In Aleister Black and Drew McInyre, the WWE could easily re-create the modern day versions of Goldberg and Triple H.
With Black, it’s quite simple. He has cool music and the fans believe he’s a bad ass. He comes in, he doesn’t sell, he wins quickly and then he leaves.
Black came to the WWE from the indies, working in Europe under the ring name Tommy End, working for promotions like ICW , Progress, Over the Top Wrestling and Rev Pro. He has also worked for various international promotions.
The WWE don’t need to over complicate the formula when Black moves up to the main roster.
They also don’t have to hand him his first loss on NXT, something they have also wisely done with Asuka. It’s easy to forget, NXT is the developmental territory, not where you pay off long term story arcs.
With McIntyre, things are slightly more complicated. This is consistent with McIntyre’s career. McIntyre started his WWE career labelled as the “chosen one” but his push was derailed and his 5 year run ended with his release in 2014. Drew didn’t simply go the indies to kill time before returning to the WWE as a more experienced “good hand.” His years on the independent scene were so successful, insiders coined the phrase, “doing a Drew.” By definition, “doing a Drew” means leaving the WWE and making yourself a significantly bigger and more valuable star than you were whilst at the WWE.
Although the likes of Jinder Mahal have also returned, they did not return anymore valuable than they were at the time of their release. The likes of MVP, Carlito, Sandow, Brodus Clay, Alex Riley and many others have all failed to increase their stock, whilst the likes of John Morrison and Cody Rhodes have been successful indie acts, they have not made the strides that McIntyre made.
McIntyre is now on the cusp of a another hurdle and complicated period in his career, despite winning the NXT Championship last month, an achievement that successfully closed the chapter on the “doing the Drew” part of his career. He is now in a position where some fans will want Adam Cole to end his title run quickly and then move the title onto Alister Black, who many see as a champion in waiting. This is simply due to the type of fanbase that NXT attracts- that being ROH fans who are familiar with the likes of Adam Cole. It would almost make more sense for Drew to play a heel in this scenario, but here’s where it gets complicated. People may respect McIntyre too much to boo him, given his incredible indie run. Despite 50% of fans wanting Bobby Roode to retain the NXT Championship at Takeover Brooklyn III, fans were reluctant to boo McIntye, whilst supporting to Roode.
Drew is very comparable to Roman Reigns. Both are phenomenal workers, especially given their size. However, more significantly, Drew was also once chosen for a monster push, based on his perfect WWE look. But, during a time where a vocal section of fans are pushing for indie their “indie darlings” to be pushed, they often rebel against those seen as perfect WWE prototypes. However, as I previously mentioned, Drew has already earned their respect, therefore, he sits in purgatory, being the perfect WWE guy, whilst being a respected indie worker- something Roman Reigns will never be. Had this been a different time, Drew would be unanimously cheered, loved and supported for his incredible journey back to the WWE. But we are in an era where a vocal minority of fans can be spoilt and over opinionated, and won’t allow WWE to book such a story.
In the next year, McIntyre will need to his true voice, if he’s to push on to next level, where I feel he rightfully belongs.
In order to that, Drew needs to find a character driven beyond fulfilling basic ambition.
Unlike Black, Drew doesn’t have the gimmick of coming in, winning and not saying anything, due to the fact he is the superior worker of the two and more adept at selling and having a good matches.
To move forward, Drew needs to be more than a great worker with a a good comeback story. It’s essential he vocalises what his drives and motivations are, and conveys them to the fans both explicitly and simplistically.
“You like them because they are normal men, like you! You boo me because I’m nothing like you. Because I’m 6’5, I’m handsome, I’m talented, I’m rich and I’m entitled! I’ve the kicked the crap out of your little favourites all over the world. And now I’m going to kick the crap out of them here, but be paid times more for it!”
For me, I see Drew moving forward as a turning heel.
In order to be a great heel, you need solid reasoning to support your actions.
Here are my 3 keys pillars for a McIntyre heel persona.
Angry at the fans- Despite positive responses, Drew expresses anger at the fans for cheering louder for Cole and Black.
This can result in a double-turn during the Adam Cole match, followed by a promo at the next taping. Alternatively he can drop the belt and attack Aleister Black following the loss or after Black is Champion. Turning on the fans takes him out of purgatory. He can also utilise being the perfect WWE guy in his promos to get under the fans’ skin.
You can attack the smaller wrestlers the fans like and say “you like them because they are like you! You boo because I’m nothing like you. Because I’m 6’5, I’m handsome, I’m talented, I’m rich and I’m entitled!”
Here for the money- one of the big difference between the indies and the WWE is the money. Yet, fans will still boo a guy who tells you he wants more money. If McIntyre took the, “titles and wins equal more money” approach added to his dislike for the fans, he would be a heat magnet.
MR WWE- We all know John Cena and Roman Reigns is MR WWE, which is exactly why they were booed. However, Drew won’t have the off-screen commitments of Cena and Reigns, and can therefore, use that to elicit boos as a heel. If Drew is smug about working around the world and being better than everyone in WWE, then actually beating them, the fans will hate it. Especially if the company figureheads, such as Triple H and Stephanie acknowledge the mistake of getting rid of, on TV. But, instead of being bitter, he can simply assume his role as the chosen one and become WWE’s corporate hired gun. Nobody would fit the bill better as the WWE’s tall, handsome, smug, suit wearing champion, better than the 6’5 McIntyre.