Yes, The Miz, that loud mouthed, cheating, overly-tanned, delusional weasel belongs in a prominent spot on the WM card. The heavily rumoured mixed tag match of John Cena & Nikki Bella vs The Miz & Maryse seems to be coming up and at first when it was announced I couldn’t help but feel that Cena was being lowered down on the card. But the more I think about it, the more I think Miz, the Miz act as a whole in fact, is not just the perfect opponent but is also the most fitting, in so many ways.
Cast your mind back to last year’s Wrestlemania. A seven man Intercontinental ladder match that resulted in Zack Ryder pulling off the surprise win. The next night on Raw, Maryse made her return and helped Miz secure his 5th Intercontinental Championship. And so began the ‘IT’ couple’s successful run through the mid card. Title defences against Ryder, Cesaro, and a four way up against Owens, Zayn, and Cesaro again in a cracker of a match, in which Miz more than held up his end, were all achieved by the Miz with his wife at his side. After a break to film Marine 5, Miz continued to retain the title against Kane, (the surprising contender) Darren Young and after being drafted to Smackdown, Apollo Crews fell victim to the A-Lister at Summerslam.
Miz then gave us possibly the best promo of the year (struggling to think of a better one) as he unleashed his frustrations on Daniel Bryan on an episode of Talking Smack. This led to a feud lasting most of autumn and into winter as Miz antagonised Bryan, with Ziggler doing the in ring leg work. The highlight, from an in-ring perspective, was the No Mercy Career vs Title match may have lacked unpredictability (did anyone really think Ziggler was losing?) but was one of the best matches WWE produced during the year. Miz, a six time IC Champ by the time he was done with his Ziggler feud, then headed into an unusual program with Ambrose, which involved the beautiful ‘Participation’ award and the eventual losing of the title.
Standing out on the Smackdown roster has been hard for everyone since AJ Styles walked in but The Miz has been a true highlight and a rejuvenated character since his wife’s introduction as his manager. It has been a solid, successful and entertaining year for the ‘IT’ couple. After being launched out the Rumble by the Undertaker, The Miz headed into the Elimination Chamber match, which would be the start of a feud he almost certainly has earned, and considering his history, definitely deserves.
The Miz was on Tough Enough in 2004. Seriously, 2004! Even considering his proper debut wasn’t until a couple of years later, The Miz has been bouncing around the WWE for a little more than a decade. Perhaps not exactly a ‘Decade of Destruction’ but he has evolved into an upper mid-card to standard mid-card mainstay with regular dalliances into the main event. Backed by exceptional mic skills, a ridiculous wardrobe, perfected arrogance and a face you’d love to punch, The Miz can generally be relied upon to elicit a response from any crowd. Not many would have given him a chance of that when they saw him finish runner up to Daniel Puder!
Adding Maryse has been a move of genius. I was a big fan of Damien Mizdow and thought it brought a lot to Miz’s overall act but there was always the anticipation of its breakup and following feud. Maryse doesn’t have that. As his actual wife, she’s a mainstay. And who can cheer a thoroughly unlikable douche with a smoking hot wife? What. A. Bastard. Their celebrating of, well, themselves, cranked up the irritation factor for the first quarter of the WWE year and her constant interference in the Ziggler feud helped prolong it, adding another layer to what could easily have been a simple re-treading of a previously overexposed feud.
Their Hollywood A-Lister shtick was as annoying as it was entertaining. They’re adorable, or would be if they weren’t so infuriating. She carries the risk of constant intervention, another tool for The Miz to sneak out with a win. Classic valet, although advertised as manager, the former Diva’s champion has not only added a lot to the act, but seems to have pushed Miz to reach greater consistency then previously shown. Ziggler may be the show off, but who doesn’t up their game when their other half watches? (If you don’t, go have a word with yourself.)
Maryse adds to The Miz’s act as a counterbalance, stopping his yo-yo-ing on the card. She sets him apart from the rest of the roster on Smackdown. And it plants him firmly in the upper midcard on the seemingly light-on-competitors Smackdown Live. Look at Miz’s title history and you see a list that most wrestlers would bite their own arm off for. Multiple tag team champion reigns with four different partners, six Intercontinental reigns, two US title reigns and a Money in the Bank win that led to the Holy Grail, a WWE championship reign. Despite all this, in years gone by, Miz could easily be lost in the pack at times, before his ability to flap his gums with the best of them would drag him back up. This year, The Miz has been one of the main benefactors from the roster split, with his spot secure as he brings so much to the brand in it. Miz is not the top heel, but he is comfortably second, even with Baron Corbin coming up strong. (AJ Styles and Bray Wyatt are, would and should be first but they get cheered a lot). It’s so easy to hate The Miz. It’s fun to do. This is why he finds himself looking at a huge Wrestlemania match against John Cena, the man to beat.
