By Sean Thomas
On the first Raw following Wrestlemania 32, perennial nuisnace The Miz interrupted Zack Ryder, who the night before, won the Intercontinental Champion in an exciting seven man ladder match.
Without mentioning his own hand in his misfortunes at Wrestlemania, He accused Ryder of ruining his moment, of embarrassing him in front of not only the largest Wrestlemania crowd ever assembled, but his wife Maryse, a former WWE Diva’s Champion who happened to be in attendance.
Before we knew it, The Miz had goaded Long Island Iced Z into putting his title on the line, and a quick surprise distraction from Maryse later, and The Miz got to play spoiler and ruin Zack Ryder’s fairytale victory.
Considering how popular Zack Ryder has become, and how intriguing an underdog story would have been, The Miz’s victory was understandably met with some criticism from the WWE Universe. It was inevitble, but a solid decision, as The Miz has been one of the most criminally misued members of the roster for the last couple of years.
For all the hate The Miz’s detractors love to fling at him, it’s hard to argue The Miz will be a surefire Hall of Fame candidate by the time he puts up his boots for the last time for his accomplishments with the company.
Over his career, the Miz has excelled at playing the agitator. He’s the un-swatable fly buzzing around the room. The entire locker room has tried their hand at murdering the pest, but he always stuck around, even catching a few guys off guard, evident by his grocery list of title reigns. He’s made a career of being the guy everyone loves to hate, the guy who’s ass-kicking will always produce a pop. Isn’t that what a great heel is supposed to do?
Few stars have a grasp on being a heel like The Miz has achieved over his career. Smooth on the mic, The Miz has shown a talent for drawing the crowd in and playing off their reactions, a skill i’m sure has kept the A-lister in the forefront of WWE programing since joining the company.
The Miz, real name-Mike Mizanin, began his journey to WWE stardom strangely on the set of Real World as one of the cast members. He participated in a few of the spin-off series as well, making himself into a sort of reality television star in the early 2000s. Despite his television fame, Mizanin made it no secret how much he wanted to pursue a career in wrestling, and eventually began training as a member of Ultimate Pro Wrestling in 2003. A brief stint in UPW gave Mizanin the drive to seek out a career with the WWE, becoming a member of the 2004 season of Tough Enough. After coming within striking distance of winning the contest, Mizanin was signed to a developmental deal with the WWE. He tuned up his skills, first in Deep South Wrestling before transitioning over to Ohio Valley Wrestling in 2006.
The Miz joined the main roster in 2007, participating in a few weak storylines, mostly playing the role of jobber. His star didn’t really begin to take off until he began teaming up with John Morrison. Showing huge glimpses of what we’d see in the future, The Miz and Morrison became an excellent tag team, capturing the Tag Titles twice before splitting. They’re internet talk show The Dirt Sheet became must-see entertainment, and allowed Mizanin the opportunity to build on his smug, millennial gimmick.
The WWE creative team must have taken note of Mizanin’s obvious charisma and potential as a heel as he was allowed to go on to singles fame, capturing the US and IC title numerous times. His big break came when The Miz captured the money in the bank briefcase in 2010, leading to a long angle where he forced his NXT rookie Alex Riley to carry his briefcase as his assistant and lackey.
Then on a November 22 episode of Raw, The Miz became the first Tough Enough contestant to win the WWE title when he cashed in his briefcase on Randy Orton. He would go on to be featured in a high-profile fued with John Cena and The Rock, culminating in a successful title defense against Cena via a distraction from The Rock.
He’d eventually lose the strap to Cena at Extreme Rules, after which he’d revert to the mid-card, where he’s remained since. It’s actually been a blessing for Mizanin, as he’s been featured as a standout performer in the midcard, and a constant presence in the mid-card title scene ever since. He’s been excellent for working with up and coming baby-faces, or to add a decent match to the middle of a Raw or Smackdown.
His role with the company has been very similar to another member of the Hall of Fame, Rowdy Roddy Piper. Never once capturing the WWE Championship, Rowdy Piper spent the bulk of his career as a thorn in the side of the upper-card to main event babyfaces in the company. Much like The Miz, Piper’s biggest achievement in the company was a Wrestlemania match with the Companies biggest star, this time being Hulk Hogan.
The Miz might not have grinded his teeth in the indy circuit for as long as other wrestlers on the rosters, and his pedigree isn’t nearly as impressive as say, Bray Wyatt, or Randy Orton, but he’s clearly used his time in the company to improve on his skill set, leading to the solid wrestler we see today.
Counting his win on Monday, The Miz is a one time WWE Champion, a five-time Intercontinental Champion, a six-time tag team champion, a two-time US champion, and the winner of the 2010 Money in the Bank briefcase. He’s been the host of longstanding WWE talk show segment, an hour given to the likes of Rowdy Roddy Piper, and more recently Chris Jericho.
10 years from now, when you flip through a catalog of old Raw clips from 2005-present, The Miz will be complete unavoidable. He’s been a constant of WWE program, performing non-stop for the company, only taking breaks to shoot one of the many WWE films he works on, for the last 15 years and counting.
Sadly, His retirement from the company will likely recieve little to no fan-fare. In fact,The Miz will more than likely follow guys like JBL and Macho Man Randy Savage to the announcing booth once its all said and done, making his retirement sting a little less for any fans The Miz has.
If he chooses not to join the booth, and distance himself from the company, the wrestling world would have lost one of the better surefire heels we’ve had in a long time, and a wrestler who should be making his way to the Hall of Fame shortly thereafter because, as The Miz has been saying for years, he’s The Miz, and he’s awesome.