A year ago today I created my newest controversial column—titled WWE's Pushed to Punished. Here, I analyze the careers of certain individuals who were on the receiving end of a career boost while apart of WWE, only to meet their inevitable demise shortly thereafter.
Six months ago, my last edition of Pushed to Punished focused on the career of the now-unemployed John Morrison. In this return issue, I look to analyze the rise and fall of The Miz from WWE Champion to glorified jobber.
In late 2004, The Miz (also known as Mike Mizanian at the time) participated in the fourth season of Tough Enough. Although he came up short of winning the guaranteed WWE contract, Miz was still given a developmental contract and worked in a variety of territories before making his official televised WWE debut in mid-2006.
Upon his arrival, Miz was given the role as a host for SmackDown, primarily associated with the Divas on a regular basis. Later that year, the former reality star began competing in singles action, establishing a streak of victories that would later be broken by The Boogeyman.
Thereafter, The Miz received his first real sense of direction when he was sent packing over to the ECW brand via the WWE Supplemental Draft in June 2007. He would then develop a new Chick Magnet persona that saw him accompanying the Extreme Expose, a stable consisting of Kelly Kelly, Layla, and Brooke Adams.
His newfound popularity amongst the fans earned him a shot at the ECW Championship at the Cyber Sunday pay-per-view, but was unsuccessful in capturing the title. Nonetheless, Miz's aspirations of gaining gold were not yet halted, as he and John Morrison would go to win the WWE Tag Team Championships on an episode of SmackDown that November.
From there, Morrison and Miz would form a friendship and become one of the greatest tag teams in recent history. After holding the straps for nearly eight months, their reign as champs came to an end in July 2008 at The Great American Bash event.
However, their tenure as a team would not end there, as the Dirt Sheet duo would later capture the World Tag Team Championships from Kofi Kingston and CM Punk at the conclusion of the year. Morrison and Miz worked as a cohesive unit up until they lost the belts to Carlito and Primo at WrestleMania 25, where their falling out began to take shape.
At the 2009 WWE Draft, Miz was shockingly moved over to Monday days due to a disqualification loss. Moments later, he turned on John Morrison to signify the abrupt end to their partnership.
Once again flying solo, Miz became engaged in a rivalry with an injured John Cena, declaring himself the victor of matches that weren't even official. Although he was unable to defeat Cena throughout the summer of 2009, he got his first taste of the spotlight and chance to shine on the flagship show.
After being "fired" by guest host Jeremy Piven in August, Miz made his return the following week by with ring gear and defeated Eugene to regain his spot on the Raw roster. Two months later, Miz achieved his goal of the United States Championship, his first singles title in WWE.
During his reign, The Miz was able to defeat former friend John Morrison a handful of times, as well as win the Unified Tag Team Championships from DX in early 2010. As soon as the new decade rolled around, Miz would debut new entrance music entitled "I Came to Play" by Downstait, a song he still uses to this very day.
In the opening match at WrestleMania 26, The Miz successfully defended the tag titles alongside Show against the team of John Morrison and R-Truth. A month later, however, they dropped the titles to the Hart Dynasty at the 2010 WWE Draft.
In hopes of regaining the straps, Miz aligned with Chris Jericho to contend for the WWE Tag Team Championships at Over the Limit. Sadly, after their loss at the event, the alliance was quickly disbanded.
To make matters worse, the Awesome One lost his United States Championship to Bret Hart in a No Holds Barred Match in May. Fortunately, Miz regained the star-spangled prize a month later in a Fatal-Four Way, thus reigniting his push in the process.
That July, The Miz took another step towards super stardom by outlasting seven other top stars and winning the Raw Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Although he was left off the SummerSlam card, he made his presence felt by attacking the returning Daniel Bryan, the same Superstar he mentored during the first season of NXT.
At Night of Champions, Miz dropped the U.S. title to Bryan via submission. With two more pay-per-view losses at Hell in a Cell and Bragging Rights, his once-bright future looked grim going forward following reports that plans called for him to unsuccessfully cash-in his opportunistic briefcase.
Regardless, The Miz did the unthinkable by capturing the WWE Championship on the night after Survivor Series from Randy Orton. He went on to defeat Orton to retain his title twice more at TLC and Royal Rumble respectively.
