Professional wrestling fans are blessed to have an abundance of talent performing nightly across the globe.
Wrestlers such as #AJStyles, #WillOspreay, #SethRollins, #Ricochet, #ShinsukeNakamura, #SamoaJoe, #DIY, #TheRevival and dozens of others help make wrestling a premiere athletic spectacle. Not every professional wrestler, however, needs to be physically able to perform a 450 splash off the top rope onto a table. It takes all kinds to make the bizarre world of professional wrestling work at its highest level.
Which brings us to #TheMiz. As we approach the WWE Royal Rumble on Sunday, January 29, the #WWE should consider booking The Miz as the sole survivor. Why? Quite simply, The Miz is arguably the best talker on the microphone right now, and he is finally "over" as a legitimate heel.
For years, The Miz has billed himself as "Must See TV." That was never true, until now. Forget Dean Ambrose as the next "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. The Miz is the modern-day Piper, an absolute slimeball who we are starting to really, really like because we realize, yeah, he has been underestimated and dismissed.
Along with Chris Jericho on Monday Night Raw, The Miz is making WWE television funny and entertaining. The Miz's time should be now. His onscreen pairing with real life wife Maryse has only fueled his career.
The WWE has a long history of popular guys who could not wrestle well. Piper, The Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan, John Cena even Roman Reigns, all enjoyed plenty of success without ever having to perform a moonsault.
The Miz is hardly the most athletic wrestler in history, but he has the X factor, the ability to engage the viewer through the television set or computer screen.
He is making wrestling fans care about pro wrestling angles simply by talking. This is an enormous feat, particularly for a guy who used to be terrible on the microphone. In recent months, he has outshined far better wrestlers like Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler, simply through his charismatic personality.
Let's look at The Miz's evolution:
Things started out really, really bad, in 2006.
He died on stage there. It's stunning that he is still with us after that laughable snafu.
It got worse before it got better. Here he is "rapping" and making a complete fool of himself.
It took The Miz some time to come into his own, to find himself. Some wrestlers are born great talkers, like Ric Flair or Jesse "The Body" Ventura. The Miz was not one of them. He did, however, learn from his awkwardness and slowly got better.
It was his feud with #JohnCena where we saw The Miz finally get loose and show some range to his character. In the video below, he's much more comfortable in his skin, mocking Cena, and interacting with the fans.
A good lesson for anyone trying to make it: You have to follow your strengths. If you are not a great professional wrestler, but you want to be one, then you better be good at something else, like talking, or selling, or having a unique look. James Ellsworth made it to the big time, simply because he owned his look and ran with it, not away from it.
The Miz started to embrace the fact that everyone hated him because he was getting a monster push, largely because he appeared on an MTV reality show, and instead of trying to be someone else, he decided to be himself.
In the promo below, Miz seems to extract the energy of Ric Flair into himself, and an air of authenticity shines through.
Of course, we all know, what happened in 2016. Even though The Miz headlined Wrestlemania against John Cena in 2011, he really did not emerge as a true star until this past year, thanks to his amazing verbal feud with Daniel Bryan. The Miz is proof that even though wrestling is scripted, the emotions that wrestlers feel are real. He is quite aware of his reputation as soft inside the ring. Rather than run from it, he ran with it, and snapped during a pivotal episode of "Talking Smack."
The Miz acted like the bullied kid who finally snapped inside the cafeteria, and decided to flip over a few trays and throw mashed potatoes and ketchup on everyone.
The greatest thing about his explosion? He was 100 percent correct. His wrestling style is weak and soft, but he never gets injured. He is still a full time professional wrestler, while Bryan, one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, was forced to retire because of repeated concussions. The Miz may be safe inside the ring, but from his perspective, it's better to be safe than sorry.
He freaked out again to kick off 2017:
The Miz has found his character's sweet spot. He's authentic and real, and we love to hate him.
Rather than the WWE forcing characters down our throats, guys like Reigns, Goldberg or Braun Strowman, the WWE should reward The Miz for evolving his character into an authentic heel who motivates the audience with his mouth, not his moves.
The Miz should win The Royal Rumble and challenge AJ Styles for the WWE Championship. In this match, you'd have the greatest worker in the ring with arguably the greatest talker. Now that's a WrestleMania main event.