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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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”
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 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”
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.
“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.
“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.
“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
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”
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 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 nameand 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
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“
“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 noidea 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.
“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.
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.
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.
Don’t meet your heroes. That’s what they say. They’ll let you down. There is no feat that everyday humans are capable of that can live up to the way you see someone you’d regard as a “hero”, so when you meet the real human incarnation of that person who you have placed on such a high pedestal, its supposed to be disappointing. Maybe they aren’t very nice in person. Maybe everything you believed to be true about them was actually wrong. Instead of doing a lot of charity work, they do a lot of smack. Instead of making people happy, they make a people go to Starbucks for them 12 times because their coffee “tastes like roasted underboob sweat”. Throwing the rejected cups in the vicinity of that persons dome in the process. Instead of putting smiles on peoples faces, they put a gym sock on their hand and stick it down peoples throats. Although for this person, those things are one and the same. The point is, if your hero is a famous person, there’s a good chance fame might have opened up and swallowed their decency. I could never imagine approaching my hero and being ignored. How awful that would feel. But I know that kind of thing has happened to people in the past and that just makes me incredibly thankful to have had my own personal hero live up to my lofty expectations for him. That man is of course, the hardcore legend and former 3 time WWE Champion. Mick Foley.
Hey Seth, I don’t want to alarm you or Ambrose here, but there’s a huge spider about to fall in at least one of our mouths right now.
I’m going to write a big review of the SECC show so I won’t say too much about his role on the show here, but it didn’t feel real. To see the company that I’ve personally been immersed in for 3 years, which was started over 8 years ago in a community centre in Maryhill, grow to the point that selling out the SECC was a real thing, AND having my idol appear ON that show was….a lot. When he appeared I thought I’d cry but I just smiled and watched in awe. Like the first time my maw put the Summerslam 90 VHS on and I saw my first ever hero Hulk Hogan, battering a villainous big lump of a man called Earthquake with a chair (I don’t actually remember smiling the same way at this, but we’re adding colour to the story here…emotional depth)
He was there right in front of us all. Not just fulfilling a date on a tour either, he was there because he loves wrestling and believes ICW do it correctly. He was happy to be in front of 4,000 wrestling fans hanging off his every word, because that’s where he belongs. In front of people who appreciate his influence on wrestling and the sacrifices he made. In front of people who would rate meeting him as a lifetime highlight. I’m one of those people. Meeting him at all was an incredible experience, but being told by 3 or 4 people BEFORE meeting him that he had been speaking highly of ME was just. I can’t absorb that. That’s not supposed to happen. Your hero isn’t supposed to know who you are, far less appreciate your work.
He spoke passionately about how ICW produced memories that would last a lifetime, well Mick mate, you created a memory that I will literally tell everyone about. Mum, dad, other half, best pals, pals in general, their pals, their pals grannies, the guy who serves me at Greggs, the wuman who serves me at Greggs (I don’t even go tae Greggs that much, but I’ll start for this) any bus driver on any bus journey I ever go on from now until the day I die, I’m even gonnae tell Stone Cold Steve Austin because he needs to know. Everyone does. Even those dafties who think wrestling is a joke because when it creates something as real and emotionally significant as this. It has to matter. It has to be more than that. He finally created a moment that ranks up there with that moment he won the WWE Title from The Rock on RAW. That time WCW told their whole audience it was happening, almost mocking it, only to see that audience change the channel in unison to witness Mankind take the title. All he had to do to create a memory that ranks up there with that one is just speak to me for a few minutes.
Mick Foley is someone who inspired me to believe that if you do things differently, you can still succeed. If you do things the way you believe in doing them, you can get to unimaginable places and you can experience things that once never seemed possible. Like having an all-time wrestling legend who also happens to be the only person outwith your own parents that you’d ever call a “hero” give you 15 minutes of his time. After performing for 2 hours and doing a meet and greet for another 2 hours, he still gave me that time and the opportunity to write this article and I will never forget that for as long as I live. And while this is based off the wild assumption that he will read this and thus give me even more of his time, I would like to thank Mick Foley from the bottom of my heart for inspiring everything I do, and more importantly I’d like to thank him for giving exposure to my work and the opportunity to conduct an interview with him. In his honour I’ve decided to mirror his vow to only drop “one f-bomb per show” so for one article only, I will limit myself to one use of the f-bomb. C-bombs, b-bombs and p-grenades are fair game though. He opened the show with a line as humble as he is.
“I’m not gonna be as funny as Billy Kirkwood”
Mick Foley emerged after 20 minutes of Billy warming up the crowd and basically told them “see that guy, him with the mad hair that talks about willies and fandans a lot? he’s much better at this than me” The ultimate endorsement. Billy is a brilliant guy and was the first person involved in wrestling to tell people about my stuff, so I might have teared up a wee bit hearing that, even though I didn’t because I’m a man and we don’t do that. Mick Foley doesn’t call these shows stand-up comedy shows because he’s not a comedian. He’s an entertainer with a million stories that he tells in a very unique way, but he doesn’t have a big enough ego to put himself in the same bracket as someone like Billy Kirkwood who makes a living from making people laugh.
To balance all the Foley love out a wee bit, I’ll say he was spot on with that assessment. Billy was funnier than Mick, because he’s very good at what he does. A pish yer pants type of comedian. Mick Foley wasn’t there make anyone pish their pants. Mick Foley was there to captivate an audience of 200 or so people who were there absorb every word he said. A lot of those words formed to create stories that were f……..friggin hilarious (cheers to William Grange for the assist there, still got ma f-bomb) but it wasn’t a comedy show. It was a night to appreciate everything Mick Foley has given wrestling.
