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WWE is really walking the heel/face line with The Miz this week

While not every character has to play a stereotypical hero or villain in pro wrestling, there’s still a place for true blue good guys and moustache-twirling evildoers. For the past couple years - after an ill-conceived face turn generated more hate from fans than his original WrestleMania-main eventing rudo run, Intercontinental Champion The Miz has been one of the better and more effective heels in WWE. But the way he’s been portrayed on screen during the week of April 2 has left some wondering if another stint as a babyface could be in works for The A-Lister.

In a lot of ways, this was the only way the company could play things during a week when he was making his first appearance since the birth of his daughter and booked to win $100,000 for stray animals. But while it’s possible WWE could write those as aspects of a heel character, and many have even wondered if “annoying dad who ridiculously brags about his new child” might not be an updated facet of his current gimmick, those aren’t the kinds of things normally associated with fiction’s great bad guys and gals.

The most informed bit of speculation is that none of The Awesome One’s work this week is intended to signify a turn, but is instead the latest example of Miz walking a line he’s walked for a while as one of WWE’s most likeable and reliable spokespeople outside of kayfabe. He occassionally hams it up as a jerk on ESPN, but he’s just as likely to turn around and be ironically self-deprecating on Conan. The reality television veteran and wife Maryse are getting their own Total Divas spin-off on E! this year, Miz & Mrs. That’s not going to be sold on the basis of his Raw character, but his behind-the-scenes one.

WWE is counting on saavy 21st century wrestling fans using the part of our brains which can separate storyline from ‘reality’ when processing the many faces of Mike Mizanin. As opposed to the part of our brains that loves to nit-pick inconsistencies in their narrative - whether that narrative is the one they craft for the wrestling ring, or the world outside it.

Can we do it? Sure. But when he’s already a ‘cool heel’ a lot of folks enjoy, giving us a bunch of reasons to actually think The Miz is awesome, such as the above video of him hanging with shelter dogs while volunteers thank him for “earning” a donation for their work or calling his wife right after a win, doesn’t give us much of an incentive to boo the guy when he wrestles this Sunday in New Orleans.

Thankfully, if WWE doesn’t want us cheering Miz, all they have to do is have him interact with his long-running foil, one of the most beloved babyfaces in recent memory and a guy who it just so happens was recently cleared to wrestle again...

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Then we’ll boo the everlovin’ $#!+ out of him, even if he brings Monroe Sky and some homeless puppies to the ring.

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