“Drew McIntyre is going to Wrestlemania!”
Michael Cole’s trademark squeals confirmed the news we’d all tuned in to see.
The reaction was immense, the crowd in the stadium roaring. Most of us will remember where we were, and who we were with, whilst watching this year’s Royal Rumble.
Despite bookies placing Roman Reigns as favourite to win (source: Paddy Power), we’d all watched with almost desperate anticipation. We were so invested in McIntyre’s journey: his release from WWE back in 2014 and his sheer grit and determination leading him back again. This was the redemption story that NEEDED to happen.
When the Scotsman eliminated the fearsome reigning champion Brock Lesnar, who for the 25 minutes leading up to McIntyre’s appearance had systematically dispatched 13 superstars with his trademark hubris, it seemed more certain than ever. The excitement was contagious, giddying.
After a nail-biting further 35 minutes, and 6 eliminations in total, the Prodigal Son was pointing at that famous sign. He was on his way to making history, and we had witnessed one of the most entertaining and gripping Royal Rumble matches in a long while.
Despite world events removing the opportunity for us to attend the Hooked On Wrestlemania viewing parties across the UK and share in McIntyre’s main event moment, we all tuned in from home to witness his vindication, his achievement of what he’d set out to do so many years ago.
And the current WWE Champion revealed to me exactly what was going through his mind on that fateful Rumble night.
“Some of you will have seen the movie A Star is Born, where right before Lady Gaga walks on stage to sing the song and she’s thinking to herself ‘right, it’s now or never’,” Drew explained.
“I walked out to the ring and that was like my walking out to the stage moment from A Star is Born. To hear the crowd react the way they did for the elimination of Lesnar, it was completely deafening!
Of course, I had to ask about the infamous viral video of Scottish fans at the Glasgow Hooked On party going absolutely bonkers for his big moment at the Rumble. He remembers the footage fondly.
“Scottish people can be amazingly loud,” Drew said with a smile.
“You don’t see a reaction like that unless it’s like a cup final and somebody scores a winning goal in the very last minute.
“The idea that it was for me winning the Royal Rumble is just incredible to even imagine, never mind it actually happening, so that was very, very special to me.”
Turns out Drew himself was apprehensive about how his Royal Rumble appearence would turn out.
“Knowing that Edge was coming out – and the crowd have turned on people before when they don’t get the winner they want -and he was out right before Roman, right before the end.
“It could have turned the fans, but it didn’t and when I eliminated Roman they reacted just as loud as the Lesnar elimination.
“It meant the world to me. I’m used to being booed in the WWE so its pretty crazy!”
McIntyre will next defend his title at Backlash on Sunday June 14th, against Bobby Lashley.
He made very clear in the interview yesterday, he has no intention of losing the championship he’s worked so hard to earn, stating he’s working on staying the champ “for the next 20 years“.
We’re willing to bet that the cheers at Hooked On’s parties would be just as loud in 2040!