The Miz Is the Dark Horse of WWE

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The Miz Is the Dark Horse of WWE
photo from wwe.com

It seems easy to heap criticism on Mike "The Miz" Mizanin these days.

He's miscast as a babyface. He's not suited to his on-screen role of Ric Flair's protege. His figure-four leglock is terrible. He's a mediocre wrestler. The list goes on. Trashing Miz looks to be currently the "cool" thing to do amongst wrestling fans.

This is regrettable, and unfair. The Miz is, despite misconceptions, one heck of a talent in pro wrestling.

OK, so he's not the best wrestler in the world, but he's certainly not bad, either.

Indeed, for someone often criticized for being an awful wrestler, he is constantly churning out good-to-great matches on television.

His recent matches with Antonio Cesaro have been stellar. His bouts against frequent foe Dolph Ziggler have also been terrific. He and Kofi Kingston have never had a bad match.

And who can forget his phenomenal I.C. title match with Christian on SmackDown last year, easily one of the best TV bouts of the year?

Of course, some critics will continue to dismiss Miz and claim he was "carried" by superior foes. While the wrestler has obviously been aided by great opponents, he has done more than his fair share of the work. In fact, his selfless willingness to bump like crazy for Cesaro has helped establish the United States champion as one of WWE's brightest talents.

Calling Miz a bad wrestler (as Punk unprofessionally did live on Raw several months ago) simply doesn't hold water anymore. Aside from his admittedly below-average figure-four leglock, he's on a roll wrestling-wise and has never been better.

It's also worth pointing out that Miz is also actually an established ratings draw on television. His talk show Miz TV has been the highest-rated segment of Raw on more than one occasion (numbers via WrestlingInc).

Oh, sure, you could claim that's mainly because of the major stars that appear, which is a fair point, but the show has also done very well even when midcarders like Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow appear as guests (via WrestlingInc).

Maybe people like talking. Or Miz's nice suits. Or seeing nice black sofas thrown around by scary behemoths. Who knows? But Miz TV looks to be one talk show that has taken off, despite all the criticism aimed at its host.

Additionally, thanks to his reality show past, the star is one of the few wrestlers on the roster capable of garnering mainstream publicity from sites like TMZ, as his 2011 title reign showed.

He's also found some success in Hollywood. His latest WWE Studios' movie The Marine 3: Homefront has received generally good reviews from critics with Miz's charismatic lead performance, in particular, garnering praise.

Furthermore, Miz recently noted on his Twitter that the movie had been doing tremendously well in DVD sales. Assuming this is accurate, this would make The Marine 3: Homefront the first successful WWE Studios movie in a long time.

Of course, this isn't to suggest there aren't any problems in Miz's career.

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Certainly, being paired on screen with Ric Flair might not be the best thing for him. "The Nature Boy" is such a star in wrestling, it's inevitable that he upstages anyone he's associated with. 

It doesn't help that off screen, Miz is not known for being a party guy or being in trouble constantly, unlike Flair, whose outside-the-ring antics are legendary. Even taking out the wrestling aspect, Miz may be too grounded and well behaved to truly pull off the "New Nature Boy" gimmick.

No doubt the recently engaged star isn't terribly keen to emulate Flair's dreadful track record with women, either (Flair has famously been divorced four times).

For a few reasons, it's not a great fit.

But aside from this, it's hard to argue that Miz has not been given a bad rap by wrestling fans. He's hardworking, charismatic and has helped churn out some great matches on television and pay-per-view over the past year. More people need to recognize his talent. 

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