John Cena and The Miz (courtesy of Fanpop.com)
In this version of reality where CM Punk is still WWE Champion, Cena is long overdue for a title shot—he can't feud with Laurinaitis, Lesnar, and Lord Tensai for too long. Still being held back as much as possible by Johnny Ace, Cena is forced to face The Miz at Night of Champions to see who becomes No. 1 Contender. This also serves as the payoff The Miz receives from Laurinaitis for his contribution at WrestleMania 28.
It doesn't get any more "main event" status than a match against John Cena, regardless of your personal opinions of the man. Unfortunately for The Miz, this is not a WrestleMania 27 repeat, as Cena gets the victory and faces the WWE Champion at Hell in a Cell.
At this point, The Miz doesn't need to be challenging for the WWE Championship to be back near the top. After two consecutive pay-per-view victories over upper-mid-card talent (Brodus Clay and Zack Ryder), and three consecutive pay-per-view matches (all with WWE Championship implications) against bonafide main event stars (Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, and John Cena), The Miz has regained the prominence he once had.
At this point, he can break apart from any alliance with John Laurinaitis and turn face, giving him a swarm of new opponents to work with to keep his status near the top. He is a legitimate threat to anyone holding the WWE Championship, and there are no opponents that he doesn't have at least a reasonable chance of beating. Whether or not he is able to recapture a world title in 2012 isn't essential. Having previously headlined WrestleMania and now, placing himself as a permanent fixture in the WWE main event class, he is always considered a contender when it comes to matches like the Royal Rumble, Money in the Bank, or any other No. 1 contender or championship match. Combined with a successful face turn, his next championship reign could easily re-establish The Miz as "the most must-see WWE Champion in history."