Why Miz/Cena At WrestleMania 33 Is Awesome
Hi, I’m Justin Watry. You may remember me from such classic columns as March 2012’s “WWE WrestleMania 28: Sheamus Should Defeat Daniel Bryan in Less Than a Minute” and October 2015’s “WWE NXT: Bobby Roode, You’re Next.”
John Cena and Nikki Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse is official for WrestleMania 33 in Orlando, Florida. Certainly a topic worth discussing.
Let me set the stage for you. It was summer 2009. The Miz was running his mouth on Raw looking to make a name for himself. Not unlike any other television show from WWE during the past decade. He was yapping about who knows what…and decided to name drop John Cena. Uh oh! Bad move. Don’t poke the bear. Well, Miz did it again and again and again. Cena was busy in the main event fighting for the WWE Championship. No way was he going to care about what young Mizanin had to say. It was beneath him to even bother with a response, much less answer a challenge.
Until he did.
Yes, that is correct. John Cena and The Miz feuded in 2009 and even had a pay-per-view match. The seeds were planted for a much bigger showdown down the road…
Alright, Cena beat Miz in short order at The Bash and pretty much dominated the feud. However, that was not the story. The story was WWE and The Miz finally reached some kind of understanding that the former Real World star was serious about being a wrestler. Not as being a host or tag team guy. Nope, Miz had the promo skills to back up his skills and had no issues going toe to toe with John F’N Cena! From there, it was a United States Championship run, a Big Show pairing, an Alex Riley mentoring, a Money in the Bank briefcase victory, a WWE Title celebration…and an inevitable rematch with John Cena – in the main event of WrestleMania!
Not even two years removed from the rookie being crushed and humiliated by the veteran, they would meet again. This time, Miz had proven himself to be a worthy title holder, a man who DESERVED the top spot, and he was not going to get beat again. Not like 2009. It was early 2011, and the landscape and drastically changed. Some of the old guard had left; it was a new era.
Unfortunately for the reigning WWE Champion, The Rock was returning to the company. For the first time in over seven years, The Rock was back on Raw and instantly inserted into a feud with John Cena. Any one of us would have done the same thing. We all would have bright back Rocky. We all would have placed him against Cena. We all would have done it, despite what the critics say about this decision. In a heartbeat, if you found out The Rock was ready to come back, yeah, you would do it too.
Great for fans. Great for Rock. Great for Cena. Great for WrestleMania (which badly needed a boost). Great for business.
Not so great for The Miz.
Look, it is not exactly a secret that Rock/Cena was the dream match. That was money, and everybody knew it. Yeah, Miz carrying the top prize in the industry did get pushed to the background a bit, but here is something very few people remember.
The Miz held his own. Nearly every week on Raw, he got the better of John Cena. Heck, they even held the tag titles together for about ten minutes. Miz was made to look as strong as humanly possible considering the circumstances. Then in their one and only three way promo battle, guess what? The Miz (again) shined. Fans often discuss the memorable Cena/Rock jabs at one another, yet there was The Miz six days until WreestleMania 27 hanging with the two mega-stars word for word.
Not only that, but The Miz delivered on his promise and defeated John Cena. In the main event of Mania. To retain his WWE Title.
The Rest Of 2011
Okay, that was Mania. The Miz got his flashy entrance and massive victory (and a concussion). He was flying high as WWE Champion.
That is when it all came crashing down. Cena won the belt a few weeks later and proceeded to best Miz a few more times in the followup. From there, it was back down the card for awhile…until November’s Survivor Series.
The Rock and John Cena had joined forces to battle R-Truth and The Miz. Yep, it was like the cycle kept going round and rough and round and leading us back to Cena and Miz. No surprise, it was the good guys beating the bad guys. However, that was not the takeaway from Survivor Series. Nope. The message it sent to me was that WWE STILL trusted Miz and still had faith in him when in need. He may not have held the WWE Championship anymore or headlining shows anymore, but his 2011 work was not going to be just flushed down the toilet.
The Face Turn That Never Worked
I am one of the few writers ANYWHERE to have a column series called “I Was Wrong.” It is specific in nature – I call myself out and discuss what I was incorrect one. Back in 2012, I was very clear in my statement: The Miz was going to turn face and become a major breakout star. Fans were going to love his attitude, appreciate his lifelong fandom, yell out his catchphrases each week, and The Miz would be rolling.
Well, I was wrong. A Ric Flair endorsement did no tricks, and it was dropped in no time. Miz was back to being a heel and not much to do. Sad to say, the naysayers were right about him falling from grace.
The Miz did indeed hit a slump, despite the best efforts from everybody to always try and keep his relevant. From WWE Studios to his Alex Riley feud (in 2011) to the IC Title reigns, to different partnerships, to getting a nice WM win-loss record, to have his own talk show, etc. The Miz has always been a guy who was ‘there’ but never got that chance to shine like he did in 2010 and 2011. Sure, WWE would call his number if a top spot had to be filled last minute or a media interview had to be done, but the AWESOME run as the WM headliner seemed like a million years ago.