Miz’s highlight feuds involve John Morrison, Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan. But his most high profile has and is likely to always be Cena. From challenging an absent Cena to a match and having himself declared the winner, to headlining a Wrestlemania, Miz and Cena have plenty of previous to build upon. This is good news in this particular case. They work very well on the mic with each other. They work well together in the ring, and they have plenty of time to build towards hat could be the most fun mixed tag match in a long while. Adding to the mix, Nikki Bella and Maryse have had their share of run ins as well. Maryse was once even injured in a house show match against the Bella’s.
The previous history isn’t the only connection. With WWE having shown the world that Cena and Nikki is a thing, it points to Daniel Bryan already being Nikki’s brother in law and possibly Cena’s one day. This is something that Miz’s never ending hatred of Bryan can be connected to, but is also something for him to really sink his teeth into. No heel promo is ever as good as one with truth running through it.
One of my best friends, a hardened Total Diva’s/Bellas fan, is willing to put his life on the line to bet that the proposed mixed tag match is just a set up for the long awaited proposal. Under the Wrestlemania spotlights, in front of the universe, and the cameras, after a win? I find it hard to disagree with him on this point. This would not be the first time that The Miz played second fiddle to a longer programme for Cena at Wrestlemania, but there are worse options on the card. Multi man ladder matches, the Andre battle Royal, the pre-show, or nothing at all. Even if it was to be the footnote in the most sickly-sweet proposal for a reality show ever (I’m assuming), it would still be a deserving spot for a year of superb work. And certainly would not be lost in the shuffle.
To be honest, the last time Miz faced Cena at Wrestlemania was not the career highlight it should have been, or is presented as being. He was lost in the shuffle in his own match, as the defending champion. The Rock vs Cena was the money match, and the Wrestlemania main event was sacrificed to build for that match the following year.
In fact, Miz’s entire title reign was quite forgettable. Parallels to Jericho’s Undisputed Championship reign can be drawn. Both were overshadowed by bigger name opponents, or in fact almost anyone involved in their stories. (Michael Cole vs Jerry Lawler was born out of the Miz’s presence.) Both were presented as lucky to be champion. Both were presented as anything other than ‘The Man’. Sticking with The Miz, this was especially true. He was not the Man, Guy or even the Champ in anything other than possession alone. He feuded with a commentator for crying out loud.
That was 2010/2011. Six years down the line and The Miz is a very different man, yet it must be said, still very much the same competitor. Whilst very big on The Miz and the year he has had, I will say that I have no desire to see him in regular main events. Whilst I don’t object to his occasional forays into main event matches, and can understand why he is chosen to make up the numbers in multi man Championship matches, I don’t need to see The Miz as the Champion on either brand.
A couple of weeks ago, Bubba Ray Dudley responded to a tweet asking should a promotions best wrestler be holding the championship or chasing. His answer got me thinking. His reply was that the top draw should be holding or chasing, stating that most of the time they are the best personalities, not best wrestler, emotions > moves. I love Bubba’s passion for wrestling that shines through on his twitter, but I don’t think I agree, and The Miz is why.
I will agree that emotions in wrestling will trump moves, but only when they’re produced in equal footing, only when at the top of the card when a wrestlers in ring skills are equalled by the emotional connection the match has with fans. Unless you’re a freak like the steadily improving AJ Styles, the best pro wrestler in the world will struggle to get on the top of the card without any personality. The most charismatic, bombastic performer will struggle to stay there if the individual’s in-ring work can’t hold up. Miz is the latter. If your in-ring work doesn’t keep up with your personality, you can only go so far. Miz is a compelling character that can evoke emotional responses, usually hatred, out of a crowd and is more than competent in the ring, good in fact. But he is missing something. The fact that Miz’s most memorable feud and incident this year was a promo with a non-wrestler is indicative of what I’m referring to. 5 star mic work, 5 star act, only 3.5 in ring though. That’s not to say he can’t hold up his end of the bargain, but he can’t drag a career best out of anyone like the greats can.
Miz works safe, and I’m quite happy with that. I like the idea of being as uninjured as possible whilst not compromising entertainment value, it just makes sense. I like the vast majority of The Miz’s moveset. I like how it all seems to go towards the head like a targeted attack to soften up his opponent. I don’t like the figure four leg lock, even if it is because of Flair. I don’t like the Skull Crushing Finale, mostly cos it usually looks weak and reminds me of the struggles of watching Jeff Jarrett matches in the 90’s (or any other point, they were always the same.) And the less said about his ‘Bryan’ moves the better. Jesus, they look weak. Are they supposed to?
I can never buy Miz as a vicious badass. Miz has won many matches, but has he ever beaten anyone up? I’m sure he could punch me half to death and I still couldn’t be convinced that he was tough and mean. Maybe it’s all the years of portraying himself as a pesky heel. And I will never be able to take to him as a face. He just has a face you want to punch.
The best way I can explain it is with a show called Kuroko Basketball. An anime about basketball that should not have been so enjoyable but really was. Most of the players had signature moves but it was the emotion that came with the story that made it so watchable. (Bubba has a point.) The best players, the prodigies, could all tap into something beyond ability, the Zone. A mind-set that made them unplayable, superior to everything, unmatchable unless someone else was in the Zone.
