Let me me start off by saying something that many would consider bold. Something shocking. Something deeply controversial.
Mike "The Miz" Mizanin is actually a great babyface. And this is the reason he should come out on top in the Triple Threat match for the Intercontinental Championship at Sunday's Payback pay-per-view.
A large subset of fans have been lining up to trash the former WWE champion in recent years. While there are valid criticisms of the 32-year-old (no wrestler is perfect, after all), most of the main attacks regarding his WWE career seem unreasonable—and are easy to refute.
"He's not over as a babyface and people find him annoying," many complain.
OK, so how do you explain his WWE Studios film The Marine 3: Homefront, which was released in March, doing such great business? As The Numbers reveals, the film has sold 167,000 DVD copies in North America (as of May 26). Not only does this put it on track to be the biggest-selling WWE DVD of the year, as Dave Meltzer (via WrestlingInc) mentioned, it should be one of the company's best-sellers ever.
If Miz isn't over with fans as his critics claim, why did people turn out in their droves to buy a movie he starred in and that was marketed specifically around him?
"He's a former reality television star," is another insult usually thrown his way.
Hey, unless it's Honey Boo Boo or Teen Mom, reality television doesn't have the stigma it used to. In the entertainment business, it's just another way to get your foot in the door. Jennifer Hudson is an Oscar-winning actress and few use her history on American Idol against her.
Similarly, UFC's reality show Ultimate Fighter has churned out numerous major names in its near-decade long existence—Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans and Roy Nelson being the most notable examples—and you rarely hear anyone dismissing their accomplishments.
"He stole CM Punk's main event spot at WrestleMania 27, which Punk even complained about on his DVD!"
Let's be frank: WWE not yet allowing Punk to fulfill his dream of main eventing WrestleMania has nothing to do with The Miz or The Rock or anyone else. It's likely to do with Punk's own flaws as a performer (i.e. his inability to connect with casual fans and anyone else outside the IWC and hardcore base). If Phil Brooks could stop complaining and pointing fingers at other people for a minute, he might come to realize that.
"He can't wrestle!"
Again, this is an empty accusation. Miz has amassed an impressive body of work over the last few years, churning out great bouts with guys like Christian, Jerry Lawler, Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett. And even if you would want to give his opponents the majority of the credit, the simple fact is, a bad wrestler would not be producing good matches like this on a regular basis.
So, Miz is a lot more talented and popular than many are willing to give him credit for. And on Sunday he needs to win back the Intercontinental Championship from Wade Barrett.
Really, he's the best option.
Barrett's stock has fallen so far in the past few years, it's hard to believe this was once a man, as the leader of Nexus, looked set to be the top heel in WWE.
It's difficult to see how the belt helps the Englishman at all. Around his waist, it seems more of a dull midcard title than ever. In recent times only Miz, and Cody Rhodes before him, ever managed to make the title appear to be the truly big deal it was during the '80s and '90s.
What exactly does Barrett gain from his association with the title? What does the title gain from being associated with him?
Curtis Axel, who was inserted into the match on Monday after a concussion forced Fandango to pull out, is also a less than idol victor. Axel is already struggling, thanks to one of the most ill-thought out "pushes" of recent times.
Hey, nothing says "big star" like Stephanie McMahon saying several times on television that she doesn't think you're worth Triple H's time and effort.
With this in mind, it's far too soon to give Axel a title. While he is a terrific wrestler, he needs to recover from the past few weeks first.
Let's be honest: WWE's babyface ranks are in a bit of a state. Sheamus behaves like a bullying jerk. Triple H is coming off as more and more egotistical by the week. Alberto Del Rio has all the charm and charisma of a plank of wood and John Cena is, well, John Cena.
So, hopefully, on Sunday, the company returns the Intercontinental title to one face they've actually been doing a pretty decent job with.