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Seth Rollins Beats The Miz to Retain Intercontinental Title at WWE Backlash

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2018

Photo credit: WWE.com.

Seth Rollins extended his reign as intercontinental champion by defeating The Miz at WWE Backlash Sunday night in Newark, New Jersey.

The Miz did well to work on Rollins' leg throughout the match, and the champion was clearly favoring his right knee toward the end of the match. The Miz also delivered two Skull-Crushing Finales, neither of which was able to keep Rollins down for the three-count.

The injured knee didn't prevent Rollins from hitting the Blackout and picking up the victory:

WWE @WWE

The #ICTitle is STAYING on #MondayNightRollins as @WWERollins emerges from an INCREDIBLE match with the victory! #WWEBacklash https://t.co/pRoMOV0xIz

Raw general manager Kurt Angle praised both stars:

Kurt Angle @RealKurtAngle

Wow! @WWERollins vs @mikethemiz .... doesn’t get much better than that. #WWEBacklash #itstrue @wwe

CBS Sports' Brian Campbell thought Rollins and The Miz didn't help everybody else on the Backlash card:

Brian Campbell @BCampbellCBS

Good luck trying to follow that match. #RollinsMiz #WWEBacklash

Sunday's bout marked Rollins' third title defense in less than two weeks, as he previously put the title on the line at the Greatest Royal Rumble and on the go-home edition of Raw prior to Backlash.

At the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia, The Architect prevailed in a Fatal 4-Way ladder match against The Miz, Finn Balor and Samoa Joe. Balor appeared poised to win, but a cat-like pounce from the ropes to the ladder by Rollins allowed him to secure the title.

With Balor coming so close to victory at the Greatest Royal Rumble, he challenged Rollins to a one-on-one match for the championship on Raw.

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Rollins obliged, and after an entertaining, back-and-forth match, he managed to catch Balor with the Curb Stomp and pinned him to retain.

The challenges were far from over for Rollins, though, as he had to shift his focus toward a match against arguably the greatest intercontinental champion in WWE history.

Miz entered Backlash with the second-most IC title reigns of all time (eight) and the second-most combined days spent as intercontinental champion (599).

He faced Rollins and Balor in a Triple Threat match that opened the show at WrestleMania 34, and although The A-Lister came close to retaining on multiple occasions, Rollins left The Showcase of the Immortals with the title in tow.

It marked the first time Rollins had won the Intercontinental Championship, and it made him a Grand Slam champion because of his previous stints as WWE, United States and tag team champion.

As part of the Superstar Shake-up, The Miz moved from Raw to SmackDown Live. Even so, he was still entitled to an automatic rematch.

The dynamic of Rollins and The Miz being on separate brands created some questions about what would happen if Miz managed to prevail.

It wasn't truly addressed prior to Backlash if Miz would return to Raw as intercontinental champion or simply take the title to SmackDown, which would then give the blue brand both midcard championships.

Those factors made Rollins a significant favorite entering the match, but Miz's resourcefulness and underhanded tactics still gave him a fighting chance.

Even though The Miz pushed Rollins to the limit, The Kingslayer prevailed once again, and he will move forward as the top full-time singles champion on Raw with universal champion Brock Lesnar only making part-time appearances.

               

Listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot wrestling topics. Catch the latest episode in the player below (warning: some language NSFW).

 

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