This is what Miz doesn’t have, that stops him being a true main eventer. That extra gear. Something extra to tap into that takes a match from good to great to exceptional. Miz can work a good match. He can work a great one too. But he can’t keep up when it comes to making a match truly special time after time. Consider the likes of AJ Styles, CM Punk, Shawn Michaels and yes (intended), Daniel Bryan. They could work the safe tag match on Raw, but when it comes to the major shows, there’s something extra to them.
In fairness to The Miz, he’s not exactly alone in this. Not many people can hit that gear, and the consistency that he has reached in this past year has been something that has made him stand out. This is why he now finds himself heading to Wrestlemania with a man who can, when necessary, hit that gear change, John Cena.
The build-up so far has been beautifully crafted, small and slight to start with. Cena eliminated The Miz in the Elimination Chamber, robbing him of the title match at Wrestlemania. Then Cena threw him out of the No.1 contenders Battle Royal on Smackdown, again robbing him of his dream. And so The Miz struck back, throwing Cena out. Completely legal but obviously frowned upon. Nikki knocked Maryse’s powder all over her whilst brawling with Natalya at the Chamber PPV, then accidentally knocked her through a curtain structure in a Falls Count Anywhere match. Maryse didn’t take the second one lying down and cost Nikki her grudge match with Natalya, although the less said about the ‘lead’ pipe the better. On both sides, the pointers and signs are there, coming together slowly, hopefully building to a crescendo for Wrestlemania. It has been nicely handled and hopefully tonight we will see it kick up a gear as the build really starts. Including tonight, there are only five Smackdown shows till Wrestlemania, it’s time to start.
Cena may have recently told the crowd that no-one deserves anything, but we all know that isn’t the case. Some people truly do. It’s not just titles they deserve though. Sometimes, they are rewarded with important spots on the biggest card of the year against one of the poster boys, rather than making up the numbers in a match designed to get as many as possible on the show. It may all be a set-up to film a long overdue proposal, but even if it does happen, there’ll only be one ‘IT’ couple in the WWE. The fans may not chant it, I may not want him in the main event, and it may not be ‘must see’, but it is definitely on the ‘don’t miss’ list and I’m really looking forward to see a deserving villain bask in the spotlight.
And I love this pic…..regardless of the Bella, he could piss someone off.
Disagree, agree, want to rant or suggest alternatives, feel free to get in touch in the comments or @HeneghanCiaran or [email protected]
Ryno Wrestling Review Episode 76: 3rd Annual RRR Awards Show!
It’s the 3rd annual Ryno Wrestling Review Awards (aka ‘The Hornies’)! Dan is joined by Wil Lewis, Jason Calascibetta, and a few (poorly impersonated) celebrities to hand out hardware in 12 categories: Breakthrough Performer, Promo of the Year, Match of the Year, Card of the Year, Feud of the Year, Tag Team of the Year, Gail Kim Lifetime Achievement Award, FDM Award (D-Bag of the Year), Most Overrated, Most Underrated, Female Performer, and Male Performer! Listen here:
You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, or your favorite podcast platform!
Ryno Wrestling Review Episode 74: The Debut of Ryno Roulette!
Dan is joined by Wil Lewis and Jason Calascibetta for the debut of ‘Ryno Roulette’! 12 WWE Superstar names plus one Sasha Banks Christmas hat equals one heck of a show. Listen here:
As always, you can subscribe to the Ryno Wrestling Review on Apple Podcasts here!
Ryno Wrestling Review Episode 73: Becky Lynch Injury, Survivor Series Weekend, & ‘Would You Rather?’
Murphy Returns To Action On WWE Smackdown, No Mention Of Relationship With Mysterio Family
Universal Title Match Announced For WWE Fastlane, Tag Team Match Scrapped
WWE Smackdown Results: Daniel Bryan vs Jey Uso In A Steel Cage Match
AEW Officially Signs DARK Staple “The Captain” Shawn Dean
Chris Jericho Reveals He Is Going To Be A Commentator On A New AEW Show
WWE Elimination Chamber Results – Who Left The Chamber Victorious?, MITB Cash-In, More!
WWE Raw Results: Bobby Lashley vs Braun Strowman, The Miz’s Reign Begins
WWE Raw Results (3/1): WWE Championship On The Line, Drew McIntyre Battles Sheamus, More!
Carlito Discusses When He Became Frustrated During His Original WWE Run
AEW Dynamite Results (2/24): Sting & Darby Return, “Face of The Revolution” Qualifier, Jericho & MJF Make It Personal
WWE’s The Bump: Beth Phoenix, Jax, Baszler, Heaven Fitch & More Celebrate Women’s HIstory Month
AEW Women’s World Title Eliminator Results: Riho vs Thunder Rosa, Japan Finals
WATCH: AEW 2.Show Video Game Reveal Hosted By Kenny Omega & Brandon Cutler
2/23 AEW DARK: Eddie Kingston vs JD Drake, Brian Cage vs John Skyler, Dark Order & More
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