After Ruby Riott defeated Bayley during the Backlash pre-show, the opening contest for the WWE pay-per-view featured Seth Rollins squaring-off against The Miz. Seth Rollins was defending the WWE Intercontinental Championship, and if The Miz had won the contest, he would have tied Chris Jericho’s record, who is a nine-time intercontinental champion.
This match represented both brands of the WWE. The Miz is currently on SmackDown Live, so most assumed he was not going to go over, since that would have put both mid-card championships on Raw.
Since this is a co-branded event, “The A-lister” was able to reunite with his Miztourage. Much to Miz’s chagrin, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas let their former mentor know that they would not be in his corner. Since they have officially cut their ties with The Miz, hopefully the WWE will give the pair another fun gimmick.
The New Jersey crowd was on fire for this match, bell to bell. The best WWE matches feature two wrestlers who know how to tell a story in the ring, and these two did just that. The contest lasted the better part of a half-hour. The two exchanged basic heat and shine. Seth then went for a springboard, and he was met with a kick to the face.
“The A-lister” delivered about 10-minutes worth of damage before climbing to the top rope. Rollins countered The Miz, and with shades of the great Eddie Guerrero, “The Kingslayer” hit a stunning frog splash. But it was a false-comeback spot. Rollins missed a flying knee, colliding with the post. The Miz went for the figure four, but it was to no avail.
The two exchanged shots back and forth, and false-finishes ensued. The challenger hit his skull crushing finale, and the champ barely kicked out before the three. Seth Rollins went for his roll-through superplex, but when he went for the follow-up suplex, his knee gave out.
Miz delivered another skull crushing finale, and the crowd lost it. Seth Rollins kicked out again, and the audience let out a huge sigh. The champ went for a top-rope stomp, but missed. The two then exchanged roll-ups and pins, the champion landed his stomp for the win, and the crowd went bonkers.
These two are over in a big way, and the live audience made that very clear. If a fan heard the crowd’s reaction, but couldn’t see who was working, they would swear Steve Austin and The Rock were in the ring. Now, with this one in the history books, maybe we can look forward to a Miz and Daniel Bryan program.