Day three of my Wrestlemania 33 Spotlights is here! And it’s the match that, on paper, was felt like a massive let down considering the year some of these competitors have had. There could have been so much more for these guys, and a lot of potential matches were suggested around Royal Rumble time. But, it has turned out to be one of the most well developed programs on the Wrestlemania card, and has delivered some of the best segments WWE has had to offer on the road to the biggest show of the year. I’m talking about John Cena and Nikki Bella going up against The Miz and Maryse.
There were so many complaints online when it became clear that this was the direction WWE were going in. It was a let-down for Cena, who the online community had been hoping would face Samoa Joe for the WWE Championship. It was a let-down for The Miz, one of the very top performers on the blue brand since the draft (aside from AJ Styles, probably the best) to only be in what would at best be a mid-card mixed tag team match, surely?
If that’s what this match will be, then the build has been completely over the top. I don’t think they’ve gotten physical yet, but week after week SmackDown has devoted a lot of promo time to these four. And time after time, they’ve knocked it out of the park.
Much as I praise The Miz for his work over the last six or seven months, Cena has been knocking it out of the park time and time again in 2017. He is proving why he is one of the best workers of the microphone WWE has ever seen, and the current roll he’s on is only comparable in recent memory to Paul Heyman’s constant stream of epicness. He has probably always been at his best when he’s fired up, and he’s been delivering every single week as the legend – let’s face it, he is one – with a point to prove in a new era of superstar.
That’s not to say Miz has done badly. He has been great, and he is on what is probably the biggest roll of his career too – he’s just not John Cena. There’s no shame in that. The whole Total Bellas parody didn’t particularly work for me, but it was at least something different, and I have to credit them for trying to be creative. I think Miz has been seen to be at his best when he has a serious gripe he can be passionate against, and the parody was a bit too much of a departure from that.
Similarly to the Intercontinental Championship match, the seeds for this feud were sewn at Elimination Chamber, as Cena eliminated Miz inside the cage and then subsequently from the number one contender’s battle royal nine days later. There were also the first signs on screen of dissension between Nikki Bella and Maryse, as Bella’s match with Natalya spilled into the backstage area and knocked into Mrs Mizanin.
The same thing then happened again nine days later in a Falls Count Anywhere rematch, which prompted Maryse to get involved and cost Nikki the win. And after that, we went to epic promo city.
There’s also the Total Divas factor here, which is twofold. For one, it was a storyline in the first half of the most recent season (and has been brought up these last couple of weeks on SmackDown) that the Bella Twins cost Maryse a job in WWE a few years ago, so they’re tapping into the same storyline for this Wrestlemania match.
The other Total Divas aspect is that this is going to be used as a promotional tool for the show. I think that what was putting fans off of the prospect of this, the idea that it would be the token Total Divas match on the show like the 10-women tag last year. It hasn’t worked out that way on screen so far, which is definitely for the best. But it’s still going to be used, whether that comes down to promoting the next season or if it happens this Sunday.
So, how will the match go? I’m not sure. The entire storyline has been set up for Cena and Nikki to, quite bluntly, smash the Mizanins’ respective faces in. And if the rumours of Cena proposing after the match turn out to be true, they really have to win don’t they? But the one thing that makes me doubt it is, Cena is taking time off after Mania to go filming again and Nikki is at least going part time. Cena lost to Styles before his last break, and it’s the done thing in wrestling for people to lose on their way out. If Nikki was sticking about for a while, fine, I wouldn’t have any doubts they’re winning, because at least she could use that momentum afterwards.
But if Cena and Nikki lose, then both leave, doesn’t that kind of screw over Miz? Maryse would probably go back to being his manager, so Miz is the only wrestler that would be affected in the immediate aftermath – good or bad. Personally, because I can easily see Miz becoming WWE Champoin again at some point this year, I would have him win here – even if its cheaply, Cena can get his revenge after the match and do the proposal. Then later this year, Miz can win the title, and Cena chasing him can be the story for next year’s Wrestlemania, with the double story of him getting revenge for two Wrestlemania losses and breaking Ric Flair’s world title record outright.
Still, on this SmackDown roster, if anyone can move past getting screwed over by losing to two people who aren’t on the roster anymore it’s going to be The Miz. Regardless of how it turns out, against all the odds, this match has had one of the best builds on the Wrestlemania card and the promos have gotten me excited to see it. Who’d have thought it?