On this week’s episode of E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness, Edge and Christian welcomed Drew McIntyre. Prior to his arrival on the show, the two discussed Drew’s departure and ultimate return to WWE, and compared it to their own experiences.
“It was a combination of different things, why that happened. One of them was being burned out, being tired. My body was beat up. I’d been on the road since I was 24. I think I was, like, 31, at the time when I left. Also, it just kind of felt like I was stuck in a rut and my situation wasn’t going to change if I stayed there. It was going to be like ‘we know what we got with him. He’s there, he’s doing his thing, he’s good. When something comes, we’ll figure it out.’ But that time never came for me. We’ve talked about it many times before. You have to bet on yourself sometimes. My contract came up and I decided it was going to be better, beneficial for me both personally and professionally to step away for a little while and come back and hopefully be seen in a different light when the time is right to come back. For me, it worked out, because I went away for three years, came back, and I feel like the second part of my singles career in WWE was much better than the first.
In that first run, I had this TV program I was doing with Cena and I was starting to get these crazy reactions and nothing happened from there. I still didn’t seem to move up. We had one match, turned into a triple threat with Jericho on the PPV and kinda got shuffled around after that. To me, it was like ‘well, if I’m getting those reactions and getting put in that spot and it’s still not happening, I have to do something to change my situation,’ and that’s when I decided to… when my contract was up, I was probably going to step away for a little while.”
“It’s interesting. You get put in a partially main event slot, the reactions are there, and the trigger doesn’t get pulled. Yeah, you do. You have to sit back and go ‘ok, what can I do to change this situation?’ Sometimes taking a break, going somewhere else and almost, for both parties, absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
“Right. And also prove that you can do that. Even if it’s on a smaller stage, that you can carry a show. A main event type match. You can get some buzz about you. You can step up your promos. Almost even branch out a little bit to kinda being your own character, in a way. There’s not as many parameters on the things that you can say and do. Sometimes that helps people develop as well. They can kinda find themselves and what works for them a little bit easier in that sense too and I found that when I walked away as well.”
“Interesting little tidbit here, that I don’t even know how much you know if you even know at all, to be honest. I don’t recall talking to you about it. I don’t know how word gets out on contracts being up and things like that, but there was one point where my contract was coming up and TNA reached out to me, and you were there. So they reached out to me and they told me numbers and schedule and all of these things and, for me, at that point, schedule was the thing like “well, that’d be a whole lot easier on the body.’ Because I’d just get pretty beat up. Its like you said, I started with WWE in ’97. At that point it was like 2008 or 2009, I can’t even remember. It’s a long time. Now there were breaks because of injuries, but that was my body saying ‘take a break dude,’ and I never did until something broke.”
That, and the idea that (Christian) was there, and the opponents. If I went there, there’s Joe, there’s A.J., there’s a lot of fresh things to do, but for whatever reason, from day one WWE felt like my home. It felt like the place that I always wanted to get to. I did those two TV matches in WCW against Kevin Sullivan and Meng. Within five minutes of walking into that locker room I was like ‘I don’t want to be here, I could tell this is not the place for me.’ The dream was still WWF and getting there, and finally seeing the inner workings and then working into a position where I was one of the main event guys and I was factored in, it just felt like they did put that faith in me. They did pull the trigger with me for whatever reason and I felt like I couldn’t look that gift horse in the mouth. Sure there was work involved, but ‘I gotta stick it out here, I gotta stay here. I don’t want my career to be anywhere else.’ But for you, I do believe that was definitely the right thing to do.”
“Don’t get me wrong, like how you’re saying WWE felt like home to you. It was home to me as well, and it crushed me to leave, it really did. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Saying goodbye on my last night there, tears in your eyes, you’re crying because you don’t know when you’re going to see your friends again. These are all people that become your family when you’re on the road and spending so much time with them. In a sense, you’re leaving your family for something that’s unknown.”
Transcription by Jeff Rush
Also, check out a full written recap of E&C Pod of Awesomeness with Drew McIntyre.