I never thought I would see the day when John Cena’s purpose at WrestleMania was to work in a mixed tag team match with Nikki Bella. Despite the two love birds’ being more open about their relationship on air and rumors persist that one-half of the Bella Twins is about to call it a career, the thought of Cena, a 16-time world champion, standing pat in the mid card, or even opening the event, is unheard of in the WWE.
While WWE and the wrestling world is preparing for a proper sendoff for Bella, the real story in this match is the work of The Miz and Maryse, who continue to prove they are WWE’s dynamic duo in and out of the ring. For the first time, the real-life married couple will perform together, which makes this wrestling fan very happy.
While he doesn’t hold a title, the work by Mike Mizanin has been some of the best WWE has had to offer fans since the brand extension. The former WWE World Champion is as good on the mic as anyone on the roster. His character is a throwback to performers of the past who could draw heat from the fans and still get over. His work with his wife is as good as any wrestler/valet in history.
Professional wrestling has forgotten the importance of the valet and how old school wrestling used the likes of Baby Doll, Missy Hyatt, and Miss Elizabeth. Like managers who were used as mouthpieces in days gone by (and today with Paul Heyman), where they helped decide the outcome of matches and sold the hell out of their clients, the use of sex appeal was just as important to the mystique of characters on camera.
Miz and Maryse get it and work well in today’s WWE. They are as close to a Tully Blanchard/Baby Doll combination as I have seen in decades. And now, with Maryse a former WWE Women’s Champion, they climb into the ring to wrestle for the first time. Blanchard was as accomplished a wrestler as there was in the mid-1980s in Jim Crockett Promotions as a singles and tag team star. He could easily have carried the “10 pounds of gold” as the NWA World Champion and was regarded as one of the most underrated superstars of his time. Baby Doll was the perfect arm candy. While she couldn’t wrestle, she surely affected matches by her involvement and cost the likes of Dusty Rhodes and Magnum TA titles in her heyday.
Many fans will balk at the idea of Miz and Cena rehashing history. But it works. How Maryse performs certainly draws interest. How will Bella work with Cena, who does better in singles’ matches? Will there be an added bonus at the end of the match? Yes, I am referring to a proposal, which would send the match over the top?
As a story by Blake Oestreicher on Forbes.com explains, WrestleMania is no longer just a pro wrestling show and has become a full-blown pop culture extravaganza, one that is worth a whopping $180 million according to Forbes and has to be more than just a show full of good matches. WWE’s flagship pay-per-view has become a platform for the company to draw in viewers who wouldn’t normally watch a pro wrestling show, and like it or not, that’s what Cena and Nikki vs. Miz and Maryse will be.
WWE can’t go wrong with this match, which I hope leads to Cena and The Miz in a series of matches following ‘Mania. If Cena is not part of the WWE World Title picture, he can certainly help put Miz over as one of the better villains this company has produced. It could also lead to a WWE World Title shot down the line. While Cena’s star may have lost some of its shine, Miz is about to re-establish himself as the best heel on the blue brand. Cena will make sure of it. The mixed tag match may be part of Bella’s send off, but it will also serve as Miz’s chance to at superstardom once again.