He said later in the show with a hint of very real sadness that Vince McMahon told him he no longer connected with the audience, well no offence to Vinny Mac. He obviously knows what he’s doing when it comes to wrestling, but he has never been more wrong with anything he’s ever said. People don’t buy books to read a man’s words, and buy tickets to hear a man speak if he no longer connects with them. The tickets for this show sold out in 5 hours and it didn’t have any sort of huge announcement. The show finished at around 11pm and I’d say at least 150 of the 200+ audience stayed for the meet and greet. A meet and greet where he handed out free signed pictures to show appreciation to the audience for coming out. Mate. You’re Mick Foley. You really don’t need to be appreciating us but I suppose him being the type of person who does do things like that was the reason we were all there in the first place.
Suppose I should talk about the interview itself eh? Well I had a wee list of topics I wanted to cover depending on how much time he had, and for some magical reason my brain pushed the most important questions to the front of the queue. It all happened very quickly so I forgot to glance at my notes before starting and all of a sudden there we were, and I had asked him for his impressions on Fear and Loathing 8, at the MOTHER-FU……NKING SOLD OUT SECC (still got that f-bomb in the holster)
“I was so impressed on so many levels. Not only from a wrestling standpoint, but more importantly from an emotional standpoint.” A point he drove home in his promo at the start of the show and during the show at The Stand was how much emotional investment there is in ICW and particularly in that main event. He even brought a very hungover Drew Galloway out to chat for 5 minutes and even he seemed overwhelmed to be on stage with Mick Foley, before speaking passionately about everything ICW is and how much he believes in Grado’s ability to take it forward, even if he doesn’t always believe in himself. Thoughts that were mirrored by Mick.
“Grado is an amazing character. Such a great story. I honestly didn’t think he could be as good as he was in the ring. I don’t know what went into the match itself, I only know what I saw, and not only was it a top notch wrestling match, but the emotion surrounding it made it special. I think it’ll go down as a match that people remember for decades”
“There are moments in wrestling that people remember for the rest of their lives, and that’s the goal you strive for. It’s the goal I used to strive for, and I think those guys succeeded. A certain percentage of people will remember that match for the rest of their lives”
Mick spoke during his show about how it was Drew Galloway who first alerted him to ICW, when he asked him to take a look at the promo he cut when he first returned to the company in 2014. He even included a disclaimer about the swearing knowing that it’s something Foley avoids doing if possible. Plenty of f-bombs, mother f-bombs, and f-bomb the polis in that one but Mick saw the passion. Drew had an energy about him that has not only helped propel his own career since he was released from WWE, but its helped push ICW to the next level and having a figure like that to carry your title and defend it so impressively all over the country is exactly what ICW needed to have. It would take an impressive big ride of a man like Drew to provide an opponent worthy of that moment. The villain who was born with all the genetic gifts and talent in the world, against the hero with the wee belly, lion-sized heart and tremendous patter. Drew’s role in making that moment special was not understated by Foley. While he had to shuffle down the ramp without the acclaim from the crowd and Foley himself, he was as big a part of that moment as anyone.
“It was an exclamation point on the Drew Galloway resume. If I was Triple H or Vince McMahon I’d be on the phone to him right now if I’m honest with you. To have a guy that can help build a promotion, who can also tell and story and execute that story in the ring. I think ICW are very lucky to have him”
While that is no doubt true, you could say the same vice versa. Drew Galloway could have gone the same way as other talents WWE have released. Taking any booking under the sun and not really trying to make a mark on the wrestling landscape. Trying to get by more than anything. Drew needed something more. He needed to pull on his size (probably) 15 boots and stamp his foot on that landscape while shouting “I might not be on RAW playing air guitar anymore, but I fu…….lly matter. And I WILL be heard” ICW was the perfect place for him to make that impact. In front of a crowd that would most definitely react the way the promo was supposed to make them react. That was why it captivated Foley, because that sort of involvement from a crowd is so rare. It no doubt brings back memories of those special times in his own career where every single person in the building was invested and right now, there is no better wrestling company in the world at getting that type of reaction than ICW.
“I think Grado and Drew did a particularly good job of recapturing that energy that was spent over the 3 hours of the show. People had seen a lot, and been through a lot. With the cage match and everything else. So for those guys to come through, in a match that didn’t have stipulations…..”
Mick paused for a second, with a genuine look of pride on his face that he came to Scotland a saw two guys from the same town create a match that was so absorbing. Lost for words. If there’s any higher praise for a wrestling match than “had Mick Foley lost for words” god knows what it is (see that would have been an f-bomb there, but we’re saving it mate…wait for it) That wasn’t the highest praise he had for it though…
“It was impressive beyond my abilities to explain how impressive it was. It reminded me a lot of Ric Flair v Dusty Rhodes 1985. With Grado as the every-man, who is just over to a crazy extent, and Drew was just so impressive. Its high praise to put them up there, but I think you could go there”
When I suggested Grado is almost the Scottish version of Dusty, Mr Foley seemed to approve. I know the comparisons have been drawn before but I don’t know if its had someone with such an undeniable impact on wrestling rubber-stamp it. If Grado ever thinks he hasn’t earned that title, as Drew touched on himself when he spoke. He’s the draw. Drew might have piqued the interest of a lot of wrestling fans when he returned, but Grado gets the man from the street off his arse to buy a ticket to ICW. Creating an atmosphere that’s more akin to the days of Dusty and Flair where most, if not ALL of the crowd had no idea wrestling was pre-determined, and were fully invested in the everymans genuine attempts to overcome the polished, slick . When Grado pinned Drew Galloway, people reacted like their favourite football team had just won the ICW title. Or eh….their favourite wrestler just scored the winning goal in the World Cup final…or…eh..naw wait..I’ll get it this time…. THEY REACTED LIKE GRADO HAD JUST WON THE ICW TITLE. BECAUSE GRADO HAD JUST WON THE FUCKING ICW TITLE. REJOICE!
