Drew McIntyre’s Road To The Wrestlemania Main Event

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When Drew Mcintyre was released from WWE in 2013 there was no precedent there for a return that could yield any real success. Sure WWE had re-signed guys in the past and used them but never to any kind of meaningful extent. The biggest part of that is probably due to many of these talents not having a wrestling background or any kind of real love for wrestling before they were signed, so once the WWE journey was at its end, so was the wrestling one. Any released talents with a bit of name value will give the indies a wee taste of the exact act they seen on TV for years (rumour has it some will even refuse to lose on said indies because it would send shockwaves round the wrestling stratosphere if Chavo Guerrero loses in Saltcoats) but won’t make any big attempt to deviate from that act. Even guys like Cody Rhodes, who has since gone on to re-invent himself and revolutionise wrestling in many ways, struggled to separate himself from his WWE past when he first started making appearances outwith WWE. It was never the done thing until Drew took approximately an hour to lick his wounds after his release before deciding the only way to respond was to really fucking respond. Attack is the best form of defence as they say, so Drew decided to defend his reputation by attacking the whole wrestling world.

He started in the most natural place possible. Glasgow. In front of a 1,000+ crowd who were all there for ICW pre Drew Galloway. They had been there for many months before as ICW worked towards one of the biggest shows in their history, yet few could have anticipated the change of gears that was to come for the company on that night. As good auld JR would say, business well and truly picked up that night when just a few short days after his WWE release, TAFTKA Drew Mcintyre re-emerged as Drew Galloway and threw petrol on the already roaring ICW fire, taking the company and his own career to another level. Few would have predicted that night that Drew was just 6 years away from Claymore Kicking Brock Lesnar out his boots and out the ring on the way to winning the Royal Rumble, but you could feel something special was happening. It was like the shackles had been taken off and years of frustration melted away in the form of the absolute tanking he gave the NAK that night. Seemingly in aid of his auld pal Jack Jester before he turned on him as well and kicked off one of the most engaging feuds in British Wrestling history. Jack Jester vs Drew Galloway headlining the famous Barrowlands Ballroom for the ICW Title.

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He spent the next 3 years of his career conquering the wrestling world. Putting himself through a schedule that would make WWE talent wince. Putting his physical and mental health in jeopardy to chase this dream all over again. This time Drew wasn’t going to rest on his laurels. He no longer existed as a wrestler with a steady job, frustrated but almost content to wait for a proper opportunity to come along as part of the WWE family. Drew knew that if he was ever going to achieve what he wanted to in wrestling that he was going to have to show them why they were wrong. He was going to have to show them exactly how Drew Galloway makes wrestling companies better. Particularly the ones who show enough faith in him to have them leading the charge as their champion. Every company he touched in that time he made better. ICW done incredible numbers and had some of the most memorable feuds in their history happen while he was there both as champion and in his time without the title, following Grado’s victory over Drew in front of an unprecedented 4,000 strong crowd at the SECC.

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ICW would go on to top that number the following year after pulling 6,000+ in at The Hydro but the feud that took ICW to a 4,000 sell out well in advance of the show was Grado vs Drew. Never has a more effective portrayal of the battle between good and evil been portrayed in a wrestling ring as the towering madman prepared to behead ICWs favourite son only be be thwarted by a herculean effort from Grado that sent the SECC wild when he eventually dethroned the champion a year after he’d taken the title from Jack Jester. Many bigger foes, both in size and reputation, had tried to take the title that Drew had turned into a World Title during his reign but none had the almighty pull of 4,000 fans almost unanimously wanting you to do it. It takes a special kind of villain to make that kind of scenario possible. It takes a special kind of wrestler to turn people shedding tears of joy at the sight of you, to them baying for your blood in just over a year, but that’s what Drew is. Special.

His impact was felt all over the world as he took the Evolve Title soon after his release and was a mainstay there until his re-signing with WWE. Drew sent the video of his ICW return to Mick Foley who was so taken aback by the reaction and subsequent kicking he handed out that he texted Triple H and told him to keep an eye on that big Scottish unit they’d just released. Ironically the same Mick Foley would help Grado end Drew’s ICW Title reign as he took up the role as commissioner for the night, but he has forever been one of Drew’s biggest advocates. The more you look at Drew’s tenure away from WWE the more it looks like a hugely impressive audition tape to be a main guy in WWE. Dealing with an insane amount of travel, making an impact in locations on all corners of the globe, and having a genuine will to study the game he was already better than most at to become one of the very best on the planet, which he undoubtedly is now. Suddenly there was an upside to being released that few had ever seen before. Sure working with WWE is the most secure job you can have as a full time pro wrestler, but there is so much more to the pro wrestling world than one massive company. There’s audiences all over the world looking for talent that makes them stand up and take notice. Drew didn’t take his release as the end of the journey, more of a diversion than was still leading him to where he wanted to be. Something that felt like it was destined for him from the moment he stepped in a wrestling ring. Becoming WWE Champion.

The Greatest Royal Rumble? 

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WWE Champion Brock Lesnar entered the 2020 Royal Rumble at number one, insisting that no one on the roster came close enough to be considered for a title shot on that show. He was booked for a shift anyway and when you’re on that rota, even if yer Brock Lesnar, you better haul your arse in tae work. Brock decided not to fuck about, and if there was to be no title match he’d just go ahead and win that big battle royal everyone goes on about. Perhaps earning himself a night off at Wrestlemania this year when he secured the main event spot against himself. If they insisted on having him compete that night he could pull Michael Cole up from the announce desk for a game of heiders while Brock vs Brock plays out to a time limit draw.

It was all going swimmingly for Brock as he produced a masterful display. Eliminating 14 competitors consecutively and selling absolutely everything all 14 of them were about. Elias had his sing song interrupted by pure unfiltered rage. John Morrison was launched all the way back to the Impact Zone. Keith Lee was given the respect he undoubtedly deserves as Brock looked in genuine awe at the sight of the big man, asking Paul Heyman “Who’s this motherfucker?!” in the first moment that had looked like anything approaching worry since the match kicked off. The heartwarming reunion with Shelton Benjamin made you genuinely believe Brock Lesnar actually has friends for a minute before he tossed him out. Kofi Kingston and Big E made you believe in magic for a minute but he was too smart for all of them. Even when Braun Strowman joined Keith Lee in the ring, they decided fighting each other was a better move than joining forces to get rid of Brock and they got what they deserved. Despite his amazing music that Brock bopped along to like a King of all the Da’s, MVP was never a threat. It all looked a bit too easy until Ricochet appeared.

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Ricochet’s role in launching Drew towards the biggest moment of his career cannot be understated. It was the perfect moment. Hurting from the embarrassment Brock had inflicted on him on RAW the previous week, Ricochet was in no mood to be dumped out quick and had Brock reeling before Brock overpowered him. Only this time he was out of time. The next guy was due in. No time to get Ricochet out before then, deal with him in a minute eh. When the next guy is 6 foot 5, built like a brick shithouse, and absolutely not fucking scared of you, it becomes a whole different ball game. Drew was not having it and if Brock had to be one of the men he took out to get to where he wanted to go, so be it. The assist from Ricochet was just an opening for Drew that he was always looking for anyway. A thunderous boot in the baws from Ricochet stunned Brock, and with him perched just a few yards from the ropes, Drew went for it. Like a predator catching a glimpse of the jugular of its prey, he swooped in in what felt like a millisecond and Claymored the beast over the top rope. 14 consecutive eliminations. Looking like he was going to make good on his promise to chuck all 29 other competitors out. All gone in an instant. All gone because a big guy from Ayr with a degree in seizing the fucking moment decided this was his time.

Here’s the thing about Brock. Brock’s incredible at this. He always has been. Disliking him for having enough name value to be a pro wrestler on his terms is cutting your baws off to spite your dick. Enjoy what he does rather than moaning about what he doesn’t do. He is absolutely capable of phoning it in and producing below par matches but even that stuff has more to interest you than most of what goes on in wrestling. His selling is better than most because he knows selling is about more than making offensive moves look good. Its in every single thing you do opposite an opponent. Getting wide eyed and giving it “A big boy!” when Keith Lee came out is selling the fuck out of Keith Lee’s attributes. Fly kicking John Morrison in the ribs is selling the fuck out of John Morrison deserving a kick to the ribs. Bopping along to MVPs tune is selling the fuck out of MVP having an absolute banger as his tune. Its all selling and his appearance was a masterclass in the art but none of it was more masterful than how he sold Drew eliminating him and that’s why they could potentially have one of the most hotly anticipated WWE Title matches in Wrestlemania history. You could have picked Paul Heyman’s jaw off the floor as he gazed at the big ride that had made short work of his client. Brock managed to tell a story all in facial expressions, as shock turned to anger, anger turned to grudging respect, and grudging respect quickly turned to a need for revenge. Brock Lesnar has had matches with months of build that didn’t feel as significant as this

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The reaction when Drew chucked Roman Reigns over the top to secure his place in history was such a heartening one. It wasn’t the roar of a crowd that was 100% with him and expected his victory from the start. It was a crowd who felt change in the air.

Despite an injury derailing his run as NXT Champion, Drew had done nothing but show the WWE top brass from the moment he was re-signed that he was ready for this. Taking on any and all media stuff the company asked him to do. Producing high quality matches in the ring, although at this point that part its probably the easiest bit for a guy who has wanted this since he was merely 6 foot tall 15 year old. Becoming a constant reminder to the roster that there’s no excuse for not giving this everything. No excuse for becoming complacent and picking up a wage for doing little or nothing. His promo work has been scathing since his return but so it should be. As much as the company is very capable of making questionable decisions at the end of the day its up to the performer to make or break their own career. If you have the audience with you, the opportunities will be there. What each individual does with those opportunities is on them. There’s no doubt Drew was given a big opportunity at Wrestlemania last year when he was put up against the companies golden boy Roman Reigns in his first big match since returning from beating cancer and Drew provided the villain Roman needed that night. He was defeated but just having that match was enough to at least give you the feeling they were considering giving the ball to Drew and the big man was more than ready to Claymore that ball right in to the top corner.

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RAW the next night told you all you need to know about how people feel about Drew being the man to face Brock at Wrestlemania. He got an ear bursting reaction as he emerged to address the crowd and let them know who he intended to face and wasted little time in telling everyone he is not afraid of Brock Lesnar. Respectful of him and wary of what he can do physically but there is not one bit of fear in the man who must feel the long road to becoming WWE Champion is nearing its end. As he looked to the heavens after his win, no doubt paying regard to his mum who always believed he’d get there and his old mate Lionheart who would have been so proud to see someone from the same wee town in Scotland as him fulfilling his dreams, you could tell he felt the hard work was finally getting him where he wanted to be. There’s only one thing left for the big man to do. Slay the beast. Become the main man WWE sorely need to lead the next generation. If there’s one thing Drew has proved beyond any reasonable doubt is if you are a wrestling company and you put your faith in him, good things happen.

