WWE: Drew McIntyre hails rise of British independent wrestling as rising talent is knocking on the door

Exclusive: Arguably Britain’s biggest name currently in the business, Drew McIntyre speaks to The Independent about why UK interests are in rude health in and out of the WWE

Matty Paddock@MattyPaddock
Tuesday 07 May 2019 12:12
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Drew McIntyre believes the British talent pushing into the WWE is a result of the UK's independent scene
Drew McIntyre believes the British talent pushing into the WWE is a result of the UK's independent scene

Drew McIntyre, one of British wrestling's biggest exports, insists there will be no let-up in the influx of talent from the UK going on to make it big.

The towering 33-year-old powerhouse, from Ayr, is currently flying the flag for the Brits in WWE.

He wrestles on their Monday Night Raw programme as a brooding villain, who is set to join his fellow stars on tour in the UK next week.

But while McIntyre is arguably the biggest British name on the scene at present, he's far from alone.

One of the company's feeder divisions, NXT UK, is packed full of youthful stars who look set to make themselves at home in the higher echelons of sports entertainment in years to come.

It all comes, McIntyre feels, on the back of not only WWE's investment and expansion into a more localised market on this side of the pond, but also as a result of a surge on the British independent scene, too.

That's a scene in which McIntyre, a former Intercontinental champion, cut his teeth before being signed to WWE - and then reinvented himself after being released by the company years later.

He's uniquely placed, then, to understand that, while the likes of Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate and Zack Gibson are among those wowing crowds under the WWE umbrella, there are many, many others on their way.

The Independent spoke exclusively to the relative veteran, who said of the rise in British talent making it overseas: "It's only going to get bigger. It is incredible, the difference these days to when I first started.

"When I first started, there was no British wrestling scene, it had basically died off and there were just one or two places running at the time.

McIntyre is arguably the WWE’s biggest British name currently in the business

"The Frontier Wrestling Alliance was the main company and that's where I'd trained - I used to have to travel twelve hours to get there.

"We started the Scottish wrestling scene at the time and then a few places started opening up in England.

"I went away from it for about nine years with WWE and returned to see the scene had exploded; and not just because we had a lot of companies, but the talent had got to an incredible level.

"As I was travelling the world, I'd started noticing more British wrestlers travelling the world with me.

"Now, to see WWE become part of the UK scene and taking it to the next level, we're going to see a whole bunch more of British talent coming in."

It was evident McIntyre knows plenty about who and what is bubbling under the surface, but he was coy about naming names or highlighting individuals for praise.

Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate have shown what British talent can do in the WWE

He did, however, admit that Bate and Dunne have set the standard for the new generation of Brits in WWE.

The pair battled in the Match of the Year in 2017, wowing a capacity crowd in Chicago and millions watching worldwide as Dunne downed good friend Bate to clinch the company's UK Championship - a title he's only recently gone on to lose.

"I don't like singling anybody out because there's such an incredible amount of talent," added McIntyre, who wrestles in the Money in the Bank ladder match latest this month.

"You just never know who is going to break through. Obviously Tyler and Pete are a couple who've proved themselves on the biggest stages, and I remember the Takeover where they had that crazy match.

McIntyre is confident that more British talent will make it into the WWE

"That really put British wrestling on the map, and I remember watching from the backstage area, being blown away by the match the two lads put on.

"They knock it out of the park every time, and obviously Moustache Mountain and the Undisputed Era have had just the craziest tag matches.

"Those two certainly have a very bright future - but there are a lot of people I've travelled with who haven't had that opportunity yet, but will get it, because we have such an incredible amount coming through."

Drew McIntyre and a host of your favourite WWE Superstars will touring the UK on 8-17 May, Visit Ticketmaster and get your tickets for a show near you.

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