With Wade Barrett and The Miz having lost most of the steam that was carrying their already bland feud, Fandango was inserted into the picture to inject some life into the Intercontinental title scene. Unfortunately, he suffered a concussion just last week and that left Curtis Axel to take his place in the triple threat match for that very championship at tonight's (Sun., June 16, 2013) WWE Payback event at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois.
The prevailing thought amongst most pundits headed into the match was that it was designed to crown Fandango. But when he went down, Axel seemed to fill his shoes rather nicely, as he represents another guy the company is pushing who could benefit from a big victory in a match like this and a solid run with the strap.
So they gave it to him. But, in true heel fashion, he got it in a smoz finish.
It was actually rather brilliant the way the finish was booked. The Miz locked Barrett in the Figure Four in the center of the ring but before he could tap, Axel climbed in the ring and pinned Barrett's shoulders down to the mat.
So the referee counted the fall and Miz was unable to unhook his legs fast enough.
As noted by Michael Cole on commentary immediately after, his father, Mr. Perfect, won the Intercontinental title 23 years ago today. So this just feels right all the way around, folks.
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