Towards the end of the show, Foley noticed someone in the audience wearing Bayleys “I’m a hugger” t-shirt in the crowd and went on to speak fondly about his interactions with some of the women currently at WWE. Recalling a story of when his illusions about Sasha Banks and her character were shattered when she showed him a pic of a much younger, intimidated version of the “boss” posing with Mick many years ago. Something that showed him the person behind the character and really made her click with him. A moment that was no doubt repeated with every person he met last night, and a photo they recreated recently, just as Bayley approached Mick and he unwittingly pushed her out the way to get the photo with Sasha. An act he recalls with a laugh, although I doubt Bayley was offended. Any story of any interaction with Mick Foley is a decent one. Even if its “Mick Foley punched me in the mouth and called my mother a whore” its still a story involving Mick Foley doing something with you. Maybe add “then we went for ice cream” after the punching part though. Makes it sound a bit more of a Foley thing to do.
He spoke passionately about womens wrestling, and his unsuccessful attempts to woo the Bella Twins maw; bemoaning the fact that John Lauranitis took her away from him. I asked what he thought of the 3 way dance to crown the first ever ICW Women’s Champion. Having imposed his will on the match by inserting Viper into it at the very last moment.
“Mark (Dallas) came to me right after I cut my in-ring promo and told me I could go back to my dressing room and relax, or do whatever I wanted to do and I said ‘no….I’m gonna stay right here and watch everything I can’ and I was really impressed with not only the performance of the women in the ring…but the reaction of the crowd”
“There’s a tendency for people to compare ICW’s crowd, to ECW crowds in the mid 1990s, but I don’t know that the ECW crowds of that time would have given the women the same amount of respect. Their reaction to Viper when I came out and put her in the match was huge. I had to go back and ask someone what her back story was. As a guy who grew up being heavy set, and grew up being teased for being heavy set. I always worry about the public’s acceptance of larger individuals. They told me about her promo on the British Bootcamp show TNA did, and it made me think it may have been more successful in creating stars in Scotland than it was for TNA”
The hopefuls at the Glasgow auditions for the aforementioned show. Minus Grado who was at China Buffet King finishing aff a plate of king ribs
“It gave them a great platform for people to learn about the passion the wrestlers have, and I think ICW have been the main beneficiaries of that. But yeah….I really enjoyed the womens match. Another thing I never get tired of people appreciating me watching the matches backstage. Thats always a good thing.”
It shouldn’t be forgotten that for a lot of the performers on the show, meeting Mick Foley was as big a deal to them as it was to me. It raised a smile with Mrs Foleys baby boy (thats a cheap pop eh? I’ll only use it once, promise) when he spoke of his love for wrestlers almost being humbled at him watching their match. Jack Jester appeared at the show to ask a question and basically thanked Foley for being the reason he wanted to be a wrestler, and there’s so many people like that who maybe felt “different” and saw Mick Foley as the high priest of being a wee bit odd. ICW is the home of “different” in wrestling right now and it seems more than apt that Mick Foley slotted in to the show like he’d been there all along. He brought Mark Dallas on stage at one point and told us all the reason they shared a prolonged hug before Mick cut his promo. He pulled Dallas in close, looked deep into his eyes and asked “Mark….what am I supposed to say” Even a guy who’s seen and done it all forgot his line on the big stage, but as soon as Dallas prompted him, off he went. Dallas was on stage again later to give the best Vince McMahon impression I’ve ever heard. Well the voice was awrite, but the mannerisms were pure and utter Vince.
Ah swear tae god Mick, you better no have tanned aw the Madoori.
Mick went on to explain the next steps in his career. Revealing that the one man show’s will be less frequent in 2016.
“I’m probably going to stop doing the one man show’s around March, for the rest of the year. I’ll just be taking a break to concentrate on other things. I’m gonna do a few more wrestling appearances too”
While Foley has made an undoubted impression on audiences of all descriptions, its continued interest from wrestling fans that have made his foray into the one-man shows a successful one, as I asked how he sees himself as a performer now. More of an all-round entertainer, or a wrestling personality.
“I think its hard to separate the two. If I was drawing 50% wrestling fans, and 50% fans of my spoken words, then I could say there was a distance between them. Regardless of whether I do a wrestling appearance, or an appearance at a comic book convention, or even at my own shows. Its mainly a wrestling audience. I’m very thankful to the dedication of the people that watched me when they were children”
Decent time to break this out I suppose. A picture of me when I was 11, wearing a halloween costume that was comprised of one of my dads shirts, an auld pair of brown leggings my mum had, a wig probably made of dug hair and a mask made by a friend of my mums. Here’s the entirely haunting image of me dressed as Mankind. Also probably breaking the record for different kinda of horrendous wallpaper captured in one picture. Don’t worry, I still live here, but I made sure we got better decorators over the past 15 years.
Everybody loves Christmas. Except for the folk who are of other religions, or the folk who just plain don’t like it, but “everybody loves Christmas” makes for better reading, so we’ll go with that. Mick Foley loves Christmas more than you though. Mick Foley is currently undergoing a lifelong process to eventually morph into a real life Santa Claus, and he spoke about Christmas with as much passion as a lot of the wrestling things he spoke about. I had 15 minutes with Mick Foley and I never asked him about Hell In A Cell, or being the WWE Champion, or even being chucked directly into a barbed wire and explosives. I asked him “why dae you love Christmas mate?” Because the people need to know.
“I guess its a deep seeded thing. I’ve loved for as long as I remember, and I think there is a parallel between the years I’ve spent in the ring and the time I’ve spent in the red suit as ambassador for Father Christmas, and that if you do everything right…you can take someone to a really special place. I think that place, is a memory in the parents mind. If you can take them back to when they felt happiest as a child. You’ve done your job.”
