Just prior to Sunday’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view, Antonio Cesaro will defend his United States Championship against The Miz during WWE’s official pre-show, which will be broadcast on both YouTube and the official WWE app.
Cesaro has held the title since August, when he defeated Santino Marella in that event’s pre-show, and has slowly but surely amounted an impressive resume for himself. In recent weeks, he has competed against the likes of John Cena and Randy Orton and performed incredible feats, such as delivering the Neutralizer to the giant Great Khali.
The Miz, on the other hand, has been the recipient of a very uneven push and an even less spectacular babyface turn. In December, he made his turn, but did so in a way where he retained the same character, the same promo style and the same annoying traits that fans have booed him for in recent years.
He has been impressive in recent matches against Dolph Ziggler and Heath Slater, but there is something that is preventing the audience from truly buying into him as a hero.
When The Miz takes to the ring for his pre-show title match Sunday evening, he will do so with little momentum. Despite being handed Ric Flair’s Figure Four submission hold and given the rub from Flair on a recent episode of Miz TV, he has been unable to make it translate into any kind of roll.
Cesaro, on the other hand, finds himself finally connecting with the audience. After months of turning in solid in-ring performances, he has gotten over with fans and appears poised to make his move up the ranks in World Wrestling Entertainment.
Antonio Cesaro must defeat The Miz on Sunday’s Royal Rumble pre-show because there are no advantages to the face taking the gold in this situation. The Miz is not a strong enough babyface to carry a feud that would see Cesaro chasing after the title in a series of rematches.
However, The Miz can further evolve and grow his character by chasing after the US title, eventually capturing it in a match with far more hype and importance than Sunday’s.
If the company opts to switch the title just to help boost its YouTube, Facebook and WWE app viewers, it will be making a mistake that, most likely, will not work out in its favor.