It was during this time that people gave up on him. He may quit the business. He may leave for Hollywood. He only had a fluke run on top. He was a flash in the pan. He sucked and got lucky for a year. John Cena carried him the entire time; he never belonged in the same ring as him. Blah, blah, blah.
I knew it was just a matter of time.
A lot of fans pin point the rise of The Miz to the WWE Draft in July and brand split. I disagree. It was actually a couple of months earlier. The night after WrestleMania 32, The Miz beat then IC Champion Zack Ryder on RAW with the help of his wife Maryse. In an instant, Miz was a champion again, had a valet by his side and a whole world of possibilities. That was the spark. Maryse added a bunch to his act, and it was something different.
I was hooked right away.
It was only fitting that Smackdown LIVE would draft John Cena and a few picks later, The Miz. We suspected nothing at the time, but hindsight sure tells us that a showdown between the two was bound to happen eventually. One was a hot heel again; the other was a face looking to work with younger/fresher stars on the Blue Brand. Who DIDN’T see them locking horns again on the grand stage?
Oh, but there is always a twist in WWE. You see, we have seen The Miz and John Cena wrestle before. Multiple times. Been there, done that. The rivalry is well known and can be re-lived on the WWE Network for only $9.99 per month. You will see a boatload of bouts between the two. A few won by The Miz; most won by John Cena.
Of course, there had to be something *more* this time around.
Maryse and Nikki Bella.
The Divas Revolution from 2015 worked wonders for many of the female talents, and it has officially become the Women’s Evolution in WWE. Main evented Raw episodes. Headlined Heck on a Deck on PPV inside the cell last October. TWO titles now. A lot of talented performers are getting their chance. Whether on reality television or the actual wrestling programs; they are everywhere. With Maryse being married to The Miz, and Nikki Bella being the long-time girlfriend of John Cena, it only makes sense to add them to the mix.
Maryse has been great in her role the past 11 months and has a past inside the squared circle. No shock at all she would target a WM return for a special match. On the flip side, Nikki has improved ten fold since debuting years ago and 100% earned that record breaking Divas Title run in 2015.
— Justin Watry (@JustinWatry) September 14, 2015
Since injuring her neck and returning to the ring, Nikki has done a great job. Despite what the clowns expected, she did not simply return and get the belt right away. Nor has she “BURIEDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!” the division. It is a shame the rumor mill has her (again) mulling retirement. I guess that makes it even more perfect that her final match would be teaming up with her man, John Cena.
That is why this entire thing makes sense and is one of the many sleepers hit for Mania. What happens pre-match? What happens from bell to bell? WHO WINS? Heck, what is the post-match scene? One couple will stand tall; the other sent to the back in defeat. I know what a lot of folks THINK will happen in the ring after the victors are announced, and if true, don’t tell me that wouldn’t be a WM Moment. You can bet your bella it would be. I’m beyond intrigued by this match, and there is one last reason for that…
The Miz Deserves This
The common sentiment surrounding this feud is that John Cena has taken a step down the card. No, no, no. This not a step down for Cena; this is a step UP for The Miz. No more pointless multi-man matches or filler battle royal spots. Or whatever Miz would have been doing otherwise. Cena has more than showed his true colors the past few years at Mania (Bray, Rusev, run-in). This is for Nikki Bella. This is for Maryse. This is for The Miz. This isn’t for John Cena.
I wrote a million things about the infamous Talking Smack segment with The Miz and Daniel Bryan last year. However, the one point I made that remains clear six months later is that The Miz deserved a payoff to his incredible 2016. Even before the much talked about promo, he was doing some top notch stuff. The Bryan feud and Dolph Ziggler matches are added to his resume. If The Miz was in a random WM bout with no build or fanfare, it would have been a darn shame. That is why I wonder if it was WWE rewarding him here with a big spot…or if Cena is the one who volunteered this up to ‘give back’ again before more time off from the road.
I know his public comments may say otherwise, but wrestling is a work. I highly doubt much of what anybody says in interviews is the total truth. It’s been quite apparent to anybody watching for the past few years that Cena is moving to a part-time schedule and has already lost a fair share of matches. Clean. Whether to AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, or Bray Wyatt. I mean, the dude was just wrestling James Ellsworth on the Road to WM. Come on! We may never get the full backstage story, but this feels like everybody rallying behind The Miz once again, and I love it.
We shall see on April 2nd, 2017 in Orlando, Florida in what is sure to be an awesome night…
WrestleMania 33 Update
So close you can feel it. We are less than two weeks away. Flights are booked, hotel is booked, tickets are in hand – things are all set for a weekend to remember forever. A bucket list item for sure. I appreciate all the emails/messages coming in from readers. No promises, but if I can meet up with anybody for a beer or two or three or dozen, then I’m game! Friday and Saturday are wide open, with Sunday (obviously) being spent at Camping World Stadium. Then it is back to Wisconsin EARLY Monday morning.
411Mania WM Feature
No spoilers, but the annual 411mania WrestleMania Feature should be getting posted soon. Like always, the topic will bring much discussion and debate. My personal list is much different than the ‘official’ one being revealed from staff votes, so once the countdown is over with, I will unveil the Watry version. Oh joy!
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