The Miz won the Intercontinental Championship from Wade Barrett during the WrestleMania XXIX pre-show. He forced Barrett to tap from the Figure Four leg lock in less than five minutes.
As the Intercontinental champion, Barrett was buried and lost multiple matches on TV over the past couple of months. Thus, his lost to The Miz wasn’t a big surprise.
Barrett is no longer champion and The Miz is on the rise once again. What does the title change mean for both Superstars?
Barrett could have lost all of his matches on Raw and SmackDown and then retain the title, but this loss at WrestleMania hurt Barrett’s stock. The fact that this match took place on the pre-show and the United States Championship was not even defended revealed a lot about the state the mid-card titles are in right now.
The Intercontinental Champion is usually a stepping stone for its holders as they move up into the main event scene. Legends like Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho and Edge all held the belt before breaking into the main event scene.
With Barrett, it felt like he was being punished instead of rewarded. Maybe now WWE will push him into the main event, but it will be hard to take him seriously after the terrible reign he had. However, stranger things have happened in the WWE.
Taking the belt off of Barrett means he could begin the feud with Sheamus that WWE hinted at last month. With Sheamus on the outs as Big Show Randy Orton look to begin feuding, this could be a good feud to build Barrett back up.
Things may not be so bad for Barrett after all.
The Miz began his second reign as Intercontinental champion right before WrestleMania kicked off. WWE seems determined to push Miz as a face. It started with a partnership with Ric Flair and adopting the Figure Four. The addition of the Intercontinental title can’t hurt either, even though the title means very little right now.
The Miz looks to have momentum on his side after winning the title. What started out rough, Miz has molded himself into a pretty good babyface. When he locked in the Figure Four and made Barrett tap, there was a loud reaction from the fans.
There may be a lengthy run with the title in Miz’s future as I see no reason to take the title off of him anytime soon. There are a decent amount of mid-card heels on the roster he can feud with, like Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Fandango or even the returning Christian.
Having the champion actually win his matches on TV will help bring relevancy back to the Intercontinental title so it won’t be relegated to pay-per-view pre-show matches.
It looks like the WWE is slowly trying to bring The Miz back to main event status like he was back in 2011 and it begins as the Intercontinental champion.