Two years ago, The Miz was holding the Money in the Bank briefcase and was almost exactly a week away from winning his first and only WWE Championship.
Although The Miz’s WWE title reign that followed generally wasn’t booked very well, it did allow him to reach the highest point of his WWE career so far. He held the title for an impressive 160 days, feuded with guys like Randy Orton and John Cena, and even successfully defended his title against Cena in the main event of WrestleMania 27.
If only for a short while, The Miz established himself as a main eventer and one of the WWE’s top stars. But after he dropped the WWE Championship to Cena, he saw his stock take a rather dramatic plunge.
He certainly had his bright spots—such as main eventing Survivor Series 2011 in a tag team match against The Rock—but all the momentum he had built up in late 2010 and early 2011 gradually faded away until he became lost in the shuffle by early 2012.
A year after main-eventing WrestleMania 27, he was thrown into a random multi-man match (Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny) at WrestleMania 28, and though he did pick up the victory for his squad in the match, it didn’t result in a substantial push for The Miz.
In fact, The Miz didn’t get any real type of push until he took a two-month leave of absence shortly after WrestleMania 28 in order to film The Marine 3. When he returned, The Miz instantly won the Intercontinental Championship by defeating Christian on Monday Night Raw’s 1,000th episode, but wound up holding the title for just 85 days before dropping the belt to Kofi Kingston on the Oct. 16 episode of Main Event.
As we all know, that loss was part of a lengthy streak in which The Miz lost four straight matches to Kingston (all in clean fashion), which has caused many to wonder what his immediate future might hold.
It certainly didn’t look good for The Miz even a few weeks ago, but he’s currently in the midst of exactly what he’s needed to become a main event superstar once again: a face turn.
For the better part of a year now, I’ve preached about how The Miz could benefit greatly from a face turn after spending essentially his entire career as a heel. Now, it appears the WWE is finally pulling the trigger on one.
It started last week on Raw when The Miz announced that he had quit Team Punk (or Team Ziggler), which seemed to generate a favorable reaction from the crowd and foreshadowed what would obviously come next—The Miz eventually making his way onto Team Foley.
That’s exactly what happened on this week’s show, when The Miz won the fan vote (albeit a very rigged one) and was chosen as the fifth and final member of Team Foley for the five-on-five match at Survivor Series. Immediately after making his way onto the team, The Miz then competed in a tag team match, teaming up with Kane to take on Team Rhodes Scholars.
The Miz played an interesting role as someone who was essentially coming between tag team partners Kane and Daniel Bryan, seemingly causing some issues between the WWE Tag Team Champions. But “the most must-see WWE Champion in history” was also playing a full-fledged babyface.
The crowd seemed to really like him in that role, even chanting along with his “I’m awesome” catchphrase, which is something that could really catch on if the WWE decides to push The Miz as a top babyface going forward.
That, of course, would make a lot of sense at the moment. The WWE is, like usual, heel-heavy, which probably gives The Miz a better chance of making an impact if he’s one of a few standout good guys rather than one of many villains.
The Miz’s movie, the third installment of The Marine franchise, also will be released early next year, and it’s logical for the WWE to want the star of that film to be a babyface. If The Miz is a top face when the movie comes out, it’s probably going to result in more people buying it than it would if The Miz stayed in his current role as a heel.
I think that, along with the need for another top babyface, is likely one of the main motive’s behind The Miz’s face turn, which I think could work extremely well if done right.
There’s always the chance that The Miz is playing nice at the moment only to set up for him turning on Team Foley at Survivor Series, but the best bet for the WWE long-term is to steer the course, listen to the crowd reactions and make sure that The Miz completes his face turn and is pushed as a top face going forward.
He’s already starting to get treated like a face, and his “Really?” and “I’m The Miz and I’m…awesome” catchphrases are something that could become very popular with the fans if he’s booked as a good guy. Plus, we got a sneak peak of The Miz wrestling as a face on Monday’s Raw, and it looks like his performances in the ring could improve if he has the support of the crowd.
Sometimes all it takes is a turn to, pun intended, turn a guy’s career around, and The Miz will prove that with what looks to be a full-fledged babyface turn. He’s accomplished enough as a heel to be respected as a face, and it’s worth the risk to see how he performs in that role.
After somewhat fizzling out as a top heel, a face turn will be what takes The Miz to the top, so don’t be surprised if he’s one of the last men standing this Sunday at Survivor Series.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!