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Is The Writing On The Wall For Drew McIntyre?

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Drew McIntyre WWE NXT Championship

On Saturday, November 18th, 2017, at NXT Takeover: War Games, Drew McIntyre lost the NXT championship to Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas. Near the end of the match, McIntyre suffered a torn bicep which would keep him out for months. As of this writing, it has been over four months since McIntyre has been out of action. His return to WWE was much heralded because of what he achieved in WWE previously, not to mention his accomplishments post-WWE on the independents and in TNA. When he initially came into the company, he was dubbed ‘The Chosen One;’ what did that mean for Drew? It meant that much was expected from the then 23-year-old Scotsman. His character and push changed over time, however. It seemed like the need to push this young, strong and talented performer faded and he became forgettable.

It wasn’t always this way, however. He was highly touted and heralded for having all the qualities of a champion. He was a tall, fit, fresh-faced, clean-shaven Scotsman that was quickly pushed as a mid-card champion, facing the best the division had to offer including Matt Hardy, Christian, and Sheamus. In fact, at one time he was a tag team champion alongside ‘Dashing’ Cody Rhodes. He was being mixed in with another young talent that was equally dedicated to being the best they could be as part of the Smackdown brand.

When he was moved to Raw it seemed as though any upward trajectory completely stalled. He was rarely seen, appearing mostly in dark matches. His push continued to decline and it was perplexing to see. After his time on Raw dwindled, McIntyre was moved to WWE’s developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling. At that time FCW was in the midst of being rebranded as NXT, and he was added to a tournament to determine the first ever NXT champion. He wasn’t successful, but that didn’t mean the company didn’t have other plans for McIntyre.

After a short time in NXT, he returned to Raw to form a new alliance with Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal in 3MB. As part of 3MB, McIntyre did what was asked of him, and for that, he should be commended. However, with each loss and each head-scratching exchange with Hornswoggle, Drew was made to look silly. It became less about being a talented in-ring character that had fantastic matches against Cody Rhodes, Kofi Kingston, and Dolph Ziggler; that character was a distant memory and it was replaced with someone that was a comic relief heel persona.

A few months after competing in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at Wrestlemania XXX, it was announced that Drew was released from his contract on June 12th, 2014. While competing for WWE is the dream for many, it was time for McIntyre to walk away and re-emerge in a position he could be happy with. The 23-year-old neophyte was gone and in his place was a grizzled 28-year old that needed to showcase just how good he was. When a credible character is then made to look comedic, regaining that serious tone can be a challenge. He needed to be in a different environment where he could show that he was every bit as good as he ever was before. He also began using his given name, becoming Drew Galloway once again.

He competed for promotions such as ICW, Evolve, House of Glory, and arguably the second largest promotion in North America in TNA, now Impact Wrestling. His time in TNA, while short-lived, was meaningful as he competed for multiple championships. He also competed for Pro Wrestling Guerilla in front of smaller crowds, but that didn’t matter because it was all about his passion. Competing for multiple promotions after departing WWE also allowed him to show his growth as a wrestler and a performer.

That all changed once again when, at NXT Takeover: Orlando the day before Wrestlemania, Galloway was shown in the crowd, announced once again as Drew McIntyre, much to the excitement of those in attendance. Would this mean exactly what fans had hoped it would mean? And indeed, after the event went off the air it was made official that he had returned to the promotion. The return meant a new opportunity and a fresh start to his career in WWE. During his time away, McIntyre developed a variety of skills, including his ability to strike with precision. It also appeared as though he had gained more muscle mass, and it was clear that his time away meant a rekindled passion for the business, and a desire to regain his place at the top of the promotion. The comedy act was gone after it had been such a disappointing end to his time in WWE. McIntyre returned with a fire and a passion that reflected the person he had become.

“Yeah, I’m great…. it’s obviously not ideal, I became NXT Champion, I came back and I was flying high and I showed the world Drew Galloway/Drew McIntyre was ready to be the flag bearer, was ready to take on the responsibility I wasn’t ready for the first time, and then I got hurt and I lost the title. That wasn’t ideal, I was obviously pretty upset at first, but then I came home, I sat with my wife and evaluated things and I realized I hadn’t had this time off in 17 years that I’ve been wrestling.