 

Interview With Drew McIntyre On The Road To Becoming The First British WWE Champion

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Drew McIntyre comes from an era where no one expected this to happen. He started training during an era where there was no training. He started wrestling in Scotland during a time period where there was nowhere to wrestle. There were people, and if you paid them money, you might get some time in whatever spare room they could find to stick mats down, but it wasn’t wrestling training. There were wrestling shows, but they were few and far between and even the best companies at the time in the grand scheme of things, probably weren’t very good.

It took people with unflappable dedication to getting good at this to overcome these hurdles and get good. It took people who saw no other career path. Or at the very least saw no other career path that would bring them half as much joy as being involved in professional wrestling for a living.

Even still, few of them would have truly believed they could make any sort of impact beyond the local scene until Drew showed them how. The fact that when he was released in 2014 he considered himself something of a failure is absolute insanity. Even if he never laced up his boots again, he had still secured legendary status in Scottish wrestling history as the first one who really made it. The Chosen One. I was grateful to get the chance to speak to the big man over the course of a few hours as he travelled from town to town.

Asking Drew if he’d ever pursued any other sport (being over 6 foot tall and cut from pure granite in Scotland usually means you can take your pick) a mischievous laugh poured out as he recalled on the time during his brief flirtation with football (soccer for any nice Americans reading thi_, where, by all intents and purposes he knocked a guy out. Simply by being an fridge freezer masquerading as a human man.

By this point I’d started wrestling, I’d debuted and stuff, so the guys were already calling me ‘Drew The Wrestler’ anyway. My last game I got a yellow for a two footed tackle, should have been a red. Next attack the guy runs past me and knocks himself clean out on my shoulder. I got a second yellow for that and even though I should already have been off, I lost the plot anyway. That’s when I realised I was maybe better suited to wrestling *laughs* The manager used to tell my team mates to piss me off on purpose because I always played better but after that I left football behind”

When you think of that core group of Red Lightning, Jack Jester, Wolfgang, Kid Fite, Mark Dallas and of course Drew himself, you have the founding fathers of what Scottish wrestling went on to become. When he was signed, you could count on one hand the amount of UK born wrestlers who had truly made an impact in WWE, you’d maybe need both hands a couple of toes to count the amount who had any sort of impact at all,

Drew changed it all. He changed the way the independent scene was viewed and put eyes on it in such a different way. Because he wasn’t a star attraction flown in for one show, treated like a superstar amongst dafties. Sent on his way with a fat pay cheque after a half arsed performance. No. He was all in and it showed. He was ready to give absolutely everything.

“I went down to a seminar down in Portsmouth not long after we’d started training. I say training it was mats in the spare room of a post office. But the set up down south was a lot better and I took the few things I learned down there and taught the other guys. We all learned from each other because back then there really wasn’t anything. You had to love it”

While Drew’s aspirations have taken him back to the WWE, many of his personal career highlights when its all said and done will be from another world. A resource that shouldn’t ever been undersold. He has quite literally been all over the globe to perfect his craft in between these two spells with WWE.

As much as the first run didn’t go as planned, in relative terms he done pretty well by all accounts, and with this run the sky’s the limit. While its had its peaks and troughs, its been a career littered with success and unique experience that make him the very definition of a grizzled young veteran (apologies to Zack Gibson and James Drake) at 33 with the life and career experience of a man in his mid 60s.

A swift return to insanity

There were many pitstops in the Drew Galloway world tour during his 3 year spell away from WWE. A huge impact was made stateside with Evolve and latterly TNA. He sold out buildings from Peebles to Palm Springs without breaking a sweat, but it was his time with ICW that holds the fondest memories. Being part of the company in its formative years and having a close relationship with many who remained after he was signed meant that it was naturally the best place to get started on the road to re-invention.

“The Gold Label really started getting things going when I was away. I’m glad I got to see it that one time because the reactions they were getting for that stuff was amazing. I was in Glasgow for a few reasons and I’d been doing a bit of media that day. I was wearing the white suit jacket that Dallas takes the piss out of me for.

Everyone slaughtered me for it and it felt like I’d never been away. It was smaller then than it turned out to be even just a year or so later, but even at that time what they were doing was amazing. I couldn’t believe they’d pulled it off. From then on I kept an eye from a distance and just watched it grow and grow. So when I was released, the first thing I done was phone Dallas and told him to get me on the next show “

If Drew Galloway has an origin story as to how he eventually went on to become the phenom he is today, it happened that night. The storied feud with Jack Jester kicked off and the intention was very cut and dried. Come and get that Title, even if it means mowing down your best pal who grafted for years to get it in the process.

Even in realising how pivotal Drew would be the the continued growth of ICW, the fact that he was always on the go and not always available for EVERY ICW show (although he made more than he missed) was exposed by a few opponents. Most notably Chris Renfrew, who had an embittered feud with Drew ahead of the 2015 Square Go.

That was the first time the crowd started to react to Drew in a negative way since his return to the scene that had been thriving even before he arrived to energise the charge to the top. There was nothing he could do after that other than becoming the bad guy they already considered him to be. Drew go away they would say. Little did they know how much of a void he’d leave behind when he did actually go away. The feud with Renfrew brought up mixed feelings but the rabid reactions both men were getting made the change in direction worthwhile, as Drew explained.

“He certainly pulled it off (getting the crowd on his side). He was standing over me and cutting the promo about how I’m never here and I’m thinking ‘I’m supposed to be the babyface and hes burying me’ *laughs* I know i’m not supposed to say anything back, but I can’t just lie here and take this. It made for compelling viewing for the fans and even if it wasn’t how we planned it out, the feud was red hot.

As long as people were invested thats the main thing but he was pointing out some real personal things.
I could have stayed face for longer if that hadnt happened but as long as people genuinely care thats all that matters. People were losing their minds for it when it did come around”

As much as it perhaps went a bit off book creatively, there is no denying at the time that feud was red hot. Renfrew was constantly vicious on the mic, rendering any attempt by Drew to gain the crowds favour futile. Instead he just had to play the game. Trade insults. Get a bit nasty with it. All part of the journey.

Being the top guy means being able to deal with any challenge. No matter how witty that challenge may be on the mic. That particular challenge was resolved with a tremendous title match at the 2015 Square Go where Renfrew fell short but had perhaps the best match of his career at that point. A trait that Drew become known for during his title run, bringing the best out of some already hugely talented guys.

“Its hard to get annoyed at it when you see how the fans are reacting. You cant get angry if people genuinely care. It maybe wasn’t the way we wanted the story to go, or the best decision business wise, but the numbers are growing and people are reacting. He became the hometown guy and I became the John Cena. he was right, I wasn’t there all the time, but it gave me material because I was genuinely exhausted from trying to be there all the time and I was like fuck you. That’s what sells tickets. Real emotion. And that was what we were bringing to the table”

His time with ICW wasn’t just a trip down memory lane for Drew or indeed for the company. They made the very most of having someone with such strong connections to the company who also had name recognition further afield. Maximising the time they had with a man who has a pedigree that no one has ever come close to in this country. Chuck into the bargain that he was incredibly motivated to re-invent himself and rebuild his name.

ICW weren’t getting the air guitar strummin son of a gun from 3MB (rumoured to be the real father of one of Heaths many kids. What happens on tour, stays in Heaths caravan) No. They were getting Drew Galloway. The guy who’s coming to kick your head clean off your shoulders. Jump on the bandwagon or get booted out the road.


“It was an amazing place to get comfortable being a top guy and performing in front of proper rabid crowds. They loved me, they hated me, they wanted me to win, they wanted me to lose. The main thing is…they cared. If you can do it on that stage, then you can do it anywhere. So its a great training ground in that respect, to be at the top and being able to do it in front of such passionate crowds”

DREW ON HIS SECOND ICW RUN

Some of Drew’s personal high points in ICW and indeed his career are also some of the companies high points. Despite that, he considers himself just a passenger on ICWs voyage to the moon. A man who made people feel. The emotions were never higher than when Drew faced Grado for his ICW World Title at the show that was at the time the absolute peak for ICW.

A 4000 capacity building sold out well in advance to see the ultimate underdog try to usurp the king. It was a dynamic that not only had wrestling fans interested, but just people in general. Grado being a hero to so many, it made being the big bad villain easy work for an auld pro like Drew. Him at his very best is him against bonafide babyface who’s properly over with the crowd, and if you look that up in the dictionary, a picture of Grado is right there beside it.

“At ICW they were well on the way when I got there and I got to join in the fun with my pals. We just kept pushing each other to new levels. There was creative freedom there too in the sense that some things we would come up with that day. The SECC was an amazing atmosphere and felt like the right time for me to drop the title. Grado had the crowd and they were so ready to see me get beat it just made sense.

Having Foley involved in it too and really making the most of having him there. The crowds just kept growing and growing until eventually we reached the 6,000 mark (at The Hydro the following year). Its just mental watching it all grow, its amazing to watch the growth of all these mad Scottish bastards trying to make this thing work and make it work we certainly did”

That creative freedom is always a thing performers appreciate about ICW. To a certain extent its a collaborative effort. At its very best when it function like a team. Everyone knowing their role and fulfilling it selflessly. When you’re the star striker you’ve got a bit more scope to do….well, whatever you want really. At times with hilarious results.

“There was a time where I was wrestling Spud in Birmingham. I couldn’t think of anything interesting to do so I went to find Grado thinking “he’ll have something”. I ended up asking to borrow one of his singlets and I ended up doing his entrance that night *laughs* That was the kind of shit you’d come up with on the fly and there was freedom to do that, That’s what it was.

One of us would come up with an idea, and someone else would add a few things to it, and then something else. It was a collaboration between a bunch of daft pals who happened to be part of this wrestling company and it made for one of the most exciting times in our history and certainly shaped me going in to my second WWE run”

It was also a place Drew became more comfortable with some of the more undervalued aspects of being a top guy. It’s far more than just having the best match on the show, signing a few autographs and calling it a day. Being the top guy means you are the skipper. You are the captain of the ship, and if it goes down, so do you. A point Drew proved as ICWs tour bus broke down en route to Norwich for their first ever show in the city.

A potentially disasterous cancellation was on the cards but the roster somehow made it to the venue only slightly late. In the meantime Drew, who had travelled alone from a booking in Outer Mongolia or Norway or some other mad place, stepped in a filled time at the start of the show with matches against anyone who was trained that was in the building that night. Thankfully the ring crew had also travelled separately, so Matt Daly, Stephen Hughes and not to mention Scottish wrestling mainstay Adam Shame can all say they challenged Drew Mctinyre for the ICW World Title, and well…..got their heids kicked in. But they can still say it.


