Rise to Awesome: How The Miz Became a Premier WWE Star 8 Years After Title WinNovember 28, 2018
November 22 marked eight years since The Miz cashed in Money in the Bank and won his first—and only—WWE Championship.
That night, a banner one for The Hollywood A-Lister and one of the most unforgettable in WWE Raw history, should have been the start of a main event run that established him as one of the elite stars of his generation.
Instead, it was the high point of a title run that threatened to obliterate the young star's credibility and banish him to obscurity.
Thanks to a few special attributes and a desire to prove himself as one of WWE's premier Superstars, Miz survived, thrived and has mapped out a Hall of Fame-worthy career for himself.
There are not many instances in which Miz and the word "quiet" will be uttered in the same breath but when it comes to his in-ring ability, there are few more consistent than The A-Lister.
When Miz won the WWE Championship in 2010, it can be argued he wasn't ready for that spot on the card at that point in his career. He had not fully developed into the in-ring performer he would.
He had a strong series of matches with Jerry "The King" Lawler, but those were more smoke and mirrors than anything, thanks to the veteran wherewithal of the Memphis native.
Subsequent matches with John Cena and Randy Orton exposed his weaknesses and relative immaturity between the ropes.
Losing the title almost helped Miz in that it allowed him to wrestle Superstars of varying styles and backgrounds. Matches with Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler, CM Punk and Rey Mysterio allowed him to grow and evolve as a worker.
From there, he would become one of the cornerstones of the WWE midcard. His matches were routinely among the best on any show, thanks to a formula he perfected and executed to great success.
He still does today.
The WWE style is one that suits him well. He knows how to build heat over the course of a match, cut off a babyface comeback attempt and sell for the hero as they fight their way back into the bout.
Yet, when people discuss Miz and his greatest attributes, his in-ring work is rarely touched upon. Without it, though, the failure of his WWE title reign would be more evident and the charismatic, passionate Superstar we see on television every Tuesday may be showcasing his enormous personality elsewhere.
Those Promos, Though...
To pretend Miz did not benefit exponentially from his gift of gab would be wildly irresponsible.
His ability to incite a reaction on the microphone is the primary reason he has managed to stick around for as long as he has. Without it, in the wake of a WWE title reign that flopped spectacularly, he would not still be employed by the sports entertainment empire.
Miz's willingness to take on the persona of a true wrestling heel, unafraid to incur the wrath of the fans or look foolish while doing so, is his greatest weapon. He cuts loud, impassioned promos that infuriate audiences but also make him a far more engaging performer than 90 percent of his peers.
One can almost pinpoint the moment he went from a wildly entertaining midcarder to a Superstar capable of returning to the main event scene that had eluded him since the conclusion of his WWE title run: It was the August 23, 2016, broadcast of Talking Smack and his shoot-style promo on Daniel Bryan.
Miz would reveal on an episode of Photo Shoot on WWE Network that he channeled frustration from being left off that night's show, despite being the intercontinental champion, into an explosion of anger on Bryan. His promo captured the attention of the WWE Universe and became a huge point of emphasis across the internet.
Always a gifted gabber, Miz elevated his star that night and proved that when it came to delivering a spark to the product, he can—whether it is scripted or not.
That, plus the passion and emotion he routinely approaches his promos with, has helped make him an invaluable member of the heel roster.
Not only is Miz ready and willing to do all of the media work that comes with being a WWE Superstar, but he has also avoided major injury throughout his career, making him available when WWE officials need him.
To work for WWE for 14 years and escape a major injury that would sideline him for considerable time is a major accomplishment. The style is so physical, the matches so fast-paced that to work that long and not get significantly hurt is almost a miracle. Yet here is Miz, a veteran of the mat game, unaffected in any major way.
His availability makes him invaluable and is as huge a part of his status as a premier Superstar in WWE, despite the fact his one run at the very top of the card did not go according to plan, mostly for reasons that are not his fault.
The company recognizes it can call on him to fill any role at any time, and he will be there ready to accept the challenge.
Those type of workers, often the hardest in the room, are assets and will always have opportunities to prove their worth and brighten their star.
The Complete Package
Miz has developed into a premier Superstar in the eight years since his WWE Championship victory because he does a lot of things very well. He can work, he can talk, he is always there and is not afraid to be the type of heel who is uncool and totally unlikable.
He works hard, he can adapt both his in-ring and promo style to work with whoever is booked with him and he can generate a reaction from fans like few heels in today's WWE can.
He is a heat magnet in a day and age where getting heat from the so-called "smart" fans is more and more difficult to accomplish.
One look at his work over the last decade portrays a man whose dedication to his craft has never waned, no matter how frustrating his booking may have been.
Put all of that together and you have an ideal Superstar, a premier performer whose chances of one day regaining the same title that has remained a rare black mark on his otherwise sparkling career are relatively high.