The new Triple H era of WWE is expected to feature more long-term storylines, but that's not to say they've been entirely absent from Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown during Vince McMahon's regime. One of the more famous long-term stories that WWE has told in recent memory first had its seeds planted in 2016, and wouldn't sprout into a match until 2018. That rivalry involved The Miz and Bryan Danielson (formerly known as Daniel Bryan), which began in the middle of Danielson's two-year retirement. Miz would guest on Talking Smack, which Danielson was a host.
"There's no gentle way to say it: to me, you wrestle like a coward," Danielson said to Miz on the show. "You wrestle like someone who's afraid to get hit. If I were to create a wrestler who, to me, embodies when I was an independent guy, and I was thinking, 'What's the soft WWE style?' It would be that."
"The reason I wrestle the way I wrestle is because I can do it day in and day out all the time for ten plus years. I have never, never in my career ever been injured," Miz lectured back. "But you sit there and call me the coward? Let me tell you about a coward. Let me tell you about a guy who tells his WWE fans, the people that he loves, that he will be back. He promises them! 'I promise you I will be back in one year's time to claim this [Intercontinental] Title!' You love wrestling, right? Why don't you quit? Why don't you quit and go to the bingo halls with your indie friends?"
The two would verbally spar on and off again in the subsequent months, and would eventually meet each other in the ring at SummerSlam 2018, shortly after Danielson was cleared to wrestle again.
Speaking to Renee Paquette at Starrcast V, Danielson gave insight into how his and Miz's mutual frustrations led to that infamous Talking Smack segment.
"Miz was very frustrated. He was Intercontinental Champion and wasn't being put on TV too much," Danielson explained. "I was very frustrated that they weren't clearing me to wrestle despite numerous doctors having cleared me to wrestle and, you know, I understand why, but that's a long story anyway."
Danielson continued, revealing the original plan was for that Talking Smack confrontation to get physical.
"So just getting to the point of my frustration, so we came up with this thing, the original plan that Mike and I had come up with, was I was going to f--king deck him," Danielson said. "We wanted to get under each other's skin so much that it was plausible that I would legit be angry enough to punch him, and so that was the intent."
The American Dragon explained that he saw two outcomes resulting out of the segment coming to blows.
"The idea was either they're going to fire me, or it's going to make people want to see the match so much that they're going to have to clear me to wrestle," Danielson continued. "But then Mike did such a great job, intuitively, I felt it was better to walk off because it was also like, this is so good. Leave him with his heat. He was so good. Mike and I don't like each other, legitimately, but Mike is also somebody that I respect a lot for working very, very hard."
Danielson currently wrestles for AEW, while The Miz is part of WWE's Raw brand.