To Be Determined – Be Miz

Before I begin, I want to apologize to my seven readers for missing my last scheduled column. As I said in the Summerslam roundtable, my computer died just before that weekend. But now I have a new one and hopefully will be able to keep my schedule. We will now return to the regularly scheduled column.

The Miz is arguably the hottest heel in the WWE right now. I must admit that two years ago I wouldn’t have expected it to happen, but this is clearly a case where I’m glad to be proven wrong. When the Miz and John Morrison were ruling over the three WWE brands as tag champs, I thought that once WWE will break this team up, they would strap a rocket to John Morrison’s back and shoot him straight up to the main event while Miz will be nothing more than a solid mid-carder. Or to put it in the words of the self proclaimed greatest tag team of the 21st century, Miz would be the Jannetty. I’ve already written enough (some would say more than enough) about WWE’s mistreatment of John Morrison, so I won’t go into that now. Today I want to praise their treatment of The Miz.

When Miz started his way in WWE he was nothing more than a former reality show participant who wanted to break into the business. He entered Tough Enough and even though he did not win his season (unlike his tag partner Morrison), WWE kept him around first as the obnoxious “host” of Smackdown and then as a wrestler. Very few people (I wasn’t one of them) saw his potential back then but WWE, to their credit kept their faith and after toiling around Smackdown and ECW, he was finally teamed with his then rival Morrison. The rest, as they say, is history.

My man love for John Cena is well documented (and sometimes ridiculed), but I think that there are a couple of parallels that can be drawn between The Miz and Cena. In fact, I think Miz’s road somewhat mirrors Cena’s. Cena first went after the champion in 2003 when he was nothing more than a midcarder, throwing out repeated challenges to champ Brock Lesnar, before getting squashed in the eventual match between the two. Cena was owhere near ready to be a main eventer at that level, but that feud was some sort of a test to see whether the audience would accept him at the top of the card. Two years later Cena took over WWE as their hottest act in years. When Miz first broke away from his team with Morrison, he went after Cena in a series of brilliant promos, repeatedly challenging him and giving himself a win every time Cena did not answer his challenge. When Cena finally returned from filming his latest movie Miz was promptly squashed but ended this feud in a much better than position than he was before it started and the audience showed willingness to accept him against main event rivals.

Another parallel between Cena and The Miz is that both of them are still being looked down on by “smart” fans. Again, I wrote enough about the Cena haters so I won’t go into that side of the equation. But even now, in Miz’s 6th year in WWE, there are those who see him as nothing more than a reality show contestant looking to extend his fifteen minutes of fame. Thos people ignore all the hard work that Miz has put over the years in order to climb to the top of the WWE mountain. His stints in UPW, DSW and OVW, his willingness to endure a wrestler’s life on the road and heckles from veterans (one of his best promos ever is based on a true story) – if that doesn’t mean a commitment to being a wrestler, I don’t know what does. We’re not talking about someone like Johnny Fairplay who spent five minutes in TNA, we’re talking about a wrestler, plain and simple. And not just a wrestler, one who proved himself as an excellent tag team competitor, and over the past year proven to be a bona fide singles star. The Miz is consistently delivering the goods both in the ring and on the mic, and he earned everything that WWE is giving him the hard way.

And WWE is giving him the opportunity to catapult to the next level. They made his rivalry with Daniel Bryan the focus of NXT’s first season and several editions of Raw. He was given the Money on the Bank briefcase. The final build to Summerslam revolved around him. Now he’s chasing Sheamus, threatening to cash in his championship contract and become WWE champion. He’s even on the cover of Smackdown vs. Raw 2011, which is quite an accomplishment.

Before Miz won Raw’s MITB, I wanted him to announce, after his eventual victory, that he would cash in his contract at Wrestlemania 27. But now I came up with a fantasy booking for what could be the strongest push that WWE gave any wrestler in the past decade, assuming they do it right. What if Miz not only uses his briefcase at Wrestlemania? What of he also won the Royal Rumble? The he could announce that he doesn’t want to be just WWE Champion. He could say that he wants to unify the titles and challenge both champions in the same night. Done right (And by right I mean 180 degrees opposite to when Chris Jericho unified the titles) this might be, as I said, the biggest push WWE gave any wrestler in the past decade. In fact, it’s so big that I don’t think Miz deserves it (Besides, I don’t think the titles should be unified as long as there are technically two separate brands) , but can you imagine his promos if he did it?

If in the past Smackdown was the place where mid card wrestlers became main eventers, the shift has moved to Raw, with Sheamus and The Miz. I still haven’t lost hope that John Morrison would receive the push he deserves and become WWE champion and it seems like WWE has faith in Daniel Bryan as well. Still, of all the relatively young wrestlers on Raw, The Miz is the hottest one right now and if WWE continues to play it right with him, he might be the next face of WWE and a major crossover star. Because The Miz is exactly what he claims to be – AWESOME!

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