Sunday night’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view ended with the Miz cashing in his Money in the Bank contract and defeating Drew McIntyre to win the WWE championship.
McIntyre narrowly escaped defeat in the Elimination Chamber main event and then received a beatdown in the waning moments of the show from Bobby Lashley. The Money in the Bank contract is designed for a wrestler to cash in on a battered opponent, and that is exactly how this story played out—which means that, for the first time in a decade, the Miz is the reigning WWE champion.
“This opportunity doesn’t always present itself, but this is my chance,” Mike “The Miz” Mizanin says. “It’s been 10 years since I held this title, and I am ready for a run with the WWE championship.”
Even though the Miz is the new champion, the focus of the WWE title picture is now centered on McIntyre and Lashley. All signs point to this being a short title reign, especially with WWE’s announcing Monday that Mizanin’s Miz & Mrs reality show is returning to USA Network the Monday after WrestleMania 37. There is also a chance for WWE to make the most of that moment by having music star Bad Bunny cost Miz the title, leading to a singles or tag match against one another at WrestleMania. Yet, despite Mizanin’s being seemingly poised to be a transitional champion, he sees only opportunity in front of him.
“I do not plan on being a transitional champion,” Mizanin says. “That idea only fuels my fire, and hearing it is nothing new.
“It makes me think back to when I cashed in the Money in the Bank contract and won the belt in 2010. People thought I would lose, but I didn’t. Instead, I won the WWE championship. When I won, I heard I was only going to be a transitional champion, but I went on to main-event WrestleMania and I won, as a bad guy, in the main event, which never happens. Ten years later, I heard the same thing: I’d never win the title. So this is another opportunity for me to prove people wrong, which is what I plan on doing.”
A reality television star, Mizanin has relished silencing doubters throughout his career. Incredibly, he has been a constant presence on WWE programming since 2006, which equates to roughly an eternity in pro wrestling years. And while it seems certain that this will be a quick run with the belt, Mizanin has earned the trust of Vince McMahon, adding a wrinkle to any supposed concrete plans.
“Vince trusted me when no one else did,” Mizanin says. “He trusted me to go up against John Cena at WrestleMania 27 and to be in that story with the Rock, who had just come back to WWE. I got lost in that story. They were made men by then, and I still needed to make myself. Working live shows with Cena and Randy Orton, that taught me what it takes to be a main-eventer. And I’ve never stopped listening or learning.
“Over the last five years, I’ve found a new gear. I remember facing AJ Styles when he came to WWE, and his style was so different than anything I was used to. That’s when I knew I needed to elevate my work. And my wife deserves a lot of credit, too. Working with her, she gave me confidence that brought me to a new level.”
Whether he is the right, or long-term, choice as WWE champion remains to be seen. But Mizanin has consistently refined his presence in the ring, and he has also established himself as a star synonymous with the WWE brand. Considering that he has made a career out of exceeding expectations, Mizanin feels right at home in this title run.
“Let’s be honest, people thought I would cash in and lose,” Mizanin says. “So to finally win back this title, and to do it against Drew McIntyre, who has been incredible as champion, it’s awesome.
“I loved seeing the reaction on Twitter. I saw some positive response, and mostly negative comments—people did not want me to win the WWE championship. That fuels me. And if people are talking, then they’ll be watching.”
A pragmatic forecast for Mizanin’s second reign with the WWE title is that this will be short and sweet, but there is a caveat. If Mizanin can generate strong ratings on Raw, then the potential certainly exists to extend his reign as champion.
“This is the most coveted prize in all of WWE, and it’s mine,” Mizanin says. “I’m ready to lead Monday Night Raw, and any pay-per-view or main event. I am going to be the face of this company and carry the title with the prestige and honor it deserves.”