Drew McIntyre confirms NXT signing

After three years away from the WWE, Drew McIntyre has officially returned to the fold as part of the NXT roster. Courtesy WWE

ORLANDO, FL -- In an exclusive interview just moments after his surprise appearance at NXT TakeOver Orlando, Drew McIntyre confirmed to ESPN that he has joined the brand full time. For the second straight year, an unexpected appearance at NXT TakeOver during WrestleMania weekend shocked the crowd. This time around, it was a familiar face, as former WWE superstar Drew McIntyre appeared in the front row prior to the NXT championship match in Orlando.

If there was any doubt about his intentions, they were put to rest during an exclusive post-TakeOver interview with ESPN.com

"Well, the answer's pretty simple," said McIntyre. "I've won championships all across the world. I've helped build brands. So what's the next logical thing for me to do? It's to come here and win the NXT title."

It's hard to take attention away from competitors as charismatic and popular with the crowd as Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode, but McIntyre did just that when his face flashed on camera. The assembled crowd at Orlando's Amway Center cheered wildly for the returning Scotsman, and NXT fans can do a lot more of that in the coming weeks and months.

"If that's not clear enough for everybody, Drew McIntyre has signed with NXT," McIntyre said definitively.

With Roode defeating Nakamura, the unclear NXT championship picture is now a little more crowded. A former WWE intercontinental and tag team champion, McIntyre returns after nearly a three-year absence from the company. In that time he worked for numerous independent organizations, including EVOLVE, where he was an EVOLVE champion and a two-time tag team champion (with one reign alongside Johnny Gargano).