“One time recently the show finished a bit earlier and Cena filled the time up when he was there. He just ad libbed and was completely comfortable doing that. He saw it as his role as the main guy to take the responsibility. Jimmy Jacobs was saying to me “How many people do we have who can genuinely do that?” and I understood what he meant, but why should that be a rare thing? If you can be a top guy one place you should be able to carry it over and adapt to the challenges that doing it with WWE brings.

Once you’ve had that experience of being trusted to carry a company. To carry a brand. You might have to learn a few things along the way, but you have the basic tools to make this work. My first time around I just wasn’t ready for that. Places like ICW give you experience of doing that. Places who have a platform to help you establish those skills. Its exactly the same in WWE, just on a bigger stage”

“AH…..LOVE……KICKIN FOLK!!!!!!” – RUDO AND JESTER WATCH ON IN ABJECT HORROR AS DREW REVEALS THE NEW ‘MISSION STATEMENT’


A clear message to anyone out there wondering what it takes to go from one level, to something special. Something even they don’t recognise. It takes having the self belief to not only show how good he is in the ring, but backing it up consistently with scathing, passionate work on the mic, There’s an aggression deep down inside Drew Galloway that makes Drew McIntyre one frightening dude. Built like a brick shithouse with a Claymore that will remove the spleen of anyone who even thinks about trying it. If you believe in yourself, making others believe in you is easy. In Drew’s case he wants others to believe he is capable of anything when it comes to his pursuit of greatness in professional wrestling.

“The concept’s the same, dont try and change it up to appease anyone. Just be yourself. Be what brought you here. The only difference is…just sell to that camera a bit *laughs* that big one”

DREw on what it takes to be a top guy

The ICW World Title Crusade (feat Matt Hardy)

One of the more peculiar title defences Drew faced on his magical mystery tour with the ICW Title was a pit stop in the USA. Defending the title against Matt Hardy in New York as Drew continued to cross off continents as he relentlessly pursued his goal of making the ICW Title known as a world title.
“I beat Matt for the TNA title as well, but yeah. Hes been part of my career the whole time pretty much, so it was really cool to have him as a part of that journey”

I was adamant. Whenever I had a booking I’d try and make it work and have the ICW title defended on their shows. It was my job to convince them it was a good idea and it would benefit them, because it was. I had a following and people were keeping up to date. So they could either have me wrestle their local guy and have a good match that people will forget about, or you can have me defend the ICW title and it’ll get a bit of attention elsewhere. I managed to convince a few and thats how we worked the World Title aspect.It becomes a bigger deal than it would have been if i’m defending a World Title on their show”

It all dates back to the mission statement when Drew made his return in 2014. His vow was to get the world talking about ICW and that’s what he done. At times coming in for a bit of undue stick for pursuing other things at the same time but now he’s no longer actively part of the scene, you see just how big a presence he was. His professionalism and sheer talent raised the bar and the knock on effect is the improvement in so many people and promotions he worked with during his time away from WWE.

“Going back to my initial promo, I was adamant the world would know ICWs name. If they knew my name, they’d know ICW’s name as well. It peaked peoples intrest in both me and the company and it works for everyone. Thats what its all about. Building from the grass roots and making it work”

It was a time period that had a litany of highlights for ICW. Having an internationally recognised standard bearer who also happened to be a big handsome bastard is what gets you in the news. It gets eyes on you. As a certain manbeast found out during one of his appearances for ICW. A match in what is more than likely going to be ICWs last at their first ever venue in Maryhill. The match made the local papers as the pair brawled through the streets of Maryhill. Irish whipping each other in and out the chippy and somehow managing to share a fish supper in the process.

It was one of those nights that stays with the performers involved. You can appear on all the RAWs, wrestle all the Roman Reignsys you like at Wrestlemania, but few experiences leave as much of a lasting impression as having a wee scrap on a road outside the Community Centre in Maryhill. The fact that the scrap happened to be with a bit of a wrestling legend is just the icing on a mental cake.

“It was crazy. Dallas’ has the idea with the ECW thing, him being the last champ, me being the current ICW Champ at the time. A sort of passing the torch. All I knew about him was hes this crazy man beast. That’s what I was expecting so it took a while to adjust to him being different in right life. That kind of allure went away when I stiffed him one time and he looked at me like ‘whit ye daein mate’ *laughs* I wasnt sure what to expect with him but he was so nice. We talked backstage and all we did was talk about politics because he was running for office in Michigan.

I knew it was getting close to match time and i realised we hadn’t talked about anything to do with the match itself. All I had was ‘you mind if we fight in the streets cause it’ll be in the paper” but that’s all we had until we’re about to go out and we went do you want to kick out of the gore? Blew my mind that he was willing to do that. I dont think he realised how big ICW was”

“He just thought it was another small company I worked for, but he didn’t realise until he stepped out there. Once he saw it in the paper he realised how big a deal it was. It was just fun. We just battered each other and we really didnt need to plan much. We both know what we’re doing and we just went out and had a fight “

While the feud that brought the title to Drew will go down in ICW history, the feuds he had while carrying the title served a different purpose. As much as Drew looked like a bonafide killer throughout his run as champion, he had this knack of getting another level of performance out of others. Perhaps him simply being him made them want to be the best version of themselves

“I returned it a lot stronger than when I first won it so thats been the crowning achievement of it all. I’m proud of everything we done during that time period and how much we elevated the title. I’m really proud of all the title defences. The crowds at those matches were unreal. No one wanted to me to win the vast majority of the time because they were so invested in the guy chasing it.

Joe Coffey in particular. After that much I bloody had to turn, because if he had won it that night it would have been huge. I don’t think anyone in the Barrowlands wanted me to win that night. Coffey was so on fire but the plan at that time was me and Grado at the SECC so we didn’t do the title change, but it allowed me to turn heel and made everyone get behind him even more”

Another memorable defence happened the night The Black Label formed. A returning Jack Jester cost Big Damo the ICW World Title and revealed himself to be aligned with Drew and Rudo Lightning.


“I remember that match because by that point Damo hadn’t turned face. People were really turning on me at that point and getting behind Damo in the process and when Jester showed up and cost him the title. You could cut the tension with the knife. I remember saying thank fuck we’re doing this finish. The crowd did NOT want me winning that. Especially not by pinning Damo clean. So thank fuck we did that. That was one of my favourite moments as well with the parallels to my return and the formation of The Black Label had the crowd baying for blood. It was some buzz”

“Being able to be a villain and do it alongside my best pals. The guys I started out with. It was an amazing time. Something I think we always wanted to do, but we took it all the way to The Hydro and had a lot of fun getting there”

drew on his time with his best pals in the black label


The Black Label era was a whirlwind of a time. Crowds were baying for their blood. They represented the auld pals act. Separately some of the most influential figures in Scottish Wrestling but together? An unstoppable three headed monster. The bad guys.

“You’re waiting for folk to jump the barricades because you can tell they’re dying to get at us. People are for real pissed. I really enjoyed seeing all the different emotions because the fans are just as big a part of the wrestlers. It should never cross a certain line but drawing that emotion is so important. I remember in London one time, someone threw something at me, and Wolfgang jumped in the crowd after him *laughs*

I was cutting some nasty promo. Brought out the TNA Title and started railing on everyone and someone chucked a bottle. It didn’t hit me but Wolfgang and Bram immediately jumped in after him. I’m like halfway to going out myself,but i realised if i went out there its gonnae be a riot, so i had to stay calm, and I didn’t want to give the heat away either because if it goes part a certain stage it becomes a negative as opposed to being the reaction you want”

An All-Star Education leading all the way to the Hall of Fame

His experiences with ICW helped shape him into the ready made superstar he is today, but it was some experiences in his formative years that helped him perfect the art of not taking any shit. While touring with All-Star, the locker room at that time were slightly defensive of their positions and saw this big strapping ‘Disney prince looking motherfucker’ strolling in looking to scoop up all the belts and their burds in the process. One of those who perhaps were’t all that welcoming with Drew was former ICW Champion and another of the key figures in ICWs growth. Mikey Whiplash.

In addition to the doctorate, Drew also specialises in massage therapy. Here he can be seen placing his latest patent on his message table using his patented ‘Drew chucks guys’ technique where he quite simply..chucks guys

“I was on the road with Whippy back in the day when I started out with All-Star. I was just there to learn and keep my head down. They tried to give me shit then eventually I put my hand through the back of the car one time and they stopped. Something like that sends a message and they laid off me a bit *laughs*. Then Jester came in after I was signed and he’s telling me stories about how they’d wind him up by calling him litte Drew. I was like “Listen, they gave big Drew crap too. They’ re just dicks!” *laughs*

“I learned more from him than anybody back then. We had great matches in all star. Doing 30-40 minute matches all the time over the course of about 6 months. We done some great stuff together and then we had the match for the title at The Garage that showed the other side to us both”

While Drew might be the most famous wrestler to ever come from Scotland, he isn’t the most infamous. That title goes to the late Drew McDonald, who sadly passed away due to cancer in 2015. He left his mark on Drew in his heyday as he became another who took it . Imagine a man who can put the fear of god into a 6 foot 5 monster. Imagine the larger than life Drew McDonald strolling up to you with a tan as bright and impressive as the sun itself. He told Drew what he was getting up to before their match. While Drew wasn’t at liberty to specify, we can only assume it was either highly illegal or had one or more orifices……involved.

Drew Mcdonald Image

“He was the wildest character I’ve ever been around. A genuinely good guy who helped me a lot, but he terrified me when I first met him. I was 17-18 and up comes this giant, tanned, Scottish man telling me the unspeakable things he was up to just before the match and basically rounded it off with “see you out there”.

“We wrestled once on All-Star when I was just starting out. Both of us wore kilts but he was the baddie and he was the good guy. He was so easy in there and we ended up having fun”

He was always a great laugh and he always had good advice. Most of our interactions he was always very giving. A lot of the time was when I was with WWE and he was always there to give advice and try to point me in the right direction. To have that from someone so respected in Scotland but also a guy with such a crazy reputation and he loved that reputation”

It was a reputation that saw him involved in Grado’s first ICW match. Teaming with him in a 6 man tag match that was Drew McDonald’s only ICW appearance. His legendary status in Scottish Wrestling will likely see him enter the ICW Hall Of Fame one day. Drew McIntyre had the honour of being the second inductee himself and returned to ICW during his period out with injury to accept the induction. Joining Mark Dallas, Jack Jester and Sha Samuels for a segment that felt more like a scene in a soap opera than a wrestling segment.

Drew acted as peacemaker and made ICWs hot couple see sense. They had to stay together for the good of the show. They laughed. They cried. They mocked Drew for his contractually inability to swear only for some mild profanity to slip out. They had fun. As much as the company prospered during Drew’s tenure, it prospered because they were in it together. Committed to making a living off this mad thing no matter what it takes and enjoying it in the process.