The Usos in a rare candid shot
“People think its for the kids, but its about the parents. They’re the ones with the huge smile. When I make the Christmas Eve visits, you can see grown people cry. That’s when you know you’re doing your job right ”
I remarked that Mick had done that at the SECC when he came out and there was a genuine burst of appreciation for that comment. The fact that me saying that to him meant anything is the reason he DOES still connect with the audience and will never stop connecting with them, because he actually gives a fu……..(ah I’ve used my f-bomb eh? och fuck it, I shouldn’t try to imitate a legend anyway so we’ll drop a few more) he actually gives a fuck if he entertains you or not. He didn’t come here to make the show about him, he came here to restore the balance between good and evil. Drew was flanked by the evil genius ICW GM Red Lightning, and a right bad yin in Jack Jester, so Grado needed a squad of goodies to counteract the baddies. He had Big Damo taking care of Jester, but Grado needed someone with authority that was a big enough hero to counteract Red Lightning’s villainous ways and Mick Foley served that purpose.
For the last question I had to ask if he’ll be gracing us with his presence again, and while no definitive answer was forthcoming, the feeling amongst everyone who was there that night, and Mick himself is that it went very well and we may very well have not seen the last of Mrs Foleys baby boy (ok, maybe I’ll use it twice…this is the last time though, I swear) on these shores. If Vince McMahon still thinks Mick Foley no longer connects with the audience, he should ask any of the 50 odd people still queueing to meet him after midnight last night if he still connects with them. People missing last buses and trains home just to steal the tiniest moment of his time. I’ll forever be extremely thankful that he saw me worthy to give me a full 15 minutes of it. Thank you Mick. For everything.
Credit as always to David J.Wilson for the wonderful photos.
If you liked this and want to read more things of this nature, well tbh I don’t interview people like Mick Foley often, but there’s other good stuff on the site about all things wrestling. Particularly ICW and British Wrestling in general.
It was always too scary to think about. When I was 15. Alone. Pacing around my room. Overthinking every interaction that’s happened to you that day. They all must hate you. Your mum doesn’t even like you but she has to tolerate you. Dad too. It was all so lonely and so very low for long spells and then it would all get so fuckin fast. Heart racing, bullet just about to land on yer jaw type of adrenelaine.
Everything’s a problem that needs fixed NOW. Everything needs to be in order. Organised. Yet somehow everything constantly stays messy because you move about so much and pick up so many things just to put them down somewhere different so the mess never stops. Lose a key? You are the worst person in the world for losing this key and if you don’t find it you’ll get another row for being irresponsible. Forgetful but so productive when its channelled right. Destructive as fuck when its not.
The point in that wee bit of speil I guess is just to come to terms with the fact that I’ve been aware of bipolar disorder since I was that age, had a decent grasp on what it was and truth be told I’ve always known. Doctors have asked countless times if I was ever considering suicide and I always said no. I never wanted to admit to the manic spells so I accepted depression and tackled that when it’s never really been that.
Things that have happened during this horrific time have profoundly affected my life. The world is crumbling and black people still can’t feel safe to walk the streets without having some fuckin psychopath choke them to death. I lost my way and it came back. First the depression. Sleeping in till 4pm and being glad for it because it meant the day ahead would be over sooner. Then came the mania
I realise no being able to sleep isn’t a bipolar diagnosis by any stretch but sleeping 5 hours in 4 nights and still being able to sit here and write something semi cohesive isn’t normal. Writing over 300,000 words worth of blogs in a year isn’t normal. The manic stuff can be productive but its only because channelling it into a passion chases the dark thoughts away. I’d rather have 100,000 thoughts about wrestling running through my head at the one time than a constant stream of negative feedback I never fuckin asked for. When your thought process is so fast you can’t control it, its a very scary thing for that thought process to be telling you that you are useless in every way. A stain on society. Scum. Everyone would be better off rid of you anyway you clown. Go jump in front of a bus and save everyone a lot of hassle.
But I know its not like that. I know that a small pocket of people I cherish would be devastated by losing me. I’m picking this article up after a 14 hour sleep and completely re-organising my room as soon as I woke from that sleep because that’s what bi-polar disorder is. Its everything and nothing at the same time but the feeling of it all is so much more extreme.
That’s why I feel even my closest pals are sick of me because there’s constant intrusive voices telling me that every single thing I’ve done in my relationship with these people is wrong and they hate me for it but I now know thats not true and I know theres medication out there to treat this condition that I am not self diagnosing. This is a condition I know I have and having the blessing of having a partner who has studied this shit for over 5 years and got a masters in distinction done me the kindness of monitoring me when my behaviour changed and as soon as I said I felt I may be bi-polar she just nodded and told me she feels I show a lot of the signs. I know I do. I know I have it. I am at peace.
If you are a person sitting there feeling any of this hits home then do whatever it takes to keep yourself there. Wrestlers too. Guys I know the community was ripped apart by Adrian’s death but it will not be in vain. We will educate people in the industry that feeling low is ok and there’s support from peers and professionals that can keep your outcome being the same as one of the most talented wrestlers this country or any country has ever seen. Its just so endlessly sad that he was the only one who couldn’t see it. I have an interview with Jackie Polo recorded that I jus’t haven’t been able to write up yet because it is so packed with that feud and every single bit of what Adrian brought to this scene. So guys, if you’re reading this keep the fuckin chin up and remembering you’ll be out there doing your thing soon
I’m gonnae make a career of writing about this industry and knowing that settles me so much. This is my job.
I’m gonnae finish this off just by saying im here if you need me. Even if I dont know ye fae Adam. I’ve got my people. I’ve got my partner for life who has basically nursed me through a near death experience all while struggling herself. Wonderful parents. Four of the best pals a guy could ask for (and many more but four bestos) including my brother from another mother who’s just experienced the highest high life can bring, my Sellik bretheren and fellow Wolfe Tones fan who loves gettin me drunk, and my special big guy who shares my love of Chris Jericho and a handsome lookin dude. Then there’s the lassie one who I recently told that I find transgender women and really all women just beautiful and if i was a single man I’d totally winch anyone who identifies as a woman as long as they fancy me and I fancy them. That’s true pal shit. Then there’s the mother and father who have worried about me endlessly and seen me fall apart but have been right there to pick me back up again. I will be fine. I will fight this. And to Drew, just…..thank you.
