Are you ready to stand up for professional wrestling?! TNA newcomer Drew Galloway is on the hunt for the sport’s most vocal supporters as he looks to overthrow the villainous Beat Down Clan and produce legitimate changes within the industry that he loves.
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Galloway, perhaps better known as Drew McIntyre from his time in WWE, made his TNA debut back in January and has quickly moved to establish himself as one of the company’s most influential superstars, both on and off screen.
His passionate, unscripted speeches during his first set of taping appearances played a major role in the birth of both the ‘Stand Up’ campaign and TNA’s latest stable, The Rising, who have already made a big splash since first making it onto our televisions at the start of 2015.
While such a storyline is a far cry from his succession of heel roles at WWE, you’ll struggle to see a more fanatical Galloway than when he discusses his latest challenge. Why? Because the man who was once dubbed ‘The Chosen One’ is finally being allowed to be himself.
“When I talk [on the microphone] I take myself out of a wrestlers shoes,” he explains. “I put myself in the crowd because I’m a wrestling fan as well. I’m speaking as a fan and that’s where the Stand Up campaign came from.”
His major qualm, at least in terms of the storyline, is that he believes the fans should have more power and more say over the in-ring talent that is on show each night. In contrast, the BDC want to force themselves into every major event by constantly attacking their opponents and causing trouble, all ‘because they can’.
What makes Galloway so entertaining to watch is the fact that what he’s saying is so easy to relate too. If you look on any wrestling-based chat-room or comment board across the world then you will see similar concerns… ‘Why won’t they give us what we want?’
Galloway tells the BDC why he came to TNA…
There is little to choose between Galloway and any of these fans. The only difference is that he has the voice to make a difference, something which he believes TNA are fully in support of. The 29-year-old has recently been welcoming requests on social media and allowing TNA bosses to use the data to plot both subtle and sweeping changes to their product.
“The creative guys at TNA, the writers and the social media guys came out with the idea and I’ve been very hands on with it,” he explains.
“They’re compiling all the stats of what everyone is saying. They’re trying to take it into account and better the show. We’ll give the fans what they want because if something is overwhelming, more X Division matches for example, things people want to see, then it’s going to happen. It’s already started happening.”
Galloway has been joined in his new stable by Eli Drake and Mica, who both came through TNA’s ‘One Night Only: Gut Check’ pay-per-view.
Drake, real name Shaun Ricker, was released by WWE in August 2014, having failed to force his way onto the main roster. Mica, real name Tevita Fifita, was known as Camacho during his time in WWE. He’s the son of wrestling legend Haku.
Speaking about the pair, Galloway added: “Eli is obviously very passionate about wrestling, he’s a very confident individual in his speaking etc. And I know he can get it done in the ring. He just loves wrestling. That’s what caught my attention first and foremost.
“With Mica, I’ve known him for years. I knew his Dad, Haku, and I’ve been round him since I was 21.It’s in his blood, he loves it and he just wanted a shot. Now he’s getting as big a shot as you can get. So we’re really in something so cool right now.”
With the rivalry between The Rising and the BDC continuing to grow, Galloway is expecting their clashes to become all the more intense over the coming weeks. Asked if he was enjoying the competition, he responded: “I’m loving it, so far it’s been great!
“What you see on screen, we just go back and forth with each other, a lot of it’s real. That’s what makes good television, if something is real. Playing a wrestler doesn’t sell tickets.
“That’s what we’re all trying to do right now, especially Low Ki and myself, because when the time comes for us to have the match, people are going to be expecting a war and they’re going to get a war.”
The BDC and The Rising clash for the first time…
Galloway’s rivalry with the BDC, most notably the faction’s leader MVP and the afore mentioned Low Ki, has been going since day one – when the man from Ayr, Scotland, made his debut at Glasgow’s Hydro Arena.
