Even though most of WWE’s current roster feels bland and forgettable, we imaginers see much potential in guys who’ve yet to realize it. And so, they mean more to us than the average, casual fan, presumably. At the moment, the top three smark-popular darlings would be Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose (CM Punk is disqualified for already being legitimately memorable and important), but Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow and Antonio Cesaro are close behind. Yet, at one point in time, many others on the roster once stole our hearts, albeit briefly for most.
So what happened? Why are guys such as The Miz no longer being backed by us, the Smarks? Haven’t moments like when Orton suffered a ‘Skull Crushing Finale’ to give Miz his first WWE Championship reign and prompt a small girl in attendance to react with a hilarious scowl ossified his ‘awesomeness’? How about Miz and John Morrison’s rap on Cryme Tyme? Maybe the ‘Dirt Sheet’ wasn’t quite the hit after all. Man, since we’re reminiscing, might as well mention the well-received program of MVP (Montel Vontavious Porter) versus you-guessed-it, where both blew minds with their ever-evolving promo skills. All this without mention of the ‘ugly little duck’ managed to hang with Rocky and John Cena during the buildup to WrestleMania 27.
Don’t believe me? Go back and watch the 3/28/11 edition of Raw’s closing segment. The audience ate it all up (zero sound bites necessary). Plus, Miz brought super believable aggression that intensified the inevitable brawl; guys like Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, etcetera, should take note.
Anyway, enough of refreshing your memories; let’s get down to the essence of this piece: theorizing on how the Miz can become mainstream-appealing. Not to (re)book him. Since we all agree – to whatever degree – Miz isn’t technically sound but capable of working a satisfactory match (few career-suicide botches aside), there’s no need to place him in dreamy (appalling fanboyism) scenarios and such. Besides, nobody can truly predict a successful angle when it comes to creating a superstar. So we go with the next best way: evaluating the pros and cons of his extension-of-self character.
We’ll start with his ring name: The Miz. Personally, I felt it came off lame at the mere utterance way back during his ‘host smackdown’ gig. I pictured this belonging to a backyard wannabe instead of a potential world-renowned grappler. Hell, the dude’s been referring to himself as this since his MTV ‘Real World’ dweeb days. WWE probably stuck it so he had back-story to play off of. Regardless, it’s the least of his troubles. In fact, he’s made it work (nearly six years of persistence can infect you); ‘how so?’ will be covered later on.
When it comes to appearance, his look during the 2010-11 WWE Championship reign is prominent: v-neck suit vests, a douchebag faux-hawk and general professionalism gave off that ‘guy-you-grew-up-with-who-was-a-laughable-loser-but-is-now-disgustingly-successful’ vibe not many heels have but should. The dude is so obnoxious on looks alone; it’s great how effortless it’d be for him to rile a fan up. He’s that guy who’d make us ‘regular guys’ ensure he never fucks our highschool dreamgirls, but after he somehow manages to, it cuts us deep. Some ‘Scotty Doesn’t Know’ stuff right there. Essentially, Miz is the closest stereotypical poser WWE has ever had. And he’d be a mighty heel, indeed.
“Hate Me Now” absolutely needs to become his theme song. I cannot fathom why they didn’t make the switch back at WrestleMania 27. Throw some money at Nas and whoever else required, because that song perfectly summarizes Miz while also packing a raw punch instead of his subpar Triple H-esque tune. Seriously, his ‘Mania hype video is still amazing today. I’d wager it being the only great moment of WrestleMania 27 (mhm - straight up dissing HHH vs. Taker, round 2).
On the topic of rawness, we have to dive into his personality, which is easily relatable. Here’s a guy who doesn’t only have the ability to be the guy we all loathe for trying too hard to be cool, the flip side is his understandable desire to rise above ‘the hate’ but in a spiteful approach compared to Jarn Cena. When the Miz scornfully mocked us, “You all were wrong! All of you! I made it!” & “I’d rather you all hate me for what I am than love me for something I’m not.” it’s that Scarface-overdose on ‘power’ a lot of us either find cool or once did. Admit it. When many people doubt/insult you for whatever, there’s this overwhelming urge to not just disprove them but also rub it in their faces; to show them they’re clueless and that success is the best revenge. And it works, because not only is Miz well-spoken, he has the voice to express his emotions fluently.
Now, I’ve shared my translation of the Miz, however, let’s breakdown the pros and cons of this view.
Name – a ‘poor’ play on his birth name. It may factor into how serious people take him knowing he calls himself that. His real name - ‘Michael Mizanin’ – may be a better fit.
Appearance – Has a boyish haircut and makes obnoxious, shit-eating faces.
Theme – “I Came to Play” is a hard song to get behind. Nobody is getting pumped when it’s played. Though it could be considered catchy, but more in a “ugh” way.
Personality – Could be found petty, immature and a nuisance. So much so, people change the channel.
Name – likely paying homage to The Rock, who Miz claims is an idol of his. Other than that, ‘Miz’ doesn’t have any meaning aside from slang on ‘miserable’, so it’s mostly a problem with the word’s sound. This can be overlooked.
Appearance – arguably enhances his irritable personality. As Gorgeous George said, “A lot of people will pay to see someone shut your mouth.”
Theme – Yeah, that Nas theme is ace. Make the change.
Personality – “Petty, immature, nuisance”? Those are good flaws for a character. I think categorizing Miz with Walter White, Kanye West and Vince McMahon in terms of aggression, revengefulness and shrewdness would get him a well-balanced reaction.
Where would Miz fit into the WWE? Is this the answer to how he can be the company’s poster boy? Not at all. That’s not the point of this. I believe trying to book someone in a way so that they become a certain image isn’t worthwhile since public perception is vast. All that’s needed is to establish a strong character, and then the people can decide for themselves. The Miz is one of the best assholes in the WWE – he’s so in your face about things, it’s a shame he’s not placed into the right scenarios where he can truly shine.
Of course, I’m unsure why he doesn't continue to perform at the level he did during the WWE Championship run. Maybe he’s disheartened? Politics keep the playa down? Or he’s out of ideas?
Nevertheless, my conclusion is the Miz should embrace his Anti-Haters persona because it’d give everyone what they want: the Heel version of John Cena.