This article isnae really about anything so I wanted the photo to be something in wrestling that makes me happy. A lot of folk fire digs at ICW these days and everyone has a right to an opinion but it has always been an enjoyable wrestling product. A show that has often given me a bit of relief in depression filled days. I know at some stage I’m gonnae have a laugh at ICW and usually its Jack Jester and Sha Samuels who provide that.
Just a couple of pals from opposite ends of the social spectrum having the time of their fucking lives together and I’ll tell ye what, there has been some high quality tag matches throughout their run. Kez Evans and Leyton Buzzard have grown from prospect to fully patched in members of the main event mafia (I’ve been gettin in to sons of anarchy sorry) and both have offered engaging characters while improving week after week in the ring. I’m no really sure if this is a wrestling article but those are indeed wrestling opinions.
I’ve never felt this bad. I think its important to admit that if this piece of writing will mean anything to anyone. I have not wanted to continue living my life. I was fired from my job because I have depression. I am so fucking lost. But I have people. Before I didn’t have people or any desire to find any but I have Emma. She has been incredible. I’ve cried. I’ve shook countless times. I’ve been snappy. I’ve been needy. I’ve been distant but shes stuck with me through it all despite the grief she has suffered recently.
That’s what keeps me going. My cousin Robert who is so used to being around people and doesn’t understand why he can’t see anyone. I’ll go see him from a safe distance for a wee half hour and make a difference to the world. I have to be doing something or its just constant. The self doubt. The suffering feeling that you’ve wasted it all. Every single step has been a mistake. But this one wasn’t. Writing about this art-form. This sport. Whatever you want to call it. It has changed my life for the better and that’s what keeps me coming back to it.
I met my best friend who joined a team of best friends that I bonded closely with by going to ICW shows. I miss that but I realise life moves on. I met my missus because she followed me on twitter and saw me on a night out after and ICW show where I was steamin and gettin people to chop me in the Cathouse. I was a wreck but she had DM’d me and I replied that night. She might tell ye I patched her that night but I will tell ye this; Aye I definitely did patch her but in my defence I’ve never been able to believe an attractive female would want anything to do with me and by fuck is she stunning. She disnae even realise how much she’s just. I’m just lucky as fuck and we’ve got through this shit together but right now this is a sticky patch for me and I’m hoping writing this does me some sort of good. Maybe reading it will do someone else some good.I hope so.
This shit has been hard man. I lost my job. I’ve no seen my nephew and niece in nearly 3 months when I was seeing them every other day for weeks before hand. Life has been turned upside down and my wonderful partner has had to deal with losing her gran to this horrendous disease. A disease that has tore the arse out this country because rich idiots decided we needed to keep the fitba on one more weekend. Lets just see what happens eh troops. A few thousand die? We’re trying our best. 50,000 die? at least we’re all clapping. Where’s the PPE? Where’s the security for the working man? Where’s a law that says people cant lose their jobs because a pandemic has knocked fuck out the world. Wrestling is still on and I’m appreciative of everyone who’s putting themselves at risk to produce entertainment at this time but I do find it hard to watch at times.
That’s why the slagging of NXT UK gets me because its just snobby. Its based on a judgement of what NXTUK’s existence has meant for everyones favourite promotion without giving the product even half a chance. I get it. I’ve been a snobby cunt about stuff before but look at that roster. Wolfgang, Tyler Bate, Mark Coffey, Joe Coffey, Dave Mastiff, Ashton Smith, Noam fuckin Dar, Flash Morgan Webster. Mark Andrews, Walter, The Other Imperium Guys, Kay Lee Motherfuckin Ray, Toni Storm, Viper and so on and so forth. Ye telling me they aren’t a top class collection of wrestlers and if they’re given a good platform to do their thing that they aren’t producing a weekly wrestling product worth watching? Cmon noo bro Yes this venture has absolutely hurt independent wrestling but people are getting a wage and getting better at their jobs. Don’t hate, appreciate.
I guess what I’m trying to say is its alright to be fuckin away with it right now. Smoke the jeebs, drink the beers, do the fuckin yoga. Just cope with it. That’s all we can do. I’m gonnae be quiet for while as I try and work my way through the worst spell of anxiety ive ever experienced. Anxiety attack after anxiety attack. I fell and have a stoater of a black eye because I was pished and decided to try n dae a rolly polly aff the toilet pan. I’,m struggling. I got the sack. If you’re struggling my brithers and sisters I am right there wae yees/ We can do this together. I’m gonnae do it by playing NBA 2k20. relaxing with a pretty lady, chatting to the main troops and just trying to get through it till I can see my sister, lil man and my lil lady again. I’m gonnae go see my wee gran anaw. I really want to interview Bret Hart Never take yer maw and da for granted. They have been absolute saints throughout this horrendous spell. The wind beneath my fuckin wings. Be safe and take care of each other.
WWE started the In Your House shows at a troubled time for the company so there’s some absolute screamers on the early ones that will make you feel silly for hating on some of the modern stuff. First up however is Bret Hart. Might as well tell yees since he’ll feature heavily in these reviews, I fuckin love The Hitman and as much as everyone is entitled to their opinion, if you disagree you are wrong and I am entitled to hate you for it.
Bret Hart vs Hakushi
Double fuckin duty on this PPV btw. When Bret should have been in the main event every show he was still happy to do what the company needed. That included occasionally pulling double duty when WWE needed him to. Which in 1995 was a fuckin lot. Hakushi was a strange one. Clearly very good in the ring and had a look that made you take notice yet he never really took off in WWE despite coming in during a lean period. This match has always been an underrated wee gem of a scrap. Bret works with such fluidity that he regularly made terrible wrestlers look decent, decent wrestler look great, and great wrestlers look like suplex kings. Dons of the ring.
