If Roman Reigns can't wrap up his violent saga with Braun Strowman on WWE Raw right now, The Miz is a hell of a replacement rival.
This meeting of powerhouse and crafty coward has the potential to be a burst of adrenaline for the red brand. The Miz tearing into The Big Dog on the mic will be must-see TV. And in an era with so many hours of programming to fill, it's hard to find feuds as fresh as this one.
That's apparently the direction is headed. Billi Bhatti of Wrestling Inc reported: "Reigns, who was scheduled to feud with Braun Strowman through the Extreme Rules pay-per-view, will be facing The Miz in his next program."
Strowman and Reigns traded acts of savagery for months until The Monster Among Men needed to step away due to an elbow issue, as Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet first reported.
Suddenly, Raw is without its hottest commodity. A show already suffering from Brock Lesnar and the Universal Championship being non-existent presences is in need of momentum. And Reigns is in need of a foil.
The Miz standing opposite him would be a refreshing sight. WWE fans have only seen them battle in one-on-one action four times and only twice in the last two years, per CageMatch.net.
That's a drastic change from The Miz's current rivalry with Ambrose, which is a rehash of a SmackDown feud from December and January.
As talented as both those men are, it's been hard to get psyched for their story unfolding. With that feud at the center, the May 8 edition of Raw dragged.
Strowman's path of destruction was one of the only angles that was clicking on the show overall. With that gone, Raw has to plug in something else with ample spark in a hurry.
Reigns vs. The Miz will be just that.
It's a matchup that has innate appeal, one that takes advantage of the roster movement during last month's Superstar Shake-up. The folks at the Tights and Fights podcast were intrigued about the possibility of those two disparate characters colliding since The Miz joined Raw that night:
Tights And Fights @TightsFights
Oh well. I guess we at least get Miz vs. Reigns at some point. #RAW #SuperstarShakeUp https://t.co/ltkK0puK7f2017-4-11 00:11:43
Reigns is a brooding, take-no-prisoners badass built like a Marvel superhero. The Miz is a slimy, smarmy egotist who isn't afraid to use his wife Maryse as a human shield. The juxtaposition of their characters alone is enough to pique one's interest.
And once they start interacting with mics in hand, things will get compelling in a hurry.
The Miz gutting Reigns on promos will be a blast to watch. The A-Lister has been one of WWE's top talkers in the past two years, going toe to toe with the likes of Daniel Bryan, John Cena and Dolph Ziggler. He's sure to continue that roll against Reigns, finding and attacking all his weaknesses.
Reigns needs a rival who he can lean on for the verbal side of a feud. He's best suited to being concise and intense, as well as issuing more punches than quips.
The Miz is a perfect match in that way.
If WWE is going to stubbornly push forward with Reigns as a babyface, the best bet is to let him face a top-flight villain. As Masked Man Show co-host and Bleacher Report writer-at-large Dave Schilling noted, The Awesome One may be the only one who can properly play that role against the polarizing Reigns:
Dave Schilling @dave_schilling
If *anyone* can help Roman Reigns get over as a babyface, it's The Miz. https://t.co/hPeAMhDWbx2017-5-11 15:55:25
Strowman was growing too popular to inspire boos. Fans were loudly thanking him for thrashing Reigns each night.
The Miz may not be able to convince Reigns' detractors to root for him, but it will mighty fun seeing him try. As an elite heel, he's going to expertly antagonize The Big Dog and create more pathos for him than anyone else could.
The experiment may not work in terms of changing the audience's perception of Reigns, but it will be an entertaining, electric showdown nonetheless. As Strowman's replacement as Reigns' top enemy, The Miz will prove he's no consolation prize.