The Main Event (in our hearts)
Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz has been eight years in the making and a dream match for the past two following that still-electrifying worked-shoot Miz gave on Talking Smack (a show whose absence is still mourned every single day). They’ve been feuding on and off in some capacity since Bryan’s first day on the old version of NXT, when the goddamn American Dragon was positioned as the rookie to the 2010 version of The Miz, but it really took off after Bryan was forced to retire due to injury in 2016. In his new role as SmackDown GM, he and Miz re-ignited their beef with each other passive-aggressively for months until that fateful day Bryan said that Miz “wrestle[s] like a coward” to his face on live semi-scripted TV.
We, therefore, have had two years to fantasy book this match down to the second. Bryan accuses Miz of wrestling like a coward, terrified to put his body on the line or take a stiff shot, always resorting to shortcuts and basic offense in his matches. Miz retorts by pointing out that his “cowardly” style means that he has never been seriously injured (unlike Bryan) and is still wrestling high quality matches on a weekly basis (unlike Bryan) whilst Bryan is the true coward for riding out his cushy retirement contract instead of quitting and going back to fighting in bingo halls with laxer health and safety standards. To rub further salt in the wound, Miz then starts stealing many of Bryan’s signature moves and taunts for himself because Bryan can’t do anything about it, whilst claiming that Bryan owes his WWE career to The Miz and therefore has nothing to prove to him.
Their match, then, would involve the two trying to one-up each other with variations of their signature moves – the Yes/It Kicks, the Romero Hold, the Figure Four Leglock – Bryan wanting to fulfil his promise to punch Miz in the face, Miz trying to prove once and for all that he is a better wrestler than Bryan but coming up short because he’s The Miz, so he takes a shortcut and gets the win with a screwy finish that’s just enough Bryan’s own fault (taking an unnecessary risk giving Miz time to do something shady) that it allows Miz to feel fully vindicated and frustrates Bryan enough to take the loss deeply personally. That’s the match this needed to be… and, thankfully, that was exactly the match we got. I loved it, dead crowd be damned! A valuable lesson that, just because everybody and their smarky dog has figured out something months in advance, sticking to your guns and zigging instead of needlessly zagging can be what’s best for business. If somebody could travel back 4 months to the main event of WrestleMania and let the Creative of then know about that to save us this interminable extension to the Reigns/Lesnar story, that would be swell.
Excellent match. Now, please, keep them from throwing hands at each other in a singles capacity until next year’s ‘Mania. You’re doing so well at this!