At Sunday night’s No Mercy pay-per-view event, The Miz lost his Intercontinental Championship in a spectacular match to Dolph Ziggler. Where does it rank among the best matches of his WWE career?
#10 The Miz vs. Alex Riley - Capitol Punishment 6/19/2011
Alex Riley was the second NXT rookie under the tutelage of The Miz. The first, of course, was Daniel Bryan, who will show up later on this list. Riley, despite being generally just okay (at best) during the NXT series, started gaining a tonne of popularity when he separated from The Miz not long after his mentor lost the WWE Championship.
Riley seemed like a sure thing back in 2011, as he was getting extremely good fan reactions and putting in good in-ring performances.
This match was no different, as the crowd in Washington, DC was on fire for A-Ry, who not only took The Miz to the limit but actually defeated him! Riley ended up falling off of the face of the planet for no apparent reason, sadly, and Miz has had a lot of ups and downs since, but this match signified a very good time in the careers of both men.
#9 The Miz vs. Randy Orton (MITB Cash-In) - RAW 11/22/2010
The Miz entered the arena just moments after Randy Orton defeated Wade Barrett to retain the WWE Championship. Nexus had already injured Orton’s leg, so after a leg injury and the title match, it seemed like a no-brainer that Miz was going to win. And he did just that.
It was insanely brave for Miz to cash the contract in the way he did, too. Even though Orton was hurting and just competed in a match, he was already standing and had a little bit of time to breathe.
The match against Barrett was also just a standard one-on-one match that was less than 10 minutes long. Generally cash-ins have happened when the champion is in a much more prone position and after a far more grueling match. Miz deserves at least a bit of credit for that.
The match lasted just under 3 minutes and featured a crowd in Orlando that was going insane. Orton was a very popular babyface, so every time it looked like he had a chance to survive, the audience reacted uproariously.
Sadly for them, The Miz was able to continue to exploit Orton’s already injured leg. He countered the RKO into his signature Skull Crushing Finale and became WWE Champion for the first (and thus far only) time.
#8 Money In The Bank Ladder Match - Money In The Bank 7/18/2010
In the match that led him to his only WWE Championship just 4 months later, The Miz prevailed over Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Evan Bourne, Edge, John Morrison, Mark Henry and Ted DiBiase Jr to become the Money In The Bank contract holder for RAW. He was a shocking winner, in a field in which the only others less likely to win were Mark Henry and Ted DiBiase Jr. Yes, even Evan Bourne had a perceived better chance to win the match due to his underdog persona and high-flyer status.
The Miz ended up taking home the prize in a finish that, intentional or not, was a nice bit of foreshadowing for the eventual victim of the cash-in. As Randy Orton scaled the ladder, primed to grab the briefcase, Miz pushed the ladder over, taking Orton out of the equation. He then climbed uncontested and took the briefcase home.
#7 The Miz & John Morrison vs. Tommy Dreamer & Colin Delaney - ECW on Sci-Fi 3/11/2008
The Miz and John Morrison were an extremely talented and entertaining tag team. Tommy Dreamer, the Hardcore Legend, needs no introduction. Colin Delaney was a guy who stayed in WWE for a cup of coffee.
It was obvious from the beginning that he wasn’t going to be around for very long, but he made his time on the ECW brand worthwhile. He earned a contract during a rivalry with Tommy Dreamer, who then took the young Delaney under his wing.
The two earned a shot at the WWE Tag Team Titles, and of course, we were treated to an Extreme Rules match!
The four men in the match went non-stop for about 10 minutes, using weapons and flying all over the place. In the end, the Tag Team Champs rendered Delaney useless on the outside of the ring and finished the challengers off by spiking Dreamer through a table with a double spine buster.
#6 The Miz vs. Jerry Lawler (TLC Match) - RAW 11/29/2010
Just one week after defeating Randy Orton to win the WWE Championship, The Miz had to make his first title defense.
The challenger? None other than commentary team member and Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler. Even though he’s about a million time champion in a thousand different promotions and territories, Lawler has never won a championship in WWE. This was his chance.
It was a very fitting night, as this episode of Monday Night RAW was also host to the entire 2010 King of the Ring tournament. Who better to have a title shot on the night of the King of the Ring than Jerry “The King” Lawler?
Not only did he have to make his first title defense only 7 days after winning the belt, but because of the nefarious route he took to win, the Anonymous General Manager had to make it just a bit more difficult.
