Hi all in Bleacher Land, good to be back!
I have just finished watching the great match between the Miz and Christian for the Intercontinental Championship on SmackDown. I must say, I was impressed. It was a good match with a lot of back and forth action.
In fact, it was so good that even though I was watching it via DVR, I actually watched it all the way through rather than fast-forwarding to the end. The WWE has been putting on more and more great matches like this, and that is a great sign—more on that another time.
What was special about this match is that it was an example of how to do things right in terms of how to book a match and how to treat a championship.
Point 1: The Miz
There was a time when I detested this guy—which I suppose meant he was good at his job of drawing heat. He was arrogant, but also whiny, which made him annoying.
Then he became the WWE champion, and I have to admit that part of me still hated the guy, but on some level, I found myself begrudgingly rooting for him—I always love an underdog.
But to my disappointment, they turned him into a craven, cowardly champion. This cheapened the Miz and cheapened the WWE title.
The shame of it all was that they could have and should have done much better. He can go. He can be aggressive. He can be vicious and dangerous. What they should have done to him, they went on to do for Daniel Bryan.
In this match, they finally got the Miz right. No craven behavior, no running from the ring. Ruthless aggression and fortitude. I was not a fan of the Miz's WWE title reign, nor WWE's handling of the Miz as a character, but out of nowhere they resurrected the Miz and made him look like a champion worthy of holding the IC strap.
Now this brings me to...
Point 2: Making both combatants look good
I don't like squash matches. They are good now and again, but for me, they are more for comic relief than making a wrestler look impressive. Ryback, impressive as he looks, still hasn't really impressed me all that much because he hasn't beat anyone who has given him a fight.
WrestleMania's match between Daniel Bryan and Sheamus was a great example of how NOT to do a championship match. Or any kind of match at that level. Sheamus did not add much to his reputation by beating Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds, and Daniel Bryan certainly did not look any better long-term, fluke or not.
In the match between Miz and Christian, Miz looked like he deserved to wear the strap and Christian looked believable as the former champion trying to reclaim his gold. In addition to enhancing both characters, it gives the wrestling fans something to tune in for—great back and forth wrestling.
This brings us to my third and final point...
Point 3: Championships are measured by who holds them
This is not new news, but WWE has a bad habit of playing hot potato with their championships, even the top ones—the WWE and World Heavyweight championships.
Now, gone are the days of the championship reigns that lasted years and years, and in a way, that is a good thing. But what does changing champions as often as one changes underwear say about the champion wearing the strap?
What did winning the strap after so long to the acclaim of the WWE Universe, only to lose it a week later, do for Christian or the World Heavyweight Championship?
What about giving Big Show the strap for an impressive...45 seconds?
Lately, WWE has been doing a much better job with their champions. Cody Rhodes, Christian and the Miz have acted and defended their straps like actual champions so far.
CM Punk has had the WWE strap for quite a while and defended it against some great opponents and long odds.
I personally would have liked the strap to have been around Rhodes' waist for longer than it was, but at least they are finally making the IC strap mean something but putting it on great wrestlers who actually defend their championships and manage to hold on to them a while.
WWE has incurred the ire of the IWC for a long time, and likely always will. Some reasons are valid; some are debatable. But when they get it right, it should be acknowledged.
I feel WWE has been putting out a far better product lately than in recent years, and this match typifies one way in which WWE is doing it.
What do you think? I welcome your comments...