With the recent release of 2K’s new WWE game Battlegrounds, gamers and wrestling fans alike will get to play as their favourite grappler in an all-out spectacular experience.
This year, however, is also when the WWE Championship is held by a bloke hailing from Ayrshire who went to America to chase his dream of becoming a pro wrestler.
Drew McIntyre made his WWE debut at age 21 and was dubbed “The Chosen One” by owner Vince McMahon. He is now WWE Champion after defeating Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 36 and is one of many characters you can play with in the new game.
Here, he tells us all about the new game and his battle to be a wrestler…
Have you played the game?
I have played it and was excited to explore it. The biggest thing I found was how much you could do within the game. Unfortunately, the only games I play now are Fifa and WWE games. This one reminds me of being in an arcade as a boy with my brother, playing the old wrestling games, so much fun.
What else impressed you while playing?
Being able to compete in an arena that’s in Scotland within the game was good but the story mode was excellent. Having Paul Heyman and Stone Cold Steve Austin as your mentors trying to help you win contracts was great.
Did you have any artistic input to your character?
No, we don’t really find out anything until it comes out. There’s obviously so much stuff going on that I just see the advert and I need to have a look and see if I’m in this one and what I look like in it. I’m still a big kid at heart and anytime I see myself in wrestling stuff I get excited. I’m glad in this game it looks like me, mad wee arcade Drew, jacked and tanned.. perfect.
Growing up, you watched Hulk Hogan, Macho Man and Undertaker etc. How does a guy from Ayrshire become WWE Champion?
There were a lot of ups and downs. I was told I was mad when I was younger because I wanted to be a wrestler. People were playing football and other stuff.
At 15 I finally convinced my mum to let me go to wrestling school but the closest one was Portsmouth, 12 hours from Ayrshire and it was a 24-hour round trip every time I managed to save enough money to go. I started wrestling in my spare time when the company in Scotland opened and went all through school and university, where I got my degree in criminology, but the whole time my part-time job and summer job was wrestling.
Fast forward and I was signed by the WWE at age 21 and Vince told everyone I would be the future of the company, then it all went to hell. I was fired, with a lot of stuff going on in the background, and in my personal life.
I looked in the mirror and said to myself, ‘this is on you, you now have to work your a**e off from this day forward and be completely accountable and only answer to the person in the mirror’.
Then, in 2014, I worked as hard as I could to raise my profile all across the world and managed to sign to WWE three years later.
Now here I am, the first British and first Scottish WWE champion in history.
It must be so different now with empty arenas?
It was strange having no fans there but now with the Thunderdome it’s everything you’d expect from the WWE – smoke, lasers, special entrances, my entrance is awesome. Having virtual fans on the screens is the big difference, it creates an atmosphere again, with live feedback where you can hear their reactions.
Thinking of the game, who would be your dream tag team partner and your dream opponents?
Well, I might have beat him at Wrestlemania in five minutes but Brock Lesnar would be good, he’s the most bad guy I’ve met. He’s the type of guy who just tries UFC and becomes champion twice, then tries wrestling and wins that as well. It would be good to have him on my team for a change. We would batter anyone, wouldn’t matter from when or where – we would beat them all, just line them up.