For decades, wrestlers hailing from Great Britain have distinguished themselves from their American counterparts due to their hard-striking, shoot-wrestling style, and impressive technical ability. Though men like the British Bulldog, Lord Alfred Hayes, and William Regal never claimed the title of WWE champion, each of them left their own personal, indelible mark on wrestling's history. Today, the WWE boasts three British* wrestlers on the main roster, each with the potential to be a Hall of Fame inductee upon their retirement. Sheamus is already a multiple-time World champion, a man who packs arenas full of children and adults alike, bearing signs depicting their adulation. Wade Barrett, a man who begun his career with much promise, has suffered a variety of setbacks, including injury, but is rumored to be repackaged soon, and due for a push. The third man is one many fans believed would be main-eventing pay-per-views soon after his promotion to the main roster. In 2009, after a repackaging in developmental and a return to Smackdown with an ominous gimmick and an unforgiving mean streak, Drew McIntyre was dubbed "The Chosen One" and a "future world champion" by Mr. McMahon himself. McIntyre looked like a man whose career was set to skyrocket alarmingly fast. Less than four months after he redebuted on the main roster, McIntyre was Intercontinental Champion. A few months after losing the title, in 2010, he was a Tag Team champion with Cody Rhodes. Then, in 2011, suddenly it all came crashing down.
McIntyre went from a man who was endorsed on national television by the CEO of the company, to a jobber on a losing streak who was regulated to dark matches and the occasional showing on Superstars. His personal life was in shambles, as his then-wife Taryn Terrell filed for divorce. Prior the announcement, McIntyre and Terrell were involved in an altercation in a hotel room, which was widely reported by dirt sheets as an incident in which Terrell physically attacked McIntyre and was subsequently arrested. As a result, Terrell was released from her contract and McIntyre was relegated to the far, far back burner.
In the fall of 2012, after over a year of jobbing to men like Brodus Clay and only appearing on Raw to participate in battle royals, McIntyre aligned himself with Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal to form the faction 3MB. Although all three were very different in both wrestling style and personality, they meshed quite well and for awhile were pretty entertaining. At the beginning, 3MB was shown hitting bars in whatever town WWE was in, getting on stage to perform karaoke and presumably partying hard. Their vignettes were fun to watch; this was a side of the usually stoic McIntyre and Mahal that fans had not yet seen. This was WWE's opportunity to not only make McIntyre relevant again, but to gain a bigger fan base for Mahal and Slater. Unfortunately, the opportunity was squandered when it was revealed that though the 3MB gimmick had great potential, they were used mostly as comic relief. Fans who recognized and enjoyed the charisma of the trio tweeted Slater constantly, begging for more 3MB tv time, t-shirts, a tag team title opportunity, a "hit" single, anything.
Even as McIntyre appeared to enjoy himself in 3MB, it was clear that his heart was not involved in his new rockstar gimmick. While 3MB was getting some crowd reaction and McIntyre was seeing more quality TV time than he had in over 12 months, he yearned for his "Chosen One" gimmick. On Twitter he stated that fans ask him "every day" to "bring back the old Drew." He posted a video of his popular old theme, "Broken Dreams," and stated that "you do not want it cause when I get that sick...I love it." He implored fans to tell the WWE and the "bosses on twitter" what they wanted to see.
On September 27th, McIntyre tweeted about the "unique opportunities" that WWE has given him, and wondered what was next. On the September 30th episode of Raw, Mahal and Slater were involved in a tag team match. McIntyre did not accompany them to the ring as he usually did, and no mention was made by the commentators as to his whereabouts. The graphic on the screen said, "Heath Slater; Jinder Mahal: 3MB." The absence of McIntyre was conspicuous particularly because in previous situations, the commentators have informed the television audience as to why McIntyre was unable to be there. Also, unless McIntyre was physically with the faction, Slater and Mahal alone were not labeled as 3MB.
With so many men being repackaged into more successful gimmicks, could this be the opportunity McIntyre has been clamoring for for years? Are we finally about to see the resurgence of the Chosen One? Will the ominous, warning chords of "Broken Dreams" finally ring through arenas again, as McIntyre struts down the ramp, ready to reclaim the career he has desired since he was a child? It seems to be in the cards, since no mention has been made of McIntyre being injured. However, with 3MB hardly on Raw as of late, McIntyre's absence could be due to a number of reasons. With real-life close friend Sheamus on the shelf likely until the Royal Rumble, now is as good a time as any to quietly remove McIntyre from 3MB and reintroduce him as the nasty, bruising Scotsman who snatched titles and smirked arrogantly during his promos. Whether this is what WWE is attempting to do by having Mahal and Slater appear on TV as a tag team is anyone's guess. This year alone we have seen a variety of repackagings, some wildly successful, like Fandango, some already growing stale, like Curtis Axel; perhaps now it's Drew McIntyre's turn. When he came back to TV in 2009, no one would have believed that by 2012 McIntyre would be working mainly dark matches, gaining notoriety as one of the most under-utilized Superstars on the roster. A repackaging is long overdue...the Chosen One needs to return to his throne.
*I use the term "British" here because although Sheamus is Irish, Barrett is English and McIntyre is Scottish, all three of their countries are under the territory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. I have used this term in the interest of not having to remind readers throughout the entire blog of each man's specific place of origin, as that is common knowledge.