The Miz Says Daniel Bryan Isn't On His Level, Bryan Agrees
Eight-time Intercontinental champion The Miz believes his long-time rival Daniel Bryan is currently not on his level - and the recently returned fan favourite feels inclined to agree with him.
The two have a storied history in WWE, dating back to when Miz was Bryan's mentor in the original NXT before the two squared off for the United States championship back in 2010 at Night of Champions - Bryan coming out on top to win his first title in WWE.
But their rivalry reached new heights when the brand split took place a couple of years ago and Miz unleashed on Bryan, then Smackdown General Manager, on Talking Smack.
It's a must-see feud that has been brewing for a long time, and with Bryan finally getting the all-clear to wrestle in the WWE again, coupled with Miz returning to the blue brand, fans in the UK have been treated to seeing the two polar opposite superstars slug it out on live events.
However, Miz doesn't feel the leader of the Yes movement is ready to mix it up with him on a permanent basis.
"I don't think he's at my level yet," he told SPORTbible. This isn't riding a bike, you don't just get on it and started riding around. I think it's about four years since he's been in the ring performing at an elite level.
"I've been doing this for 12 years, I think things change in the WWE and I think he needs time to build and to get to that elite level - you need to build to me.
"Great, he came back, 'Yes, Yes, Yes!' - but you're going to need a little more to succeed in the WWE nowadays and to succeed against me."
Some 15 minutes after we had chatted with Miz in Leeds, we asked Bryan to give his response and to many's surprise, he showered 'the A-lister' with praise and says he has a point.
"If you were to look at Miz's matches since I've come back, he's got a point," he admitted.
"His match with [Seth] Rollins at Backlash, that was by far the best match on the pay-per-view. When I lost to Rusev, he wrestled Jeff Hardy - which was a fantastic match. The knock on Miz for years was that he was a great talker but so-so in the ring.
"This happened with [John] Cena too where people were like, 'this guy can't wrestle' and while they are saying they can't wrestle, they learn to wrestle and learn to be the best as far as in-ring stuff.
"When I was the GM, we did that thing on Talking Smack and I told Miz he wrestles a very soft style - that's your thing. I wrestle this way and that's why I'm hurt!
"Saying that, he had several incredible matches with Dolph Ziggler during that time period and that elevated him. What he did was awesome and it wasn't just Miz talking. When he says I'm not on his level, there's a reason [why] he believes that."
Bryan is widely viewed to be one of the best in-ring competitors of our generation but, modest as ever, he's never believed he was the top dog. At present, he thinks AJ Styles and Seth Rollins are at the top of the tree.
"On the independents when I was with Ring of Honor, people thought I was the best wrestler in the world - fans would chant it and I think the fans would believe it because they want to believe that their guy is better than the WWE guys.
"But never once have I considered myself the best - I look at AJ Styles and I look at Rollins right now. I say these matches with Miz were great but Rollins is in those matches - and I don't know what is different but now he's clicking on every level.
"It almost feels like it was for me in 2013 where he's not the top guy on Raw but he's starting to get those top guy reactions, more so than other people.
"You look at these people and think, 'Ah he's better than me at this'. So if Miz says I'm not on his level, I look at it like, 'maybe I'm not' and that motivates me - how do I get on his level?"
Stay tuned for more Miz and Bryan-related content in the next few days...
Featured Image Credit: WWE