When the brand split was reintroduced 2 years ago, SmackDown Live was the better show. It focused solely on the talent in the ring and didn’t have as much fluff as RAW. However, in recent months it seems as if SDLive has fallen into an unbearable rut. With lackluster feuds and an overall lack of story development, SmackDown Live has been flat.
It has been years since Daniel Bryan was able to compete inside the squared circle, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t created some rivals in that time. On a routine episode of Talking Smack, the former WWE Network SmackDown Live post-game show, Bryan, and Miz would collide. After poking and prodding one another, Daniel finally pushed the Miz once too much, going as far as calling Miz a coward, and tempers flared. In one of the most passionate, heartfelt and honest pro wrestling promos ever, the Miz masterfully eviscerated Daniel Bryan.
Throughout the heated altercation, you could see both Renee Young and Maryse get more and more uncomfortable as things escalated. It got to the point where Daniel actually walked away once Miz began to return the attack. Things would continue to come to a boil in the following months as Young’s husband, Dean Ambrose, would defeat Miz for his Intercontinental Title. Sending Miz down another rabbit hole of insanity.
Now, this isn’t the first time the two have crossed paths and have had their disagreements. When Bryan first debuted in the company, he was a part of the original NXT. Back then, NXT was just gameshow on weekly WWE TV and a website. Not at all like what we see on a week to week basis from the brand in 2018. In the original incarnation, a “Pro” would be paired with a “Rookie.” Obviously, they’re all pros, but it was based on already being on the WWE roster.
Going into his stint on NXT, Bryan had already been wrestling on the independent scene for 10 years, making his debut in 1999, four years before Miz. But Miz had made it to the WWE faster than Bryan as he had been on the hit MTV show The Real World, where he debuted the character of “The Miz,” and would then make his way to Tough Enough. The two would continue to clash with Bryan having the more experience but having to give in to the command of Miz as his “Pro.”
The two would be loosely intertwined throughout both of their WWE careers. Occasionally running into one another and then separating but keeping that thread between them. Fast forward to 2017, and the feud is hotter than ever coming off of that heated episode of Talking Smack. Miz is even going as far as stealing moves made famous by Bryan and mocking his mannerisms during his own matches.
Then, finally, fans got what they’ve dreamed and hoped of for the last three years, Daniel Bryan was medically cleared. Just weeks before WrestleMania, Bryan was finally seen as medically fit and healthy enough to wrestle once again. Miz wasted zero time whatsoever giving his commentary.
Soon WrestleMania 34 would be here, and Bryan looked like he hadn’t missed a single second of the action. Fans were emotional at the return of Bryan and on such a big stage like WrestleMania 34. Instantly the WWE Universe and wrestling fans the world over would begin fantasy booking what Daniel Bryan would do next. Many opponents would be named, from Nakamura to Styles, Balor to Rollins, one name would always be at the top, The Miz. And as wrestling fans know, once WrestleMania has concluded it’s time to reset the calendar and shake things up.
We often see a draft, developmental call-ups, or some sort of combination. This year would be no different as the Superstar Shake-up would make another appearance this year as it had in 2017. It isn’t quite a draft, and it isn’t quite a reset of the rosters, it finds itself in a weird grey area. But knowing that the rosters would be shuffled, fans began to realize that a clash between Bryan and Miz could finally be a possibility. Years in the making we may get to see the culmination of years of tension and build. And with night one of the Superstar Shake-Up already in the books, Miz and Bryan have both found themselves on SmackDown Live.
The fact that Miz was being shipped off to the Blue Brand didn’t fall short on Bryan. He wasted not a single moment in stoking the fire to not only excite the fans but call out Miz. So now to get back to the original premise of this whole shenanigan, Bryan and Miz are going to reestablish SmackDown Live as the premier main roster wrestling show under the WWE banner. They have built this feud for three years never knowing if it would ever have a chance to see a true payoff. It was all done to boost the characters of both men even though neither ever knew if they would get to touch.
That is why this feud will be the one to right the ship that is SmackDown Live and once again make it the must-see television of the WWE. If these two can build a story for YEARS with no clear end or culmination in sight, then they’re the ones that are needed most. We have seen so many feuds come and go with terrible builds and stories and yet Bryan and Miz were able to tell such an amazing story without even trying.
Even though these two may not be competing for the WWE Championship right out of the gate, it’s pretty clear that 2018 will be a busy year for both. With Daniel now back in the fray, the most logical story to tell is this one, have them face-off and then keep mixing them into feuds. WWE has been incredibly fond of the multi-man match lately, there’s no better way to keep this feud fresh while still visiting it. Miz and Daniel can have quick spurts of action against each other in scrambles and then go their separate routes.
Much like major feuds in WWE past, Rock and Austin, Bret and Shawn, these two will be forever intertwined. Their fates will always be in sync together. When things are all said and done, and the dust has settled, fans won’t be able to speak of Daniel Bryan without Miz and Miz without Bryan. They will be this generation’s major transcendent feud, at least as far as WWE is concerned. With SmackDown Live just an hour or so away, I know I’ll be tuning in for the fireworks.