Following Drew McIntyre’s hard-fought championship defence inside the Elimination Chamber, The Miz shocked the world by cashing in his second Money in the Bank briefcase to capture the WWE title for the second time in his career.
Fans have had mixed feelings regarding Miz’s sudden ascension into the main event scene, especially since already ‘losing’ his contracted opportunity months prior. This has certainly thrown WrestleMania plans into disarray, with there currently being no one clear challenger to The Miz in one of the show’s marquee main events.
In the weeks leading to the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, WWE were laying the groundwork for a blockbuster clash between A-list celebrity star Bad Bunny and the tandem of Miz and Morrison. This was likely going to result in a tag team match featuring relative newcomer Damian Priest, but unless Miz intends to defend the most coveted prize in sports-entertainment against the current 24/7 Champion, we can assume that those plans have been scrapped.
Providing the fastest rising Hispanic star in hip-hop doesn’t cost him the WWE title on the road to WrestleMania, who’s going to step up to be Miz’s WWE Championship challenger? Let’s run down five potential opponents to step up for a massive opportunity on the Grandest Stage of Them All.
1. Drew McIntyre
The obvious choice is of course the former WWE Champion, Drew McIntyre. ‘The Scottish Psychopath’ fought through hell and highwater to retain his title inside the Chamber and would have likely succeeded against ‘The A-Lister’ if he hadn’t been beaten and bruised by five former champions beforehand.
Drew’s championship credibility was protected by the untimely cash-in, much like many other babyface champions have been in the past when thwarted by a villainous Money in the Bank holder. This usually leads to a rematch between the two, where the former champion can get his revenge and take back what’s rightfully theirs.
This could certainly happen at WrestleMania 37, a year on from McIntyre’s triumphant championship win over Brock Lesnar. Although, this time, I imagine WWE would want things to pan out a little differently, with a crowd on hand to make Drew’s crowning moment seem like the special moment it deserved to be last year.
For Drew to win the biggest title in WWE in back-to-back WrestleMania main events, it would be a huge testament to the company’s continued faith in him as a major star and would hopefully give him the crowd reaction that he’s desperately needed to put him over as ‘the guy’. Plus it’d be fun to see him ragdoll The Miz all over the stadium.
2. Bobby Lashley
The Hurt Business’ Bobby Lashley has been an integral part in The Miz’s WWE Championship victory. Not only did he deliver a serious beating to Drew McIntyre before the cash-in, but he also happened to score himself a shot at the title the following night on RAW. At some point in the near future, ‘The Chief Hurt Officer’ will be stepping into the ring with The Miz for his first shot at the WWE Championship since returning in 2017.
Having lost the United States Championship to Riddle after a fairly impressive reign, Lashley deserves to be slotted into the main event picture, returning a sense of progression to the roster after being elevated by the mid-card belt. Lashley has built himself to be quite the star over the course of the year, so him being placed into a WWE Championship match around WrestleMania season would seem entirely out of place.
Depending on whether The Miz makes it past Fast Lane with the WWE Championship still around his waist, I could see Lashley being involved in Miz’s plans one way or another, whether that be in a triple threat scenario alongside Drew McIntyre, or as his watchful protector until he finally gets his shot at the gold.
3. John Morrison
John Morrison has really faded into the background since returning to WWE last year. Despite his success alongside his best-bud in the tags division, Morrison hasn’t really wowed audiences like we thought he would. But there’s still hope, and a feud with his longtime friend and former rival could very well be the key to making him a star of today’s era.
Now that The Miz is champion, it very much puts Morrison in the ‘Marty Janetty’ position of the team, that could certainly play into him turning on his partner in an attempt to score himself a WWE title shot. Morrison has the potential to develop into a beloved babyface character, especially within the less casual audiences who caught his indie work during his hiatus. Seeing him finally return to prominence in WWE would be a dream come true for many.
Morrison/Miz have clashed in the past but have never been given a stage quite like WrestleMania. If given the time to plant the seeds of jealousy and betrayal, allowing the two to deliver some crazy-good promos, this could easily become one of the most talked about matches on the Mania card this year and might even steal the show.
4. Daniel Bryan
Unfortunately, Daniel Bryan was not able to walk out of Elimination Chamber as Universal Champion, after being pummelled by ‘The Tribal Chief’ following his Chamber win. It seems like a bit of an anti-climax for Bryan to now fade back into the mid-card and not demand another championship opportunity, having gone through all that horror from the number 1 spot. Edge has finally confirmed his intentions to battle Roman Reigns at WrestleMania this year, making that particular title picture a little crowded, so what about RAW’s title?
‘The Yes Man’ could easily make a quick transition over to Monday Nights to secure his rightfully owed championship match at this year’s WrestleMania. His history with The Miz goes without saying, and with Bryan’s plans to ultimately wind down his career over the course of the next year, a WrestleMania date against one of his greatest rivals could definitely be worth building towards.
There might not be no better opponent to challenge and dethrone The Miz during the height of his career than DB, but on the flip side, what better chance for Bryan to be forced into a retirement situation than a title vs career match against his bitter rival. The programme writes itself.
5. Finn Balor
Okay so, probably the least likely to happen from this list but has potential nonetheless. Finn Balor is currently killing it as NXT Champion, but his days are numbered. With challengers like Adam Cole, Karrion Kross and Pete Dunne all vying for the top belt in the promotion, Balor’s time may be coming to an end. Finn has been a great addition to the NXT roster and has really rejuvenated himself with some excellent matches under his new ‘Prince’ character. A return to the main roster may not be out of the question at this point.
Balor could make a huge impact on the Road to WrestleMania, claiming that he’s done enough to warrant a shot at the WWE Championship. After proving himself as a force to be reckoned with, he could be a massive threat to The Miz’s title reign, setting up a titanic clash between the figureheads of two promotions at the biggest show of the year.
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