Drew spots an up-kilt photographer looking for that gratuitous boaby shot

That was awesome. I was so happy to have that happen. It was a big deal to me. Meant as much to me as any title to be recognised like that and be in there with someone like Carmel who done so much in ICW. We didn’t really know where we were going with it we just knew I was gonna stop them fighting and urge them to stay together for the good of the show. We sort of ad-libbed it all but it was such a laugh. I was coming back for my dads wedding anyway so it all lined up. I spoke to Hunter about it and he was happy for me and totally fine with me doing it. He wanted to do something on the website about it as well so that was cool”

To go with his blessing and even some promotion for it. It was nice to come out and talk to the crowd. The bit where you cant swear and they’re taking the piss. I spoke about it being cool that my wife got to see what was keeping me away all those years, so she finally got to see it for themselves. All my family came along as well so it was a special night”

Endorsed by Kurt Angle. Approved by PWI. Next stop? World Champion

“Listen Kurt, what I’m saying is Laudrup was at Rangers a shorter period than Larsson was at Celtic, so it really isn’t a fair comparison. Never has been”

Not long after becoming an ICW Hall Of Famer, he faced another man who happened to be on the same ICW show as Drew that night Kurt Angle main events not lost on Drew how significant it is that Kurt Angle chose him to be one of his last opponents in TNA. Closing a legendary chapter in his career by handpicking three opponents for his final matches.

However it was in WWE where Kurt really hammered the point home. Succumbing to his own moves and by all accounts, taking an absolute kicking in the process. Perhaps the last wrestler that Kurt Angle made look like an unstoppable beast and when you consider people he’s provided that service for in the past include the likes of Brock Lesnar, you realise big Drew fae Ayr is in rare company.


“Its crazy to me that he wanted to work with me in both TNA and WWE. Roode, Lashley and me. Drew fae Scotland, the guy who used to be in 3MB. It was his idea to tap out to the ankle lock when I wrestled him on RAW. He was insisting “This is whats gonna help you, tapping me out” Who am I to argue? He was taking my mad moves, like the Finlay roll off the top. The big Alabama Slam. The big heavy chops. It took me to a different level. That meant the world because the Drew McIntyre name was mud at that time. That was Drew Galloway that done that and it helped me rebuild myself to the point that I could come back and make it happen as Drew McIntyre”


“The match in WWE in Manchester. We did the match in a way where I pretty much annihilated him and he was totally ok with that. He wanted to do that, because he believes in me and he was happy to make me look like a killer in that match. It means a lot to have him in my corner. He had me hitting his own moves on him and tapping him out with his own finish. It was mind blowing to me and I can’t thank him enough. He made me look like a proper badass. A real asshole heel, and I’m very appreciate of it all. He is a legend and I’ll never forget him doing that for me”

Drew on the impact having kurt angel’s endorsement meant to him

Appreciative yes. Complacent? never. Being the last guy Kurt Angle made look like a killer is something you can definitely brag about but never something to rest on your laurels about. Not in Drew’s mind anyway. Always moving to the next challenge. Taking experiences he’s had to date and making himself a better performer going forward. The wisdom that comes with being a 33 year old with 16-17 years experience already.


“Old Drew had it in perspective. I was thankful, grateful, but the next week we start over. Its a cool thing to have, but its something I’ll use to propel me forward rather than getting an ego about it. Alright thats cool, but thats done now, treat it like you’re brand new and still have everything to prove”

It was a sure sign to Drew that he was going in the right direction. A similar feeling to when he was named in the top 10 of PWI 500 after being released. These feelings of satisfaction are fleeting when your eyes are on the top but a wee nod to let you know that you’re headed down the right road never hurts, and Drew admitted appearing so highly in the list was a real buzz after growing up reading any piece of wrestling media he could get his hands on.

“I AM A GOLDEN GOD!!!!”


“I made it in to the top 10 of the PWI 500 which was nuts for me. That might not mean a lot to some people or not as much as it used to anyway, but when you’ve only been involved in it in the 300s and 400s, to make such a leap and be one of only three non WWE guys in there was a huge vote of confidence for me and was tangible proof of the impact I’d managed to make. I was joint 10 with John Cena, and the only non WWE people that were above me was I think Jay Leathal and Okada. Both guys who were prominent with big promotions. So that meant the world to me, to be spoken about in such esteemed company”

Andrew Galloway Snr was also mightily impressed by the feat. Taking pride at the name he passed down to his boy being named as one of top 10 wrestlers in the world. He has been there throughout the journey and is clearly someone Drew admires a great deal. The memory of his late mother

That means the world to my dad as well. Hearing the family name in the public eye like that. I always say to him, I’m still Drew Galloway when I’m not using that name *laughs* but he loves that I made that impact with the Galloway name and so do I. I’m very proud of everything I achieved of what I done as Drew Galloway. Its made me a better Drew McIntyre as well, although like I always tell my Da, we are actually the same guy

The unrelenting pursuit of a World Championship and being The Hitman of the NXUK Brand

Listen mate, no a lot of people know this, but I actually got a doctorate at uni. Specialising in sewing up gashes with electric screwdrivers right. Honestly its a real course. Look it up. Its the most effective way of really sewing that bad boy up. Have I ever led you wrong before? Exactly mate. Exactly. Mon see yer auld pal Drew and I’ll fix that up real good.

The path for Drew at the moment is get to a world title. Get even the slightest sniff of an opportunity and take it. Money In The Bank presents an opportunity like that and even though the odds are never for you Drew is bigger than most, more agile than most, and almost certainly at least decent at climbing a ladder. With the motivation of having an anytime World Title shot on the line? Big man is coming for that briefcase and when he had that it really doesn’t matter who has the title. Then at least theoretically, his intention is to win them all. Including the WWE UK Championship, which is now defended on WWE’s newest weekly show. NXT UK.

“I told Triple H I was jealous (of Finn Balor appearing at NXT UK Takeover) The reaction was amazing and he loved it, then him and Jordan had an awesome match as well. I enjoyed it as a fan but I was certainly envious because its something I’d love to be involved in. Its great to see so many of the lads and lassies getting that exposure and showing the world how good UK wrestling is. How good Scottish wrestling is!

The crowd really make that unique and you want to tune in for the wrestling but also to get a feel for how they’re reacting to it. I would love to be involved in some way. Even if it was just a promo or something. I’d love to do the Bret Hart gimmick where I’m a bad guy in America and a good guy when I’m in the UK. There’s really not a lot of places that would make sense now but it could be great in that setting”


“I’ll stroll in giving it “Its awrite lads, i’ll win that world title for us” *laughs* Its definitely crossed my mind to do that whole angle and to be on that show as the guy who’s seen it all and was a part of the growth of it in the years I was away from WWE. Pushing the aspect that I want to be part of NXTUK and a part of the main roster and I’m doing it for NXTUK. It has literally crossed my mind as I’ve been watching it because the crowds are so different. Very similar to how different Bret was received in Canada.


I think it could definitely be interesting but I love what they’re doing with it now and so happy for some of the guys getting that exposure. Guys from ICW and all over the UK scene getting to show everyone just how good they are

“We are the Scottish National Football Team, and we play 4-6 fuckin 0”


“If I’m seen as a ruthless villain in America and then I present myself different on NXTUK and drive home that aspect that I’m representing their interests on the main roster. I made a point of working with Pete Dunne when we were both in the Rumble and I think we planted a bit of a seed. Once he got in there i wanted to let him do his thing. I wouldn’t let many guys pull me down and stomp on my arm but I wanted people to see how good he is”

“For a big guy, there is scope to get a bit of shit if you take too much punishment but I wanted to give guys like Pete and Aleister (Black) a bit more because I believe in them and want them to do well. We’ve had a couple of tag matches and we definitely have a bit of chemistry there. We had a few sequences that were great so there’s definitely something there and he’s a talent I would really love to work with in the future”

Walter is another who piques Drews interest and its plan to see why. Another mountain of a man who is actually capable of going strike for strike with Drew, an attribute few can claim to have. With Walter being the man to finally usurp Pete Dunne’s historic WWE UK Championship reign, it seems a natural foe for Drew and perhaps an opportunity to maximise Drews popularity in the UK.

“I was really intrigued by Pete Dunne and Walter. He always catches my attention. Any big man that hits hard always catches my attention”

Indeed, it surprised Drew that the two never crossed paths during his time on the independent scene, but Walter was mostly based in Germany and not looking further afield. Times have changed and he seems to be on a one man rampage to scoop up every belt possible, but one man who was very much around for Drews peak period on the independents was Killain Dain, formerly known as Big Damo and a regular opponent of Drews in ICW and several other promotions in Scotland.

A match up Drew insisted had to happen when he saw the gargantuan hairy Irishman who he had actually met several times before but didn’t recognise him at all. He wasn’t to be blamed for that, Damian O’Connor changed pretty much every aspect of himself in a wrestling sense. A thing that takes guts and that wasn’t lost on Drew when he first set eyes on him after his release.

“I’m surprised it never happened when I was on the indies because we are very similar. I remember when I was doing the 16 carat tournament and wondering why the hell we weren’t working together. He’s like the Austrian Big Daddy except he’s in shape! I was annoyed because I had no idea why I hadn’t worked with him. Damo was the same. At first I saw his look and just knew we would work well together. He has the size but its so unique

Soon as I saw him work I wanted to do something with him and it was the exact same with Walter. Like it would fit perfect on the family shows like BCW or something him being the big badass foreigner and me being the hometown hero. The Impression was that hes been around for a long time and he didnt really want to leave Germany but the past few years he’s travelled around and everyone’s like ‘Why’s he not been doing this the whole time?’

Damo was a similar puzzle to Drew although that one was hilarious in the sense that Damo wasn’t an entirely new person to Drew when he first clapped eyes on him.


“When you see what Damo used to look like and compare it to now it looks like that Damo ate another Damo laughs. Its like he found his long lost twin and just absorbed him. I was reminded we’d been around each other for a long time and he came over to America for Mania one year and we hung around a bit but I didn’t recognise him when he came back. He had changed so much I just thought he was the hot new talent on the scene and wanted to know what he was all about.”

I told everyone that was the guy I wanted to work with. All the promoters. I needed to be on with When I first saw him when I came back I was like ‘Who the fuck is that big guy?’ and someone said ‘Thats Damian, Drew. You know him! And I was like “oh” laughs I think we were friends on FB as well and I still wasn’t sure. The matches we had were incredible because he’s just so unique. A man of that size that can move like he does

The ballad of the dashing ones and a three man band

Working with the likes of Walter and Killain Dain is what Drew always wanted to be doing, but life sometimes takes you down another path. Wrestling in particular seems to have a way of pushing people down creative dead ends and being able to turn that into something positive is a desirable trait. While 3MB were mainly used as comic relief during their near two year run, it was never something Drew half arsed.

