WWE | Pro Wrestling

Team Long Needs The Miz – The Panther Plex

The MizThe latest match to be mapped out for WrestleMania 28 is a 6-on-6 tag match, pitting Team John Laurinaitis against Team Teddy Long. In what basically boils down to “the guys who don’t have a dance partner,” the match is already taking shape as Big Johnny has recruited his personal assistant, David Otunga, as his captain, along with Mark Henry. That’s a heck of a start for a match with stipulations that all but favor Laurinaitis to reign supreme. I enjoy Teddy Long a little more than some of the diehards, but Laurinaitis’ character has shown immeasurable range and I fully believe that his team of super-villains will win control of both Raw and Smackdown.

But that actually has more to do with Long’s starting point: making Santino Marella the captain of his team.

No slight against Santino, but the guy just doesn’t scream captain. His underdog story and capturing of the US Title has been fun, but what does this indicate about the rest of the somewhat predictable lineup of guys fighting for Long? Save a surprise Rey Mysterio or Brodus Clay entrance, you are looking at a team filled out by wrestlers like The Great Khali, Justin Gabriel, Zeke Jackson, and the veteran jobber to the stars, Kofi Kingston. That’s a whole lot of mediocre matched up against a starting six that might include the likes of Alberto Del Rio, Christian, and Dolph Ziggler.

This 1 v 16 seed matchup is precisely why WWE Creative needs to reach deep down into their left field booking pockets and have recently ostracized Miz fight on Team Long.

Yes, The Miz. Think about that for a second. The Miz, for the better part of three months, has been losing and losing bad, including last Monday’s team qualifying exhibition with CM Punk. He’s also been doing most of that losing on Laurinatis’ Raw, so he stands to hold a grudge against the guy while also wanting to impress him at the same time. His MO is that he’s awesome and all, but with all these people telling him he can’t fight at Wrestlemania, he’ll surely be backed into a corner and be desperate to do anything on the show, even if that means aligning himself with The Little Giants of the wrestling world.

It’s a little farfetched, but what else is the former WWE Champion going to do? The most recent rumor to hit the dirt sheets is that he will be involved with The Rock and Cena main event, but I think that’s a little too close to what The Undertaker, HHH, and Shawn Michaels have built. No, the perfect opportunity for Miz to recapture his glory will be to go toe-to-toe with hosses like Henry, Del Rio, and Christian.

The move would be bold, what with having one of the more pronounced heels temporarily align himself with a ragtag group of loveable good guys headed by a wrestler who power walks and a GM who still raises the roof in 2012. But what better place to make a bold statement than the grandest stage of them all? Something as innovative as having The Miz try and defeat the top heels might propel this as one of the best top-to-bottom cards in recent PPV history.

I’m also not going to lie–I have a soft spot for good heel on heel action. One of my favorite booking decisions lately was on a recent episode of Impact Wrestling which saw James Storm get paired with the mostly heel tag team of Samoa Joe and Magnus to fight what’s left of Immortal. The far too obvious ending would have been to have the tag champs walk out on Storm, but no, they stood with him until the end because that was their job.Joe and Magnus didn’t see it as a heel and face thing, they saw it as a “we’ll kick anyone’s ass” thing. If Teddy Long can somehow take Laurinaitis’ unwanted heel and use him against his foe, that’ll give The Miz the fire he needs to become the unofficial leader of Team Long and a serious threat to take that match by storm and maybe even win it.

It’ll also give us a reason to watch and care about the thing. Otherwise we are a couple of mailed in weeks away from seeing a six minute match capped off my Mark Henry turning Kofi Kingston into mat pizza and seeing Big Johnny’s antics twice a week. Not that that’s a bad thing at all, but can we just take the road less traveled?

Joe Leininger lives in Jacksonville, FL via the greater Philadelphia area. He dabbles in all things sports, pro wrestling, and television, and more of his work can be found at The Playing Field Blog and DestiGeddon.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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