Source is from Press Box Online. This article was written by former WWE creative writer Kevin Eck.
If you don’t follow any pro wrestling but WWE, you probably saw the brief reunion of former 3MB teammates Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal on Raw Aug. 1 and wondered where Drew McIntyre — the other ex-member of 3MB — is wrestling these days. The real question is: Where isn’t he wrestling?
Since being released by WWE two years ago, Drew Galloway (he now performs under his real name) has been headlining shows for U.S.-based companies such as TNA (Total Nonstop Action) and EVOLVE as well as promotions in Europe, Mexico and Australia. No longer miscast as a comedic heel or shackled by backstage politics as he was in WWE, Galloway has proved he belongs in the conversation when discussing the best all-around performers in the business today.
Given Galloway’s impressive in-ring ability, size (6-foot-5, 250 pounds) and male model looks, his success should come as no surprise. What is surprising is that someone as talented as Galloway had sunk so low on the card in WWE that he ultimately was wished well in his future endeavors. Galloway didn’t waste any time wallowing in self-pity or bitterness after his run of more than seven years in WWE came to an unceremonious end.
“I was surprised,” Galloway said of his release, “but I literally sat down within the first hour and came up with a mission statement. The mission statement was to show the world the real Drew Galloway, what I can do in the ring and on the microphone.” The 31-year-old native of Ayr, Scotland, was something of a prodigy in pro wrestling. Galloway began training to be a wrestler in England at 15 and became a star in the U.K before being signed by WWE when he was 21.
At 24, he was dubbed “The Chosen One” after WWE Chairman Vince McMahon declared on an episode of “SmackDown” that Galloway was destined to be world champion. Talk about pressure. Galloway never made it past the mid-card. In retrospect, he believes it was a case of too much, too soon for him in WWE. “I wasn’t ready to be that guy at 24 years old, but I’m more than ready to be that guy now at 31 years old with 16 years experience,” he said.
When I joined the WWE creative team in the summer of 2011, Galloway was basically a glorified enhancement performer (someone who lost more matches than he won). I couldn’t believe how underutilized he was, so I began pitching ideas for him in creative meetings, but they were always shot down. I was actually told by one of my bosses to stop pitching for Galloway because I was wasting my time. It turned out Galloway had fallen out of favor with management because he was considered difficult to work with. One WWE producer (a former wrestler who helped choreograph the matches) told me at the time Galloway had undeniable talent but was his own worst enemy.
“Drew always thinks he knows better than everyone else,” he said to me. Having developed a good rapport with Galloway, I was frank with him about how he was perceived. He admitted he often pitched alternative suggestions when the producers had specific ideas for spots in his matches, but in his mind, he was simply offering input. Regardless, he knew perception was reality, and he vowed to show he was neither arrogant nor uncoachable. Galloway gradually began to change the negative opinions of him. In fact, one of his biggest detractors — the aforementioned producer — told Galloway he had noticed a change for the better in him.
Unfortunately for Galloway, some people in high places in WWE were unmoved, and his spot on the card didn’t change. Galloway was given a glimmer of hope in September 2012 when he had the opportunity to work as a babyface for the first time on a WWE TV show. On “Superstars” (WWE’s least-watched program), Galloway had the crowd behind him as he defeated Mahal. The next day, Galloway found out he was indeed going to be repackaged, but not as a butt-kicking hero. Instead, he would be a member of a trio of pseudo rock stars known as 3MB who would serve as comic relief on the shows.
Slater had been doing the gimmick on his own as “The One-Man Band,” and the idea to add a couple members to his act was pitched during a production meeting before a “SmackDown” taping. I suggested two wrestlers who seemed to have the right look and personality for the role. McMahon, however, loves to turn conventional thinking on its ear. He looked at the roster of talent available for that show and decided the Scottish Galloway and Mahal, a turban-wearing wrestler of Indian descent, would join forces with Slater, a West Virginia native with a southern drawl.
I was the one who broke the news to Galloway that day about the new direction for his character. Obviously, being part of a lower-card comedy act wasn’t what he was striving for, but he maintained a positive attitude and fully committed it. 3MB won matches about as frequently as the Washington Generals won basketball games. They even lost three-on-one handicap matches. In one of Galloway’s final appearances with WWE in 2014, he was pinned by a little person dressed up in a bull costume known as El Torito.
When WWE made roster cuts that June, Galloway was on the list. Once the initial shock of his release wore off, Galloway immediately began rebuilding his brand on the independent wrestling circuit. He relished the opportunity to again portray a serious character with a hard-hitting in-ring style. “I’m playing to the dads in the audience,” Galloway said. “The kids are already invested and they believe in it, and hopefully the moms are invested, too. I’m trying to reach the dads who don’t necessarily want to be there and are going, ‘Oh, here we go; it’s fake wrestling. I have to sit through four hours of this.’ “I want them to go, ‘I’m not sure about that wrestling, but when Drew Galloway was out there, he was kicking everybody’s ass. I didn’t see him stomping his feet or slapping his leg, but I did see welts appearing when he hit the guy.'”
Less than two months after being released, Galloway debuted for EVOLVE and won the promotion’s championship in his first post-WWE match. He held it for nearly a year and increased awareness of the title by defending it not only in the U.S., but also in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, Denmark and Australia. In January 2015, Galloway also began working for TNA, a wrestling company out of Nashville, Tenn., that has national and international television deals. “I had no intention of getting back on TV. I just wanted to be out of the spotlight and make my name on the underground,” Galloway said. “But [TNA executive vice president of creative and talent relations] John Gaburick called me and said some really complimentary things. I was very adamant about not being back on television, but his exact words were, ‘Drew, I’m not taking no for an answer.'”