Nor did Heath Slater or Jinder Mahal. Jinder can now call himself a former WWE Champion. Heath had a tag title reign and a bunch of kids. Drew has the lessons learned from all these weird and wonderful experiences he’s had on his wrestling odyssey. Lessons he hopes will one day push him towards his final form. Being able to call himself the World Champion.


“Whenever I was on TV, all of us gave it everything. You have to do that no matter what role you’re in. If you dont do that, you and the fans will be miserable. At least if you’re out there giving it everything and having a laugh the fans are going to join in with it. If you go out there half arsing it, no ones in to it, people in the back are pissed off”


“It wasn’t the dream. I know that. It wasn’t what I was there to do initially. I came over with main event aspirations but I don’t think I was fully ready for it back then. 3MB as much as it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing was still something we gave a lot to and I think that’s a mentality I’ve carried throughout my career”

Giving it all he had was really all Drew could do when put in a situation that seems destined to fail no matter what you put in to it. It at the very least felt like failure and a dead end creatively if Drew ever wanted to be taken seriously in the future.


“From the Intercontinental Title and being ‘The Chosen One’ to 3MB is a helluva drop. I felt like a failure. I felt like I didn’t live up to the potential. After a while (with 3MB) there was no way to transition it into something serious, but I think it was for the best that we left after that. We needed to grow outwith WWE.

Drew on the various storylines he had during his first wwe run

“We became good friends and managed to laugh about it whenever we were frustrated. There was a comradery between us. Jinders been World Champ and Heaths got kids (and tag titles) Jericho told me recently he literally forgot I was in it or that it was even a thing and thats a big compliment. 3 years of that and its no longer what any of us are known for the most. It makes me feel old though because there’s a whole generation who grew up with me doing that”

“Sometimes I get people coming up to me and going ‘ I used to watch you as a kid when you were in 3MB’ and I’m like “you are a kid” 18-19-20 they grew up with that. Makes me feel old hahahaha. Because I was on TV when I was young. I realise that every day when I wake up. Everyone calls me sir and shit, so they assume I’m at least 40, and then they hear my age and they go in to shock *laughs* “

The photo below may come as a shock to those with short memories but Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes can boast of a Tag Title run as a team. The team was a bit thrown together and it wasn’t the path either of them saw themselves going down. Both men had big singles aspirations and expectations from the word go. That was perhaps the main reason for it not becoming the unquestionably excellent tag team it could have been.

“We speak sometimes and we have a laugh about the past but we don’t speak too much. We’re part of the same era essentially and we both used to be in Vince’s promo classes, and then randomly we were tag team champions and we never really appreciated it because we wanted to be singles guys. We’d lost the titles when we came up with The Dashing Ones and really started to get in to it. When you reflect back we definitely could have made more of it but I think it was a part of our respective journeys that had to happen”

Drew’s success away from WWE almost served as a blueprint for someone like Cody. There is wrestling beyond WWE. There is something else. The direction WWE have taken NXT in proves that. It exists no longer as developmental but almost as a proving ground for the main roster. A brilliant show in its own right and one that provides a slicker transition for performers coming from the independent scene.


“I was one of the first guys who got released and decided ‘I’m going to go away and reinvent myself’ so I guess a few people have seen that its possible and decided to go down that route themselves. When things were going well my brother said to “You’ve become a verb” which was pretty cool. I think me and Cody always had the raw tools there but we’ve gone and learned how to make ourselves top guys in our own right “

Two guys who have always had all the tools to be at the very top end of wrestling. Two guys who perhaps seemed to always know they would one day be competing with each other. The tag team might have been a bit thrown together and neither consider it a career highlight, but when you look at it now, it was maybe a bit of an audition. Seeing how they could adapt to being thrown in at the deep end a bit.

If they had the opportunity back, particularly now as WWE give a lot more focus to tag team wrestling, you’d be talking about one of the best tag teams to come out of that era. While Cody and The Young Bucks hadn’t announced the formation of All Elite Wrestling before Drew re-signed, it has always felt like Drew felt he had unfinished business in WWE and that’s where he’d end up when his contract with TNA ran out.

“When I left TNA I had an open mind but when WWE came calling, for my wife and I there was only one decision.When it comes to these things I always discuss it with her because she always thinks of it from a more pragmatic point of view. Between us we come to the best decision”

I knew I wanted to go through NXT first, because that was the audience I was well known with at the time. Their audience is more the type of audience that would have followed me in my time away from WWE. It would obviously be intriguing if I was on the open market, but WWE was always the best decision for me and would have been even if AEW came calling

His time on the indies had an almost poetic end. Chapters in Evolve and ICW had ended with many career defining moments. But the last match was almost poetic. Everyone knew both men involved were headed for bigger things than that but it was a nice way to round it off for Drew before he moved on to the next chapter.


“The last match I had on the indies was me and Cody, with Wade Barrett on commentary. That was a great moment for us all, Cody and I get on well and Wade’s a good mate, so to have the crowd really in to that and to have people I’m friends with involved in that match. We got so used to competing with each other, even though we were friendly. Its like as much as I like the guy and he liked me, we’re both competing for the same spots a lot of the time which means there’s a competitive element there always. So it was nice for him to say some encouraging things to me on the mic after the match. We’ve both gone on to do some big things “

It was a friendship/rivalry built on a similar mentality. A competitive spirit that has driven both of them to be the very best they can be despite the pitfalls and setbacks. They were born for this, even if one was literally born into wrestling and the other is as he puts it “Just a big guy fae Ayr”. They are naturals and two fine individuals to be leading wrestling into the future.

“We always pushed each other simply by trying to outdo one and other and that’s how it should be. You can’t just be happy to have made it to the party. You have to make something of it when you get there and improve constantly. Never get complacent and think there’s nothing else you can learn. That’s something I’ve referenced in the past. If you wan’t to just be happy to be there, go wrestle in your local town and get your enjoyment there but this is WWE. You’re on RAW. You are obligated to try a bit harder”

One person who he does have a lot of admiration for is someone who came from a similar place he did and is currently one of the biggest names in wrestling. Becky Lynch consistently uses her Twitter to further angles and show people her personality and for Drew that is essential if you’re going to use social media as a tool to further your career instead of something that could put people off you as a person.

“You’re not improving yourself in any way. You’re not in the gym trying to improve. You’re not presenting yourself in a better way. You’re not trying to get better at promos. You’re just complaining. Becky is a great example of using it in the right way. She was clever about it and used it to show people her witty side. She wasn’t just whinging, she used it to back up her performances on the show

drew on his promo work regarding the locker room being weak

When it comes to using real life frustrations to drive character work, few compare to Drew. His words aren’t always popular amongst some of his peers, but if he’s talking about people preferring to whinge instead of committing to getting better and you get offended? Chances are he’s talking about you. He used that venom to power the feud with Roman Reigns heading in to their Wrestlemania match.

Whilst Roman is a man Drew holds a lot of real life respect and admiration for, it was an easy villain for him to be. He tapped in to the emotion that always comes with Roman Reigns and his matches but with the added aspect of Roman having returned from a second bout of cancer. Drew was painted as the killer of the biggest comeback in wrestling.

“I suggested doing the stuff (on the mic) about the way things are in the locker room now. Its not unusual to see people complaining. Everyone knows that too. There’s people constantly moaning on social media, and gasping for fans to say nice things about them so they can RT them as some sort of proof that they’re getting a raw deal. I blamed Roman Reigns for it, because hes the leader. Basically saying “This is your yard, but its easy to be the big dog when you’re leading a pack of strays”

I always want to be doing something interesting on the mic because it makes people think “Drews shootin on the locker room!” It is somewhat true in the sense that I really don’t have any time for the constant moaning. I don’t have time for people who are constantly complaining about their position instead of doing something about it. Getting better. Because if you aren’t getting the opportunities, fucking do something about it! Whinging on social media will get you nowhere “

When you’ve lived a lifetime in wrestling, having the ability to take a step back and realise it might not be as bad as it feels at the time comes more naturally. 3MB probably felt pretty rubbish when it was happening but now Drew has two pals for life and a chunk of hilarious memories that all form part of his story. The Chosen One is part of his story and very well might be again. The time conquering the world on his wrestling odyssey was all part of the story. The time as NXT Champion was all part of the story. A story that does not carry a definitive conclusion just yet, but the next chapter is simple. Take one of those world titles and carry it with pride. All over the world. As our biggest most successful export. The pride of Scottish Wrestling. Drew McIntyre.


I’m so busy now and at times you feel like you don’t get a minute to breathe. I’ve experienced that and I’ve also experienced being one of the ones sitting in catering all the time with not a lot to do, and d’you know what? I’d take the busyness any day of the week. I want to become the first British born WWE Champion and I feel absolutely ready to take on that challenge and all the challenges that might come with it”

Huge thank you to Drew for his time.

All photo credits go to David J Wilson and WWE. Some tremendous shots from David as usual.

Dealing With Suicidal Thoughts

rockbrella

About 4 months ago I made a decision for the wrong reasons. Mistiming my medication and taking two doses close together had led to some unpleasant side effects. Ultimately all it was was one uncomfortable day, but I resented having it at all and stubbornness got the better of me so I decided that day that I was done with anti-depressants. All they’d ever be to me was a sleeve of false promises and night sweats. A sleeve of taking a week and a half to ‘finish’. Side effects that induce more sadness than the huge amount you have to deal with on a daily basis anyway aren’t worth having I decided. So it was time to stop and time to figure out another way. At the time it felt right. Even my doctor bought my convincing speech about how ready I felt and was completely happy for me to go for it. It would be unpleasant initially then the reset button would have been hit and a clean slate existed. After about a year of uncertainty and discomfort. Not knowing if I’d ever made any headway with my mental health stuff ever again, I finally felt like I’d taken control. I was wrong.

Coming off Sertraline and deciding to throw myself head first in to being the best damn writer/retail employee the world had ever seen was never going to work. I done it at a time where neither of those things made me feel like I had worth so when the medication I was taking that helped with that stopped being a factor, my self worth plummeted. The doubts I had about my abilities as a writer and the chances I had of ever making it a full time career became overwhelming. It got to a point where I didn’t want to write at all. In fact, saying I didn’t ‘want’ to is inaccurate. I couldn’t. My brain would offer stiff resistance to any attempt I made and it got to a stage where even trying was such an exhausting prospect I just blocked it off completely.

Anti depressants aren’t addictive in the sense that if you stop taking them, your body doesn’t crave that substance. Instead there’s a period where you’re body I suppose re-adjusts to not having that wee top up of the chemicals your brain is missing. That for me lead to some horrendous stuff. Headaches, extreme light sensitivity, nausea, concentration problems and general erratic thought processes and feelings. Stopping taking them cold turkey may have been a reason it was all so intense but make no mistake about it, for a long long time I felt like utter shite. Worse than I did when I was on the medication. Yet I made the decision to sit tight and stick it out. Once it was finally gone then it was a fresh start. The clean slate I’ve always wanted since I was about 12-13 and I first remember really experiencing depression.

