The Miz’ one-hundred-and-eighty-eight-day-never-ending-Intercontinental-Championship-reign came to an end this past Sunday at WWE Smackdown’s PPV No Mercy. Many fans have clamored for his defeat, afflicted from his grating, kayfabe sprinkled interview with Daniel Bryan on Talking Smack a few weeks back, or simply tired of his smarmy promos and Hollywood affluence. These people unknowingly are exactly what the Intercontinental belt needs to boost its esteem. For when it comes down to it, the Intercontinental Championship has always shined brightest when a talented heel holds the title.
Can you remember the great WWE Intercontinental Champions of the past? The truly noteworthy, genre defining figures who have held the illustrious belt bring to mind names such as Greg “the Hammer” Valentine, “the Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels, and “Double J” Jeff Jarrett. All were irredeemable personalities during their championship reigns. How about Pat Patterson, who won the first Intercontinental title as the result of a fictional tournament in Brazil under the heelish tutelage of the Grand Wizard. Or, the loathsome Honky Tonk Man, who ‘El Kabong’d’ many an opponent over the head with his guitar for a record setting 454 days while preening around with the illustrious belt.
The Miz reigned with a vain streak that puts him in the upper echelon of Intercontinental title holders. He paraded around with his beautiful wife Maryse, occasionally putting her in harm’s way to achieve his goals akin to the late, great Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage and his steward, Miss Elizabeth. Always a smug character, Miz’ elitist attitude reached new heights when he re-defined himself as the ‘Hollywood A-lister’. Establishing himself above the masses, his egotism must make stalwart ego maniacs such as Mr. Perfect and Ravishing Rick Rude smile down from IC heaven.
Despite its rich history, the IC title has floundered for the past few years. With ho-hum championship reigns from the likes of Ryback, Zack Ryder, and Bad News Barrett, the title seemed to have lost its esteem, relegated to a level almost below the United States Championship. (Gasp!) The Miz’ masterful heeling has managed to lift the faltering championship from mediocrity back to its proper place. Whether you consider the IC title as merely a stepping stone towards greater things such as the World Heavyweight Championship, or regard it as a great championship in its own league, there is no doubt that the Awesome One has raised the bar for future Intercontinental title holders.