I’m not quite sure why putting a title on the line in a TLC match would make it harder for a 31-year old and easier for a 61-year-old, but that was the decision. It turned out great for The Miz, who, with help from right-hand man Alex Riley, retained the title in his first defense in an extremely entertaining main event.
#5 The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston - WWE Main Event 10/17/2012
On the October 15th episode of Monday Night RAW, Kofi Kingston defeated The Miz in a non-title match after nearly kicking his face off with the Trouble in Paradise. Just two nights later on the third episode of the newly revitalised WWE Main Event, Kofi won again, this time with the Intercontinental Championship on the line.
It was a big marquee match, as on the previous two weeks, the relaunched show had seen World Champion Sheamus vs. WWE Champion CM Punk and Randy Orton vs. Big Show before that.
These two have had many matches against each other, and this time, it was Kofi Kingston who won the match and took home the gold. It was an important match for the new TV show and another great match for the history books.
#4 The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan - Night of Champions 9/19/2010
Daniel Bryan, the guy that everybody said did not belong, spent the beginning of his WWE career proving them all wrong. He was eliminated early on from the inane NXT competition with The Miz as his “pro” and was released from WWE after the tie choking incident with ring announcer Justin Roberts.
He returned in spectacular fashion at SummerSlam and just two months later he would become United States Champion by defeating The Miz.
Miz, along with Michael Cole, were Bryan’s most vocal detractors. In the end, it was Daniel Bryan who got the last laugh. Thanks to his involvement with Bryan, The Miz gained significant legitimacy as a singles competitor that had once eluded him.
This match was a specific turning point, as it occurred at a big pay-per-view event that had a raucous crowd. Both men became higher profile stars at Night of Champions 2010 thanks to their great performance.
#3 The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler - No Mercy 10/9/2016
These two have squared off many times, often with the Intercontinental Championship on the line, and they have always delivered. They had a pair of great matches with each other early in the new brand extension, once on SmackDown and once on pay-per-view at Backlash. The Miz used his wife to defeat Ziggler on those occasions, but it was different at No Mercy.
The Miz and Dolph Ziggler put in some of the best performances in their careers on the microphone leading up to this match and when it came time to turn that aggression into action, they did the same.
The crowd was absolutely on fire and by the time things really got going, they were on the edge of their seats. Miz taunted Daniel Bryan to perfection. He made sure that he was the most hated man in the building. When it was all over, Dolph Ziggler looked like his career was reborn.
#2 The Miz vs. Danie Bryan vs. John Morrison (Submissions Count Anywhere) - Hell In A Cell 10/3/2010
After becoming United States Champion, Daniel Bryan had to overcome even higher hurdles. Not only was The Miz owed a rematch, but his former tag team partner John Morrison wrote himself into the equation as well. This list has clearly painted the picture of how great the year 2010 was for The Miz, and this match was surely no exception.
Falls Count Anywhere is always an interesting and fun concept but throw in the wrench that the only acceptable fall is a submission and intrigue is automatically added. These guys all wrestle with a very different style, and in a match where anything goes, anywhere, they could all showcase it.
#1 The Miz vs. John Morrison (Falls Count Anywhere) RAW 1/3/2011
Miz and Morrison were a great team and became great enemies as well.
Things escalated after The Miz won the WWE Championship; now there were much greater things at stake. Morrison went through wars with Sheamus throughout the final months of 2010, and he lost in the final match of the King of the Ring tournament just one week after The Miz became WWE Champion.
That was a hard pill to swallow for the man who was surely set to achieve greatness before his former partner. He eventually defeated Sheamus to earn a shot at the WWE Title held by his former friend, and it happened on the first RAW of the new year.
This was a big deal for both men. The Miz was going into a new calendar year as champion, and after winning and defending it with shortcuts, he was given a chance to show what he was really made of.
He didn’t, in terms of the fact that he continued to use the aid of Alex Riley as much as humanly possible, but he did step it up as a WWE performer, both as a wrestler and as a character.
Morrison did the same, as he delivered very well in the ring in 2010, but was caught floundering without a direction in 2010. It looked like he was going to start a program with Edge, or at least start moving on the path to being a top star, but things went downhill. This was his chance.
In the end, the two left it all on the line. The Miz showed more aggression than he ever had before and Morrison somehow showed more heart than we had ever seen, but the aggression won out, and Miz retained the title.
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