CHICAGO —With his sultry wife Maryse by his side and the Intercontinental Championship carefully slung around his shoulder, The Miz entered WWE Payback with an air of confidence befitting the Hollywood elite. Although the formidable Cesaro came close to shattering that questionably deserved self-assurance, it was neither The Swiss Superstar nor the so-called “A-lister” who would be the determining factor in the bout’s chaotic conclusion.

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Knowing that he couldn’t possibly match the physical strength of his muscled challenger, Miz instead elected to concentrate his attack on The King of Swing’s surgically repaired shoulder throughout much of the match, leaving Cesaro vulnerable to a sleeper hold . Fading and at the mercy of the conniving  titleholder, The Swiss Superman miraculously shook off the cobwebs and used his awe-inspiring power to rise to his feet and nail the Intercontinental Champion with a suplex.

A rapid-fire succession of uppercuts ensued, followed by a devastating dropkick and another impressive suplex, this time from the ring apron and into the ring. Forced on the defensive, the so-called “A-lister” utilized a survival tactic that might make him worthy of a starring role in a sequel to “The Revenant.” Miz drove Cesaro’s recently injured shoulder into the ring post, leaving the challenger susceptible to the Skull-Crushing Finale. Somehow, Cesaro mustered the energy to kick out, but just as he was about to mount his counter-offensive, Sami Zayn was getting some payback of his own against Kevin Owens.

Distracted by the ensuing brawl at ringside, The Miz fell victim to a Cesaro Swing, which culminated in an excruciating crossface that seemed likely to end Miz’s fifth Intercontinental Title reign. The champion tapped, but because Zayn and Owens’ clash had reached the ring apron, the referee’s back was turned. Cesaro sought to end the calamity by shoving the intruders to the floor, but it was Miz who would capitalize, rolling up his opponent from behind and grabbing a fistful of tights. This time, the competitors had the official’s full attention as Cesaro’s shoulders were pinned to the mat.

The title evaded Cesaro, but redemption was at hand after the bell, as The Swiss Superman hit the Intercontinental Champion with a Neutralizer. The furious Owens was quick to end any and all celebrations, though, laying out Cesaro and then Zayn with a brutal Pop-up Powerbomb. Miz narrowly evaded Owens’ wrath, but as long as the “A-lister” has the Intercontinental Championship, The Prizefighter won’t be far behind him.

With the Intercontinental Championship picture becoming blurrier in the aftermath of WWE Payback’s four-man melee, will The Miz be able to cling to his spotlight now that his star vehicle has seemingly gained an ensemble cast?

CHICAGO —With his sultry wife Maryse by his side and the Intercontinental Championship carefully slung around his shoulder, The Miz entered WWE Payback with an air of confidence befitting the Hollywood elite. Although the formidable Cesaro came close to shattering that questionably deserved self-assurance, it was neither The Swiss Superstar nor the so-called “A-lister” who would be the determining factor in the bout’s chaotic conclusion.

View photos | Watch video highlights

Knowing that he couldn’t possibly match the physical strength of his muscled challenger, Miz instead elected to concentrate his attack on The King of Swing’s surgically repaired shoulder throughout much of the match, leaving Cesaro vulnerable to a sleeper hold . Fading and at the mercy of the conniving  titleholder, The Swiss Superman miraculously shook off the cobwebs and used his awe-inspiring power to rise to his feet and nail the Intercontinental Champion with a suplex.

A rapid-fire succession of uppercuts ensued, followed by a devastating dropkick and another impressive suplex, this time from the ring apron and into the ring. Forced on the defensive, the so-called “A-lister” utilized a survival tactic that might make him worthy of a starring role in a sequel to “The Revenant.” Miz drove Cesaro’s recently injured shoulder into the ring post, leaving the challenger susceptible to the Skull-Crushing Finale. Somehow, Cesaro mustered the energy to kick out, but just as he was about to mount his counter-offensive, Sami Zayn was getting some payback of his own against Kevin Owens.

Distracted by the ensuing brawl at ringside, The Miz fell victim to a Cesaro Swing, which culminated in an excruciating crossface that seemed likely to end Miz’s fifth Intercontinental Title reign. The champion tapped, but because Zayn and Owens’ clash had reached the ring apron, the referee’s back was turned. Cesaro sought to end the calamity by shoving the intruders to the floor, but it was Miz who would capitalize, rolling up his opponent from behind and grabbing a fistful of tights. This time, the competitors had the official’s full attention as Cesaro’s shoulders were pinned to the mat.

The title evaded Cesaro, but redemption was at hand after the bell, as The Swiss Superman hit the Intercontinental Champion with a Neutralizer. The furious Owens was quick to end any and all celebrations, though, laying out Cesaro and then Zayn with a brutal Pop-up Powerbomb. Miz narrowly evaded Owens’ wrath, but as long as the “A-lister” has the Intercontinental Championship, The Prizefighter won’t be far behind him.

With the Intercontinental Championship picture becoming blurrier in the aftermath of WWE Payback’s four-man melee, will The Miz be able to cling to his spotlight now that his star vehicle has seemingly gained an ensemble cast?