Curtis Axel (c) vs. The Miz
Two-thirds of the triple threat match for the white and gold at Payback get together to do it again in Philadelphia on Sunday, July 14th.
The Road to Money in the Bank
His victory over then-champ Wade Barrett and The Miz last month was probably the highlight of the man we now know as Curtis Axel's career. It was a fun match that highlighted his undeniable in-ring abilities, and gave both he and his manager, Paul Heyman, a needed line on their current résumé...champion.
Unfortunately, the IC titleholder has been a little adrift since then.
While their Money in the Bank face-off could ostensibly be called a rematch, it's hard to piece together the issues between the two. As recently as this week's Smackdown, Axel and Miz were busy with Chris Jericho and Ryback, respectively.
There was a segment of Miz TV a few weeks back that, while mostly designed to further Heyman's storyline with CM Punk, did provide the Awesome One with the opportunity to challenge Curt Hennig's boy to another go over the strap.
And on the July 8th Raw, Miz's taunting from the announce table lead to a Jericho victory that set-up another one last night and Axel's post-match meltdown.
Outside of being involved in the strange progression of Ryback's career, the former Real World star hasn't been doing a whole lot of in-ring performing of late. His role seems to be Main Event commentator and Intercontinental championship contender.
So here we are.
What's at stake?
The champ dispatched Barrett from the scene with a win shortly after the last pay-per-view (PPV) and has looked good in his dealings with Y2J. Beyond that, his most distinguishing characteristics remain his genetics and affiliation with Heyman.
Is the loose cannon intensity he showed last week, coupled with a big win over a hated "sports entertainer" in the land of ECW, the road to the next level for Axel?
Anything that you read about Mike Mizanin's WWE career inevitably spends a great deal of time talking about his headlining WrestleMania 27. While that's an amazing accomplishment, the last few years have been fairly aimless, and at this point he seems much closer to a future in broadcasting and hosting than as an in-ring performer.
Will another Intercontinental championship match help either of these men take the next step forward in their careers, or are they just treading water regardless of who wins or loses?