Dolph Ziggler won the Intercontinental Championship on Sunday at No Mercy. After an incredible build in an angle that would normally be ho-hum at best, The Miz and Ziggler put on the match of the night at the WWE Network Special. They also, presumably, put an end to what has been a historic mid-card title feud.
Let’s get the obvious caveat out of the way before moving forward. Yes, the WWE might want to do the arbitrary rematch between the two wrestlers, but that would only be a semantics. There’s no legitimate reason to continue on with these two guys’ story other than that pesky rematch angle the company continuously runs to the ground.
From a bigger picture standpoint, though, both men leave No Mercy coming out looking like rainbows, sunshine and a glass of fine wine.
The Miz remains remarkable. It is hard to put into words as to how special he has been since his Talking Smack work-shoot promo on Daniel Bryan. Honestly, as it has been in the past, few heels are as good as The Miz at making characters we were otherwise indifferent about — Alex Riley, John Cena at one point, Ziggler now — and turning them into massively over talents.
Think about it logically. Nothing appeared to make this feud standout when it started. We’ve seen Ziggler vs Miz before in many other forms. And the WWE was giving it to fans again. But thanks to The Miz’s forever developing quirks, and given the rare opportunity to be a full-time performer, he took the ball and ran with it.
In fact, it can be argued, as it should, that The Miz has been so good over the last three months that he performed himself out of mid-card title situations. That he, a man we often take for granted, was so — uh — awesome in his brilliance that he forced the WWE to take the IC strap off him so he can move on to bigger and better things.
One last thing about The Miz: He’s spent the majority of his WWE career having to do a lot of “extra” work for the company. Movies, spokesman, charity work, etc. All good things. That has come at a cost, however, as he’s rarely been granted the chance to have as regular a role on TV as he probably should.
By my count, he’s only been a legit full-timer (going on T.V. every week for at least year straight) twice since becoming a singles performer. One of them was a lengthy stint right after his tag team run, which saw him quickly climb the ladder, make Riley a thing, and eventually becoming the WWE World Champion and headlining WrestleMania with Cena. The other time? Right now. When he’s again forcing himself into the main event scene and turned Ziggler into a once again over act.
As for The Showoff, good for him. This is a well deserved character rebuild. While a lot of the credit for this goes to The Miz, as much of it should go to Ziggler. Ever since his Dean Ambrose angle, he has been excelling on the microphone, becoming a hybrid of sympathetic figure and new breed tough guy, as well as evolving what was becoming a stale character.
He has been a talent that was being wasted as it was. It is great that the WWE was able to figure out a way to utilize his talents like this. Credit to him for taking the opportunity and running with it through two feuds and a few months’ worth of stories.
Now, he’s not out of the woods yet. Not completely, at least. While The Miz’s trajectory seems to be the main event, Ziggler still very much needs to show he can excel as a person worth caring about outside the main event scene and without the transcendent Miz helping him out. That being said, he has become good enough as an oral wordsmith to accomplish such things.
So, yeah, Ziggler won at No Mercy, but both men left No Mercy with a positive momentum so fierce that it ups the stakes on SmackDown completely.
Bravo, men. You both did probably the best work of your careers together.