What Do All The Drew McIntyre Contract Rumors Mean For His WrestleMania 39 Chances?
Is he less likely to win now?
When I was writing my WrestleMania 39 predictions column earlier this week, I really struggled with who to pick in the Drew McIntyre vs Sheamus vs Gunther match for The Intercontinental Championship. A strong case could be made for all three men, as they all feel main event caliber and are embraced in their own way by the crowd.
I ultimately went with Sheamus with a very low degree of confidence. Many others have gone with Gunther. Over the last few days, Drew McIntyre supporters have also been getting louder with their case, or at least they were until suddenly a new rumor put the brakes on that. PW Insider reported that Drew McIntyre’s contract is apparently up this year, and the two sides “aren't’ even close” on a new deal yet. Now, the conventional wisdom is Drew McIntyre has almost no chance of winning. But is that really true? Let’s talk it out.
First, I think it’s important to point out what the report is saying and what it’s not saying. It’s not saying exactly when later this year means, and it’s not saying how much effort the two sides have put in to talk about a contract. If they exchanged numbers once, were pretty far off and haven’t talked again because the contract is up in 5 months, that’s mildly concerning. If they’ve talked repeatedly and aren’t getting any closer with his contract up in two months, that’s a much bigger concern.
It also matters what McIntyre’s relationship with WWE is behind the scenes. Plenty of employees and employers have tough but respectful contract negotiations. They each push for what they want, while they happily continue working together. Wrestling fans can, of course, point to many famous instances in which a performer with the title refused to lose to a particular person or took the title with them on their way out the door (see Ric Flair in 1991), but for every one mess, there are dozens of examples of main event performers doing a job without issue on the way out.
Only Triple H and some key other people know what the relationship is like behind the scenes with Drew McIntyre and the exact specifics of this contract negotiation. So, only they know whether this has any affect on their planning or the outcome of this match. I tend to think it’s not going to. McIntyre seems like a professional guy. He's been showcased and protected pretty well by WWE, and I’ve long thought this match will lead into a more direct feud between McIntyre and Sheamus, with Gunther either continuing on as a dominant IC Champion or losing the belt in a finish he had no part of and then moving on to the main event scene.
Either way, unless this contract is up immediately, I think we’ll see Sheamus and Drew McIntyre at Backlash. So, it would be easy to give Drew the belt here and then have Sheamus take it off him later. Given their long friendship, I’m sure he’d be more than happy to put his buddy over.
Given all the rumors and uncertainty, I think it’s fair to say Drew McIntyre’s chances on the betting market should be lowered slightly, but I think there’s absolutely still the potential for him to win, given his contract likely isn’t up for months and there’s little chance of him refusing to quickly put over Sheamus if he were to leave.
The Sheamus, Drew McIntyre and Gunther match will take place on Sunday during the second night of WrestleMania 39. They're one part of a fantastic card fans are really pumped to see. If you'd like to watch WrestleMania 39, which airs, this weekend, you can do so with a Peacock subscription or with various other international options.
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