On last week's Raw, WWE laid the groundwork for what has the potential to be the best mid-card feud in quite some time.
A brief rundown: Guest star Larry King, accompanied by his wife Shawn, was out hosting a special WWE-style edition of his new talk show when Intercontinental Champion The Miz crashed the party.
Honestly, if Larry seriously expected his segment to go off without a hitch—and interrupted—he clearly hasn't been watching much pro wrestling lately.
Miz reminded everyone that last Monday was his birthday (this wasn't a storyline; he actually did turn 32) and obnoxiously tried to coax Larry, his wife and the audience into singing “Happy Birthday”. The talk show host wasn't having any of it, and brought out Kofi Kingston instead, in a bid to get his show a better, less egocentric guest.
Miz didn't take too kindly to this and had a nasty clash of words with the Kings, culminating in a memorable spot in which Mrs. King threw a cup of coffee over the former WWE Champion. Kingston then stepped in and dispatched the whiny Miz by throwing him off stage.
The two then brawled to the back to end the segment.
Their feud was stepped up on WWE Main Event—the company's new show on ION—in which Kingston goaded Miz into putting his beloved title on the line on this week's edition of the show. The segment ended with Kingston once again laying out his foe.
The two also clashed on SmackDown after The Big Show pummeled Kingston, and Miz, who was on commentary, left the booth to gloat in a fallen Kofi's face.
Miz vs. Kingston has a tremendous amount of potential for a few reasons.
For one thing, it's a great way to kick off Kingston's new push. After a lengthy period as a tag team wrestler, he is once again a singles wrestler, after he and R-Truth amicably parted ways in a WWE.com exclusive last week (although who gets custody of Little Jimmy has yet to be revealed).
After years of being marginalized and booked as an afterthought, it will be difficult to convince fans to take Kingston seriously again. But a feud in which he is a serious challenger to The Miz is a good start and should go some way to reviving his credibility in the eyes of the fans.
It will also be a boon for Miz' IC run.
Miz is a great champion who treats holding the belt like it is truly a big deal—refreshing for a company in which the mid-card titles are often casually treated and overlooked—but so far has lacked that one genuine in-ring rival that can make his reign truly memorable.
With the right booking—maybe Miz wins on Wednesday by nefarious means, setting up Kofi as a wronged, enraged baby-face challenger—the Miz/Kingston feud can accomplish this.
Besides, the rivalry itself should be entertaining, however long it lasts.
Both men are good wrestlers—Miz in particular has blossomed as a performer in recent months—and their interview segments have been terrifically fun to watch (their spirited confrontation on Main Event was easily the highlight of that program).
Summarily, Miz/Kingston can be one of the best mid-card feuds WWE has ever had, if the company is simply willing to put in the time and effort to develop it, which, alas, in these uncertain times isn't guaranteed.