Published on March 4th, 2017 | by Joey Finnegan0
DANIEL BRYAN and THE MIZ: Too Good To Ignore
It all began on the original incarnation of NXT. Before it was a cult phenomenon, NXT was the name given to a wrestling reality show where rookies were placed with a pro/mentor. They did silly challenges, people were voted off, it wasn’t for everyone.
In Daniel Bryan’s highly recommended autobiography, ‘Yes: My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of WrestleMania’, Bryan wrote:
“The only reason to care was that if you won the challenges, you got points. By the time we did the first elimination, whoever had the most points was immune to being ejected. But the challenges were so inane and demoralizing that by the end, we all treated them as a joke—except, that is, for Skip Sheffield (later known as The Ryback), who demonstrated an undeniable will to win even the most idiotic game.”
The greatest thing that NXT did was provide a platform for Daniel Bryan and The Miz. They were paired together, Miz being Bryan’s pro/mentor. The fascinating element of this came in both their backstories.
Miz was a former reality television star, who got his shot in WWE through the 4th incarnation of Tough Enough. By the time he was Daniel Bryan’s pro, he had only been wrestling about half as long as the man he was supposed to mentor. What a fascinating dynamic.
“The Miz started talking, but I could barely focus on what he was saying. I heard the words ‘internet darling’ and ‘a star in the minor leagues’ and could only assume he was talking about me. He asked me if I thought I was ready, and ironically enough, my first word in WWE was, ‘Yes.’“
Daniel Bryan was trained by Shawn Michaels, who has nothing but great things to say about his pupil. He was also mentored by William Regal, who, again, has nothing but glowing words of praise. He was a true journeyman.
Bryan got a developmental deal with WWE (then WWF) in 2000. He lasted 18 months. Later, he was given some matches as an enhancement talent, while not actually being signed to the company. That dried up quickly, however.
From 2003-2009, Daniel Bryan (known under his real name, Bryan Danielson) worked various promotions all over the world, with a big focus on Ring of Honor. The point of all this is that the man paid his dues. So, when he made it back to the WWE and had to train under The Miz, he made sure the world knew he was better than that. Much to the chagrin of The Awesome One.
Imagine that: you work your hardest to get better and master being a WWE superstar and you’re really making progress, which Miz constantly has, then in comes this indie superstar, beloved on the internet, and he’s telling you he’s better than you. Not only that, but he says he can beat you. You’d be heated, right?
“The Miz didn’t complain at all. Instead, he saw it as an opportunity and spent time with me to find ways we could make our partnership stand out. He genuinely wanted what we did to be good. The more I saw how hard he worked, the more I respected him.”
This all built to Miz versus Daniel Bryan for The Miz’s United States Championship. For those unaware, the title changed hands that night. It was the first time Bryan proved himself on the WWE stage. This was the initial steps towards making him a credible superstar. By that same token, it showed what Miz was capable of. How he could help build future superstars.
“The Miz is quietly putting together a Hall of Fame career.”
– DEAN AMBROSE (“Talking Smack” 12/27/2016)
Alex Riley and Damien Sandow may not have had much of a tenure, but that wasn’t Miz’s fault. When those men left his side, they were over with the WWE audience. One was a flunky and the other was a stunt double, but they were set.
We all know where Daniel Bryan went after his feud with The Miz. To put it simply: he reached the mountaintop. He won the main event of WrestleMania, the actual pinnacle of achievement for a professional wrestler.
Miz got there, too.