The Miz is just over a month away from becoming the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion in WWE history, and the "A-Lister" has made it his mission in recent years to bring some prestige back to the midcard championship.
The Intercontinental Championship was once seen as the "stepping stone" championship in the WWE, meaning the company would only give it to wrestlers they believed could be main event stars in the future. As a result dozens of WWE's biggest names have held the gold at least once, including Shawn Michaels, The Rock, Steve Austin Randy Savage, Mr. Perfect, Roddy Piper, The Ultimate Warrior, Jeff Hardy, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, Triple H and Kurt Angle.
Unfortunately the championship lost its luster in the years after the Attitude Era thanks to a litany of factors including short, unmemorable championship reigns and the creative team's mindset of having the champion lose consistently on television only to retain the title once defended on pay-per-view.
The Miz saw how WWE was treating the championship, and said in an interview with Booker T on the podcast Heated Conversations that he made it his mission to restore the title's prestige after winning it for the fifth time the night after WrestleMania 32 in April 2016.
"I looked at that Intercontinental title — when I was a kid, my heroes had that title; Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Mr. Perfect," The Miz said. "I was watching this title get dug and dug into the grave, because anytime you have the title it is more like, 'oh, that guy is going to lose.' Anytime there was a non-title match that person was going to lose who had the title. I didn't want that anymore. I was sick of it."
The Miz was drafted to SmackDown Live with the championship in July 2016 and continued to elevate his status as champion with a memorable feud against Dolph Ziggler. During the interview with Booker T, he thought back to that famous Talking Smack promo where he bragged about all he had done for the Intercontinental Championship.0comments
"That day, I went through so much on my mind, I was so aggravated. Here I was trying to make the title as prestigious as I can in WWE but I wasn't even on the show. They told me that I was involved in a dark match to open the show. It is not that I didn't want to do it and perform for the audience, it was more like, this title deserves better than this. We are bringing out new Tag-Team titles, new Women's title, so we don't have time for your title. I told them to put me on Talking Smack. They were wondering why I wanted to be on Talking Smack, and I said, 'what do you mean why do I want to be on Talking Smack? It will be the ability to showcase what I can do so you can see exactly the abilities that I have and showcase my talent.' I told them that it was going to break the internet if they put me on Talking Smack, and they agreed to put me on the show. Then, when I went on there, Daniel Bryan and I kind of went off. I literally thought he was going to punch me, but he just walked off. Honestly, it was the best thing that could have happened because it allowed me to be center stage and just let off all of my frustration and everything that I was feeling at that moment, and I remember feeling inside my head reminding myself to not lose it. I then said, you know what, lose it."
Miz, now an eight-time Intercontinental Champion, defends his title in a triple threat match against Finn Balor and Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 34 on April 8.