How the brand extension helped resurrect The Miz’s WWE career
This week’s edition of SmackDown Live produced one of the best segments of the year thus far, and I’m not talking about the Randy Orton – Bray Wyatt segment. For weeks, it was reported that WWE was contemplating about booking a mixed tag team match for WrestleMania, between John Cena/Nikki Bella and The Miz/Maryse. WWE laid the foundations for their feud last week, when The Miz eliminated Cena from the battle royal.
During our ‘End of the Year’ awards for 2016, we had picked The Miz as the ‘Most Improved Superstar’, and for a good reason. In the latter half of 2016, once the brand split came into effect, the fact that Superstars had more air time, and the opportunity to create and build their personas resulted in a couple of Superstars finding their feet in the company.
While the likes of Baron Corbin and Braun Strowman have benefited from the brand split, the one Superstar that truly made the most of his opportunities has been The Miz. For the past few years, Miz has been lost in the shuffle, trying to recreate the magic that saw him become the WWE Champion, and headlining WrestleMania alongside the perennial number one star, John Cena.
Miz’s change in fortune a consequence of WWE’s faith in the Superstar
When you have the likes of Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Triple H fighting for the top spot, it becomes almost impossible for any other Superstar to break through the proverbial glass ceiling. The brand split came about as a boon for numerous stars, as RAW and SmackDown Live have since had exclusive rosters, which meant more opportunities for the mid carders, who were forced to take a back seat to the top draws and main eventers.
However, Miz’s luck turned around not just because of the brand split, but also because of the faith Shane and Bryan have showed in the Superstar. Miz has always been exceptional on the microphone; from telling John Morrison that he was not the “Marty Jannetty of the team”, to holding his own against the likes of John Cena and The Rock, The Miz had proven his mettle in the past.
However, the wealth of talent WWE has since brought in ensured that The Miz wouldn’t get those opportunities in abundance. It takes a special eye for talent to truly optimise and tune up the better qualities in a Superstar, but The Miz never truly found his ‘moment’ to recapture his form. His presence on SmackDown Live ensured that he would have the perfect opportunity to make a statement once again, and it all started with ‘that promo’ on Talking Smack, where he verbally tore into Daniel Bryan.
The Miz has since been one of the most consistent stars in the company, almost always being one of the top performers on the blue brand. You’d be forgiven if you couldn’t remember any other truly remarkable performances in WWE in the past year, other than the likes of AJ Styles and The Miz stealing the show on a regular basis. Daniel Bryan managed to do to The Miz what Kane did for Daniel Bryan – giving them ‘the rub’ they needed, and being the catalyst in their transformation.
John Cena and The Miz involved in the best opening segment of 2017
On this week’s episode of SmackDown Live, The Miz called Cena out on the MizTV segment, and what followed can only be described as one of the best back and forth encounters in recent memory. True magic on camera stems from real life occurrences, and The Miz brought up all the negativity Cena has garnered in the past decade – as a selfish, back stabbing egomaniac that does anything in his power – including influencing the WWE officials – to remain at the helm, to knock him.
Miz accused Cena of using his “power play” to hold him down when they main evented WrestleMania, and blamed Cena for the dip in his career. Miz also pointed out Cena’s hypocrisy, when he was doing what he blamed The Rock of not too long ago. Miz’s speech was inspired from the negative image Cena has betrothed for the good part of a decade, and the accusations he has had to live with for years.
Cena’s comeback was just as impressive; for John, Miz was the embodiment of the negativity he has been subjected to, and as such, John verbally tore into The Miz. Cena reminded Miz that if he had the “pull” everyone believed he did, he would be standing in the ring with The Undertaker. The subtle messages Cena’s promo sent was aimed more at the audience, and the manner in which both Superstars laid everything on the line, without it actually being hyped that way made it that much more fascinating.
Cena and Miz will likely face each at WrestleMania along with their better halves in a mixed tag team match, but The Miz has definitely recaptured the form that saw him become the WWE Champion years ago. At this rate, we needn’t be surprised if The Miz manages to capture the WWE Championship by the end of 2017 – a well deserved title run for being one of the most consistent Superstars in the WWE today.