have a criminology degree. We’re all educated these days. So if you take a second to look at it, you realize, ‘Oh, they’re not just big dumb meatheads. They’re actually talented in many ways.”
While McIntyre has yet to make the leap to acting himself, “The Scottish Warrior” has the perfect role in mind, a horror sequel to “Braveheart”.
“I’m a big horror fan and I always pitch this,” he begins. “Bautista has a new zombie movie [‘Army of the Dead’]. Zombies are still the rage.
“If, at the end of ‘Braveheart’, William Wallace got killed. He was hung, drawn and quartered, his body parts spread across the U.K. His head at London Bridge. Somebody takes his body parts, puts them back together. He rises up a Zombie Wallace and wreaks havoc on the English in ‘Braveheart 2: The Rise of Wallace’, I’m your guy.”
McIntyre and Canada’s own Jinder Mahal have a bitter on-camera feud; however, behind the scenes, they are quite close. Both struggled in WWE as members of the faux rockstar group 3MB. They eventually parted ways from the company and reinvented themselves elsewhere. When they returned to WWE, both eventually captured the WWE championship; however, McIntyre’s reign is often held in higher regard than Mahal’s. McIntyre says he intends to show everyone just how good Mahal is.
“Maybe subconsciously I want to make sure, just because of how close we are, we both come out looking as good as possible. But I look at it that way for every single match I’m in,” McIntyre asserts. “With Jinder, I’m excited to show just how much he has grown over the past few years.
“When he won the title, it was a huge opportunity. I do think he did a good job with it, but it came out of nowhere. And I think that’s why nobody really accepted it to the level of they’ve accepted mine. He’s growing so much in the ring over the years, but also confidence-wise and thinking as a top-level performer-wise. And we’re going to show that for sure on Saturday at Summerslam.“
Ultimately, McIntyre could not be more proud to share such a big stage with Mahal. The two often reflect on their parallel roads to redemption.
“We make jokes about, ‘If only we had this mindset when we were in 3MB.’ When we were out partying and drinking and living the gimmick all the time,” he admits. “We’re fake rock stars, but we’re acting like real rock stars out the ring.
“If we got our stuff together and started working out and having this positive attitude we have now, it could have been done sooner. But I see as it could have been, a journey happens for a reason. All the ups and downs made us who we are today and we can laugh and joke about it now.”
The next chapter in their shared story is WWE Summerslam, taking place at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, Aug. 21.
“We both are very fortunate, happy and proud to be able to get to the level where we’re facing each other on this huge showing Saturday Summerslam. This is this year’s WrestleMania. It’s going to be wild. Over 40,000 people losing their minds. And the fact I’m facing one of my best friends is pretty crazy.“