Throughout the history of literature and cinema, authors have used Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” or “monomyth” as a template as they tell the story of a protagonist as he travels through a transformation.
There are 17 steps in the Campbell’s original template, but it has been modified over time.
As Drew McIntyre stepped into the ring in the latest episode of NXT, I thought to myself about how his rise, departure and return resonates with Campbell’s pattern.
Call to Adventure
“A forest, a kingdom underground, beneath the waves, or above the sky, a secret island, lofty mountaintop, or profound dream state; but it is always a place of strangely fluid and polymorphous beings, unimaginable torments, superhuman deeds, and impossible delight”
After traveling around England, Scotland, Ireland and more, McIntyre set off on a new journey to America. He signed with WWE in 2006 and spent parts of the next three years in OVW and FCW.
“For those who have not refused the call, the first encounter of the hero journey is with a protective figure (often a little old crone or old man) who provides the adventurer with amulets against the dragon forces he is about to pass. What such a figure represents is the benign, protecting power of destiny.”
In August of 2009 McIntyre was called up to the main roster. While you may not call it “supernatural,” McIntyre got the support from the most powerful man in sports entertainment behind him, Vince McMahon.
McMahon dubbed McIntyre “the chosen one” and a future champion. From there on McIntyre was given what appeared to be preferential treatment from the WWE Chairman.
During this time McIntyre captured both the Intercontinental Championship and the Tag Team Championship (with “Dashing” Cody Rhodes).
Crossing of the First Threshold
“With the personifications of his destiny to guide and aid him, the hero goes forward in his adventure until he comes to the ‘threshold guardian’ at the entrance to the zone of magnified power. . . Beyond them is darkness, the unknown and danger”
In McIntyre’s journey the “threshold guardian” could be seen as The Nexus. They not only took the Tag Team Titles away from he and Rhodes, but also destroyed his link to the “supernatural aid” of Mr. McMahon.
The Nexus attacked Mr. McMahon taking him off television for an extended period. His hiatus ended the preferential treatment and the “chosen one” persona.
McIntyre is now on his own to find himself.
Road of Trials
“Once having traversed the threshold, the hero moves in a dream landscape of curiously fluid, ambiguous forms, where he must survive a succession of trials. This is a favorite phase of the myth-adventure. It has produced a world literature of miraculous tests and ordeals.”
McIntyre hit a serious bump in the road after the departure of McMahon. His “road of trials” began for the former “Chosen One” with a losing streak
The next trial was his involvement in the
amazing group, 3MB, with Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal. Playing air guitar was a far cry from the potential many saw in his early stint with the WWE. After time with the comedy trio – including an appearance in the underrated WeeLC match – McIntyre was released from his WWE contract on June 12, 2014.
The “Chosen One” was gone without winning the WWE Championship like many believed was his destiny.
Determined after being knocked down by the first trial, McIntyre told WWE legend Chris Jericho that his journey was just beginning and he would one day prove himself and be back.
He then returned to his roots in the independent scene (ICW, Evolve and more) after nearly a decade with WWE.
He built his name back up and joined Impact Wrestling where he realized his potential and captured the “reward” of his journey, the TNA Heavyweight Championship.
“The returning hero, to complete his adventure, must survive the impact of the world. Many failures attest to the difficulties of this life-affirmative threshold. The first problem of the returning hero is to accept as real, after an experience of the soul-satisfying vision of fulfillment, the passing joys and sorrows, banalities and noisy obscenities of life.”
Reinvented and reinvigorated from the adventure, McIntyre has achieved his goal and returned to the place he once called home.
With a new attitude and renewed potential, McIntyre has his eyes set on the NXT Championship as his Hero’s Journey continues.
Follow Danny on Twitter: @DQoftheJK