In pro wrestling, two things make great wrestlers—microphone skills and an ability to sell and deliver moves. Some of the biggest wrestlers were great at the first and only slightly above average, or in Hulk Hogan's case below, on the second.
Michael "the Miz" Mizanin represents another opportunity to create a great wrestler. His lack of size is a concern but his ability to communicate with the crowd as a heel, or bad guy, has pushed him into the top ranks like few smaller wrestlers have done.
Shawn Michaels and Brett Hart were both small wrestlers who used great wrestling and microphone skills to push passed the beef to get a shot at the top. It appears that the Miz could be doing something similar. However, his wrestling skills still are a work in progress.
Currently, the Miz has been embroiled with Randy Orton and Jerry Lawler in a long term battle. Lawler seems to be a throw away for TV but Orton is the pay-per-view challenger for the Miz in both Tables Ladders and Chairs and in the Royal Rumble at the end of the month.
Orton is a good challenger because he is considered a legitimate title holder and can give the Miz the heat from the crowd. However, one part of the role played by the Miz which needs to be adjusted over time is idea of him as the cowardly heel.
Eventually, Miz should be created into a more forceful champion. Having a weak heel who uses trickery and cheating to escape with his title makes him look weak. In one respect that makes sense—he is facing the so-called "apex predator" as Michael Cole labels Orton, but on the other hand it makes him look as if he is just a temporary champion.
The Miz needs to look strong to be a good long-term champion. Playing the weak heel with Alex Reilly playing a manager role seems to be out of sync with what the long term goals should be for the WWE champion.
Kurt Angle, the Rock, Triple H and Chris Jericho at their best as heels were able to inspire emotions from the audience other than just ridicule. They were respected for what they could do in the ring.
If I were to program the Miz championship run, I would end the Randy Orton confrontation at the Royal Rumble. They can put Orton in the Elimination Chamber if they want but the Miz should win both matches.
At some point the Miz needs to win consistently on his own. He needs to use matches where he can bring in weapons other than Alex Reilly, if needed. Get him over as a wrestler who can wrestle and beat bigger opponents.
In the lead up to the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view I would have the Miz start to show a mean streak. Get him over as a nasty and vicious wrestler. What he did to Jerry Lawler on Raw a few weeks ago was a start, but he needs to do it to actual current wrestlers and not just from behind.
After Elimination Chamber, the WWE should make Edge a main event and focus the Miz on an lower card but in a solidly-booked match. The mean and nasty champion who can talk must take precedence on the "Road to Wrestlemania" so that he can be considered something other than a caretaker champion.
If he loses to Randy Orton in a redemption storyline at Wrestlemania, the hard road for the face or good guy to take back his championship, then the Miz needs to end it as a worthy opponent rather than as a wasted champion. Otherwise, all the work done to get him there will be wasted.
Triple H established his main event status defeating Mick Foley. Steve Austin became a huge face being bludgeoned by Brett Hart. The Rock became a massive heel by joining with Vince McMahon's stable.
Each of these keys, turns and events were ways of building on their role in the main event. The best were able to parlay that status even higher, some through politics but all through the audience.
The Miz is ready to be a real main event threat, one of the first in a long time for the WWE, which has relied mostly on the same few wrestlers for nearly a decade.
I would argue at present there are few other wrestlers in that same status of almost main event quality, John Morrison, Wade Barrett and Sheamus are Raw wrestlers with the biggest potential and some microphone ability. Some have been there but none have maintained their level compared to Cena, Orton, Edge, Jericho, Triple H, Rey Mysterio and the Undertaker.
The future should be bright but only if the WWE can create these wrestlers at the expense of some of their older talent. What they do with the Miz may tell how far they want to travel down a new road.