At Sunday's WWE Battleground event, The Miz won an over-the-top-rope Battle Royal to become the new Intercontinental champion. Dolph Ziggler eliminated Sheamus from the match only to be tossed over by Miz, who was playing possum at ringside.
The history between Miz and Sheamus dates back further than Sunday's pay-per-view. The two traded victories on Raw and Main Event, respectively, last week, and it appears their feud is far from over.
If Battleground was any indication, it appears their rivalry will indeed continue heading into August's SummerSlam, but not just over the United States Championship. The Intercontinental Championship could very well be up for grabs as well.
When Sheamus first threw his name into the hat of participants in the Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal at Battleground several weeks back, he teased the possibility of unifying the U.S. and Intercontinental titles. Sheamus has been the reigning U.S. champion since the May 5 Raw, when he won the star-spangled prize in a (coincidentally enough) Battle Royal.
It may have seemed like a far-fetched idea only a few years ago, but with the two midcard titles essentially meaningless in this day and age, it's now much more plausible. Both belts have received a bit more attention in recent months, but it's possible that was intentionally done to make an eventual title unification match mean something.
Sheamus vs. Bad News Barrett for the rechristened Intercontinental-United States Championship would have been an intriguing addition to the SummerSlam card. However, with Barrett currently out with an injury, that match is no longer a possibility.
Miz vs. Sheamus may not be the most compelling contest on paper, but it makes sense from a storyline standpoint. As noted, the two were already feuding prior to Battleground, so to keep that going into SummerSlam seems logical.
The Intercontinental Championship was one of the most prestigious prizes in WWE during the 1980s and '90s. It was seen as the stepping stone to the WWE Championship and a title for the "workhorses" of the company.
The importance of the Intercontinental title has greatly decreased in the last decade or so, and the same can be said for the United States Championship. When it gets to the point where you have a champion hold the title for a year and never defend it (see: Dean Ambrose), that's when you know it's time to either give it to someone else or scrap it.
In a midcard consisting of Cesaro, Sheamus, Barrett, Miz, Damien Sandow, Ziggler and many others, it's mind-boggling to think that WWE doesn't have more stories for them outside of the IC and U.S. titles. If the two titles aren't ever going to get any attention, why bother having them around at all?
That said, the unification of the championships appears to be imminent, and there's no grander stage to hold it at than SummerSlam (outside of WrestleMania, of course).
A match between Miz and Sheamus may not exactly light the world on fire, but a Triple Threat also involving Dolph Ziggler very well could. Many fans were left wondering what would be next for the bleached-blond star after coming up short at Battleground. Entering the title picture would do him wonders.
Ziggler has been directionless since dropping the World Heavyweight Championship last summer. Despite being poorly booked over the last year, he is still beloved by fans and garners great reactions each and every week.
The former Intercontinental and United States champion has had his fair share of excellent matches with Sheamus as well as Miz over the years, so imagine what an amazing Triple Threat match these three competitors could have.
Potential matches such as John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar and Triple H vs. Roman Reigns seem likely to be slated for SummerSlam, while a match pitting the two midcard champions against each other would be a nice addition to the card. Following his performance on Sunday night, Ziggler could be added as well.
Regardless of whether it's a Triple Threat match or not, it's high time the two titles were merged. Neither strap has meant anything in ages, and there's a chance that bringing them together could actually spark some interest in the midcard.
Plus, with one world title, one tag team title and one women's title nowadays, what sense does it make to have two midcard belts? The division is big enough where two titles could be seen as necessary, but with a majority of those stars not even contending for the belts, it seems pretty pointless.
It'll be interesting to see what direction the midcard takes in the coming months and whether we'll be left with one unified midcard championship following SummerSlam.
Thanks for reading and be sure to drop a comment below with your thoughts on a potential midcard title unification match at the upcoming SummerSlam event. As always, your criticism and overall feedback on my latest piece is greatly appreciated.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is a journalism major at Endicott College. Visit his website at Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.
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