I remember quite clearly the first time I realised something might not be quite right. Having celebrated every Celtic goal I’d seen in the first 13 years of my life (well I can’t remember the first few but I’m sure as I baby I was whipping aff the nappy and swinging it above my tiny heid in celebration, shite fleeing everywhere) with reckless abandon, Celtic scored a late goal to win at Tannadice I believe. At that time I had Glandular Fever and had been bedbound for several weeks. I was just starting to feel a bit more physically normal but mentally I was a bit. I don’t know. Not myself. The goal went in and I felt….nothing. No emotion. Nothing but confusion existed. Why didn’t I care? When was the last time I really cared about anything? It stuck with me and maybe if I addressed it all back then rather than around 10-15 years later things might have been different.

The years rolled on and shite things happened. Things I wasn’t really old enough to understand or process correctly. I didn’t fully realise it then but it was all serving to break me down bit by bit. My ability to cope was non existent and slowly but surely I slipped into a very deep depression.

When I look back on it I struggle to recall of anything that I was really living for. Nothing mattered. The only thing I really wanted is to numb myself to the point that I could get through any given day without intensely hating myself for the duration for it. Even a few hours of relative calm usually induced by tanning a few vodkas represented something resembling a good day. When I really think about my life in my late teens-early 20s it surprises me that suicide wasn’t an issue really. I knew my life wasn’t happy. I knew it wasn’t sustainable. But I never had ‘suicidal thoughts’ and I never understood why. Not feeling suicidal was one of the reasons I never went to the doctors about my issues years ago because depression to me meant that suicide is very much an active concern. As long as I had a sports team to follow or a tv show to get into I had enough reason to keep breathing but truth be told, I wasn’t finding reasons to live, I was finding reasons to continue existing. It wasn’t a life.

When I started attending wrestling shows and eventually started writing things about them that was when the first real upturn in mental health happened for me as an adult. I began to feel ok about myself. Even pretty good at times. Things weren’t perfect but they were so much better. I was pursuing relationships. I was hopeful about the future. For years I had felt lost and like I had no place. I had no role on this earth.

Suddenly I found my voice and as cheesy as it sounds, it was liberating. To feel heard. To feel worthy of being heard. I went to a doctor about my mental health for the first time ever because for the first time ever I felt like I actually had something to lose. That it was vitally important to get help and get some defence mechanisms in place to deal with this shit if it gets bad again. I went on medication and after a few weeks I felt something. A shift. It provided enough calm for me to really tackle what made me think the way I do. Trying to get to the core reasons for me hating myself so sincerely. It really worked for a while. Medication plus 7 weeks of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) had me feeling better than I ever had as an adult. At the age of 25, for the first time ever I felt equipped to deal with whatever the world might throw at me.

Life continues to happen and it doesn’t really care about all the progress you’ve made. How proud you are of yourself for doing all those things you’ve been putting off. It doesn’t care if you’re waking up happy every day because of that new relationship or that new job or that new shirt you bought with all the exotic birds on it. Life will still throw stuff into the mix that threatens to fuck with all of that and maybe I just got a bit cocky. Maybe I was so convinced I had all the right defences to deal with whatever that I didn’t even fully realise when something was starting to break me down. My partner had to deal with something terrible and instead of recognising the effect the whole thing had on me, I ignored it. I put my own feelings in a wee box and volleyed it into the clyde.

A few years floated past and without fully realising I was back at my worst. My self confidence had slowly started slipping away and things that brought me nothing but joy became stressful. If I’m really honest with myself for the best past of the past 2 years I’ve been right back at my worst point except this time there was a wee difference. The overall feeling was very similar to how I’d felt for years before but this time there was a wee voice in my head urging me to end my own suffering. A wee voice that never speaks directly to you but serves to radiate this feeling of discomfort with your own existence.

At first I felt guilty about it. After all, years ago when I felt similarly bad, I had very little I could point to as reasons to keep going. Now I had a relationship with someone I love very much, a wee niece and nephew that need an uncle who regularly threatens to disown them if they don’t commit to supporting Celtic, and I also have this. It might not work out the way I want it to and that’s ok, but being a writer gave me that self worth I’d been missing for what felt like my whole life. It showed me I was good at something and more importantly, it made me really believe that was the case.

I was able to accept people’s praise and slowly but surely started to make an impression writing about pro wrestling. To me all of these things were reasons why I shouldn’t have any inkling about taking drastic action yet there I was. Every single day. Waiting for it to pop into my head. It wasn’t a question of if it was going to, it was simply a question of when. The voice grew stronger to the point that on my worst days, that’s all that was really on my mind. Rampant anxiety with lashings of ‘you should really just kill yourself big man…fuck this carry on’.

It never made sense to me so I tried ignoring it. I tried pretending it wasn’t there. I thought coming off the medication I was on at the time would serve as some kind of distraction and that would somehow lead to me snapping out of that way of thinking. To tell the truth I was desperate. I lined up a bunch of interviews as well. Maybe writing could save me. It had before after all. It was the only thing I could think of that made me feel good. Made me feel like I was making progress. None of that was the right thing but I didn’t want to acknowledge the fact that I wanted to die. It was my way of guarding against that feeling. Guarding against really experiencing it. It just didn’t make sense. Why was I quite content in this wee depressive bubble for so many years when I had fuck all, yet now I have lots of reasons to live my brain is telling me to give up and end it. Why now?

I knew it was time to talk. I needed help. After 3 spells of CBT I was finally referred for proper counselling sessions and after a couple of months of not feeling any improvement, I discussed the possibility of going medication again. As convinced as I was before that I was done with it, it was a much better option than the other thing. The other thing meant it would all be over forever and the idea of that consistently sent me into panic. The idea of my niece and nephew growing up without my infinite wisdom. The idea of my mum, dad and sister having to bury the very person that brightened up the joyless existence they were suffering through before I was born. The idea of Emma going to see marvel movies with another dude. A dude who probably talks a bit more than me but I’d imagine had some kinda breath issue. Nothing dealbreaking but every now and the you get a wee waft of something unpleasant and wonder to yourself if this dude has bee brushing his teeth with soor milk. I had to somehow chase those thoughts away.

Recently the guilt I’d been feeling about those thoughts has started to subside. I think I get it. A wee bit anyway. The more I ignored those thoughts, the stronger the voice got. The more I ignored it, the worse the guilt got. When I started facing it head on and started questioning it, that was when it eventually started to quieten slightly. It started to make sense to me why I didn’t think about suicide when I truly had nothing to live for (in my mind anyway) I didn’t want to die because I didn’t give a flying fuck about myself. I didn’t care that I was suffering.

As long as I wasn’t in physical pain, I’d come up with a way to cope with the mental suffering that at least meant I could continue existing. I could quietly live out the rest of my miserable existence, hopefully getting took out by some act of god to save anyone the bother of having to blame themselves for my miserable existence coming to an end. You have to have some kind of self worth to really consider suicide. There has to be some kind of self compassion there to want your own suffering to end. You have to give a fuck about yourself and that was the difference between back then and the way I feel now. Back then I hated myself so much I felt I deserved the suffering.

Now? I quite like myself sometimes. At least for a long time I did. Long enough that when I started to hate myself more and more, I still remembered what it was like to not feel that way. It felt wrong to feel so low as opposed to it just becoming normality. I began to realise thinking about suicide and the voice getting stronger the more I ignored it meant I had to speak about it. It was clearly the only way. I had to give it a voice so I could understand where that voice was coming from and why it was there in the first place. I wouldn’t say I’m out of the woods yet, but the voice has got quieter and the new medication I’m on seems to be settling in quite well. Low on side effects and day to day improvement. There is still a long, long way to go for me, but I believe if I continued to ignore these feelings that it would have at the very least led to some kind of attempt to make it stop.

We have all been touched by suicide in some way. Everyone in Scottish wrestling has had to deal with it head on in recent months after the tragic death of Adrian ‘Lionheart’ Mccallum. It is killing people every single day. Yet some still regard it as a selfish act. Some still regard it as a shameful way to die. Something to be covered up. The only thing that stops it being such a powerful, overbearing force is to normalise speaking about it. Normalise speaking about it as early as possible because no one commits suicide the first time they think about ending their own life. Its a voice that starts off as on occasional whisper and slowly develops into a screaming nightmare. All happening behind the eyes while you attempt to keep your exterior as normal as possible. No one can know. No one can ever know.

If you’re feeling suicidal or even just feeling particularly low, please speak to someone. Anyone. You deserve to feel better. You deserve to live happily.

Numbers to call if you feel the need

Breathing Space – 0800 83 85 87

Samaritans – 116 123

Dealing With Suicidal Thoughts

rockbrella

About 4 months ago I made a decision for the wrong reasons. Mistiming my medication and taking two doses close together had led to some unpleasant side effects. Ultimately all it was was one uncomfortable day, but I resented having it at all and stubbornness got the better of me so I decided that day that I was done with anti-depressants. All they’d ever be to me was a sleeve of false promises and night sweats. A sleeve of taking a week and a half to ‘finish’. Side effects that induce more sadness than the huge amount you have to deal with on a daily basis anyway aren’t worth having I decided. So it was time to stop and time to figure out another way. At the time it felt right. Even my doctor bought my convincing speech about how ready I felt and was completely happy for me to go for it. It would be unpleasant initially then the reset button would have been hit and a clean slate existed. After about a year of uncertainty and discomfort. Not knowing if I’d ever made any headway with my mental health stuff ever again, I finally felt like I’d taken control. I was wrong.

Coming off Sertraline and deciding to throw myself head first in to being the best damn writer/retail employee the world had ever seen was never going to work. I done it at a time where neither of those things made me feel like I had worth so when the medication I was taking that helped with that stopped being a factor, my self worth plummeted. The doubts I had about my abilities as a writer and the chances I had of ever making it a full time career became overwhelming. It got to a point where I didn’t want to write at all. In fact, saying I didn’t ‘want’ to is inaccurate. I couldn’t. My brain would offer stiff resistance to any attempt I made and it got to a stage where even trying was such an exhausting prospect I just blocked it off completely.

