Life is good for the WWE Champion Drew McIntyre these days, and he is looking to extend his Championship reign at Backlash this Sunday, where he'll take on the always lethal Bobby Lashley. Part of what has made McIntyre such a great Champion is all the obstacles and hurdles he's overcome on the way to Championship gold, and McIntyre isn't letting Lashley get in his way. ComicBook.com had the chance to speak to McIntyre all about his match with Lashley (including that dismantling McIntyre dished out on Twitter), but during our conversation, we also talked about how he's changed since coming back to the company, surprises since becoming Champion, and possibly naming his next cat Stone Cold, which not going to lie, we really want to happen now.
The first task at hand though is dealing with Lashley at Backlash, and while McIntyre plans on running through him at the pay-per-view, he does seem some similarities between the two when we asked what was possibly holding him back.
"I can't exactly say what was holding him back," McIntyre said. "We're both in very similar positions. We were with the company, we left the company, had success with the company and returned. We were actually in a group last year and we were successful, but not main event successful like we saw ourselves and like a lot of other people did. Sometimes the puzzle pieces just have to fall into place before you make that step into the main event scene. For me personally, it was showing my real personality, telling my real story, and not being so angry all the time. I was so angry for two years. Once I loosened up and started having a laugh, things just started working out for me. The fans started getting behind me."
McIntyre has let more of his personality show over the past year, and he thinks Lashley would benefit from doing the same, though he also doesn't think the love triangle storylines do him any favors, and if let loose is easily one of the most dangerous stars in WWE.
"For Lashley, I don't think the whole love triangle, soap opera stuff was really him,' McIntyre said. "At WWE, we've got something for everybody. We do have some out of the box storylines and that does belong on the show. We are a variety show, but I believe Bobby Lashley should be what he is, and that's a killer, plain and simple. If you've seen his MMA record it's pretty stellar. He's legitimately one of the most dangerous superstars in WWE. Sometimes he might get a little critique for his performances on the microphone, but that's not what his concern is. That's not what his talent is. His talent is doing damage in that ring. He now works side by side with MVP who happens to be one of the most talented talkers in WWE, but also a former superstar, a big guy. So I'm not just against Lashley this Sunday, I'm also against MVP. It's essentially two on one."
McIntyre has shown that he doesn't just have to be the self-described "angry man all the time", and he's enjoying not only showing the other sides of his personality but also being more open about what he's overcome in his career.
"I get to open up and be the real me, and I am goofy, I'm silly, I am sarcastic, but when that bell rings, everybody knows I kick butt, and I've got a story that is relatable with overcoming so much," McIntyre said. "It makes such a difference for me that I don't have to think anymore. I just do. I'm not playing a part. I am the part."
That's extended to McIntyre's work on social media, which has become an important element of storylines in WWE in general, and for McIntyre that meant utterly destroying Lashley on Twitter. If you didn't see it, you should check that out, and it's a lesson to those who think they can hang with him on Twitter.
"If you look at my social media in the past, it would be very rare that I would say anything aside from 'check out that television show this week. Check out the pay-per-view this week.' Now, if anyone comes at me, it's a big mistake, because I don't just kick butt in the ring, I kick butt on Twitter too, and poor Lashley," McIntyre said. "I absolutely destroyed him to the point that I had to tell him, quit while you're behind. I don't want to destroy you before the pay-per-view. You don't even show up on Twitter. Just quit, you're not going to win this battle. You have more of a chance in the ring at Backlash than you do on Twitter. Let MVP do your tweeting for you like he does you're talking for you."
If you happen to have taken a look at his Twitter account recently he will have noticed that the McIntyre family recently revealed a new addition to the household, an adorable cat named Piper. We had to ask if that was a reference or homage to Rowdy Roddy Piper, and it turns out it kind of was, but on the down-low.
"It is not a direct reference to Rowdy Roddy Piper. My wife is the big animal lover and specifically cats because they're often neglected and one of the most abused animals," McIntyre said. "This one specifically got left behind by a family and was out on the street. We heard her calls and a neighbor had been feeding her for four months and we took her in. My wife was trying to think of a name because she'd been living outdoors and she'd been able to survive out there on her own this whole time. One of the names was Piper, and then I was 'well, I like the name Piper', just in the back of my head, I knew what I was doing. I'm keeping my voice down, thinking she's going to figure it out. She's not the biggest wrestling fan, so she doesn't know. Finally, we whittled down the list and she went for Piper and I was like, 'Yes', because in my head I was like yeah that's a little tribute to Roddy Piper as well."
Piper joins a family that also has a cat named Hunter, and yeah, we don't blame you for thinking of Triple H either. McIntyre is aware of how it looks, and that's why friends have brought up the possibility of a Stone Cold Steve Austin cat. It might be a joke, but if you just got a visual on a cat delivering a Stone Cold Stunner, you probably want it to happen.
"I also had a cat called Hunter, which I've said, I don't know if that's a good idea," McIntyre said. "She picked the name. He's part Maine Coon and they are known for their hunting and intelligence. She was like, 'I really love that name' and I was like 'I hear that name and it makes me think of Triple H. That's weird. It seems like I'm naming them after them as well, which is even weirder.' She was like, 'No, I love the name', and now it's to the point where whenever I hear someone say 'Hunter said this', instantly my initial thought is like my cat. No, obviously you're not talking about my cat. What a ridiculous thing to say or think. I have a Hunter and a Piper in the house, and I get ripped by some of my buddies. They're like, 'What are you going to call your next cat, Stone Cold Steve Austin.' Yeah, right, very funny."
When McIntyre isn't rescuing cats, he's busy with all the responsibilities that come with being WWE Champion. While he knew what he was getting into with becoming Champ, the experience has been eye-opening from a scale perspective, and if there's one thing McIntyre wants fans to know, it's how many people work long and hard to bring this one of a kind business to life.
"Everyone knows how big WWE is, and I know how big WWE is, but to find out how much it takes to keep the machine going, how many different departments there are, and I'm trying to be more hands-on than a lot of superstars in the past and learn more about the company and the inner workings of the company," McIntyre said. "I'm just amazed at how many people it takes to make this thing happen, to keep WWE going."
This is also why he understands the title of WWE superstars instead of professional wrestlers. "I know a lot of people get annoyed when they hear the term superstars, as opposed to professional wrestler, but I understand why Mr. McMahon prefers it that way," McIntyre said. "Outside of the company, I was a very successful wrestler, both in what I did in the ring and what I did on social media, but the fact that we have this team around us that creates these larger than life images for us, that's not just a wrestler. No, we are superstars, and there's the team that makes us superstars, and that's the big, big difference I've found when it comes to being Champion is finding out how many people help make this thing work."
McIntyre will defend his WWE Championship this Sunday on Backlash, which airs on the WWE Network at 7 EST.
Be sure to watch for more from our interview with McIntyre right here on ComicBook.com, and you can always find me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB for all things WWE!0comments