This is the first time I’ve had three months off in my entire career. I’ve had the chance to sit down, reflect, take a look at how I can better myself and I’ve really come up some good ideas. If I was a champion and I was able to take myself to the level I was able to take myself to before, the way I’m thinking now, the way I’m going to come back now, I’ll be a whole different animal and anyone who is in that building can take one look at me and see if I’m ready to return because I’ve got my sights on New Orleans.”

– Drew McIntyre discussing his injury and current recovery– 2/18/18

Though a veteran of seventeen years, Drew is not going to rest on his laurels and has learned from each experience, each match, and each exchange. He wants to show how much he has evolved in what was just a few years between stints, in WWE. He not only came in to make a difference, but he rose to prominence once again when he captured championship gold by defeating Bobby Roode for the NXT championship. However, the challenges for him in NXT had only just begun. As the top man on the brand, all eyes were on him. The focus had changed and the hunter became the hunted. This was made clear only moments after he won the championship, as he was attacked by Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish, and a debuting Adam Cole in a three on one beat down. McIntyre had barely had an opportunity celebrate his accomplishment before a target was put on his back. His next major championship match was at the next NXT Takeover, dubbed WarGames, and his aforementioned loss to Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas.

Since that evening McIntyre hasn’t been in the ring. Rumor has it that the decision was that the loss occurred in order for him to be moved to the main roster. Would that have happened had he has not been injured on this evening? There is no confirmation, and in the wake of that injury, clearly, those plans didn’t materialize. What is a certainty is that for the better part of four months McIntyre has had to work to rehabilitate his bicep, after surgery. The injury could easily be seen as a setback, much like his time away from WWE was seen.

“I’ve been a wrestler over half my life, spent a third in America and lived at more addresses than I can remember, but, there has always been one constant I could call home.”

With everything in life, there are ebbs and flows, highs and lows. Drew McIntyre has seen the highs and lows of competition, and come out the other side with a sense of awareness. His injury could be labeled a disappointment because it has slowed down his progression, but maybe that injury occurred because he was meant to be in a better place in a different role. It would be easy to question his booking, but McIntyre was beaten down by three men after winning the NXT championship and continued to show his versatility in the ring with his matches.

“When I got the surgery they predicted five to six months. I will tell you this now, I’ve got my sights set on New Orleans. And those who are there for the biggest party of the year at ICW, the only night of the year I’ll be able to return to ICW, it will be a very special night, and those who are there can take a look at my bicep for themselves and tell me how it looks.”

This injury won’t define Drew’s career or the success of his return to NXT, but rather only act as motivation for him to reclaim his status and show that he is every bit the chosen one that he always was meant to be.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @TheMarcMadison and Instagram @themarcmadison

Feel Free to like my Facebook page Pro Wrestling Post

Feel Free to check out my blog The Wrestling News Hub Magazine including interviews with ROH top prospect tournament entrant, Curt Stallion, Sebastian Suave, Ring of Honor’s Frankie Kazarian, “All Good” Anthony Greene, ‘The Green Machine’ Mike Orlando, Josh Briggs, ROH top prospect finalist John Skyler and current rising Ring of Honor star Flip Gordon with interviews with Tyson Dux, Ivelisse and Madman Fulton (former WWE NXT superstar Sawyer Fulton) and former WWE referee Jimmy Korderas.


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Opinion

Bodeen’s Top 5 Moments: WWE NXT (3/3/21)

Bodeen breaks out his Top 5 moments of NXT this week. Did he miss anything that made your list?

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After Adam Cole put the nail in the coffin in the Undisputed Era last week, many eyes were on NXT this week to see what the reaction from Roderick Strong would be as well as the Tag title matches after the Dusty Rhodes Classic. With all these factors it’s no surprise that NXT put on another amazing night of action that was entertaining from start to finish. So without further ado, it’s time to look at the top 5 moments from NXT this week.

5. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler beat Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez

It feels like so long ago we saw Shayna Baszler on NXT. Just a few years ago Baszler was dominating the NXT women’s division as she beats the likes of Kari Sane, Mia Yim, Bianca Belair and Io Shirai. After she lost the title to Rhea Ripley and moved to RAW, over time she lost credibility and she was slowly removed from the title picture. That’s why it was so great to see the submission magician back to her former self on NXT as she and Nia Jax beat Dakota Kai and Requel Gonzalas in a great match that ended in controversial circumstances

This was another great match for the team of Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez, with Raquel Gonzalez once again being the MVP of this match as she took a hot tag from Dakota Kai to dominate Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax. The match would end under controversial circumstances after Adam Pearce called for a referee to ring the bell after Kai was trapped in a submission despite the fact Gonzales was legal.

This finish made Kai and Gonzales look strong in defeat as they did not lose cleanly. It also sets up a storyline in the future, especially after NXT General Manager, William Regal stated he had an announcement to make that would change the NXT landscape.

4. The Way go to therapy 

The Christmas with the Gargano’s vignettes were one of my favorite moments from NXT in 2020. The jokes catered to everyone and ranged from inside jokes to die-hard wrestling fans to silly, cheesy jokes that you would see in a Monty Python or Adam Sandler movie. While the Way going to therapy wasn’t near the level of Christmas with the Gargano’s it was still a fun segment that continued to highlight how good Johnny Gargano is at being a goofy heel.

Gargano’s reactions were priceless to watch as he could not believe that Austin Theory enjoyed his time with Dexter Lumis. Indi Hartwell’s innuendoes were also hilarious to watch, as this series of segments did a great job in giving all members of The Way enough lines so that no member felt pointless being there.

With Dexter Lumis most likely the next in line for Johnny Gargano’s North American Championship, it will be interesting to see the involvement of Austin Theory in what is sure to be a highly entertaining feud to watch.

3. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch beat Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher  

While it was originally meant to be Dusty Rhodes Classic winners, MSK facing Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch we instead got the makeshift team of Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher facing the NXT Tag Team champions in a brutal, hard-hitting match that was intense from start to finish, with Lorcan and Burch getting the win after Imperium distracted Thatcher and Ciampa.

This match did a good job at bringing together Thatcher and Ciampa as they smiled at each other, sharing their joy for inflicting pain on their opponents. Despite sharing a moment with each other, the relationship between the two men would be tense as Ciampa seemed annoyed at Thatcher’s history with Imperium costing them the match.

2. Roderick Strong faces off against Finn Balor  

After Adam Cole put the nail in the coffin of the Undisputed Era by superkicking Roderick Strong last week, Strong would open the show this week and would waste no time in calling Adam Cole out to the ring. Despite Strong calling Cole out, Finn Balor would come out, with Roderick blaming Balor for Cole’s actions. Balor would reply by saying that Roderick does not have the killer instinct that Balor has causing Roderick to attack the NXT Champion, leading to a match between the two men later in the night.

This was my favorite match of the night as Roderick Strong, pushed the NXT Champion to his limit, with Balor once again doing an amazing job of selling, as he sold the back which, Strong attacked throughout the match. The match would end after Balor hit the Coup De Grace and 1916 on Strong to win, with Adam Cole coming out to stare off at Balor ahead of their title match next week.

With Finn Balor and Adam Cole ready to face each other in a TakeOver worthy match, it will be interesting to see who will win, in what is sure to be an amazing match.

1. LA Knight makes his intentions known 

While his name change has led to disagreement between fans LA Knight’s short time in NXT has been entertaining to watch. His promo skills and style remind me of a 1980s movie star as he is always the center of attention when he is on the mic. This week would be no different as LA Knight cut his first in-ring promo on NXT TV as he called out the entire roster as well as sewing the seeds for a feud with Bronson Reed.

LA Knight’s promo this week was absolute gold, as he blended cockiness, arrogance, pride and emotion brilliantly, stating that he is not in NXT to do flips and dives, but rather win regardless of style. LA Knight would make his big move against Bronson Reed, as he cost Bronson Reed a match against Cameron Grimes.

Bronson Reed is a great first feud for LA Knight, as it can perfectly show off LA Knight’s style well against a bigger man like Bronson Reed.

These were my top 5 moments from NXT this week. What were your top 5 moments and who do you think will win the NXT Championship Title match next week? Let us know in the comments below.

