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The rollercoaster career of Drew McIntyre is one of the most inspirational stories in wrestling history.
Thrust into the WWE spotlight at only the age of 22, McIntyre had to grow up quickly, and after being released from the company even after he was christened “The Chosen One,” he reinvented himself on the independent wrestling scene for the next few years, only to return to WWE bigger and better than ever. After collecting multiple titles and victories over the biggest names in WWE history, it’s obvious that McIntryre’s journey it’s the classic story of overcoming adversity — and one can only imagine how the wrestling world would be different if more Superstars followed the Scotsman’s path.
With Extreme Rules just around the corner, Drew McIntyre has another huge challenge on his plate: A Strap Match with Karrion Kross will have huge future title implications for the winner, so it’s safe to say that McIntyre is hyper-focused on doing whatever he can to pick up the victory in Philadelphia.
Ever hear the phrase, “You can’t do it alone”?
In every walk of life — wrestling or otherwise — you’re bound to encounter mentors that guide the way and help solidify your journey. Drew McIntyre is no different.
During an appearance on the Sept. 28 edition of the Hollywood Raw podcast, McIntyre revealed that a certain WWE Hall of Famer was a critical influence on his early days in professional wrestling. Believe it or not, the Undertaker himself was crucial in the development of the future WWE Champion.
McIntyre recalled that the Undertaker was “assigned” to him, presumably to show him the ropes (no pun intended) of being a WWE Superstar:
“He was awesome. He was put in charge of me — probably against his will — when I was about 23. That was about the time where I think that the powers that be realized that the older generation were starting to retire and they had to start pushing some youth to the front … and it became the youth movement. Sheamus and I were kind of the first two people they took as the kind of projects of, ‘We have to start building for the future,’ with Sheamus on Raw and myself on SmackDown. And Sheamus was put under the Triple H learning tree. And I was going to the Undertaker learning tree and Vince [McMahon] said, ‘You don’t listen to anybody but the Undertaker.”
We have to admit, if we were a WWE rookie looking to start off on the right foot, learning under the Undertaker — or Triple H, in Sheamus’ case — is something we’d sign up for in a heartbeat.
One of the most important lessons that McIntyre learned from the Undertaker was the importance of taking care of your body; the demands of a WWE Superstar go beyond just staying in prime physical shape. The toll of running the ropes and hitting the mat night after night eventually adds up, and the Undertaker showed that sometimes you have to tell your body to just keep going — even if it doesn’t want to.
“I would see [Undertaker] literally unable to walk at times, trying to put himself together in the training room. And this is non-televised shows. Like, I remember a specific one in Mexico City where I was like, 'He can’t wrestle tonight … somebody stop him, don’t let him go and do this show. He can barely walk,'” McIntyre revealed.
Granted, the Undertaker’s WWE injury history is long and storied. Decades performing at the highest level means that eventually the nagging injuries start adding up. But clearly, McIntyre used the Undertaker’s injuries not as warning signs, but as inspiration. After all, the Undertaker always rose to the challenge when the moment called. McIntyre went on to recall actually being dazzled after he initially expressed concern for the Dead Man’s health:
“And then I saw him do his entrance — which is always a bit slow. But all of a sudden, he’s flying around the ring like a Mexican luchador. And I went, how is this possible? I literally watched this man unable to walk backstage,and now he’s hitting the ropes faster than anybody in the entire WWE, doing his diving clothesline, hitting all his signature moves, having the time of his life. And he came backstage and he seemed fine — until that adrenaline goes down — and then it was back to the physical problems again.”
That was the moment when McIntyre realized the importance of taking his opportunity in WWE so seriously.
“That’s somebody that truly loves this industry so much. He’s willing to give everything, including his body to it,” McIntyre said.
So there you have it. Drew McIntyre learned from one of the best of all time. And in 2022, the Undertaker’s influence has paid dividends: In the annals of WWE history, McIntyre’s legacy is arguably right up there with the man who mentored him.
Oh, and just because the Undertaker was the de facto mentor to McIntyre over 12 years ago, that didn’t mean he went easy on him when they met inside the ring. On an episode of SmackDown in May 2010, the Dead Man steamrolled over McIntyre so quickly that it almost seemed like the Undertaker didn’t want to be his mentor at all!
Luckily, Drew McIntyre’s career (eventually) rebounded quite nicely, and he’s now firmly in the upper echelon of WWE Superstars — always just a win or two away from championship contention. We can’t wait to see how his epic Strap Match against Karrion Kross turns out next weekend at Extreme Rules!
Somewhere, we’re hoping the Undertaker will be watching that match too to check up on his former one-time protege.
You can catch up on all things WWE Universe on Peacock.
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