One year ago, Mike Mizanin was holding the WWE Title. Everybody expected him to lose to John Cena in the main event of WrestleMania 27. Instead, The Miz retained thanks to the surprising assistance of The Rock. Even though it wasn't a great match, Miz still had the chance to brag about beating Cena in the main event of WrestleMania. Nearly a full year later, Miz is still bragging about that win.
Do you see a problem with that? I sure do.
The problem is that over the course of the last year, The Miz hasn't had much forward movement. The feud with Alex Riley was a failure that didn't benefit either guy. He lost the title to Cena, by the way, in one of the worst PPV main events ever. Then, he was stuck in limbo for a while before teaming up with R-Truth in the fall at the height of the Triple H/John Laurinaitis storyline.
They ended up being fired, re-hired and then jobbed out to Rock and Cena at the Survivor Series as if they were afterthoughts. Apparently Miz was given the blame for the low PPV buy rate.
Really WWE? Really? A poorly booked angle based around the two guys in the main event of WrestleMania teaming "one time only" and the guy on the losing team gets the blame? Maybe if Miz was booked stronger he could have been a threat to the Rock/Cena team. Instead, he wasn't somebody the fans were interested in paying money to see Rock/Cena beat rather easily.
Since the Survivor Series, it appears as though Miz has been stuck in the doghouse. Sure, he opened the Royal Rumble and lasted 40 minutes, but did anybody think he had a shot to win? No. He was also in the Elimination Chamber match on the Raw brand. He made it all the way to the end as the last guy to be eliminated by WWE Champion CM Punk. The problem with that match was that in the build up it was all about Punk vs. Jericho, and so was the aftermath.
When Miz talks in his promos these days, he's still harping on WrestleMania 27. Is it that difficult for the creative team to think of something new for the guy? Really creative team? Really?
What Miz needs is a move to Smackdown that also includes a baby face turn.
The reason the heel act of Miz doesn't work is because he is portrayed as this tough guy, yet he looks like a former member of the Backstreet Boys. Fans don't think of him as a threat. They laugh at him, or worse yet, they ignore him. The crowd is dead for a lot of his matches. He can make all of the angry faces he wants, but the fans already have an opinion of him. Just because a wrestler is a heel doesn't mean that they are an elite heel based on look alone. You need to have the intangibles.
I'm not saying smaller guys have to be faces. Look at Daniel Bryan. He weighs around 200 pounds. Is he believable as a heel performer? Yes, because he's got an arsenal of offensive moves such as kicks and submission holds that look like they hurt. Perception is everything in wrestling. If it doesn't look like it hurts, then why do a move?
I wasn't always a Miz fan. He earned my respect, though. You know that stuff he says in promos about being the guy that WWE sends to do television interviews and press events in countries overseas? I love that they are mentioning that on TV. It's a smart move. The thing is, they would be better promos if he was a baby face.
When he says those things as a heel, what should the crowd do? They have no reason to care. It's not like he's complaining about it. It's his way of saying he's important. If he said those things as a face, fans would relate to it because it would be his way of saying, "I'm a fan like all of you and now I'm living my dream representing the company I love." Then the fans cheer. It's not a hard story to write, really.
Here's an idea: Turn him baby face. Make The Miz a hero. In terms of his promos, he doesn't have to change his ways that much. He's already got the "really?" thing to annoy his opponents that the fans could chant along with as he said against a heel opponent. The fans are already chanting along when he does his "I'm the Miz and I'm awwwwwwwwwwwwwesome" line. I've seen him on talk shows quite a bit. He has a good sense of humor. If he replaced the smarmy suit-wearing heel talk with a more laid back approach while throwing a few jokes in towards the heel opponent, it would work quite well.
In the ring, he could prove to be better as a baby face. Miz isn't one of the top 10 workers in WWE. He isn't in the bottom 10 either. He's a slightly average worker with the potential to improve. There are a lot of wrestlers that got better over time in the ring because of a turn. For example, when Triple H turned heel in 1999, he went from an average worker to an elite one. The same could be said about The Rock when he went from heel to face in 1999, and had his best year as the top baby face in 2000.
I think Miz has it in him to be a better worker as a face. His signature moves, like the corner clothesline, backbreaker/neckbreaker combo and Skull Crushing Finale, could all work just as well in a baby face role. I'd also encourage him to try some move off the top rope, whether it's something simple like a dropkick, bulldog or cross body. It's important to do something that excites the crowd a bit when the baby face is making a comeback.
The reason I would suggest a move to Smackdown is because he's feuded with a lot of people on Raw. For a change to occur, he should go to the show where he can have fresh feuds with the likes of Daniel Bryan, Mark Henry, Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett and guys like that. There is some history with Bryan when the roles were reversed, so they could play off that. When a wrestler turns heel to face it's better to do it when you're able to face different opponents than what the fans are used to seeing. It's the idea of presenting something "new" to the fans, which is what they want.
It's obvious that last year management saw something positive in The Miz. They thought enough of him to put the WWE Title on him heading into WrestleMania. That's not just a big push. That's THE big push. What has changed this year? A stale character. That's why the change that needs to happen post-Mania is a new Miz.
Why? Because he's The Miz, and he's too good of a performer to be forgotten.
A new outlook on his career would be…wait for it…keep waiting…chant along if you want to…awwwwwwwwwwwwwesome.
John Canton is a regular contributor at the Bleacher Report that's excited about going to WrestleMania 28 in Miami. You can read more of his work at his website thejohnreport.net where he's currently reviewing every WrestleMania event prior to WrestleMania 28. Follow him on Twitter @johnreport where he tweets a lot about wrestling as well as other interesting topics.