Note: This is a piece I wrote for Champions
NXT Takeover: Orlando, which happened April 1, was an event that shaped the course of NXT. Fans saw NXT champion Bobby Roode, women’s titleholder Asuka and tag team kingpins, the Authors of Pain, retain their championships.
During the events, the NXT Universe noticed a familiar face in the crowd, former WWE Intercontinental champion Drew McIntyre, or as many professional wrestling fans know him, Drew Galloway.
This prompted some speculation as to why McIntyre was at NXT Takeover. Perhaps he was just in the neighborhood to watch some friends compete after competing in the area? Or maybe McIntyre is the newest signee to NXT.
McIntyre confirmed the latter in an interview with ESPN, saying “I’ve won championships all across the world. I’ve helped build brands. So what’s the next logical thing for me to do? It’s to come here and win the NXT title.”
McIntyre’s first WWE run was from 2006-14 that included winning the Intercontinental championship, capturing the WWE tag team titles with Cody Rhodes and forming the “3 Man Band” stable with Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater.
After being released in 2014, McIntyre, going by his legal name Drew Galloway, began a global campaign of capturing championships in promotions, including world championships in TNA/Impact Wrestling, Insane Championship Wrestling and WhatCulture Pro Wrestling.
McIntyre became a free agent after he announced his departure from Impact Wrestling.
I was surprised when I heard McIntyre resigned with WWE, but it makes sense the company would want to bring him to NXT. With the possibility of Shinsuke Nakamura making his Raw or Smackdown Live debut, NXT needs a top level babyface to fill his spot.
McIntyre is on the same level as Nakamura in terms of starpower and he brings that international flavor that fits in with the brand. Although the signing of McIntyre is interesting in that it was a year ago when Roode appeared in the crowd during NXT Takeover: Dallas. A year later, Roode is the current NXT champion and is looking for a new opponent. Fans might see Roode vs. McIntyre headline the next NXT Takeover event.
However, McIntyre could be a good heel and have angles with guys like Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong and Kassius Ohno.
The goal of many wrestlers who go through NXT is to make to the WWE main roster and I’d like to see McIntyre have the opportunity to return to Raw or Smackdown and have his career come full circle. However, I think he could be a great staple in NXT for the next 1-2 years. Him being in NXT also benefits the promotion because he gets to work with younger superstars and share his experience of working in large and small promotions.
So without further adeui, I saw welcome back Drew – or rather welcome to NXT.
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