The first-ever WWE Universal Champion competing in his first Wrestlemania. The Architect, one-win shy of a grand slam. And one of the greatest, most underappreciated, Intercontinental Champions in WWE history, looking to cement his legacy. These are the storylines heading into Sunday’s triple-threat match for the WWE Intercontinental title between Finn Balór, Seth Rollins, and The Miz.
The WWE Intercontinental Championship has long been referred to as the “workers” belt, meaning that the title is usually put on wrestlers who wrestle night-in and night-out and are counted on to carry the show. It has a rich history of champions such as “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, Shawn Michaels, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and The Rock, to name a few. The names are a big reason why the championship is revered by wrestlers and carrying the IC title usually means your career trajectory is trending upwards.
However, the championship has, at times, been under-valued and even forgotten throughout the past decade and some say the prestige it once had has diminished. That will not be the case this weekend at Wrestlemania 34 in New Orleans.
The three men competing for the belt on Sunday are not only the best WWE has to offer, they are among the best wrestlers in the world and the perfect representation of what an IC Champion is – and should be. Every man has a legitimate claim to the title.
Balór and Rollins have been trading wins in a very competitive series of matches over the last few weeks, with Rollins picking up the win this past Monday night on RAW. Both superstars are among the most popular wrestlers on the roster and have earned their stripes by wrestling in promotions around the world.
The storyline for this match has been heavily centered on Balór and Rollins, which has led the heel, Miz, to take a bit of a backseat. However, Miz is not one to be forgotten about. His work in the ring and on the microphone over the past year has been some of the best by any wrestler in WWE. Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel, two guys who had been essentially forgotten about, were revitalized as part of the “Miztourage.” His rivalry with Roman Reigns and The Shield was one of the most entertaining storylines from Monday Night RAW in 2017.
Not to mention, his tirade on Talking Smack where he verbally assaulted Smackdown General Manager Daniel Bryan and the use of Bryan’s “Yes!” kicks during every one of his matches. Miz has kept the story of his issue with Bryan alive while also putting together a great year-and-half.
There is a lot at stake for the legacy of each man in this match. However, no matter the outcome, wrestling fans should appreciate what these men do on a daily basis. While there are guys who make an appearance for the WWE once or twice a year *cough* Brock Lesnar *cough* these are the men who are at every event 365 days a year and keep the WWE atop all other wrestling promotions.
Balór, Rollins, and Miz will go to battle on Sunday and do what they’ve been doing every night for the last few years. Carry the show and possibly steal it.