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Mike Pankow

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SummerSlam preview: Another chapter for Daniel Bryan and The Miz

SummerSlam preview: Another chapter for Daniel Bryan and The Miz

By Mike Pankow

August 19, 2018

After another newsworthy and action-packed NXT TakeOver, it’s the main roster’s turn to shine at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

While there are many matches generating buzz at Sunday night’s SummerSlam, WWE’s summer spectacular, no match may have as much history and intrigue as The Miz against Daniel Bryan.

The rivalry between the two men go back to February 2010 when Bryan was selected to participate in NXT, which, at that point, was a competition show where the winner would get a main roster contract. Bryan, a “rookie” on that show, had nearly 10 years of experience in professional wrestling. The Miz was selected to be his “pro,” a veteran member of the WWE roster who would mentor the rookies.

The Bryan-Miz pairing drew the most heat from the fans as Bryan was that independent wrestling darling while Miz was considered the quintessential “sports entertainer” with his reality-show background on MTV’s “The Real World.”

Miz would often berate Bryan while “showing him the ropes.” Bryan lost every match on NXT, going 0-10 before being eliminated from the competition.

Eventually, Bryan would make it to main roster and started feuding with The Miz, defeating him for the United States Championship in September 2010.

The Miz, however, held the Money in the Bank briefcase which he won in July of that year and parlayed that into winning the WWE Championship by cashing in on Randy Orton in November 2010.

After retaining the WWE title at WrestleMania 27 with a win over John Cena, thanks to some interference from The Rock, Miz dropped the championship to Cena on May 1, 2011. Many critics pointed to Miz’s reign as a low point for WWE and he eventually slid down to mid-card status.

Bryan experienced his ups and downs after his initial feud with Miz, cashing in his own Money in the Bank contract to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion later in 2011 before losing the title in 17 seconds to Sheamus at WrestleMania 28.

Bryan was then cast as an underdog while Miz won several secondary championships, including the Intercontinental title eight times.

While Miz couldn’t rise back to the main event, Bryan finally broke through behind a crest of popularity. Bryan’s moment came at WrestleMania 30, capping a two-year odyssey of trying to become the WWE’s top guy. He defeated Orton and Batista (Drax from “Guardians of the Galaxy) to win the WWE Undisputed Championship.

Bryan’s career took a turn in the next year so after that as he eventually had to retire because of post-concussion syndrome. Meanwhile, Miz finally ascended back toward the top of the card, winning the Intercontinental Championship just after WrestleMania 32. His pairing with real-life wife, Maryse, propelled the Miz character into the stratosphere.

Miz was starting to display his best work in the ring and outside of the ring. Then the rivalry between him and Bryan started to sizzle once again during WWE Network’s “Talking Smack” program, a SmackDown Live postgame show where Bryan would co-host and interview wrestlers who competed on the show.

Bryan, who then was acting as SmackDown Live general manager while he was sidelined from the ring, got into several verbal altercations with Miz. Finally, Bryan was cleared to return to in-ring action by several concussion experts, including the Concussion Legacy Foundation’s Dr. Robert Cantu.

It took just a few months for the feud to percolate again with Bryan returning as an active in-ring wrestler and Miz being transferred back to SmackDown Live during the annual “Superstar Shakeup” after a year on Raw.

Bryan’s contract reportedly is set to expire in the next couple of weeks, placing some extra intrigue into Sunday night’s matchup. Bryan likely will re-sign with WWE, now that he was cleared by company doctors to wrestle in addition to his wife Brie Bella’s lucrative reality-show deal with WWE.

Now, it’s the returning lovable underdog against the Hollywood A-lister in what should be one of the potential show-stealers Sunday night. Get your popcorn ready.

SummerSlam lineup and predictions

The B-Team vs. The Revival (Kickoff show): Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas are finally getting their due after years of mediocrity on the main roster. Both third-generation superstars have deserved better. The Revival is reminiscent of old-school teams such as Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard. Prediction: The B-Team’s WWE Raw Tag Team Championship ride continues.

Rusev & Lana vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas & Zelina Vega (Kickoff show): Rusev Day has crumbled in a bit recent weeks since Rusev’s loss to AJ Styles at Extreme Rules. Almas and Vega are building momentum as one of SmackDown’s hottest acts. Prediction: Almas and Vega pull out the victory with the help of another gaffe by poor Aiden English.

Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak (Kickoff show): Alexander won the WWE Cruiserweight Championship at WrestleMania 34 in April and quietly has been one of the company’s best performers. Drew Gulak is one of the best technicians on the roster. Prediction: Alexander pulls it out with the “Lungblower.”

The Bludgeon Brothers vs. New Day: Luke Harper and Erick Rowan always have been an interesting act even as Wyatt Family lackies. Both guys are tremendous athletes and workers as big men and the Bludgeon Brothers gimmick has breathed new life into them. The New Day are all excellent workers in their own way. The question, as always, is which two members will participate. Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods are among the most entertaining all-around performers on the roster. Prediction: Harper and Rowan retain the SmackDown tag team titles.

Finn Balor vs. Constable Baron Corbin: Balor has been stuck in mid-card purgatory while Corbin has seen another side of his character emerge in his new “Constable” role. Prediction: In what should be another solid match between these two, Balor comes out on top.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jeff Hardy: Nakamura has barely gotten any attention since Orton has attacked Hardy numerous times over the last month. This should be an entertaining affair with Nakamura’s striking going up against Hardy’s acrobatics. Prediction: Nakamura retains the U.S. Championship after Orton somehow costs Hardy the match.

Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz: This should be a memorable clash. Prediction: The Miz beats Bryan in a bit of a surprise, setting in motion more matches between the two, perhaps on even a bigger stage like WrestleMania 35.

Carmella vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair: Carmella has gotten increasing better with her performances since winning the SmackDown Women’s Championship via Money in the Bank cash-in. Becky Lynch certainly deserves another run with the title and Charlotte has been just the best women’s performer in WWE over the last three years. Prediction: Carmella retains in the triple threat as tension rises between Lynch and Flair.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins: Ziggler and Rollins have put on some of the best matches in WWE this year and SummerSlam should be no exception. It was once thought Rollins may get a run at fighting Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship. Rollins will have old buddy Dean Ambrose in his corner while Ziggler will be accompanied by Drew McIntyre. Prediction: Rollins regains the Intercontinental title with some help from Ambrose, who will offset interference from McIntyre.

Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens: Strowman is the holder of the Money in the Bank briefcase, but it is on the line in this matchup. Owens is as skilled as he is conniving. Prediction: Owens wins the briefcase by countout, barely beating Strowman into the ring before a 10-count. If Sami Zayn is healthy enough to do a run-in, maybe he costs Strowman the match.

Alexa Bliss vs. Ronda Rousey: Bliss has been one of the best performers Raw has and her heel work against Nia Jax leading up to WrestleMania was tremendous. Rousey, who has a rocket ship tied to her, is one of the most popular superstars on the roster. The former UFC star is slowly getting more comfortable in pro wrestling. Prediction: Rousey makes Bliss tap to win the Raw Women’s Championship, getting serious momentum heading into WWE Evolution in October.

AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe: Two longtime independent darlings get to shine together on the WWE stage. Styles, who has been WWE Champion for nine months, continues to deliver top-notch matches every night. Samoa Joe is finally getting his due in receiving this championship match. This should be the match many people are talking about when the night is over. Hopefully the storyline of WWE possibly injecting Styles’ family is kept in check. Prediction: Styles retains the WWE title in a classic, 25-minute clash.

Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns: Lesnar’s reign of over 16 months as WWE Universal Champion has been a point of contention from WWE fans. It sure appears like Lesnar will be taking another long vacation from WWE to go back and fight for UFC. Reigns seemingly has been the “anointed one” for several years in WWE, main-eventing four consecutive WrestleManias. Prediction: Reigns finally breaks through and beats Lesnar for the Universal title. During Reigns’ celebration, Lesnar attacks Reigns, setting up Owens cashing in the Money in the Bank and subsequently winning the championship. Owens leaves Barclays a two-time WWE Universal Champion.

 Daniel Bryan poses for the fans during WWE Monday Night Raw at Allstate Arena in suburban Chicago in September 2013. (Photo by Mike Pankow)

Daniel Bryan poses for the fans during WWE Monday Night Raw at Allstate Arena in suburban Chicago in September 2013. (Photo by Mike Pankow)

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NXT TakeOver preview: Can they top themselves yet again?

NXT TakeOver preview: Can they top themselves yet again?