The current WWE roster is full of talented performers who are getting lost in the shuffle because "creative has nothing for them," which is the phrase they've likely been told in their careers. One of those guys is a former WWE Champion who, at age 33, is in the prime of his career. I'm talking about the former WWE Champion, 2-time Intercontinental Champion, 2-time US Champion, 5-time Tag Team Champion and 2010 Money in the Bank winner that we all know as The Miz.
I feel like Mike Mizanin has overachieved a bit in his career to this point. That's not a knock on him by any means. That's a credit to him. He was not somebody that I had pegged as a future WWE Champion and a guy that would headline a WrestleMania. Granted, WrestleMania 27 was more about the interaction with John Cena and The Rock, but Miz did walk in and out of WM27 still the WWE Champion. This video package may have been the best part of that match, though.
After he lost the WWE Title to Cena soon after WM27, he was never really able to get that momentum back. I actually thought he thrived during that walkout angle where the roster didn't believe in Triple H as an owner. He was cutting some of the best promos of his career while getting some genuine heat.
He main evented Survivor Series 2011 with R-Truth against Cena and Rock (that was more about Rock returning than anything), but after that there was really nothing left for him. At that point in his career he went as far as he could go as a heel.
The reason I felt the need to write this column is because I was one of those people that wrote many times in 2012 that Miz should turn babyface. His heel act was getting old. He wasn't that believable in the role. I figured a babyface turn would help. He has a catchphrase that's popular ("I'm The Miz and I'm Awesome"), he's got that happy go lucky kid look to him and he's a well spoken guy that represents WWE very well when he does interviews for the company. In fact, they even mentioned that in promos.
Even though we can all admit that the babyface run has been a failure, I don't think it's necessarily his fault. What did WWE do for him? They brought in Ric Flair for a few weeks, had him "Woo" with Miz a few times and suddenly Miz was using the Figure Four Leglock because Flair taught him how to do it. It's the basic "legend helps out the current star" type of angle we see all the time. The problem is, Miz rarely focused on his opponent's knee during a match. Most of the time the only offense he would do against the knee was a dropkick in the corner. Fans don't buy him as a submission wrestler. It wasn't a bad idea in theory, but he's not the type of wrestler that should be winning matches with a submission move.
The other reason why I thought he could work well as a babyface is because of his look. He's not a big guy. He's listed at 6'2" 220 pounds on WWE.com, but he might be smaller than that. He looks like a regular guy. There's no beard to make him stand out like Daniel Bryan. No tattoos like CM Punk. As my buddy Matty J. Douglas put it, Miz is "a dork that loves the wrestling business." He's a diehard wrestling fan. I didn't watch the Real World when he was on (or ever), but I've seen enough to see that he was doing wrestling promos on there because that's what he wanted to be in his life.
I think part of the blame for babyface Miz not working is the booking. He got beat up by Randy Orton really bad in front of his family in his hometown of Cleveland. He was never booked to get the kind of proper revenge he deserved because they had similar stories with Daniel Bryan and the Rhodes Family. The Wyatt Family kicked his ass repeatedly. Nobody really helped Miz. He didn't get revenge on them either. Earlier this year all Miz seemed to do is wrestle Wade Barrett for the IC Title over and over. It didn't really help either guy.
A year after turning babyface, Miz is a guy without any direction. Then this happened at a house show in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Wednesday.
(EDIT: Looks like the video has been removed.)
This promo worked. He needs to do something like that on television soon. He can talk about how he's angry about the fans not supporting when he's up for polls and he never wins them. Bragging is always a good idea to get people to hate you. I liked the part where he told the fans that he did not need their help. That was well done. It reminded me of some corporate heel Rock from 1998/1999 era.
I'm sure there are some people that watched that promo that say since it happened on a house show it didn't matter. I think it does matter, though. WWE likes to use house shows to test things. I saw Big E Langston work as a face against Damien Sandow at a house show in September. A month later, Langston was a face on television. They'll have their talent try different things, listen to the crowd reactions and go from there. Obviously Miz was against Kofi Kingston, so it was the right time to try to heel it up. That was an effective promo. The Miz was booed.
Is there a plan to turn heel Miz? There was a rumor about it in the Wrestling Observer last month. (Rajah) We know how the wrestling business works. Obviously any time somebody isn't successful in one role it makes sense to try something different. Whether the turn happens within a month or next year I have no idea. I just think it makes a whole lot of sense.
The perfect place for Miz to turn heel would be Survivor Series. He was attacked by The Wyatt Family a bunch of times and never really got revenge. The next time Daniel Bryan and CM Punk get attacked by them, Miz should make the save. That sets up a six man tag at Survivor Series. If you want to add a guy to each team to make it a traditional 4 on 4 then that's fine, but it's not a necessity.
I'm not suggesting that Miz join the Wyatt Family because obviously that's not the right fit. If he quit on his team or did something to cost Punk or Bryan the match (perhaps it leads to one of them being eliminated) he could turn heel easily, move on to a feud with a babyface that's popular and hopefully re-establish himself as a strong heel character. I would book Miz to lose a PPV match against one of them, but not make him look like a loser. It's not about wins and losses. It's about how a star is presented to the audience.
I hope that a newer, fresher version of heel Miz is a bit different, though. They should bring back his fiancée Maryse, who is a former two time Divas Champion. Valets are valuable in wrestling, especially for heels, because they add to the act. If Miz is out there bragging about how people doubted him, yet here he is with his hot wife (wedding is in February apparently) it's going to make people hate him even more. Nobody likes a jerk. Nobody likes a jerk with a hot woman by his side even more. Remember when they were interacting a few years ago on TV yet he was never able to "get the girl" like he wanted? Now he has her. She can put him over saying that the fans may not think so, but she knows that he's a real man. Plus, it's not a bad thing to have your wife on the road with you just as long as she wants to come back. I assume she needed a break. It would be great to see her back on television again.
I also think he might want to cut back on the "I'm Awesome" thing just because it's been done enough. You have to change things to make a new type of character stand out. I'm not saying he needs to go back to being the 2008 version of Chris Jericho that rarely smiled or told a joke. I just feel like this version of Miz needs some kind of change. Say different things. Act a different way. It's time to evolve a bit more.
I'm not sure if Miz will be WWE Champion again. I know he's done interviews in the past where he's said he's won pretty much everything he can win in WWE except the World Heavyweight Title. While I don't see him winning it any time soon with John Cena likely holding it until WrestleMania (just my opinion), that's something that he can go for down the road as he re-establishes his run as a heel. Of course that idea could be wiped out if they merged the WWE & World Titles at WrestleMania 30 although that's just a rumor at this point.
There are likely people reading this that are sick of Miz because he's been a guy that has consistently been on WWE TV for about five years now without much of a break. No major injuries to speak of. If you don't see him it's basically because there are no storylines for him. That's how we grow tire of people. I don't think it makes him boring, though. It just means things need to change a bit. Everybody has to freshen it up once in a while...other than John Cena apparently. Even he gets a different colored shirt every few months!
I really liked heel Miz in late 2010 and through most of 2011. I think he has a lot left to offer. It's just a matter of finding the right role for him once again. Going back to his heel roots is exactly what he needs.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org