It was a magical moment for Galloway, who hit the ring just hours after signing his deal to come to the aid of fellow Scot Grado, who had been targeted by the BDC following his headline match with Al Snow.
“It was unbelievable. It’s an arena I’ve never been in before,” he said wistfully. “To come down there, having nobody know, sign the contract hours before I hit the ring, to do it in the office where nobody knew I was and then just heading to the ring, it was unreal.
“There was an adrenalin rush like I’ve never had before in my life. I’ve never done hurdling before and I don’t have the biggest high jump in the world, but I jumped that railing [round the ring]. I got Low Ki with the pipe and then myself and Grado were left in the ring, with the last image in the Hydro being Earl Hebner raising our hands.”
After a transitional period for the TNA franchise, Galloway has undoubtedly come into the company at the right time. Its popularity in the UK continues to grow thanks to the relationship with Challenge TV, while the switch in US TV network from Spike to Destination America has also proved beneficial.
“They’ve been fantastic,” he explained. “Challenge, Destination America, they’re really getting the product out there. They’ve been really getting behind it.
“I don’t think people realise sometimes how powerful and crazy wrestling fans are. If they get involved with it then you see the numbers rise, the proof is in the pudding. They’re smart enough to know, wrestling fans are going to watch the wrestling shows. They push it and they’re getting the results because of that.”
Galloway is the latest in a long-line of British stars to join the TNA roster. The current line-up already includes Rockstar Spud, Magnus and Bram, the latter of whom Galloway even lived with earlier in his career. His closest friend also remains WWE’s Irish phenomenon Sheamus, who acts as another prime example of the booming UK wrestling scene.
He added: “I’ve been on many shows with Spud, many shows with Magnus, a couple with Bram, then I lived with Bram for a while. I can’t wait until we wrestle, that’s going to be fun. They’re a great bunch of lads.
“People are always asking if there are going to be more British wrestlers. Really, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, if you’re good enough then you’re going to get a shot on a bigger stage, it’s that simple. It doesn’t matter if you’re from here, Zimbabwe or Timbuctoo, or space, if you’re good enough then you’re going to get a shot.”
Magnus and Bram go head to head…
Unlike his fellow Brits, Galloway had already enjoyed a high-profile career littered with titles before joining TNA. He’s a former Intercontinental and Tag Team champion in WWE, while he’s also the current Heavyweight Champion in four other companies, including ICW and Evolve.
While he admits that his WWE departure was disappointing at the time, he believes that his new goal of becoming the first travelling World Champion since Ric Flair is more than enough to fuel his motivation.
“There was no logical way that they [WWE] could put me in anything serious at the time, I think we just needed a break from each other. But I’ll never say anything negative about them ever, I grew up there. I became a man there, I became the wrestler I am today there.
“People see me as a WWE guy because I legit grew up there. I got so many opportunities. It was such a big stage and that was why I got to do so many things initially after I left.
“Rather than being like a lot of the guys who fly under the radar, I went out to go and create something that people have to have on their shows. That’s what I’ve been working hard to do.”
He’ll face a tough task if he’s to wrestle the TNA title away from Kurt Angle, who won it for a record sixth time earlier this year. When the pair do eventually come to blows, Galloway expects the clash to be incredible.
“The idea of wrestling Kurt Angle for the World Title is ridiculous, he’s somebody I watched growing up, somebody who’s awesome, similar in many ways to myself, particularly the intensity side. There’s no one more intense than Kurt Angle.
“In the ring and out the ring he’s just captain intensity. He’s so talented in every possible way. The idea that I could get to wrestle him for the title, the idea that I could win the title from Kurt Angle, would be more than I could possible imagine.”
Galloway is a man that thrives on pressure. His targeting of records held by Kurt Angle and Ric Flair is only natural for him. Regardless of how long he stays in TNA, you wouldn’t back against him achieving his goals, particularly with such a passionate following standing alongside him. If they all stand up for Drew later this year, then they’ll prove how far fan power really goes…