Drew McIntyre is officially out of the WWE Championship picture after 16 months. Ever since he won the Royal Rumble in late January 2020, Drew McIntyre has been involved with the industry's most prestigious prize. Since then, he has held the title for a little over 300 days over two reigns.
There's no doubt that Drew McIntyre was WWE's best and most reliable superstar in 2020. In the pandemic era, where several superstars took long breaks, Drew McIntyre was the star that WWE needed him to be and carried the company for a good part of 2020.
Drew McIntyre lost the WWE title to Randy Orton first before regaining it a few weeks later. On the second occasion, The Miz cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase to capture the WWE Championship from Drew McIntyre.
McIntyre went on to pursue the WWE title against Bobby Lashley, something that finally ended at Hell in a Cell 2021. The main event stipulated that if Drew McIntyre lost, he wouldn't be able to challenge for the WWE Championship as long as Bobby Lashley held the title.
Although the incredible main event had an underwhelming finish, it was the right outcome. Drew McIntyre needs time away from the WWE Championship and it would do him no favors to make fans tired of him right before they return.
Here are a few feuds for Drew McIntyre outside of the WWE Championship:
#5. Keith Lee - A good welcoming-back feud from Drew McIntyre
This seems to be the least-likeliest feud on the list, so we'll start with it. The status of Keith Lee's WWE return is still unknown, as is the reason why he's been away for nearly half a year now.
If he were to return soon, then a babyface vs babyface feud against Drew McIntyre wouldn't be a bad idea. If WWE wants to take their time developing Lee's character, then a heel turn by attacking Drew McIntyre would be a great way to make an impact.
It would be a feud that could elevate both superstars. It doesn't have to be long either. A program culminating at SummerSlam would be a suitable spot for both men. Lee and McIntyre wrestled each other on RAW in early 2021, with the latter retaining the WWE title before getting confronted by Goldberg.
#4. Sheamus - To complete a proper feud with Drew McIntyre
This doesn't have to be an immediate rivalry for Drew McIntyre. Sheamus is doing well with the United States Championship, but Humberto Carrillo hasn't been the most credible challenger. While Ricochet has taken his spot, Drew McIntyre vs Sheamus deserves a proper rivalry.
Earlier this year, Sheamus turned heel by attacking Drew McIntyre. Their rivalry was shortened due to the involvement of Bobby Lashley and the larger WWE Championship picture.
Even the Drew McIntyre vs Sheamus match at Fastlane felt pointless because it wasn't a #1 contender's match. Although Sheamus was on the losing end to both Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley, he looked like he belonged in the top-tier.
Sheamus has improved a lot since returning to RAW in 2020, and his association with Drew McIntyre helped him enjoy one of the best runs he's had in over 8 years. A United States title feud down the line, or even at SummerSlam, would be a great rivalry. Perhaps a midcard title reign could help the United States title as well as Drew McIntyre.
#3. Mustafa Ali - A simple feud to get Drew McIntyre back on track
While Drew McIntyre has been in the WWE title picture for 16 months, Mustafa Ali hasn't been close. The closest that Mustafa Ali got to the WWE title was during WrestleMania season two years ago, where he challenged then-champion Daniel Bryan in a triple threat match also involving Kevin Owens.
Since then, Mustafa Ali hasn't done too much of note. While it seemed like RETRIBUTION would be the storyline and faction that propelled him to the next level, the opposite seemed to be the case.
RETRIBUTION lost momentum quickly with defeat after defeat, and the group eventually disbanded after T-BAR and Mace turned on Mustafa Ali. While a Drew McIntyre-Mustafa Ali seems to be more of a throwaway match on RAW, it doesn't need to be.
It doesn't even need to take place on a pay-per-view. Television feuds are great, and Mustafa Ali could be the right opponent to help get Drew McIntyre back on track as the crowds return to WWE.
#2. AJ Styles - An incomplete feud with Drew McIntyre?
That cash-in turned out to be invalid as The Miz technically didn't cash in the briefcase himself. But the AJ Styles-Drew McIntyre feud seemed to be cut short as The Phenomenal One didn't challenge for the title again after that.
It was rumored at the time that Braun Strowman was going to be Drew McIntyre's TLC opponent, but plans changed after The Monster Among Men got injured. AJ Styles was the perfect TLC opponent for Drew McIntyre and it's a shame that they never got to continue their rivalry after that.
AJ Styles is now one-half of the RAW Tag Team Champions alongside Omos, but there hasn't been much progress there. He's been underutilized despite being a champion, and a return to singles action would suit him. AJ Styles vs Drew McIntyre is a great pay-per-view match waiting to happen.
#1. Jinder Mahal - Another great SummerSlam opponent for Drew McIntyre
Jinder Mahal was rumored to be a potential Drew McIntyre opponent in 2020, but it fell out once The Modern Day Maharaja got injured again. He has been hard on luck since 2019, suffering back-to-back injuries that have kept him out for nearly a year each.
Jinder Mahal finally returned in 2021 with new sidekicks in Veer and Shanky. However, he was quickly removed from RAW programming again with no explanation. There haven't been any rumors of an injury so hopefully, WWE will have something for Jinder Mahal soon.
Both men have expressed interest in facing each other down the road, and SummerSlam would be a good time to go down memory lane. As you may know, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre were former faction members, part of 3MB along with Heath Slater.
A feud in the summer of 2021 would be perfect as Drew McIntyre can gain more momentum as a babyface by challenging Jinder Mahal - a hated heel. It's good timing since crowds are returning soon.