Navigating through the trepidation of departing the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Drew McIntyre stands in parallel with the audacious move Cody Rhodes made in venturing beyond the confines of the globally renowned company.
"The initial stages can be frightening," McIntyre confessed to "Under The Ropes," illustrating WWE as a comfort zone. "Cody harbored an inner belief of his untapped potential. As for me, circumstances nudged me towards discovering my capabilities outside WWE." Following his release from WWE in 2014, McIntyre found his footing in the independent circuit, with stints in organizations such as EVOLVE Wrestling.
In contrast, Rhodes journeyed through well-known televised franchises like Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. His aspiration led to co-founding All Elite Wrestling, while McIntyre continued proving his mettle in EVOLVE, also making his mark in TNA Wrestling (now known as Impact Wrestling), claiming the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
Dedication and Brand Building
According to McIntyre, wrestlers seeking success beyond WWE must harbor an unwavering dedication towards the profession, a trait he found in Rhodes. McIntyre, much like Rhodes, utilized social media platforms to engage with his fans, allowing them to embark on his quest for self-improvement, thus establishing his brand and learning to portray himself as a champion outside the ring.
"I departed from WWE as a novice, and returned as a seasoned professional," recounted McIntyre. McIntyre observed Rhodes's trajectory outside WWE as a significant progression from his own experience. Nevertheless, both wrestlers found themselves drawn back to their roots in WWE, having left their initial journey incomplete.
McIntyre's comeback to the company in 2017 saw him swiftly clinching the "NXT" Champion title. Similarly, Rhodes made his return at WrestleMania in 2022, and just a year later, he was at the center stage, main-eventing the same illustrious event.