Hakushi tries to sneak up on Bret a few times in this but his cat like reflexes saw many of these sneak attacks turned in to some manner of arm drag. Hakushi hit a Vader Bomb for a near fall while Jerry Lawler watched it on a wee screen slevvering. Bret gets tossed out and kicked a bit by Hakushi’s manager, a man in a white suit with white facepaint. One of many illegal incidents that occur in Bret Hart’s matches over the years as his foes realised his good nature was wide open to exploitation and deception. Hakushi all over our Canadian hero while women and children all over the world weep at his plight.
Mad handspring back elbow from the Kush master had him right on top but Bret kept swinging. Even after a sexy tilt o whirl backbreaker Bret refused to lose. The diving headbutt didn’t even do it and the springboard splash was a move too far. Bret turned this technical masterpiece round with a bodacious bulldog, before an atomic drop followed by a skelper of a clothesline had Bret firmly in control. My man could wrestle on every match on the show and would still look like he had a few headlocks in the tank by the time the main comes around. He even broke out a suicide dive on Hakushi’s mad manager before succumbing to an aerial assault moments later from Hakushi himself in the form of a glorious middle rope moonsault to the outside. Alongside some absolute shanners in the early In Your House shows theres a few gems tucked away. This being one of them. Bret rounds it off with a lovely wee Victory Roll round off a tremendous opener. A true gem on the network.
Razor Ramon vs Jeff Jarrett and The Roadie
This won’t get the same treatment as the opener purely because its not very good. Jeff Jarretts wore a singlet in this era that made him look like a big guitar. If yer man actually was a guitar he’d never be done pluckin himself that I will tell ye. Razor hits a big thunderous clothesline over the ropes on JJ before Jessie James comes bolting round the corner to attack the bad guy from behind. By bad guy I don’t mean his nickname at this time, I am referring to him calling Martina a dumb female dog on twitter as such actions are the very definition of being a bad guy.
Its mostly JJ vs Razor and Jeffrey had the IC Title so fuck knows why they didn’t just have that be the match after Razors partner the 1-2-3 Kid was attacked in a hate crime by the numbers 4,5 and 6. The future outlaw finally gets in and does some jangly elbow drops before swiftly getting the human guitar back in. Razor goes for the Razors Edge right next to the ropes which always bugged me cause even a successful Razors Edge in this scenario chucks the opponent clean out the ring. Probably to his death. Finishers are supposed to finish the match, not your colleagues life. Stay safe. Stay 2 metres apart at all times.
Double J gets a bad rap sometimes but he always has been a talented wrestler. One of the best at being an absolute pain in the baws to the point that you want to slap the smug aff his mug. On this viewing this wee match was actually far better than I ever remembered but The Roadie took me right out of it by getting the hot tag and following it up with an ice cold knee drop off the top. Looked like he seen a tenner while he was in mid air and tried to catch it with his knee.
Razor finally sees the plan that was there all along. The course of action he should really have taken from the start as he decides to launch Double J right at his partner. Finally separating one goon from the other before putting this entertaining wee scrap to bed with the Razors Edge. They obviously do big Razor immediately after the match because there’s two of them and one of him. That’s just science. I think you’ll find the man who ended up trying to save Razor to be Just Incredible but after he tries and fails he gets some top quality hauners from the debut of Savio Vega as Vince McMahon asks “Who’s this guy?” on commentary. You own the company mate. Whit ye askin me for? Check payroll.
Mabel vs Adam Bomb
This is that shit we came to see. Two hefty big heefers, wailing on each other for the right to just be in the King Of The Ring tournament. Why these two behemoths had to suffer the indignation of having to qualify is a question I doubt we’ll ever see an answer to. Truly baffling. Adam Bomb’s gimmick is exactly what it says on the tin. He’s a damn bomb. End of story.
I love Mabel in this era because he’s the only tag team guy to ever go solo without breaking up with his partner. He threatened to eat wee Mo’s leg while he slept if he even thought about trying to go out on his own so he was forced to be his valet. No even a manager. No advice was sought from Mabel at any time, he just liked knowing Mo was there.
Adam Bomb is apparently mad over in 1995 and has a “Bomb Squad” in the audience which just sounds plain dangerous. Bomb hits a couple of early cross body type situations making a pure mockery of my earlier jab at the mobility of these competitors. He goes for one crossbody too many but and Mabel just squashed him. One way to stop a bomb going off eh! Smother it in belly. R.I.P Big Daddy V.
The Smoking Gunns vs Yokozuna and Owen Hart (c) – Tag Title Match
Never had a minute of time for The Smoking Gunns. Liars is what they are. I’ve seen at least 10-15 of their matches and at no point during that time were either of these wrestlers having a fag. Not a cigar between the cunts. No even Bart having a bifter. Billy lightin a ciggie. Fuck all.
Yoko was near his fattest at this stage and it constantly impressed me how well he moved even when he did go from huge to suuuuper huge. Maybe I just romanticise his career but I’ve always felt he was underrated as a baddie. There’s something terrifying about a man who would have you beat by performing the simple act of sitting on your throat.
Yoko and Owen boss it early, being villainous as fuck, before The Pornstashe Billy Gunn reverses some serious offence from Owen to get over and tag Bart who tries a pin after one scoop slam meaning you can add “bad at making decisions” to the list of negatives alongside “known liar” and “terrible cowboy”. Yoko turns the tide back in the favour of the MLSC (Maple Leaf Sushi Connection) by hitting a big leg drop on the outside on Bart before rolling him back in for Owen to get the pin. This was certainly a wrestling match. R.I.P big Yoko and of course The Rocket x
Jerry Lawler vs Bret Hart
Bret comes out limping but its a RUSE. A play right out his opponents playbook which is absolutely fine if you’re the patron saint of all that is good and pure in pro wrestling. Bret goes to work with rapid jabs. Properly chucking this sentient jobby all over the squared circle. Bret Hart had free condoms on his desk at home during this period so he could feel like he’s running a clinic at work AND at home. Bret nails Lawler with a move called the piledriver which was outlawed in 2002 when Chuck Palumbo done it the wrong way round and broke Scott Nortons big toe. It was big news at the time. Look it up.