Anti depressants aren’t addictive in the sense that if you stop taking them, your body doesn’t crave that substance. Instead there’s a period where you’re body I suppose re-adjusts to not having that wee top up of the chemicals your brain is missing. That for me lead to some horrendous stuff. Headaches, extreme light sensitivity, nausea, concentration problems and general erratic thought processes and feelings. Stopping taking them cold turkey may have been a reason it was all so intense but make no mistake about it, for a long long time I felt like utter shite. Worse than I did when I was on the medication. Yet I made the decision to sit tight and stick it out. Once it was finally gone then it was a fresh start. The clean slate I’ve always wanted since I was about 12-13 and I first remember really experiencing depression. I remember quite clearly the first time I realised something might not be quite right. Having celebrated every Celtic goal I’d seen in the first 13 years of my life (well I can’t remember the first few but I’m sure as I baby I was whipping aff the nappy and swinging it above my tiny heid in celebration, shite fleeing everywhere) with reckless abandon, Celtic scored a late goal to win at Tannadice I believe. At that time I had Glandular Fever and had been bedbound for several weeks. I was just starting to feel a bit more physically normal but mentally I was a bit. I don’t know. Not myself. The goal went in and I felt….nothing. No emotion. Nothing but confusion existed. Why didn’t I care? When was the last time I really cared about anything? It stuck with me and maybe if I addressed it all back then rather than around 10-15 years later things might have been different.

The years rolled on and shite things happened. Things I wasn’t really old enough to understand or process correctly. I didn’t fully realise it then but it was all serving to break me down bit by bit. My ability to cope was non existent and slowly but surely I slipped into a very deep depression. When I look back on it I struggle to recall of anything that I was really living for. Nothing mattered. The only thing I really wanted is to numb myself to the point that I could get through any given day without intensely hating myself for the duration for it. Even a few hours of relative calm usually induced by tanning a few vodkas represented something resembling a good day. When I really think about my life in my late teens-early 20s it surprises me that suicide wasn’t an issue really. I knew my life wasn’t happy. I knew it wasn’t sustainable. But I never had ‘suicidal thoughts’ and I never understood why. Not feeling suicidal was one of the reasons I never went to the doctors about my issues years ago because depression to me meant that suicide is very much an active concern. As long as I had a sports team to follow or a tv show to get into I had enough reason to keep breathing but truth be told, I wasn’t finding reasons to live, I was finding reasons to continue existing. It wasn’t a life.

When I started attending wrestling shows and eventually started writing things about them that was when the first real upturn in mental health happened for me as an adult. I began to feel ok about myself. Even pretty good at times. Things weren’t perfect but they were so much better. I was pursuing relationships. I was hopeful about the future. For years I had felt lost and like I had no place. I had no role on this earth. Suddenly I found my voice and as cheesy as it sounds, it was liberating. To feel heard. To feel worthy of being heard. I went to a doctor about my mental health for the first time ever because for the first time ever I felt like I actually had something to lose. That it was vitally important to get help and get some defence mechanisms in place to deal with this shit if it gets bad again. I went on medication and after a few weeks I felt something. A shift. It provided enough calm for me to really tackle what made me think the way I do. Trying to get to the core reasons for me hating myself so sincerely. It really worked for a while. Medication plus 7 weeks of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) had me feeling better than I ever had as an adult. At the age of 25, for the first time ever I felt equipped to deal with whatever the world might throw at me.

Life continues to happen and it doesn’t really care about all the progress you’ve made. How proud you are of yourself for doing all those things you’ve been putting off. It doesn’t care if you’re waking up happy every day because of that new relationship or that new job or that new shirt you bought with all the exotic birds on it. Life will still throw stuff into the mix that threatens to fuck with all of that and maybe I just got a bit cocky. Maybe I was so convinced I had all the right defences to deal with whatever that I didn’t even fully realise when something was starting to break me down. My partner had to deal with something terrible and instead of recognising the effect the whole thing had on me, I ignored it. I put my own feelings in a wee box and volleyed it into the clyde. A few years floated past and without fully realising I was back at my worst. My self confidence had slowly started slipping away and things that brought me nothing but joy became stressful. If I’m really honest with myself for the best past of the past 2 years I’ve been right back at my worst point except this time there was a wee difference. The overall feeling was very similar to how I’d felt for years before but this time there was a wee voice in my head urging me to end my own suffering. A wee voice that never speaks directly to you but serves to radiate this feeling of discomfort with your own existence.

At first I felt guilty about it. After all, years ago when I felt similarly bad, I had very little I could point to as reasons to keep going. Now I had a relationship with someone I love very much, a wee niece and nephew that need an uncle who regularly threatens to disown them if they don’t commit to supporting Celtic, and I also have this. It might not work out the way I want it to and that’s ok, but being a writer gave me that self worth I’d been missing for what felt like my whole life. It showed me I was good at something and more importantly, it made me really believe that was the case. I was able to accept people’s praise and slowly but surely started to make an impression writing about pro wrestling. To me all of these things were reasons why I shouldn’t have any inkling about taking drastic action yet there I was. Every single day. Waiting for it to pop into my head. It wasn’t a question of if it was going to, it was simply a question of when. The voice grew stronger to the point that on my worst days, that’s all that was really on my mind. Rampant anxiety with lashings of ‘you should really just kill yourself big man…fuck this carry on’.

It never made sense to me so I tried ignoring it. I tried pretending it wasn’t there. I thought coming off the medication I was on at the time would serve as some kind of distraction and that would somehow lead to me snapping out of that way of thinking. To tell the truth I was desperate. I lined up a bunch of interviews as well. Maybe writing could save me. It had before after all. It was the only thing I could think of that made me feel good. Made me feel like I was making progress. None of that was the right thing but I didn’t want to acknowledge the fact that I wanted to die. It was my way of guarding against that feeling. Guarding against really experiencing it. It just didn’t make sense. Why was I quite content in this wee depressive bubble for so many years when I had fuck all, yet now I have lots of reasons to live my brain is telling me to give up and end it. Why now?

I knew it was time to talk. I needed help. After 3 spells of CBT I was finally referred for proper counselling sessions and after a couple of months of not feeling any improvement, I discussed the possibility of going medication again. As convinced as I was before that I was done with it, it was a much better option than the other thing. The other thing meant it would all be over forever and the idea of that consistently sent me into panic. The idea of my niece and nephew growing up without my infinite wisdom. The idea of my mum, dad and sister having to bury the very person that brightened up the joyless existence they were suffering through before I was born. The idea of Emma going to see marvel movies with another dude. A dude who probably talks a bit more than me but I’d imagine had some kinda breath issue. Nothing dealbreaking but every now and the you get a wee waft of something unpleasant and wonder to yourself if this dude has bee brushing his teeth with soor milk. I had to somehow chase those thoughts away.

Recently the guilt I’d been feeling about those thoughts has started to subside. I think I get it. A wee bit anyway. The more I ignored those thoughts, the stronger the voice got. The more I ignored it, the worse the guilt got. When I started facing it head on and started questioning it, that was when it eventually started to quieten slightly. It started to make sense to me why I didn’t think about suicide when I truly had nothing to live for (in my mind anyway) I didn’t want to die because I didn’t give a flying fuck about myself. I didn’t care that I was suffering. As long as I wasn’t in physical pain, I’d come up with a way to cope with the mental suffering that at least meant I could continue existing. I could quietly live out the rest of my miserable existence, hopefully getting took out by some act of god to save anyone the bother of having to blame themselves for my miserable existence coming to an end. You have to have some kind of self worth to really consider suicide. There has to be some kind of self compassion there to want your own suffering to end. You have to give a fuck about yourself and that was the difference between back then and the way I feel now. Back then I hated myself so much I felt I deserved the suffering.

Now? I quite like myself sometimes. At least for a long time I did. Long enough that when I started to hate myself more and more, I still remembered what it was like to not feel that way. It felt wrong to feel so low as opposed to it just becoming normality. I began to realise thinking about suicide and the voice getting stronger the more I ignored it meant I had to speak about it. It was clearly the only way. I had to give it a voice so I could understand where that voice was coming from and why it was there in the first place. I wouldn’t say I’m out of the woods yet, but the voice has got quieter and the new medication I’m on seems to be settling in quite well. Low on side effects and day to day improvement. There is still a long, long way to go for me, but I believe if I continued to ignore these feelings that it would have at the very least led to some kind of attempt to make it stop.

We have all been touched by suicide in some way. Everyone in Scottish wrestling has had to deal with it head on in recent months after the tragic death of Adrian ‘Lionheart’ Mccallum. It is killing people every single day. Yet some still regard it as a selfish act. Some still regard it as a shameful way to die. Something to be covered up. The only thing that stops it being such a powerful, overbearing force is to normalise speaking about it. Normalise speaking about it as early as possible because no one commits suicide the first time they think about ending their own life. Its a voice that starts off as on occasional whisper and slowly develops into a screaming nightmare. All happening behind the eyes while you attempt to keep your exterior as normal as possible. No one can know. No one can ever know.

If you’re feeling suicidal or even just feeling particularly low, please speak to someone. Anyone. You deserve to feel better. You deserve to live happily.

Numbers to call if you feel the need

Breathing Space – 0800 83 85 87

Samaritans – 116 123

 

Wrestling With Depression – Staying In The Fight

Do you ever just feel broken? Nah never mind, that’s shite. We’ll try again. Opening line. Make it profound. This is about serious shit Marty boy. Make this count.

Depression is like…….. nah bin that man. That’s nothing. Depression is different for everyone. That’s alienating people so it is. One more swing then patch the opening line.

I am so fuckin tired.
That’s it. That’s the one. That’s the opening line. Its perfect. Relatable to everyone because aren’t we all just fuckin tired? Even if you’re a person reading this who has never considered themselves to be mentally ill in any way. There’s one thing we all have in common. We are so, so fuckin tired.

After 10-15 years of pretty nasty depression, followed by a couple of years of actually feeling ok, then a short period of “Oh fuck, I think this is getting bad again” and now what has felt like an eternity of being absolutely fucked by this shit again, I’ve had enough experience of dealing with being mentally ill to know that this is the worst it has ever been for me personally. There’s been times in my life where I felt I had zero prospects professionally, nae pals and nae chance of avoiding dying alone where I felt my overall mental health was better than it is now. This is after becoming a published writer, having one long term ride of a burd, being an uncle, having anything between 4 and 5 pals and accomplishing a lifelong goal of interviewing my hero Mick Foley (dunno if you guys heard but that happened) This is what makes this particular spell such a head fuck of a thing. In theory I know there are lots of things to live for and to be happy about, but a lot of the time none of them matter. That sounds a bit cold, what I mean by that is that they ALWAYS matter a lot, which makes the fact that there’s times where I don’t FEEL like any of that matters all the more worrying.
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Constantly being in a state where you feel absolutely everything far too much and you also don’t feel anything at all is like being at war with yourself. You know you should care. Caring is important. Sometimes the haze clears long enough to enjoy the wee moments that make life what it is. Like my wee nephew running up to me and giving me a big cuddle that also doubles up as a headbutt in the general direction of my crotch. That will always clear the fog. Or just spending hours lying in the same position watching some shite tele with the burd. The haze sometimes clears long enough that I can appreciate that. Or when I get to spend significant time with my pals without having a constant voice in the back of my head telling me everything I have said and are about to say is shite. Shite and wrong. Sometimes the haze fucks off for long enough to enjoy that. These wee moments are nice but are becoming increasingly more difficult to come by and the one and only instinct I have is to cut myself adrift when this happens.