Heading into WrestleMania 27, The Miz was portrayed as an afterthought in his rivalry with John Cena due to the highly anticipated return of The Rock. Despite this, Miz once again proved everyone wrong by pinning Cena in Atlanta on the grandest stage of them all, becoming the second heel in WWE history behind Triple H to retain his golden prize at the event.
Of course, Cena would retaliate and defeat Miz in a Steel Cage match also featuring John Morrison at Extreme Rules to win back the WWE Championship. After numerous failed attempts to regain the strap, Miz was turned on by his protege Alex Riley due to the amount of abuse he took from his pro over a lengthy period of time.
This would mark the beginning of the end for The Miz, who hasn't seemed to bounce back since. He would go on to lose to Alex Riley at the Capitol Punishment pay-per-view, in addition to coming up short at both the Money in the Bank and SummerSlam events.
In late August, The Miz formed an alliance with R-Truth, who was also calling conspiracy on Triple H taking charge of WWE. Not much success came from the partnership though, as Awesome Truth were unable to capture the WWE Tag Team Championships at Night of Champions.
The following night, the destructive duo were fired by the Game due to their actions at the event the night previous. They proceeded to cause chaos in subsequent weeks until they were rehired, in whichh they were by John Laurinaitis in early October.
At Vengeance, Miz picked up his first pay-per-view victory with Truth by defeating the team of Triple H and CM Punk after help from an interfering Kevin Nash. Their momentum came to a quick halt going into Survivor Series, as they were consistently gotten the better of by John Cena and The Rock.
Due to this, Miz ambushed Truth from behind the night following their loss, thus ending their short-lived partnership. Although it appeared as if the Awesome One was on the verge of another major push after ending the career of John Morrison, it wasn't meant to be.
At TLC, Miz was unsuccessful in recapturing the WWE Championship from CM Punk, and was later reduced to enhancement talent for the returning R-Truth. Despite entering the Royal Rumble match first, Miz was able to make the best of it and last a whopping 45 minutes.
The same can be said for his performance at Elimination Chamber, where he lasted until the very end before being eliminated by WWE Champion CM Punk. As of now, Miz hasn't won a match since mid-December.
In recent weeks, Miz has been unsuccessful in defeating the likes of John Cena, Sheamus, and Big Show, with a match at WrestleMania still unconfirmed. He has posted a number of videos expressing why he should be participating in the event, but nothing has yet come of them.
It's hard to digest the fact that the guy who headlined WrestleMania last year and had one of the longest WWE Championship reigns in modern history is now nothing more than a glorified jobber.
Reports indicate that since The Miz is not as motivated as he once was to become a top player, officials have given up on pushing him as such. Additionally, he's not very well liked backstage due to his loud-mouth personality, which is never a desirable trait to acquire as a WWE Superstar.
Personally, I'd think the sole solution to reinventing The Miz is by turning him face. He's been a heel since his debut five years ago, so reverting him into a fan favorite would certainly feel fresh.
With the excessive amount of star power on Monday nights, I'd love to see the former two-time U.S. Champion return to SmackDown apart of the upcoming WWE Draft. There, he'd be able to experiment his new persona while also be given a fresh batch of opponents to work with.
This Wednesday night, Miz will make a guest appearance on the USA Network hit show Psych. To promote the episode, James Roday will host this week's upcoming edition of Raw.
Since Raw will be broadcast live from The Miz's hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, I see this as the perfect opportunity to turn The Miz. If you won't have Miz align with Roday, then have him instead turn on his biggest supporter Michael Cole, which would of course garner cheers from the crowd.
I surely hope The Miz can find his way sooner rather than later, as he still is a big asset to the WWE given his past experience in reality shows. Whether you like him or hate him, there's no questioning that The Miz has worked above and beyond when it comes to earning his spot in the company.
In conclusion, I'd like to thank you, Bleachers, for supporting the Pushed to Punished series and reading each edition over the last year. If you'd like to see future issues, please drop a comment below saying so as well as any past or present Superstar whose career you'd like to see analyzed. All feedback is greatly appreciated.