The Miz Cashes in Money in the Bank, Becomes New WWE Champion
On a night when John Cena said some form of goodbye to the WWE Universe, Cleveland's own Mike Mizanin, a reality star turned wrestling hopeful who has spent the last seven years molding himself into the closest thing we've got left to Chris Jericho, cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and defeated Randy Orton by countering the RKO into a Skullcrushing Finale to win championship gold on Monday Night Raw.
It was a move many expected would happen at Survivor Series. John Cena had found himself under a "free or fired" stipulation that would either result in Wade Barrett as WWE Champion or Cena on the unemployment line. The show ended with Cena counting the three for Orton, exchanging a hug with his longtime rival, and saying goodbye to the crowd.
Raw continued that theme, with Cena giving a long speech to the WWE Universe, thanking them for their equal parts support and vitriol. The main event of the night was set to be a championship rematch of the Survivor Series contest, but Barrett's Nexus team attacked Orton before the match, injuring his knee. Orton battled through the pain, but Barrett was able to hit his finisher, Wasteland, and had the match in the palm of his hand.
Cena returned through the crowd and pulled the referee out of the ring before the hand came down for three. Cena pounced Barrett, hitting him with an Attitude Adjustment before The Nexus hit the ring to run him off. Orton was able to recover enough to hit an RKO on Barrett and retain the championship against all odds.
Well, against all but one odd.
With John Cena and The Nexus out of the building and Randy Orton on one leg, The Miz and his apprentice Alex Riley came to the ring and cashed in Money in the Bank, the guaranteed championship contract Miz won at July's Money in the Bank pay-per-view.
Orton tried to fight off Miz's assault, but had his RKO countered into Miz's full-nelson front legsweep, and that was all she wrote. The show went off the air with the Miz holding the WWE Championship, proving the boasts of his scathing Survivor Series promo to be true.
This is the first WWE Championship reign for The Miz, who parlayed a reality television career on MTV into a spot on the final installment of WWE's "Tough Enough." He became the host of Smackdown and a wrestler by proxy, although few could see his talent. He was a regular talking point for then-color commentator John Bradshaw Layfield, who regularly downtalked Miz as one of the worst wrestlers he'd ever seen.
Miz began to develop the cocky character he portrayed in jest on episodes of "The Real World" and gained some popularity and respect as the tag team partner of John Morrison. The two went on to hold both the WWE and World Tag Team Championships and won Slammy Awards for best WWE.com exclusive (for the hilarious talk show segment "The Dirt Sheet") as well as tag team of the year.
After a split with Morrison, Miz continued to see his star rise, winning the United States Championship on two occasions and winning tag gold once again with The Big Show. He became a mentor on two seasons of WWE NXT, coaching Alex Riley into a regular role on Raw and putting independent superstar Bryan Danielson on the WWE map as Daniel Bryan.
If you jumped in a time machine and told the 2005 version of yourself that The Miz would be WWE Champion in 2010 and that it would be awesome, they'd laugh at you. But here we are, and it is exactly what he said it would be: awesome.
And at the very least, Cleveland finally has some championship gold.