Notes from the Nosebleeds #101
February 5, 2011
By: Matt O’Brien of

The card has officially pulled out of the driveway and started down the road to Wrestlemania. With his Royal Rumble win, Alberto Del Rio begins his campaign trail to the Wrestlemania main event. Right now it looks like Del Rio will be facing Edge at WM for the World Heavyweight Championship. Things may always change but that looks the most likely match at this time. Meanwhile the Raw side is lighting up as the inevitable Wrestlemania matches are booked. Del Rio is a huge focus going into Wrestlemania but Raw is doing something interesting with what appears to be their top two matches, which currently look to be CM Punk vs. Randy Orton and John Cena vs. The Miz.

A successful title defense against Randy Orton gives The Miz a lot of momentum heading down the road to Mania. In order to look even stronger going into Mania he needs to defeat the new number one contender for the WWE Championship, Jerry Lawler. As each week passes by John Cena vs. The Miz looks more and more like the top match for the Raw brand going into Mania. To build Miz up for a big match, Miz needs to really put himself over in a big way. The last couple of years have seen Elimination Chamber headlined by two Chamber matches in which both of the top titles are up for grabs. This year only one title will on the line because Miz will face Lawler instead. Now the natural reaction would be to scoff at this decision. Why would WWE want to take a champion like Miz, who already is viewed as a weak champion to many, and book him in a match against an announcer one month before the biggest match of his career? Wouldn’t you want to put him in one of the Chamber matches? Sure. But in this case WWE has done something very clever. They aren’t booking Miz in a Chamber match where he can defeat five other guys and there is a good reason for that. Right now there is no opponent who can prepare Miz for Wrestlemania better than Jerry Lawler. I know that sounds ignorant but I can see why this is a great idea. If Miz were to beat a returning Triple H or Undertaker, he would have a pretty big win going into Mania, but that’s not going to do it the way Lawler can. Same thing with beating five other guys in a Chamber. My reason for seeing it this way has more to do with the character of the Miz than the need to see him beat and dominate other guys to build him up. The Miz character is a jerk. He’s a despicable scumbag. If he is to be built for a big match at Wrestlemania then he needs to amplify his cockiness and become even more of a jerk than he already is. He can do this by taking a respected legend like Jerry Lawler, a man who has wrestled for decades, who feuded with Andy Kaufman, who is known as one of the all-time greats, and Miz can cheat him out of his one shot at a Wrestlemania main event. Think about it, you have to be a pretty big jerk to cost a guy like Lawler and opportunity like that and then come out and gloat about it after the fact. This goes above beating someone at Mania. This is about a little twerp cheating his way to deny a legend a simple opportunity. He will be hated like never before. On top of that, Lawler and Miz have good matches and they will put on a great show at Elimination Chamber. In the end you get Miz looking better than ever as John Cena returns to the title hunt to face his new arch rival.

Miz picked up his win over Orton at Mania by with the help of CM Punk and Nexus. The assistance of Punk and co. has yet to really be explored. Punk cost Orton the WWE Championship while Miz cost Cena the Rumble. This is story WWE could really develop into something interesting over the next several weeks. They could explore the idea of Punk and Miz making a pact by revealing Punk told Miz he would make sure Orton did not leave with the WWE Championship, and in turn Miz told Punk that if the numbers were against Nexus in the Rumble match, Miz would be there to ensure Cena did not walk out the winner. It gives Raw weeks worth of matches and angles to run leading up to Mania. You have Orton and Cena having variations of singles and tag matches against Miz, Reilly, and Nexus. That gives them the chance, just like years past; to put Mania opponents in the ring together to give fans just a taste, but not enough to blow off the match before it happens. WWE is able to then take their top star out of his feud and move him into the Miz program, while Orton transitions to Nexus. This option really flows nicely. Instead of having the top two baby faces just stop their feuds and move to the next on, WWE is playing this like they have two couples on a dance floor. They aren’t letting the song end, and then start another. They are allowing the song to play while they choreograph a switch mid-move.

Obviously things could change drastically by then. Wrestlemania may still be headlined by Jerry Lawler and Sheamus. Okay maybe not, but WWE may choose not to go the route that appears to be lying ahead of us. But should they decide to go with these two matches on the Raw side it will make for great television over the coming weeks.

Matt O’Brien