Hakushi and his mad mime of a manager appear just as the ref gets his foot all tangled up in the ropes. The reek of tomfoolery swept the arena as ‘Kushi hit a trio of diving headbutts before Lawler took the pin with the worlds slowest rollup. Seriously Bret’s shoulder were down for about 3 and a half minutes. Another example of how much of a team player he is letting leery Lawler have body contact with him for that long.
Right so in between this match and the main event Todd Pettengill and his pal Samantha Pittengell give away a hoose in Orlando? Is this a thing WWE done in 1995? Raffles for hooses? Its all mail entries and the burd jumps in a massive box that contains every entry before emerging from the pile and leaning over to whisper “I farted on all these envelopes” softly in to Todds ear. Michael Rappaport won the house and turned it in to a gigantic Biggie Smalls poster.
Diesel(c) vs Sycho Sid – WWE Title Match
I unashamedly have lots of love for both these big lumps. Kevin Nash has always been my guilty pleasure in wrestling. He has never not looked like the coolest guy you could ever meet. I feel safe looking at him know what I mean? He looks like he has patter and gives out some real warm cuddles. Sid I always liked for the opposite reason. A terrfying veiny man. As if someone put a terrifying heid on top of the worldest angriest penis and taught it how to wrestle. Individually they were always excellent when working with guys like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, but put them together? Well lets just say this. It was nae Mabel vs Adam Bomb. I’ll tell ye that for free.
Sid completely no sells a couple of decent clotheslines before the Deezman fires himself into the ropes and takes Sid down with the runner. Ted DiBiase manages Sid at this stage of his career before he went solo and started doing they promo’s where he’d talk in a really breathy low voice. Really wanting the people to smell what he had for his dinner. Do you smell what the Sid was chewing? He gets Diesel outside and hammers him in to a post and its all just real slow hard hitting stuff while Vince says stuff like “OH NO!” pure dramatically. Vinny Mac really knew his product wasn’t great back in 1995 and really makes a point of trying to put the talent over on commentary. Love the wee inside jokes with other commentators giving it “You dont run this place Mr Commentator Man” cause he actually does. Quite famous for it in fact.
Sid boots Diesel for what feels like hours before locking in a Camel Clutch for even longer because that’s what this match really needed. Something to slow it right down. Send the crowd home nice and relaxed. The REAL aim of pro wrestling revealed right there. Diesel eventually starts to rally but he’s been in the Camel Clutch so long they’re actually having RAW around this match. Whole show happening with these two in the middle and a sleeping ref waking up every 3 or 4 minutes to ask Diesel if he wants to give up. Diesel finally gets loose just in time for France 98 kicking off before he raises up with some elbows to the gut before Sid hits a chokeslam and a powerbomb rapid style. He inexplicably took ages to cover him despite the powerbomb being his finisher leaving Diesel free to hit all three of his moves, the last of which being a spine shattering Jacknife Powerbomb that would have undoubtedly got the job done before Tatanka interfered and led to the DQ.
A mild beatdown ensues from heel Tatanka and Sid before Bam Bam Bigelow sprints after him and breaks up the scrap. I have no memory of these sets of guys ever being aligned in any way but thats 1995 for ye baybay.
Hope you enjoyed the first review of this new veture. Let me know what you thought! Unless its negative then keep it x
Today Drew McIntyre is the fighting pride of Scotland. A hero who brought good news in a time where you would have been forgiven for forgetting is existed. There was once a time where not everyone in Scotland loved Drew Mctinyre. As unfathomable as it might seem now, there was a time where not many people believed what happened at Wrestlemania 36 was possible. When Drew was released from WWE in 2014 his stock was low. He’d admit it himself. If he continued to just be happy to be a part of the show then that’s all he’d have ever been.
Happy is a major stretch but I don’t think Drew was on the verge of quitting at the time his release came. It might have taken another year or two before he finally broke but the company done the hard bit for him and cut ties. For the first time since he was 20, Drew McIntyre was officially Drew Galloway again and that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. He needed to be Drew Galloway again. For himself and for the people who did still give a shit. He needed to give them reasons to keep believing and he needed to find ways to get the rest on board.
The best wrestlers are able to create a feeling with their work. A feeling that draws the audience in even if that audience hates you. Drew understood that after his release there would be a period he’d be wildly popular, but it wouldn’t be everlasting. People get it. We’ve all got eyes. He’s comfortably six inches taller than every other person in Scotland. He looks like someone made a sculpture of a greek god out of granite and taught it how to decapitate folk with dropkicks. No matter how successful it got for Drew in his time outwith WWE it was always his destiny to go back. How long it would take was entirely up to him.
He knew he needed to work harder. He took on a travel schedule that bordered on insanity when you don’t have a major company setting everything up for you. By his own admittance he had to grow up and learn how to do it all on his own. If he had to be in Glasgow 24 hours after a booking in New York, he’d be in Glasgow ready to go. If he needed to be in Australia 45 minutes after he’s main evented the Citadel in Ayr, yer man would make it down under in time to help the crew set up the ring. He was just everywhere. Somehow. People were invested even if they weren’t fully sure if he was their guy. They wanted to find out.
