Forget WrestleMania. Forget the Royal Rumble. When The Miz faces Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam, it will be the biggest match of his life and as he EXCLUSIVELY tells us, one that fans will be talking about for years!
“I never go with what everyone wants,” The Miz, 37, said EXCLUSIVELY to HollywoodLife.com at the 2018 Teen Choice awards when discussing what to expect when faces Daniel Bryan, 37, at SummerSlam. “I don’t know if you know my character at all but I don’t care what the audience thinks. I do what I believe and feel is necessary to win.”
“I think Daniel Bryan and myself have had this feud for eight years,” The Miz added, “and it’s going to come at an impact at SummerSlam. I think it will be the most must see match that I have ever been in. I feel like I have been at an elite level for a very, very long time and I have been producing matches after matches after matches that are memorable. [Matches] hat people are talking about to this day. I think this one has to be one of those as well, and I believe I will be victorious!”
Judging by the video packages that aired on the Aug. 14 episode of SmackDown! Live, it feels like this Aug. 19 showdown might be the last time these two square off inside the squared circle. If so, it will be the conclusion of one of sports entertainment’s most intriguing rivalries, as two seemingly opposite men have been linked together for nearly a decade. Daniel Bryan debuted on the inaugural episode of NXT on Feb. 23, 2010, back when the brand was less a developmental program and more a reality competition.
Pairing rookies up with veterans, NXT tapped The Miz to be Daniel’s mentor, a move that angered many wrestling fans who viewed Daniel’s in-ring skills as superior to Miz’s. Daniel (real name Brian Danielson) also had been competing on the independent wrestling circuit for ten years prior to signing with WWE. Daniel, after being eliminated from NXT, would get his revenge by defeating The Miz on RAW, kicking off a rivalry that saw the two clash numerous of times over the next eight years.
Daniel’s 2016 retirement over lesion on his temporoparietal region didn’t prevent him and The Miz from continuing their feud. As the General Manager of SmackDown, Bryan clashed with Miz numerous times, including a now-iconic moment on Talking Smack, the now-defunct post-SmackDown! Live chat show. After Bryan accused Miz of wrestling like “a coward,” the “A-Lister” lost his cool.
“You love that WWE ring, you love wrestling,” a furious Miz shouted. “You love being right in that wrestling ring and you love wrestling, right? Well why don’t you quit? Why don’t you quit and go to the bingo halls with your indie friends, Daniel? … No! Don’t you walk away from me, Daniel. Don’t you walk away! I’m the one that loves the fans. I’m the one who loves everyone and everything. You’re the one that gets up and walks… every single time! You’re the coward!”
On the surface, it seems that The Miz (real name Mike Mizanin) is the complete antithesis of someone like Daniel Bryan. Instead of working in “bingo halls” with “indie friends,” Miz got famous – and ultimately, made his way to the WWE – through reality television. After starring in the 10th season of The Real World, where he first introduced the world to “The Miz,” he would go on to star in multiple seasons of the Real World/Road Rules Challenge. It was through the WWE’s short-lived reality competition, Tough Enough, that Mike secured a development deal. The Miz’s main debut with the WWE in 2006 was not as a wrestler, but as the “host” of SmackDown. He even emceed the annual Diva Search, another competition. He would soon begin his in-ring career on SmackDown that year, but the stigma of “reality television” has always followed The Miz around.
This stigma of “someone who doesn’t belong here” is why The Miz is more similar to Daniel Bryan than fans think. At 5’10 and – as he will admit – not the greatest talker, Daniel was someone who seemed like he didn’t belong in the WWE. Yet, like The Miz, Daniel’s natural charisma and talents led to massive success within the WWE. Though they seem polar opposites, both have overcome similarly superficial obstacles – Bryan’s height, Miz’s reality show background – to thrive as WWE Superstars.
Both have headlined WrestleMania. Both are destined for the WWE Hall of Fame. Both will be considered legends. And both will step into the ring at the Barclays Center for one more match at SummerSlam. “Must-see,” indeed.