WWE Clash at the Castle: Drew McIntyre Needs to Win, CM Punk Screwjob Can Wait

Imagine the heat? No, imagine the pop.

The eyes of the wrestling world are laser-focused on Drew McIntyre this weekend. Come Saturday, McIntyre will walk into WWE Clash at the Castle inside the OVO Hydro, his home country of Scotland's cherished coliseum, to challenge Damian Priest for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. McIntyre's moment on the marquee echoes parallels to the inaugural WWE Clash at the Castle from 2022 when he challenged Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns in front of 62,000 members of his home kingdom. While dethroning Reigns at the time felt premature, the buzz in Principality Stadium changed the tune.

WWE Fails Drew McIntyre in 2022

(Photo: WWE)

Beyond that, WWE had an out. Creative pitches leading up to WWE Clash at the Castle 2022 had then-Mr. Money in the Bank Austin Theory cashing in his contract mid-match but with a twist: per the stipulation of the briefcase, Theory could only use it for one title. This leads to McIntyre vs. Reigns becomes a triple threat with Theory, but now just the WWE Championship is on the line. McIntyre pins Theory to win the WWE Title, securing his crowning moment all the while the still-unpinned Reigns's WWE Universal Title reign continues unharmed.

None of that happened. Instead, Theory's Money in the Bank cash-in attempt was thwarted by boxing champion Tyson Fury, and a debuting Solo Sikoa cost McIntyre the match. To make matters stranger, a defeated McIntyre closed the premium live event by singing "American Pie" alongside Fury, a move that McIntyre himself has called "the worst moment of my life."

The Stars Are Properly Aligned in 2024

(Photo: WWE)

One of the most drastic differences in the booking styles of Vince McMahon and Triple H comes down to how they execute payoffs. The McMahon regime cared about individual moments regardless of whether they made narrative sense or even felt earned. Triple H has proven himself to be a long-term booker, waiting with bated breath until the stars are perfectly aligned to strike. This was especially evident with the coronation of Cody Rhodes, as delaying the American Nightmare's WWE Championship victory one year led to his popularity skyrocketing and a WWE WrestleMania moment that will be cover art on future history books.

There was buzz for McIntyre in 2022, but the stars were not perfectly aligned. Leading up to that year's WWE Clash at the Castle, McIntyre hovered in and around the midcard, winning feuds against Madcap Moss and Baron Corbin. McIntyre getting the main event title shot at WWE Clash at the Castle 2022 felt like it was mostly due to him being a hometown boy.

The same cannot be said for 2024. Since embracing this justified villain persona last year, McIntyre has been on the run of his career. His real-life animosity towards CM Punk coupled with inadvertently injuring him at WWE Royal Rumble turned out to be a massive blessing in disguise for McIntyre, as that situation has sparked into WWE's hottest feud

Punk and McIntyre's bad blood is also the foundation for his WWE Clash at the Castle title shot. McIntyre defeated Seth Rollins at WWE WrestleMania 40 to win the WWE World Heavyweight Title, but post-match gloating towards a ringside Punk led to Punk attacking McIntyre and leaving him prone to be cashed in on by Damian Priest. The following night on WWE Monday Night Raw, Punk interfered in a No.1 Contender's Match, ensuring that McIntyre would not get the first crack at Priest. McIntyre missed WWE Backlash because of that and was shelved with a minor injury when WWE King and Queen of the Ring came around. WWE Clash at the Castle represents the first time since WWE WrestleMania 40 in April that everything is working in McIntyre's favor.

Imagine The Heat Imagine The POP

(Photo: WWE)

Despite all of those aforementioned factors, McIntyre vs. Priest is still a toss up due to one thing: the CM Punk variable. Since it was confirmed that McIntyre would be headlining this premium live event in his home country, fans have salivated at the idea of Punk costing him once again and generating downright hostile levels of heat in the process.

But why opt to create a chorus of boos when you could create an equally-loud symphony of cheers?

McIntyre's moment has been delayed for four years now. His coronation at WWE WrestleMania 36 came in front of an empty arena. His second shot at WWE WrestleMania 37 ended in a loss. His opportunity at WWE Clash at the Castle 2022 concluded with a whimper. His victory at WWE WrestleMania 40 lasted five minutes. All of those moments leaving something to be desired need to be because the best is yet to come, and you will not get a better scenario than a sold-out arena of McIntyre's true home countrymen.

Sure, get Punk involved, but remember, he will be a heel in Scotland. Have him embrace that by making him get overzealous with his interference tactics that he ends up costing Priest instead. McIntyre gets his crowning moment, and when he returns to the states, Punk can claim that he himself is the only reason McIntyre is champion, consequently laying the foundation for a hopeful contest between the two at WWE SummerSlam.

WWE gets an opportunity like this once per year. They didn't strike with McIntyre in Wales in 2022. They didn't strike with Sami Zayn in Montreal in 2023. When Scotland in 2024 rolls around, the iron will never be hotter.

WWE Clash at the Castle goes down this Saturday, June 15th at 2 PM ET.