He became a figurehead for a plethora of companies but the one that mattered most to him was always ICW. The first company he wanted to appear for after his release was ICW. Fuck the 90 days, let’s do it now. The bandwagon all of a sudden was hurtling towards The Barrowlands as Drew looked to dethrone the champion who had reigned supreme for a year. His best pal Jack Jester. He was one of the folk who still cared when times were hard and Drew wasn’t even on TV pre 3MB days. A true friend who saw that Drew just wasn’t the same guy who had left for the WWE. Drew Galloway wasn’t this big surly guy who instantly mistrusted anyone he didn’t know, but Drew McIntyre was. Drew Galloway wasn’t a guy who was settled in his role as comic relief on Monday Night RAW, but for a time Drew McIntyre was. He had to find that guy again and start kicking down doors.
The 3MB stuff wasn’t completely useless. He bonded with Jinder Mahal both in 3MB and when they were both released on the same day. If you’d have told them they’d both win the WWE Title within 6 years they’d have laughed at you. Jinder might have anyway. Drew would have joined him but in the back of his mind he’d have known it was possible. He just had to make it possible. The tools were always there. The other purpose 3MB served was Drew discovering the heid removing scud missile that is the Claymore. 3MBs trouser situation was very leathery and very very shiny, Drew slipped and basically fell into a big single leg dropkick and it looked good so why the fuck not? Fast forward six years and the big man has whole arenas counting down from 3 before he hits it.
That’s what Drew does better than most. He makes people give a shit. When he papped Brock Lesnar out of a Royal Rumble he was dominating it was an announcement that the time for fucking about was over. No more aimless stables. No more “one of the favourites” for the Rumble. No more assumptions that he’d make it to the top one day. It was happening NOW. His first World Title win wouldn’t be on one of the weekly shows, or a wee run of the mill PPV with a mad gimmick. It was happening in front of the biggest crowd wrestling pulls on a yearly basis. 70 odd thousand in a stadium. Millions gripped at home or in the pub. All eyes on the moment Drew slayed The Beast. Then it happened. It all changed. Fuck.
When the whole thing started I think most people assumed Wrestlemania would happen whenever it could happen in front of an audience. It was admirable that WWE were giving it a go and doing the weekly shows in the safest environment they possible could at The Performance Centre but it didn’t seem likely that Wrestlemania 36 would still happen.
While I’m not entirely sure why it actually did go ahead, they done an excellent job making it something that didn’t make the current blanket depression we’re all suffering from feel worse. It often made life feel normal at a time when it…well….isnae. It was occasionally gripping at a time where the only thing you can remember gripping you is the fear. The cinematic stuff was proper escapism and certainly in Taker and AJs case, still very much felt like wrestling. Drew’s moment deserved an audience but more than anything else it just deserved to happen.
If they were going ahead with Wrestlemania 36 in front of an audience of Mojo Rawley, Mojo Rawley if he was in the NFL, Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and JBL then having Brock Lesnar beat Drew would have been the worst climax to a Wrestlemania ever. It just wouldn’t make sense. Brock is at his very best when he’s just beat the guy everyone wanted to win and crowd is sickened by it. With no crowd it could only be Drew. People needed the moment. They needed to feel something that wasn’t deflation.
If you’re Scottish the feeling was nothing but joy when the ref counted three after the last Claymore. The match would have gone a lot longer and would have been a hard hitting work of art if it was in normal circumstances but for the time they had, they managed to tell a story. A guy who was F5’ed out of his loafers in the final throes of the 3MB days managed to take 50 of the fucking things and still kick out.
When Drew re-signed with WWE he returned to a name that had once represented everything he hated about his career. It was attached to unfulfilled potential despite the early success he had with it and he needed to turn those failures into titles. He needed the name to provoke excitement rather than indifference followed by the faint sound of an air guitar. He needed the name to be taken seriously again. Winning the NXT Title was the first step but then an injury robbed him of the best part of a year of this redemption. Lesser folk might have let it get to them.
Waiting all that time to get back to the big time just to see all his momentum derailed must have been crushing. How often have we seen it as wrestling fans over the years when someone who had the world at their feet is never quite the same after an injury when they were heading for the top? Drew wasn’t letting it happen this time. Coming back from an injury is nothing when you’ve come back from the dead. He left a silhouette of that 3MB guy behind him, forgot how to shave, and learned how to boot the utter shite out of folk again.
Brock Lesnar’s role in the whole story should never be understated. Think what you like about Brock, he maybe gives a shit what 4 or 5 people actually employed by WWE think so the idea of him giving a fuck what people on the internet think is hilarious. He comes in for his shift, sells everything thrown at him, leathers folk he doesn’t like, has one of the best talkers of all time do his talking for him, and he goes home to ride Sable as your World Champion.
What he done for Drew at the Royal Rumble was unprecedented. No one who isn’t already a legend in wrestling has got the better of Brock so decisively the first time they properly went toe to toe. It would have been 100% believable if Brock went on to win the whole thing so the fact that Drew crashed the party half way through and booted him clean over the ropes (assist to Richard O’Shea for the wee baw boot beforehand) before staring through him as if he was saying “Ye sure there’s no one worthy of a shot of that title?” was remarkable. A huge moment in an era where not a lot feels so significant.
The whole story from the start was designed to make Drew looked as strong as possible. Brock almost scoffing at the locker room and deciding to win the Royal Rumble when he already had the Title just for the fuck of it was begging for someone to dislodge his jaw. He needed to be put in his place but the fact that the guy who done it had never even had a shot at the WWE Title never mind won it made it special. It was Drew’s arrival at the top table as the expense of one of the most dominant forces to ever step inside a wrestling ring. Whenever Wrestlemania was going to happen the moment was always going to be he is and as much as the official attendance will always be an eerie wee zero, we were all there with the big man in spirit. The World Champion is from Ayr, Scotland and that will never be anything other than a beautiful thing no matter how chaotic the world gets.
Its 18 reasons because there’s 18 matches announced. The reason is the wrestling. These articles tend to do a bit better if you make it a list so here we are. I wanted to review France 2000 as well but I’ve no had time so here is this instead. You should come to the shows. For the various reasons stated below. Continue reading →