Drew McIntyre repeatedly stated in interviews leading up to SummerSlam that he wanted to step up his game and deliver a classic match when he defended the WWE Championship against Randy Orton. And when the two finally met, that's exactly what happened. Fans praised the 20-minute bloody battle between the two, which ended with McIntyre getting a surprise win with a backslide after countering one of Orton's numerous RKO attempts. McIntyre spoke with ComicBook on Monday afternoon to reflect on the match from the night before, as well as discuss the possibility for a rematch this coming Sunday at the Payback pay-per-view.
"There was a big buzz around the whole situation and I personally felt like, 'If I'm able to win this one, it really cements me as the top of the card, especially beating Randy Orton at the level he's at right now.' And with all the buzz around it, I feel like we probably didn't have to do too much it'd still feel like a big deal, just because of the build and the nature of the situation," McIntyre said.
"But we went all out in there," he continued. "There was no holding back. This is a different Randy Orton, he's going to go all out the promos, he's going all out in the ring. Randy Orton has never been thrown around like that very many times, but he's not brought that kind of physicality too many times, I think, either. He busted me open all over the place, he busted himself open, headbutted me, we're both bleeding, we're both sore. But I think it delivered not just the match quality wise, that people really enjoyed and were proud of, but the story is the biggest thing. As far as he's concerned, as far as I'm concerned, it's about that story, and I'm really proud of the story we told, even if we beat the crap out of each other."
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Sunday marked the first time McIntyre, along with a sizable chunk of the roster, got to wrestle in WWE's new ThunderDome setup. McIntyre said it felt like the atmosphere of a live crowd was finally back, even if WWE was only able to bring fans in virtually.
"[With] ThunderDome, such a difference. It's incredible. Even being in just an arena again gives you that different feeling, like, 'Okay, this is like we're back, even though it's not like it was,'" McIntyre said. "It's a new kind of normal right now, it's so cool being in the arena and then going out there, and just seeing everyone virtually, seeing the fans again and to see their faces, even if it is virtually.
"And the fact that it's not just like the way it was, there's so many more effects going on," he continued. "There's all these special entrances where basically everybody with a small pyro, and fire during mine. And I could see the drones flying overhead, and when I'm watching the screen, all the cool 3D graphics and stuff. And it is such a cool visual experience and that's what we've been missing. I think that's what people have come to expect of WWE, but most important, that atmosphere is back."
WWE has already announced McIntyre will open this week's edition of Monday Night Raw, and many fans expect Orton will have something to say about the way their match suddenly ended.
"Well, if Randy wants to get beaten up again, and bleed even more, if you think the physicality was bad in the first one, you have to take it to the next level in another one," he said. "So I guess we'll soon find out. I guess getting beat with a backslide that he 'didn't see coming,' like the show said. He's probably not going to let that lie, I can't imagine."
Monday Night Raw starts at 8 p.m. ET on Monday on the USA Network.