WWE.COM: For many members of the WWE Universe, TakeOver was their first time seeing you in almost three years. During your time away from WWE, you became the busiest man in independent wrestling. How is the Drew McIntyre of 2017 different than the Drew McIntyre of 2014?
McINTYRE: I was 21 years old when I first signed with WWE. I finished my university degree and came straight to America. I grew up in America and became a man in WWE. I went through ups and downs in this business and in life, and when I was released by WWE in 2014, I knew I had a wealth of knowledge and an opportunity.
I've wrestled since I was 15 years old, and it's the one thing that I know I do very well. I knew that I could go around the world and, in this age of social media, allow the fans to come with me on the journey as I rebuilt myself and created a new image, a new reputation.
I put myself out there and people responded. Promoters believed in me and gave me a platform, and then the fans started believing in me. It went from me trying to show the fans what I was all about to growing companies around the world. I got to be the face of so many companies, like EVOLVE and Insane Championship Wrestling in Scotland. I became a reliable franchise player in those companies. That's my legacy worldwide now.
WWE.COM: After that, you're NXT full-time, and you've already stated your intention of winning the NXT Title. Coincidently, you were in the tournament to crown the inaugural NXT Champion in 2012. What stands out to you most about NXT's growth since then?
McINTYRE: I came from [NXT predecessor] Florida Championship Wrestling, so I witnessed the humble beginnings of NXT and watched it grow into the monster it is today. I wrestled Seth Rollins in that first NXT Title Tournament, like you said. I remember that as a fun match. He's a guy I'd definitely want to lock horns with again.
Since then, seeing Triple H's vision come to fruition, going from where [NXT] was then to where it is now, has been incredible. It's a brand I very much wanted to be a part of. I was lucky enough that my work and my fan base had earned me the opportunity to sign pretty much anywhere in the world I desired, but I only had eyes for one place, NXT.
The fact that Hunter contacted me to be part of his passion project means the world to me. It's an honor to become part of something that means so much to him, and I guarantee I am going to give you absolutely everything, and then some more, to do what I've done for every other company in the world: That's to build it to the next level.
WWE.COM: Besides the NXT Champion, Bobby Roode, who do you consider your toughest competition in NXT?
McINTYRE: I'm looking forward to getting in the ring with Aleister Black and with the big Irishman, Killian Dain. Roderick Strong is one, if not my top opponent over the past few years; when we get in there, we don't mess about.
When I look around, I realize NXT is something special already. Hopefully, I can add to it and help grow the product. The way I see it, we have an opportunity to rival Raw and SmackDown, and that's not even where I want to be right now.
A lot of people perceive going to Raw or SmackDown as a step up from NXT. I don't want it to be seen that way anymore. I want NXT to be on the same playing field, if not even higher. I have complete tunnel vision. NXT is going to be the No. 1 brand, and I believe that with our roster, if we work our a**es off, we will get more people talking about NXT than Raw, SmackDown or any other show on the planet.
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