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Drew McIntyre Addresses Rumors Surrounding His Extended WWE Absence

The Scottish Warrior, Drew McIntyre clears the air ahead of his Intercontinental Title match at SummerSlam!

By Chris Phelan
Drew Mcintyre stands on the top of the ropes

An Intercontinental Championship showdown is set for August 5 in Detroit – but it seems like the WWE Universe is more concerned with where Drew McIntyre has been rather than where he's going!

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After shockingly returning to WWE at Money in the Bank, McIntyre picked up where he left off at the beginning of April: attempting to wrest the Intercontinental Title away from the most dominant champion it has seen in decades: Gunther. After the July 24 episode of Monday Night RAW, their match at SummerSlam became official. As a result, The Biggest Party of the Summer got even bigger.

Ahead of the monumental clash at SummerSlam, TMZ Sports spent time with McIntyre, speaking to him extensively about all things WWE. It's clear that he is looking forward to meeting Gunther in the ring again, but interestingly, the Scottish Warrior touched upon his lengthy absence from WWE that covered most of 2023 thus far. In true McIntyre fashion, he didn't hold anything back. 

Where Was Drew McIntyre For Most of 2023?

Drew Mcintyre stand sin the corner of the ring ready to fight

There's nothing wrong with recharging your batteries – especially when you are in an industry as physically demanding as WWE. But it doesn't matter if you're a larger-than-life Superstar like he is or a relative unknown who is trying to break into the wrestling business; your body will always appreciate a break. The ex-WWE Champion expressed relief that his absence gave him time to reassess things.

RELATED: WWE Money in the Bank Winners Relive Their Best Moments, Reunite With Briefcases

"You're inside the bubble – we're 52 weeks per year," McIntyre revealed. "You go, go, go, and sometimes you can lose that perspective. And the last time I really had a hard look at myself outside the bubble was in 2014 when I got fired by WWE. So this time – I didn't have to get fired, thank goodness – I had some time off and I was able to sit down, reassess things, think about what I want to achieve within the industry and as a person, and return with that mindset and come right into a huge match and I'm very excited."

However, McIntyre clarified that he did take the time to let nagging injuries heal up – his demanding schedule that peaked with his absolutely brutal Triple Threat match against Gunther and Sheamus at WrestleMania made it impossible to heal without taking an extended absence.

"I did have to get some things fixed physically," he admitted. "Unlike injuries I've had in the past, there was no rehab involved. So I was actually able to enjoy my time at home, work on some outside projects, spend time with the Mrs. and the cat – and take a step outside of the bubble and kind of get perspective again."

Whenever a Superstar takes an extended leave of absence from active competition, the rumor mills start working overdrive. Until his unexpected return at Money in the Bank, the internet was ablaze with various theories. The WWE Universe didn't know anything about the reasoning behind McIntyre's disappearance. Hence, they naturally did what wrestling fans do best: They jumped to conclusions.

Was Drew McIntyre Close to Leaving WWE?

Almost overnight, nearly every fan had an opinion on why Drew McIntyre wasn't on WWE television. Some theorized he was upset with his creative direction in the company, while others assumed he was taking time off due to injury. Others proclaimed he had quit WWE and actively solicited other wrestling companies' offers. His WWE obituary was prematurely written by many in the WWE Universe.

McIntyre doesn't live under a rock – he admits to hearing the rumors and the speculation, even going as far as saying some of them may have been true.

"It was cool getting the break," McIntyre confessed. "There were a lot of rumors and headlines on the internet when I was out, probably like 50 different things. It was amazing all the stories about me out there. When you're not on TV, people talk, and you know, there might have been some smoke to some fire with a few of them, but it was nice [being talked about]."

Where there's smoke, there's fire – and it seems like Drew McIntyre is content to do anything but extinguish those flames. No matter what his future in professional wrestling is, he's focusing on the task at hand: At SummerSlam, he will meet Gunther in a highly-anticipated bout for the Intercontinental Championship.

Even if he has plans to explore other options after his WWE contract ends, it will be harder to leave with the Intercontinental Title wrapped around his waist. 

You can tune in to Peacock to watch WWE's SummerSlam on August 5. In the meantime, catch up on all things WWE Universe on Peacock as well.

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