Sometimes in wrestling, a promo stands out above the rest because of its cutting energy, relatability, viciousness, or because it announces that someone has truly arrived. When we think of iconic promos we all have our favorites, whether it’s Macho Man’s “Cream of the Crop”, Stone Cold Steve Austin’s “Austin 3:16”, or CM Punk’s “Pipe Bomb”.
On August 23, 2016, The Miz delivered an iconic promo on the Talking Smack platform about then-SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan. Bryan called The Miz out for wrestling like a coward and Miz responded with the promo of his career – ripping Bryan apart for his inability to get cleared or how if he really loved wrestling as much as he says, he’d go back to the bingo halls with his indie friends. Fast forward to this week and Miz has made a legitimate claim to be the best Intercontinental Champion of all-time, RAW General Manager Kurt Angle announced his movement to SmackDown Live in the Superstar Shake Up and Daniel Bryan is fresh off of a WrestleMania comeback, several years after it was thought he would never step foot in a WWE ring again. While the Superstar Shakeup provides a fresh reset for plenty of stars, new intrigue around the various title scenes and a whole new set of storylines to play with, the Miz returning to SmackDown Live may arguably be the most explosive outcome.
— Daniel Bryan (@WWEDanielBryan) April 17, 2018
After more than a year of taunting Bryan, down to even stealing moves like the “Yes! Kicks” (rebranded the “It Kicks”) while mocking his signature “Yes!” chant, Bryan can finally get his hands on The Miz and pay off one of the best feuds in recent memory. The Miz was once Bryan’s storyline mentor long ago while he was in NXT, but now Miz will face off with his former storyline boss in what should be a masterclass in storytelling.
Throughout 2016, during an incredible – and underrated, in our opinion – series of matches with Dolph Ziggler, Miz continued to put the heat on Bryan and escalated things every chance he could. Even when Miz eventually ended up on RAW during the last Superstar Shake Up, he continued to mock Bryan and continued to keep building up the Intercontinental Championship as arguably the top title in the company. While Bryan was working to get cleared to wrestle again, Miz continued to carry RAW during slow times, and prove how valuable he truly is to the WWE. But ultimately, this feud isn’t about how great Miz is, it’s about the former American Dragon finally getting a chance to give the hottest heel in the company his true comeuppance.
Somewhat ironically, one of the focal points in Miz’s epic Talking Smack promo was how he is a safe wrestler as opposed to the risk-taking craziness that defines Bryan. In that sense, he’s the perfect person to pair Bryan with in what should be his first long-term singles feud since getting cleared. While SmackDown Live has a plethora of great workers, several of whom have undeniable chemistry with Bryan, Miz has shown he can be trusted in the ring with just about anybody. WWE gets to limit the risk exposure to Daniel Bryan in letting this rivalry play out, aside from the standard use of tag matches for safety purposes. Bryan has been biding his time, hungry to get back in the ring and he’s motivated to silence any remaining doubters about his miraculous clean bill of health. Openly thrilled to be back in a ring like he belongs, Bryan is perpetually “over” with the fans who will no doubt roar for him against The Miz.