Welcome back for the fourth – and unfortunately last – part of our chat with Drew Galloway. Hear what he has to say about a wrestler’s lifestyle, getting over and… well, a lot of things.
WtW: Do you prepare your promos thoroughly?
DG: Oh, no, never! Usually I have an idea of what to say, with the 1314 promo I only knew the points I wanted to put through and I ended up talking for at least 15 minutes, maybe 20. I made it up as I went along.
WtW: You are holding six titles at the moment…
DG: Yes, six: I just won the sixth in SWA last Saturday [April 25th]. I won the first against Chris Hero in my first match back in the indies, in Evolve.
WtW: Have you lost any singles matches since leaving the WWE?
DG: Yes, with Dreamer, then… a four-way elimination match with Brian Cage, Uhaa and Chris Hero, I was the last eliminated [by Cage] after a low blow from his manager. Roderick Strong also beat me in a Cage Match, he kicked me against the cage at least twelve times.
WtW: Does each title still count for you as much as they would if you weren’t holding so many?
DG: Yes, absolutely. My goal is to be the best wrestler in the world, not only in Scotland or in America. So my goal is making the titles bigger than they ever were. Paraphrasing JFK, “Ask not what the title can do for you: ask what you can do for the title”. The title doesn’t define me, I define the title. When people see me I want them to wonder what’s the title I’m holding, so maybe they’ll look up the promotion, and the promotion gets some buzz.
WtW: Also, whoever beats you for any of those titles will be huge.
DG: Sure. Once I drop a title… well, I’d like to think I’ll have helped build the name of the title, make it bigger.
WtW: What’s the deal with TNA? Where are you going with that promotion?
DG: First of all, my contract with them allows me to keep appearing anywhere, in the indies. That was my request. Then… I want the title. I’m happy to keep adding titles in different countries, and the goal is to get the TNA title. My goal, as I keep telling everybody, is to be the first travelling world champion since Ric Flair, if I’m not already; I think the TNA title would cement this. Brian Elliott [editor of Fighting Spirit Magazine] was the first one to put his finger on it, he told me that nobody had really done it, wrestling in all those places, since Flair, he said that I could be the first in so many years, so that’s my main goal now. If I win the TNA title while still doing all this travelling, that would be the icing on the cake. So far I’ve achieved every short-term goal I had set myself when I parted ways with WWE, people gave me great opportunities within the first three months, so I had to keep setting bigger goals… that’s the big goal right now.
WtW: Who are your favourite opponents?
DG: Before the WWE it must be Sheamus, we wrestled all over the place. In WWE, I wish Sheamus and I got to wrestle, because we would have had unbelievable matches, they would have been legit fights with a good story. But we never got a chance to have a match one on one except in FCW. If I end up back there one day, even though I’m having so much fun right now with what I’m doing, we would have a storyline ready. The night I won the Intercontinental Title, he won the Heavyweight Title, and everyone knows we are such close friends…
WtW: Is there anybody in the business you really cannot stand?
DG: Not really, no. I always try to get along with everybody, I’ve got no time for negativity.
WtW: How do you cope with this lifestyle, wrestling in at least two different continents every week?
DG: I don’t know. Just… I’m driven, obsessed. This is all I ever wanted to do, and when I left WWE I set myself such big goals that it feels easy. And to think that I don’t really like to travel. This is a hell of a job to pick when you don’t like to travel, but I love wrestling. Even when I’m tired, I feel like I can’t go on, I’m lying down backstage, people look at me, then I go and have my match and I give my best, often people who saw me tired just minutes earlier are surprised. But I love wrestling, it’s the only thing I can do, no matter how I feel. I’m always able to switch on and have fun whenever I’m in the ring, it’s the only place where I feel safe. It’s easier to perform in front of thousands of people than to talk to people one-on-one, it’s easier to talk into a camera than in a social situation.
WtW: What does a wrestler need to be “over”?
DG: Think of DCT: his facial expressions are what really set him aside. Last week I wrestled Mark Coffey in SWA – by the way, Mark is also a brilliant wrestler – and at the end the whole Polo Promotions did a run-in, allowing me to win with a roll-up after a big confusion. Then they all beat me up, Joe Coffey and Damo O’Connor made the save, then they threw DCT on the ring and… just the facial expression he made when he looked up and saw me was absolutely hilarious, I almost burst out laughing.
Yesterday I was coaching an intermediate class at Damo’s school and they asked me how to get on the shows. I told them that they need to figure out what makes each of them different. ICW is everyone’s goal, or at least it should be, so they need to think how they can get on a show that has characters like Joe Coffey, who is a wrestler, the wrestler, but also created a great character, you have Damo who is 6’4”, maybe 6’5”, 23 stone, hairy and moves like the little guys, you got fantastic high flyers, you have Jester the hardcore guy, you have Grado the everyman, the most over guy ever, you have all those guys, so you need to understand what is going to make you different. I used DCT as an example: one day he figured out that he could make very funny faces and grew a pornstache.
