In one of the biggest upsets of the night, The Miz walked out of WWE’s WrestleMania 29 as the Intercontinental champion after defeating Wade Barrett via submission (figure-four leg lock).
This is the second Intercontinental Championship victory for The Miz, who previously won the title in 2012.
While it’s understandable that the WWE wants to push The Miz—a former WWE champion and one of the stars in the company that has legitimate mainstream appeal—the fact that the more talented in-ring worker and better all-around speaker in Barrett had to lose is a farce.
There is no questioning how much potential The Miz has in pro wrestling, but Barrett has the look and style to be a legitimate main event player if the WWE would decide to push him correctly.
Based on how previous WrestleManias have unfolded, though, that wasn't the primary focus here.
WrestleMania has become the biggest business venture of the year for the WWE, and putting The Miz over on the grandest stage of them all is just another way for the company to get even more casual fans—those who still remember the new IC champion from his time on reality television—to care about the results.
As much as the hardcore fans hated how the feud was thrown together in the weeks leading up to WrestleMania, the duo put on a match worthy of the stage it was presented.
The officials in the back should be pleased by the way this bout went down and how the crowd reacted, especially considering the lack of proper build.
While Barrett may have taken the loss, the impact he made helping The Miz continue to get over as a good guy with the fans—as well as his stellar work in the ring, on the mic and behind the scenes—will be enough to get him in line for a main event push in 2013.
The Miz will likely have a short run with the Intercontinental title—there should be bigger and better things planned for a wrestler as charismatic as the former WWE champion—but the victory is the ultimate holdover until something bigger comes along.
As for Barrett, the hope is that the WWE has a plan and that’s why the company took the strap off him. While the World Heavyweight Championship scene is packed right now, there is no question that the English fighter deserves to be battling for a world title.
No matter what happens next, a solid performance at WrestleMania from both The Miz and Barrett is just another step in their ascension to the main event level.
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