 

 


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Bodeen’s Top 5 Moments: WWE RAW 3/1/21

Bodeen takes a look ath the Top 5 moments from an eventful episode of WWE Raw on the Road to WrestleMania!

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Bobby Lashley WWE Champion Raw

Bodeen takes a look ath the Top 5 moments from an eventful episode of WWE Raw on the Road to WrestleMania!

With just 6 short weeks left until WrestleMania, RAW once again came to us from the Thunderdome, with the main story on RAW this week being focused on the WWE Championship match between The Miz and Bobby Lashley. Despite this there were still some other moments on RAW that stood out, so without further ado let’s once again look at the top 5 moments that stood out on RAW.

5. Mustafa Ali pins Riddle

There is no denying that the booking of RETRIBUTION has been botched. While it was extremely interesting to watch Retribiution at first, Retribution soon died even after Mustafa Ali turned heel mainly due to terrible logical booking and a series of losses that made them all look weak.

However, it is still nice to see RETRIBUTION get wins back, especially when it comes to their leader, Mustafa Ali. Ali is extremely talented and has shown he can perform with the best in the ring. That is why it was so great to see him beat Riddle on RAW.

While the match between the two men was nothing special and had a bad-looking finish, it was still nice to see him beat the United States Champion in a non-title match and give RETRIBUTION and himself a small amount of credit back.

4. Miz makes Bobby Lashley wait

Over the years The Miz has grown to be one of the best heels in the business, his promos are amazing to watch and over the years Miz has learned to control any crowd as a heel. Miz’s promos though are not the only thing that has helped him as a heel, as we have seen Miz over the years use brilliant strategies to give himself an advantage in the ring.

Miz would once again use his mind this week on RAW as he used excuse after excuse throughout the night to avoid defending the WWE Championship against Bobby Lashley until eventually, Shane McMahon forced him to defend or vacate the title at the end of the night.

The great part about watching this was seeing the reaction from MVP and Bobby Lashley as they grew increasingly frustrated with The Miz and his ideas as their annoyance at the start of the night turned into a pure rage after Miz retained after being counted out.

3. Damian Priest gets another win 

At first, I was somewhat worried about Damian Priest being teamed up with Bad Bunny, mainly due to the fact it feels Priest deserved more. However, after a few weeks and seeing how much merchandise Bad Bunny has been selling, the relationship between the two men can be effective for Priest especially as Bad Bunny guarantees Priest time on RAW, where he can impress fans.

Priest would once again look good on RAW this week as he pinned Elias in a solid match between the two men. It was also nice to see Priest beat Elias without any major interference from Bad Bunny, as Priest has arguably looked somewhat weaker due to the distractions from Bad Bunny in his matches.

With there being a good chance that Bad Bunny will be on WrestleMania with Preist, it will be interesting to see what will happen to Priest after WrestleMania

2.  Drew Mcintyre and Sheamus destroy each other

While this may not off been on a Pay-Per-View, Drew McIntyre and Sheamus put on an amazing match between each other and easily put on the best match of the night. The match showcased the brutal style of the two men as they traded moves with both men working extremely well together.

The match would start with an intense brawl between the two men as they gave each other a beating. After a brutal match where both men push each other to their limit, Drew McIntyre would catch Sheamus with a Claymore after Sheamus attempted a Brouge kick to win the match.

After the match, both men stared at each other potentially meaning that this is not the end of their feud as he approach Fastlane.

1. Bobby Lashley finally wins the gold 

It is hard to believe how much Bobby Lashley’s career has changed in a year. This time last year, Bobby was stuck in a never-ending feud with Lana and Rusev which had lost all credibility. Then Bobby Lashley left Lana for MVP and started The Hurt Business, where he became a dominant part of the mid-card as the United States Champion.

Even after being a dominant mid-carder for so long Lashley still hadn’t reached that next level however Bobby would finally break through the glass ceiling this week on RAW after he waited for three hours to dominate The Miz to finally become WWE Champion after what has felt like an eternity.

With Bobby now Champion the big question is, will Lashley be Champion by WrestleMania and if so, who will Lashley face?

These were my top 5 moments from RAW this week. What were your top 5 moments and what do you think of Bobby Lashley being WWE Champion? Let us know in the comments below. 


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