When a person wants to buy a car, they look at three major specifications before making a final decision: reliability, safety and the overall quality of the vehicle. After all, the idea behind such a significant purchase is that the customer is investing in a product they want to last for a lifetime (or close to it).
In the case of the WWE, they too make investments for the future of their company, which comes in the form of the professional wrestlers (or sports entertainers) they train at their Developmental Centers or hire from the international free agent market.
That is why many people were left befuddled as to why former reality TV veteran Mike Mizanin — who appeared on the WWE‘s own reality star search Tough Enough and lost — received a developmental contract with the company in 2004. Mizanin, who starred in MTV’s Real World and Road Rules television shows, had little experience in the ring beforehand.
However, his desire to enter the business was evident long before he participated on Tough Enough. In fact, he shared his dream of becoming a pro wrestler with his Real World cast-mates in 2001, even going so far as introducing them to his alter-ego he developed called “The Miz” for the time he made his professional in-ring debut.
And while many saw the character as being a fun diversion for him, those who covered Mizanin didn’t expect his appearances on MTV to lead to a career in Hollywood, let alone wrestling. “Appearing on a reality show does not guarantee success,” wrote Andy Dehnart wrote in 2004 for The Today Show’s website. “A college student with no discernible talents shouldn’t expect to become the next Julia Roberts or Jude Law just because they were on ‘The Real World.'”
Unless you are Mizanin.
The small investment made by the WWE so many years ago resulted in the creation of a legacy that will, barring unfortunate circumstances, cement him as one of the greatest Intercontinental Champions the WWE Universe has ever seen.
“The Miz” is one of the most consistent, durable and reliable performers in the WWE today. He can engage any superstar in a feud and develop the program in way that makes the conflict feel overwhelmingly prolific and monumentally serious. And, no matter what his place is on the card, his matches have the potential to steal the show due to the solid work ethic he developed while working as a classically sculpted heel.
Simply put, Mike “The Miz” Mizanin is the WWE’s most valuable commodity and watching him excel is nothing short of awesome.
One can look no further for proof to these claims than by examining his recent conflicts with Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler.
After he was named General Manager of SmackDown Live, Daniel Bryan insinuated that The Miz, who he and Shane McMahon selected in the 2016 WWE Draft, was a soft wrestler who used shortcuts to win matches. He also called The Miz a coward for allowing Maryse, his wife and valet, to interfere in his favor and fight his battles for him. Bryan and Miz got into a heated exchange on the August 26 episode of “Talking Smack,” the now-cancelled wrap-up show that aired on the WWE Network after SmackDown went off the air, in which he gave one of the best promos of his entire career…
Since Bryan wasn’t cleared to wrestle in a WWE ring, The Miz had to kneed at him in subtle ways to keep the feud going, like taking Bryan’s moves and using them as his own. He even went so far as to hold SmackDown hostage, demanding a re-negotiation of his contract after his match at Backlash 2016…
However, Bryan would have the last laugh of sorts, by not naming Miz to the 2016 SmackDown Live Survivor Series team, despite the Intercontinental Champion wanting nothing more to be on the team simply for the exposure it would bring for him…
With Bryan now shifting from the role of SmackDown Live’s GM to a main roster staple, maybe he will have a chance to put The Miz to the test again inside the ring.
Then there’s The Miz’s remarkable Intercontinental Championship program with Dolph Ziggler, the catalyst for Bryan’s comments on Talking Smack. The program began after The Miz — the Intercontinental Champion at the time — and Maryse moved from the star-studded RAW to the sparse roster of SmackDown Live. By then, The Miz had little to prove Monday nights, coming off of a slew of successful title defenses against superstars like Cesaro, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Zack Ryder (who he won the title from on the RAW after Wrestlemania 32) and Apollo Crews.
Meanwhile, Ziggler was floundering on the mid-card post Wrestlemania 32, having no true creative direction or narrative focus coming on the horizon. He needed the dust-up with The Miz more than ever and when the two finally clashed, either in ring action or in promos, they created a main event aura around the fight for (and effort to retain) the Intercontinental Championship.
The highlight of their feud came at No Mercy 2016, where Ziggler put his career on the line for Miz’s IC title. And that match was nothing short of an instant classic.
Fast forward to today, where The Miz — who won the Intercontinental Championship for the eighth time at RAW 25 by defeating Roman Reigns this past January, — has the opportunity to surpass Pedro Morales and break the record for the most combined days as WWE Intercontinental champion.
“People are always going to criticize you,” The Miz told ESPN in 2016. “They are always going to tell you that you’re horrible and you suck. But if you keep evolving and putting the work in, then someday, somehow, they will respect you.”
UPDATE: Congratulations is in order: The Miz is now a father! Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy and couple.
- WrestleMania 34
- intercontinental championship
- MTV Real World
- MTV Road Rules
- Rolling Stone
- Tough Enough
- The Miz
- Dolph Ziggler
- Daniel Bryan
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