This past Sunday at Hell in a Cell, Drew McIntyre lost the WWE Championship to Randy Orton. The Viper nailed the Scottish Psychopath with a ring-shattering RKO to win his 14th World Championship. The brutal encounter saw McIntyre fall off the top of the cell and crash onto the announce table. The two rivals fought at ringside, on the entrance ramp, and atop the cell.
The match marked the end of Drew McIntyre's WWE Championship reign at an impressive 202 days.
McIntyre had dethroned Brock Lesnar in the main event of WrestleMania 36 in a five-minute thriller. He then went onto defend the WWE Championship against some of WWE's top talents. The Messiah, Seth Rollins, was the first to challenge McIntyre. The two fought in a 20-minute classic at Money in the Bank that saw McIntyre come out on top.
Next, Bobby Lashley stepped up to challenge McIntyre at Backlash, but he fell victim to McIntyre's fury after suffering a devastating and decisive Claymore.
A familiar, old friend/rival in Dolph Ziggler was next at Extreme Rules: The Horror Show. The odds were stacked against McIntyre this time as it was a No Disqualification match for Ziggler, but not for McIntyre. However, given just how dominant Drew McIntyre was, Ziggler was no match for the Scottish Psychopath.
The Apex Predator, Randy Orton, then forced his way into the WWE Championship picture and the two fought each other a few times. At SummerSlam, McIntyre won with a backslide; at Clash of Champions, McIntyre received help from Shawn Michaels, Big Show, Ric Flair, and Christian to defeat Orton in an Ambulance match. However, Orton was third time lucky, winning the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell.
Why Drew McIntyre was a superb WWE Champion
There is no denying that Drew McIntyre was at his absolute best during his WWE Championship reign. His promo skills improved markedly; he was a consistent in-ring performer that put on an enjoyable show every time he stepped into the ring, and he held his own against WWE's best. Without a doubt, he was one of WWE's top stars during the pandemic era as he managed to keep the audience at home engaged. The dominance McIntyre showed during his first WWE Championship was unparalleled. His win-loss record was impeccable: he was an invincible entity on WWE television, a near-impossible feat to accomplish during such uncertain times.
By far the greatest advantage of Drew McIntyre's WWE Championship reign was that a fresh, dedicated, and committed WWE Superstar who was deserving of the WWE Championship was able to reach incredible heights. The landscape of WWE has been dominated by Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Roman Reigns, AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, and Goldberg over the past few years. McIntyre was a new face at the summit of the mountain, which was something fans hadn't been accustomed to witnessing in recent years. He added a dimension of uniqueness and freshness, which made his run more captivating.
However, there are a few regrets. The pandemic may have prevented the WWE Universe from witnessing something truly magical. The main event of WrestleMania took place in an empty arena and given how red-hot and overwhelmingly popular Drew McIntyre was en route to WrestleMania, the loud pop and ovation he would've received at WrestleMania would have been an incredible WrestleMania moment. There was nothing WWE could have done differently, but if there were fans in the arena, it would have made the biggest win of McIntyre's career even more special.
Moreover, towards the end of his reign, Drew McIntyre was booked questionably and was made to look weaker and inferior to Orton. Not only did Orton lay McIntyre out several times, but he also did it all by himself with little help. Orton put him out of action for a couple of weeks too.
On the other hand, McIntyre required outside assistance from four WWE legends to defeat Orton in the Ambulance match at Clash of Champions. His victory at SummerSlam was also somewhat of a fluke. The feud between Drew McIntyre and Randy Orton proved to be a nightmare for the former.
Aside from a few hiccups, Drew McIntyre's WWE Championship reign was a success. It was heart-warming to see him hold the WWE Championship with so much honor.Published 28 Oct 2020, 00:20 IST