What if I told you that a former WWE Champion, who main evented Wrestlemania with John Cena and The Rock, was somehow having his breakout year 5 years after said main event? Because that is exactly what has happened this year with The Miz.
In January, it appeared this would be just another year in the life of The Miz. He would hover around the mid card, become fodder for some of the bigger stars on the roster and maybe knock out a few championship wins that would largely be forgotten.
Then the brand split happened. The Miz went from being a character we thought had already peaked to one we suddenly couldn't stop watching. In the span of 6 months, The Miz has made Smackdown the WWE's best show. Through savage promos and increased ring work, The Miz has retroactively earned his main event spot with Cena and The Rock.
Here are the 5 reasons The Miz is having his best year ever.
The Miz put the WWE Universe on notice August 23rd, when he unleashed a tirade on Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan that hit a little too close to home. Not only did The Miz bury Bryan under a mountain of truth, but his promo single handedly made the Smackdown aftershow must watch television.
The Intercontinental championship remains one of the few sacred belts in the hearts and minds of long time wrestling fans. Because of its retro look, storied history and the legendary stars who have carried it, fans want the IC championship to still carry the value it had in the 90s.
The Miz not only declared that the IC championship was the most important belt on Smackdown, but that he alone, was making it legendary.
Miz somehow found a way to make us care about a feud with Dolph Ziggler (whose character has become beyond stale), and put on some of the more memorable matches of 2016.
In April, The Miz began being accompanied to the ring by former Divas champion and his real life wife, Maryse. If The Miz hadn't already been obnoxious enough in his ridiculous "Hollywood" space clothes, now he had the girl who would have never talked to you in high school standing by his side. What made it worse was knowing that she was his ACTUAL wife. While most wrestler/valet relationships are set up to make the woman a more sympathetic character than the slimy heel she accompanies, this relationship was clearly a 50/50 partnership. Maryse is more Sheri than Elizabeth to The Miz's Macho Man.
The one major knock on The Miz was not so much that he "couldn't wrestle" but that his moveset was boring. Since making it his personal goal to make Daniel Bryan's retirement a living hell, The Miz has taken to incorporating many of Daniel Bryan's signature moves into his matches. From the "Yes" kicks to the "Yes" chants to the running turnbuckle dropkick, The Miz is generating great heat from the crowd while also doing moves that we already know and love! Whether or not this actually leads to a match with Bryan is irrelevant at this point. If Bryan can no longer use those moves, having his nemesis steal them is a brilliant plot device!
In a world of gray areas, it's often hard to tell who the "bad guys" are in the WWE. Fans often cheer for the heels while booing the faces. On RAW, the top two heels routinely get cheered for their hilarious exchanges, while the top face gets booed out of the building the moment his music hits. Even on Smackdown, the crowd goes nuts when AJ Styles performs a 450 splash onto a table, despite it being to the detriment of Dean Ambrose.
The Miz has managed to leave no gray area in his performance. He's an old school, smug, villain. He doesn't wrestle in a way that makes fans cheer him. He's not funny enough to make fans laugh with him. He boasts of accomplishments that we know aren't quite true. No matter how much we respect his performance, we still take great satisfaction in watching The Miz lose; which is what every great heel should be able to make us feel.