At last month's Money in the Bank pay-per-view, former WWE champion Mike “The Miz” Mizanin returned from his near-two-month absence from television to cut a promo in front of the live crowd and declare himself a surprise candidate in the WWE Championship contract ladder match later in the evening.
It was one of the highlights of the show for a few reasons.
First of all, Miz's delivery was as great as ever, with him arrogantly noting to the fans that he was now “a movie star” (the reason he was off WWE TV was to film the upcoming The Marine: Homefront, the third installment of the company's military-themed movie franchise) and suggesting that they should now treat him accordingly.
Miz also acknowledged his recent career slump—he went from main-eventing last year's WrestleMania to floundering badly in WWE's mid-card—and resolved it was time for a change. He was tired of being taken for granted, you see, and decided it was time for him to start getting everything he had worked incredibly hard for and deserved.
The other notable thing was how different—and far better—Miz looked. In order to acquire the gruff, rugged Marine look for The Marine: Homefront, the usually primped and primed Miz grew out his faux Mohawk and developed some facial stubble.
Thankfully, the former Real World contestant, who now looks a great deal like '80s action star Michael Biehn, kept the new look after filming was done.
While it may not sound like much, it was a drastic improvement for Miz, who has often faced accusations of not looking “tough enough” or being believable enough as a threat to main-event stars like John Cena and Randy Orton.
The tweaks to his appearance help considerably: Miz looks more mature, more handsome, more like someone you would take seriously as a top contender.
While Miz failed to win the briefcase at Money in the Bank, his career resurgence has continued. He is once again a featured performer in the company, winning the Intercontinental Championship from Christian in a great match at Raw 1,000.
This, as WWE.com has noted, makes him one of the small group of wrestlers to become Triple Crown winners in company's history, adding to his already-impressive list of accomplishments.
Notably, upon winning the belt, Miz appeared to be genuinely touched, too, treating it like a major victory, which helped make the often-overlooked title look like a bigger deal.
It is also interesting to observe that Miz's in-ring skills have improved massively since his return, too.
While Miz was never Khali-levels of awful, his wrestling skills were often average and inconsistent at best. However, fresh from his time off, his hugely entertaining matches are fast becoming a highlight of WWE television (of course, working with the supremely talented Christian probably helps, as well).
Renewed, rejuvenated and with a great new look, Miz looks to be in a better position than he has been in some time. No doubt management has noticed too, and another World Title run will be just around the corner.
After all, the company doesn't have the talent depth it probably should and hard-working, charismatic and over wrestlers like Miz don't simply grow on trees.