2012 has been anything but spectacular for The Miz.
One year removed from a WWE title reign and a spot in the Wrestlemania XXVII main event, Miz has spent this year as somewhat of an afterthought. He endured a long losing streak and was a last-minute addition to the Wrestlemania XXVIII card. He was soundly defeated by Brodus Clay, Christian and a number of other midcard talents before being taken off of television early in the summer.
Even worse, Miz had earned a reputation for being lazy inside the squared circle and his act had been stale. Fans stopped caring about anything he did after "AWESOME" exploded over the PA system during his entrance music.
The only ray of sunshine in an otherwise dark year for the former Real World star was his casting in "The Marine: Homefront" the latest film in WWE's moderately popular franchise.
Things did not look promising for Miz as rumors of his return began circulating.
Then he made his return at Money in the Bank and something, outside of his new hair style and five o'clock shadow, looked different. There was more fire inside the Cleveland, Ohio native. There was an aggressiveness in his in-ring work that had been missing prior to his short hiatus.
Since then, The Miz has been able to maintain his aggressiveness and appears to be a rejuvenated performer. He obviously cares about what he is doing between the ropes in a way that was not so evident earlier in the year.
"You don't know what you've got until it's gone," is a popular quote that has been thrown around for as long as anyone can remember, and that quote is indicative of why The Miz has rediscovered the passion he seemed to lose after last November's Survivor Series.
It is incredibly humbling to have the top prize in your profession one day—the new face and spokesman of the company—to having people question your heart and your dedication between the ropes. To have everything one day and be left with nothing the next.
The Miz understands just how bad things had gotten before he left to film his movie. He also understands that he has a long career ahead of him, if he chooses, and is still one of the most marketed stars in the company. He understands that multiple WWE Championships can still be in his future.
The best is yet to come for The Miz because he has achieved greatness and had it ripped away from him. He knows what it feels like to sit atop the mountain and have the spotlight on him. He also knows what it feels like to be just another guy, languishing in the abyss of the WWE midcard.
He does not want to experience that feeling again. He is working hard to climb the ladder, to gain the company's trust and once again achieve the notoriety that comes with the WWE Championship.
Whether or not the company recognizes and rewards Miz's work is another question. But if the company's most recent Triple Crown winner never again realizes his goal of winning the WWE Championship, it will not be for lack of trying.