Drew McIntyre won the WWE Championship from Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 36 in 2020. Many fans have noted that despite this accomplishment, he never had his “big moment” in front of a crowd since his win took place in an empty WWE Performance Center due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since losing the title to Bobby Lashley in 2021, McIntyre has settled into the mid-card, feuding with Sheamus and Baron Corbin. He has occasionally emerged as the leading contender for Roman Reigns’ Undisputed WWE Universal Championship, recently facing him at the 2022 Clash at the Castle event.
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With the 2023 Royal Rumble event approaching, WWE is beginning to set the stage for WrestleMania 39 in April. Fans are wondering what this may mean for McIntyre. Below are four possible directions the company may take with him at the event, which will potentially inform his path for months to come.
#1. Challenge for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship
WWE is currently holding a tournament to determine the next challengers for Jimmy and Jey Uso and their SmackDown Tag Team Titles. While McIntyre and his partner Sheamus have recently been immersed in a feud with the Bloodline and have previously faced the champions, there is a possibility that the Scottish Warrior and Celtic Warrior will work their way back to another opportunity.
Given that WWE is looking to de-unify the titles and have a set of champions on each brand, McIntyre and Sheamus would be the logical choice to hold the championship for the blue brand.
The only potential issue with this decision would be which tag teams would be lined up to face the new champions, as the brand is limited in credible tag teams. The New Day and Viking Raiders come to mind, but the creative team will have to do some work to make this match feel important.
#2. Continued feud with the Viking Raiders
— Sportskeeda Wrestling (@SKWrestling_) January 14, 2023
After the last match between McIntyre and Sheamus and the Usos, the Viking Raiders attacked the babyface team. They will meet in the first round of the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship tournament on the next episode of SmackDown.
Based on the outcome of that match, one of three things may happen. It could lead to a rematch between the two teams at the Royal Rumble 2023 if another team wins the tournament to challenge the Usos. However, if Sheamus and McIntyre end up challenging the Bloodline members at the event, the Raiders could play a factor in the outcome. Finally, there’s always a chance that the two teams could cross paths in the Royal Rumble match itself if they are entered as participants.
As noted earlier, the SmackDown brand is limited to credible tag teams, and it would be interesting to see a feud elevated that is directly related to the Tag Team Championship.
#3. Singles feud with Solo Sikoa
Solo Sikoa cost Drew McIntyre his opportunity to defeat Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at Clash at the Castle in September 2022.
Since the feud between the two hasn’t been formally settled, there is a possibility the two could cross paths during the Royal Rumble match, which could potentially lead to a showdown at WrestleMania 39 in April.
Sikoa is definitely on the rise, and a marquee feud with McIntyre would help to continue to improve his stock in the company.
#4. Heel turn and feud with Sheamus
— Sheamus (@WWESheamus) January 7, 2023
In 2021 and 2022, McIntyre and Sheamus have had their share of good matches. Since then, they have reconciled and formed a tag team, but fans can sense that the rivalry is still there.
Since McIntyre has been a babyface since 2019, it may be time for him to once again be a heel by turning on his partner. The two work well together, and it would be an interesting dynamic to see them switch roles, with McIntyre as the heel and Sheamus supported by the fans.