No man is an island right? That’s a saying that definitely means something to someone. Probably. A LOT of men however, are socially stunted shut ins desperate to avoid almost all forms of human interaction. Fuck all left to give other than the bare minimum required to keep going. Hiding under the guise of a normal guy who’s just getting on with it. The usual. The shit you’re meant to do. Job, family, mrs, beers w/boyz, fitba, coupons, darts, Game Of Thrones fanfiction and last but not least…BEERS. Keep the façade up for long enough that you actually start to believe it too.
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I don’t want the façade anymore though. I don’t want to pretend this is a period I am negating quite easily because it really isn’t. My mind has not been healthy for such a long time now I’ve forgot what it felt like to be ok again. For that 2-3 years where I’d got to a place of not being constantly fucked by this, I had forgotten what it was like to be here. Almost complacent that I’d figured this out and I wouldn’t end up back in the same state. Its almost like my brain reset itself only to decide it actually preferred the bottomless bit of sad and deciding it wanted the abyss back. This is getting a bit heavy but eh? Don’t want folk to check out early. There’s a message to convey here. Important as fuck.

lhhh.jpg
The wrestling community, particularly in Scotland, was absolutely shaken to its core a month ago when we lost an integral part of that community far too soon. Adrian ‘Lionheart’ Mccallum was a man who conveyed nothing but positivity in his work. An all action performer in the ring, a confident voice on the microphone, a man who had survived a lot of adversity and emerged stronger for it and a man who had come through all that adversity to enjoy what felt like a career purple patch. It was all going right after probably too many years of having his fair share of shit going wrong. I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that depression isn’t just sadness. We all experience that and I think that makes people (usually well meaning people) feel like they can dish out advice on how to tackle something that makes you feel like a failure even when you clearly are not that. A thing that makes you feel like your accomplishments are not your own. How could they be? A fuck up like me doing all this cool shit? Come off it.

It’s a dirty hulking beast of a thing that can and will destroy you even when you should be bulletproof. It literally kills people every day. It kills men at an alarming rate and while it will never stop doing that, we HAVE to do all we can to reduce it. We just have to. Its not an optional thing anymore. Its an epidemic. Every single person reading this will have been affected by suicide in some way, shape or form. Chances are they will be affected by it several more times before they sign their scorecard for eh…life (tried to make that a golf metaphor cause The Open’s on but I don’t think it got over) Its hard as fuck because speaking up means having to deal with it but its time to speak the truth on this. The only way to combat it is being open in my opinion and as much as I don’t think that opinion matters a fuck because of mental illness, the fact that I’m a card carrying veteran of this shit should at least mean YOU listen to me, even if I don’t.
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When I attended ICW’s tribute show for Lionheart I really wanted to do a wrestling review of it. One of they things I used to do all the time with all the slang and the hefty bantz. That one. 5 minutes in to the show I knew that wasn’t happening. It was a night when, as good as it was, the wrestling didn’t matter. That show was part of the healing process for so many people who cared about that man and ultimately, that’s all that mattered when it came down to it. One thing that impressed me so much with everyone who took to the microphone that night is that they let it show. They put their grief on display because hiding it does no one any good. People need to see the pain this horrible thing leaves behind so they can understand just how much pain an individual has to be in to knowingly put their nearest and dearest through that.

If you’ve ever attached the word “selfish” to someone taking their own life, I get it, you’re angry, but it makes no sense. How can a thing that means you literally stop existing be a “selfish” act? Who is anyone to say someone should stick around and put themselves through hell on earth just so you don’t need to deal with feeling some sort of way about it? It is the least selfish act you can do because selfishness implies there’s future gain in the action. If you do something selfish, you benefit from it at some point. No one has ever benefitted from dying, even if that death means pain goes away, because so does everything else.

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While everyone who spoke that night was impressively honest and full of strength, the person who got me the most was Viper. She was not afraid to say what she really wanted to say and as much as it tore yer heart to bits, it was so necessary. Its ok to feel that wee bit of anger. Its not anger directed at the person you miss. Its anger at the situation. Its anger at feeling like you could have helped and not knowing what else you could have done to prevent this. Being honest and feeling your pain out loud is the only way to properly convey how fucking devastating it is. A person who touched so many lives in such a brilliant way, couldn’t not fucking bear to be on this earth anymore. Peak of his powers personally and professionally on the surface, but underneath the beast was doing its work. Undermining everything positive. Making it seem unimportant or just plain not true.

Viper’s words brought a tear, just as Mark Dallas, Joe Hendry and Grado’s words had earlier in the night, but the main event perhaps trumped it all for emotion. A thing few artforms could replicate quite like wrestling can. The Kinky Party vs Polo Promotions paid homage to Lionheart the performer, Lionheart the man and also somehow wrote a concluding chapter in the man’s most significant career feud without him even being there as Jackie Polo was the last one to leave the ring. If that frog splash from Sha Samuels didn’t instantly make you tear up, you are probably not ok on the inside. Maybe not dead entirely, but your inner wiring is definitely at least a bit fucked.
I sincerely hope that show and the one that happens tomorrow help the healing.

The fact that any of his closest pals are performing at all right now is a testament to them, but to face this grief head on in situations where it will be simply impossible to put the big man to the back of your mind is admirable. Tomorrow Adrian’s last show goes ahead. A show he booked for a promotion he was correctly very proud of. Celebrating its 8th year of existence having built it from the ground up. It goes ahead exactly as it was planned and while this will be the last Pro Wrestling Elite show, I hope the memories this leaves behind at the no doubt packed out Citadel Centre means it not the last of the wrestling his hometown of Ayr sees.
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I’ve always been conscious of writing things about mental health where the conclusion has some beacon of positivity in there but that’s not always the case. Sometimes there’s fuck all positive to say and manufacturing something so the whole thing feels a bit lighter defeats the purpose of writing it in the first place. Mental health issues literally kill people. So many fuckin people. All the time. There are people in your life suffering right now and you don’t have a fucking clue. Mostly because they probably don’t fully understand what the fuck it is they’re going through either. Help them. Speak about your experiences with dealing with this shit both directly and indirectly. The more everyone talks the more normal all of this becomes. The more normal is becomes the less people feel ashamed of something they have very little control over. Don’t suffer in silence then vanish. Someone gives a fuck. In most cases several people do. The most terrifying thing about this is that it can strip away all your defences without you really knowing its happening. The first clue you get is that morning you look in the mirror and see it. Awake but asleep at the same time. Thinking about everything and nothing all at once. So fuckin tired. Done in.

Stay in the fight. Speak to someone, even if it doesn’t make you feel any better, it will make you feel somewhat connected to…something. Take care of each other.

A Tribute To Adrian “Lionheart” Mccallum

lionheartThis was going to be a long winded thing about mental health, but it didn’t feel right. There will be a time to talk more about that.

People have a huge void in their lives today. One that wasn’t there this time yesterday. Those people have each other and that will be of great comfort, but they don’t have him and ultimately, there will be no comfort for that.

It is so unbelievably tragic that a man who had so much left to give felt like this was his only option. Him no longer being with us shouldn’t make anyone feel ‘could I have done more?’ it will, but it shouldn’t. I hope anyone feeling that way can let go of that soon. Its not your fault, its not anyone’s fault. Its just the worst possible outcome of mental illness. The reason it is taken so seriously. It robs people of time they deserved.

Adrian Mccallum deserved more time. Not because he was a good guy (and he was) Not because he was talented wrestler (and he was) but because he was loved. He deserved to feel that. Even if its hard to feel it when you’re suffering mentally, one day the haze would have cleared, even if just for a moment, and he would have felt it. He would have realised he was cherished and appreciated and maybe the demons would have stayed away for a while.

People have spoken about the togetherness in the Scottish/British Wrestling community really being helpful in the immediate aftermath. Seeing the tributes across the board. People sharing in his memory together. People who barely knew him but were still touched by his presence. Then there are his friends. His family. The people who knew him well. They are the ones truly experiencing grief right now, even if it feels like the rest of us are right there with them, we aren’t. None of us can truly know how any of them are feeling. Yesterday their pal was here. There were memories still to be made. Laughs still to be had.

Today all that exists is painful longing. Heartache. Well its not all that exists. The memories already made. The right good ones. The life defining, friendship defining, relationship defining, career defining stoaters. In times of tragedy like this, that’s the one slight positive. In a world filled with shite. Filled with misery. All that good stuff comes to the forefront. People remember why they loved. What bonded them to the person they’re missing. For a moment they feel like he’s still here. The memories will ensure that in a way, he always is.

Keep posting the tributes. It will make people smile even if the smile is tinged with sadness. It will make those closest to him smile just like Adrian seemed to in pretty much every photo I’ve seen since this happened. He revelled in making others happy like many of the saddest people do. He revelled in it because he knew when they were laughing at his patter, a funny snapchat or anything else he might do to make someone smile, that they weren’t feeling as bad as he did at times.

Please reach out if you’re feeling off in the wake of this. This is not just some celebrity who’s work we appreciated from afar. He meant so much more than that to so many. I distinctly remember leaving the sit down interview we done on cloud fucking nine. At that time I had no idea why people of that standing would ever speak to me at all, far less for a couple of hours, but he shared stories, spoke with honesty, and made me feel like a superstar that day. He had a way of doing that it seemed.

Men have a way of pretending its fine when its not. A way of admitting to having a problem and only revealing a percentage of it. Never wanting to seem weak by admitting they suffer. Fuck weakness. Fuck this outdated idea that men should be men. Adrian Mccallum was far from weak. He persevered through so much personal tragedy. The loss of one of his closest pals in wrestling to cancer. The loss of a large chunk of career to injury. The loss of seemingly his purpose in wrestling. Yet the last time we saw him wrestle, he was adding another title to his collection. Triumphant in another main event. He overcame all that shit to reign supreme.

He went from “nothing for you mate” to ICW World Champion.

He went from having his neck broken by a move, to using that move as part of his redemption story.

He went from “fanny” to hero.

He went from Lionheart to “Mad Leon”

More importantly than all that, he was loved. To everyone feeling it a lot more than I am today, I am so fucking sorry for your loss. I’m sorry your pal, your brother, your mainest man. I’m sorry he’s no longer here. He might have deserved more time but with the stories, the photos and (in time) the matches being shared his memory will live on.

R.I.P Adrian ‘Lionheart’ Mccallum.

2belts

If you are suffering from mental health issues and feel you need some help, please reach out to someone. Below are some phone numbers you can call/websites you can visit. Even if its not an option like this, speak to someone. 

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SAMH: 0141 530 1000

Samaritans: 116 123

Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87

Turning Point: 0800 652 3757