Making predictions is something all wrestling fans love to do. Whether it’s predicting something as immediate as PPV results, predicting what the next Wrestlemania card will look like or who the next Royal Rumble winner will be, or as cataclysmic as who the next face of the industry will be. So when I start this column by making a prediction with an incredible number of variables, and that I wouldn’t have dreamed of making this time last year, it may surprise you to find it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Road to Wrestlemania. Instead I’m saying The Miz will win a Money In The Bank Ladder match in 2017.
When I say there are variables, we know there’s going to be a Money In The Bank PPV next year. We don’t know if it’s going to be dual branded, and if it’s not we don’t know whether Raw superstars will compete or SmackDown. On top of that, we don’t know which show Miz will be on because there could very well be a draft before then, and even if there isn’t Miz’s ongoing storyline with Daniel Bryan could see him traded to Raw at some point. We don’t know where on the card he will be, if he will still be Intercontinental or any other champion, and – crucially – we don’t know if he will be in the Money In The Bank Ladder match itself.
Miz has had a stellar second half of 2016, has been up there with the most improved performers of the year and has arguably benefited most from the brand extension. Suddenly, after steadily fading into obscurity and irrelevance for years after being the most must see WWE Champion of all time, I was able to take Miz seriously again.
And he’s moving up the card. On paper, he’s in exactly the same position as he was six months ago – he is the Intercontinental Champion. But with the roster being split in two, just holding that title holds so much more prestige than it used to. And since the draft, he has worked with the newcomer in Apollo Crews, the equally resurgent Dolph Ziggler in what was one of the rivalries of the year, and now the former WWE Champion in Dean Ambrose. Add in his frequent exchanges with Daniel Bryan which have produced some of the more memorable promos of the year, and The Miz has had an outstanding 2016 where he is slowly but surely building himself back up to main event level.
Some may argue that from the blue brand, someone like Bray Wyatt would be far more deserving of Money In The Bank so that he can finally make the breakthrough to superstardom. I would counter that by saying if Bray wins a world title cheaply, it does nothing to help him in the short term. If he was booked as a dominant champion he would get past that, but I would much prefer to see him become a world champion because he is that damn good rather than because the previous belt holder was prone.
On the other hand, it would fit in with Miz’s work perfectly. He has cheated his way to where he is now with the help of his wife Maryse and the Spirit Squad, but has couple that with some real fire and intensity in his work on the mic and in the ring that has generated a huge amount of momentum. Hell, have him cheat all the way to the belt. Cheat to get in the match. Cheat to get to the top of the ladder and climb the briefcase, and take the most advantage possible of a vulnerable champion.
I suppose what I’m alluding to is that Miz is a true heel. Nobody is growing up saying they want to be like Miz, despite his work rate and success. Bray is cool with his fireflies and general uniqueness. Miz – with his everyday smarmy appearance – is not. And that means, if Miz cashed in on a beloved babyface, people would hate him. If Bray did the same thing, people would be cheering because they’re happy to see Bray rise to the top of the mountain.
Imagine, just for a moment, if someone like Sami Zayn, Cesaro, or Shinsuke Nakamura ascended to the top of the card and finally won their first world championship in a gruelling affair. Then The Miz came out and took it all away. People would be livid, but it could create two bonafide stars at the same time. And it would help further Miz’s interactions with Bryan, because he would have taken that moment away from one of Bryan’s friends and also because something very similar happened to Bryan himself in 2013.
As with everything in WWE, there are backstage politics to play a part in this too. Miz isn’t lying when he goes on Talking Smack and says he is one of the hardest workers in the company – he does regular appearances and lands Film & TV roles because he is someone who is willing to do that in WWE. Last time Miz was WWE Champion he was second in these media duties only to John Cena, and they have decreased in recent times because his stock on Raw and SmackDown has fallen so low.
Plus, the only man so far to win two separate Money In The Bank Ladder Matches is CM Punk, and you just know WWE will want to take away every and any accolade Punk has in the company.
It just all makes sense to me as things stand right now. If Miz stays relevant throughout 2017, I could very easily see him as WWE Champion again before the year is out. And the thing is, the way he has stepped up in 2016, he would deserve it too.