In the WWE, arguably the most overlooked championship belt has been the Intercontinental Championship. One of the two midcard titles, the IC title has had more than its fair share of top-caliber champions, with the likes of Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, and CM Punk having held the title. There is no denying the impressive list of past champions, but in recent years the booking regarding the IC title has been lackluster, to say the least.
The WWE creative team has been using the worn-out tactic of using the names of past champions in their attempts to build up the legitimacy of the title, which doesn’t work as well as they would like – especially since most of the wrestlers that they mention are now old enough to be grandparents. The current IC champion, The Miz, has the potential to bring back legitimacy to the title, but has done very little to do that since winning the title on Monday Night Raw back in April of this year.
However, thanks to his actions on an episode of Talking Smack last week, The Miz may have evoked a storyline that is already the talk of the WWE. For those who missed it, The Miz had a very strong reaction to Daniel Bryan’s calling him a “coward” in the ring. The Miz shot back with what seemed like a very realistic and honest reaction, which is why the video was received with such a strong reaction from the fans. The full video can be seen here:
Half of what makes a storyline successful is its believability. Years ago it was much easier to get fans behind a created storyline, but now that social media and the internet have mostly taken away the kayfabe aspect of storylines, the creative team is now forced to work harder to get fans to believe in a storyline. With The Miz’s words having a lot of truth to them, as everything he alludes to and mentions is most likely how he really feels, the creative team now has the most believable storyline in the company.
Last Tuesday’s episode of Smackdown Live capitalized on this storyline early, where The Miz was interrupted by Dolph Ziggler, who challenged him to a fight. This match was later announced to take place at the pay-per-view Backlash a week from this Sunday, and will be for the IC title. Dolph Ziggler was a good choice to challenge The Miz, as he is a fan favorite and a superstar whose work ethic would never be in question.
To completely capitalize on this organic storyline, the WWE needs to make sure that the original recipient of the tirade, Daniel Bryan, has a significant part in this. Having Bryan somehow get involved in this match would certainly add another layer of intrigue, but that is not the only option.
As the GM of Smackdown, Bryan could purposely book either poor quality matches for the Miz, or very difficult matches. Purposely angering The Miz, by forcing him to prove that he is not a coward, could draw a lot of attention. The GM would have to make sure he is always present whenever any part of this storyline takes place, as running the show from behind the scenes could make this storyline become stale very fast.
In short, this has the potential to be one of the best organic storylines in recent history, as well as the best storyline in the New Era thus far. With most fans talking about this feud, the Intercontinental Title will always be at the center of it. It is up to the creative team to properly move this storyline forward, as they can easily turn this into another wasted opportunity. As of now, it is one of the most talked about topics in the company, and has made the IC title more relevant than it has been in a while.
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