It’s up to each and every individual to figure out what will get them over. Get in your underpants and be honest with yourself: if you are 5’5” and not in the best shape, you’re not going to tell yourself that you’ll use the same gimmick I use, you can’t be the big aggressive guy. Being honest with yourself is the 90% of the battle. See how you look, what you are good at, what interests you. For instance if you have a weird hobby you can turn it into a character, and that will get you over.
You need to get yourself over, not your moves: one day you may not be able to do them any longer, for any reason. Injuries maybe… or age.
Also, a small detail: take your time on the ring, don’t try to rush move after move. Give the fans time to react. I was discussing this with Tommy End the other day…
WtW: You have been called “A fake Scotsman”. What’s your reaction to this?
DG: Yeah, a fake Scotsman. I only spent my entire life in Scotland. I am 100% Scottish, I lived here my entire life. I’m very proud to be Scottish.
WtW: Talking about “fake”: what do you say to people who tell you that wrestling his fake?
DG: Well, if you ask Lionheart he will just point at his neck… those whose minds are set aren’t going to be convinced, so I don’t waste my breath. If someone is just curious, I just say… well, we’re not lying to you, we’re not saying it’s not predetermined, all I say is… well, Brock Lesnar left WWE because he couldn’t take the schedule and the bumps any longer, and went to UFC where he became the champion. And that’s Brock Lesnar.
It’s so physically demanding, we don’t have an off season like the other sports, we go on until we break and that’s when we can afford to take a holiday; we travel every single week, to different countries or, in America, to different States which is pretty much the same, multiple flights every single week, driving for hours and hours, you get very few days off… if you have a family and kids you’ll rarely see them… I’ve been on the road for six weeks now… I mean, I am back home in Scotland, I’m not technically on the road, but I do live in the US… if I had a wife and kids… I don’t even know. I would still do what I’m doing, but I don’t know how the guys cope with never seeing their kids, I would crack up.
I’ve been gone for six weeks now, and I’m lucky that I’ve been in Scotland for this time… but travelling to all those different countries, living out of hotel rooms with people I don’t know, often speaking languages I don’t speak… the only thing I know is what I do when I get in the ring, in those twenty minutes, but then you can get lonely, you can get depressed… it’s very physically taxing, very mentally taxing… more mentally than physically. The bumps and the miles are very real. But it’s so very rewarding.
And also… if you think it’s fake, watch my match and see if you see me stamp my feet when I’m punching somebody: if you do I’ll shake your hand. I mean, why would you stamp your feet when you’re punching someone? I try to use believable strikes that make noise and leave a mark. Of course I’m not going to injure my opponent, but… he’s a man, a trained wrestler, he can take a hit, right?
WtW: Just to conclude… do you know anything about Italian wrestling?
DG: Well, Santino is Canadian… there is this guy who trains in Glasgow, at Damo O’Connor’s school… Massimo Italiano. He seems pretty good. I know that some time ago there was a promotion, I think Rikishi wrestled there for a while: once, before going to America, I stayed in his house in London while he was in Italy wrestling. How is wrestling over there?
WtW: It’s growing a lot. There are some good promotions, one is called Italian Championship Wretsling, ICW (and it’s older than the Scottish ICW, too)…
DG: Oh, there is an Italian title? Who holds it? I want it!
WtW: The champion is called Red Devil, a very good and pretty experienced wrestler, a very tall high flyer who’s also very technical.
DG: Do they all have ringnames there?
WtW: Almost everyone. You have him, Charlie Kid, Mr. Excellent, OGM the genetically modified wrestler…
DG: Ah, OK. I imagine that Mr. Excellent must be a technical wrestler, right? I always kept my own name. I’ve always been Drew Galloway, in WWE I was Drew McIntyre, I never wanted to have a ringname that doesn’t at least sound like a name, I think that the most successful guys are always the real people with the volume turned up. Not that there’s anything wrong with strong characters, mind, but it’s harder to make them work. I mean, you have The Undertaker… sure, it was the man who made the character a legend. They gave him a mega-gimmick and he made it work. And for years they didn’t really let him wrestle, he was this stiff guy… it was only with his feud with Bret Hart that the people finally saw he could wrestle very well, even for the standards we have now.
What I mean is that there are matches that once seemed huge, think of Hulk Hogan against André the Giant at Wrestlemania III, who are not exactly… special now. Although I still find good the match between Hogan and Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania. The crowd went absolutely daft, that’s what matters.
With this we conclude our long and – hopefully – interesting chat with Drew Galloway. We hope you enjoyed it, and… until next time!