Levin: The Miz Is SmackDown Live’s Wildcard

With few stars on its show, SmackDown Live can rely on The Miz to put meat in the seats, writes David Levin.
Credit: Wikimedia.org.
Credit: Wikimedia.org.

If Mike Mizanin wrestled in the 1980s for Jim Crockett Promotions, chances are he would have been a member of the original Four Horseman. The cocky, brash performer with the rock star looks has made quite a career out of his character, The Miz. Alongside his real-life partner in crime, Maryse, the two have become WWE’s newest version of Tully Blanchard and Baby Doll.

While I would never try to compare eras of wrestling or characters, there is a lot of Blanchard in Mizanin with his style. Blanchard was a solid singles and tag team star (with Arn Anderson) but he could have very well been the weakest link of the greatest stable of heels in wrestling history. Love him or hate him, The Miz falls in that same category—loads of talent that, at times, is underappreciated.

The recent rant The Miz unloaded on Daniel Bryan during a recent airing of WWE Talking Smack may be the greatest “shoot” we have seen since CM Punk’s pipe bomb and for good measure. The Miz is great on the microphone and in interviews and gets heat like a true heel should from the fans. Every time he is in front of a camera spewing venom, he’s money.

Whether this is a work or not remains to be seen—which could ultimately lead to a “retirement” match for Bryan—but what fans saw was passion and attitude, which is something WWE has been trying to recapture for a few years now. Had this been a segment on SmackDown Live, it may not have gotten the pop it has received, but it should.

For the past 10 years, the Miz character has walked a tightrope of solid star and cartoon character. Now, with this epic rant and reaction by Bryan—which further heightened its importance—is there any doubt WWE is taking him seriously along with the WWE Intercontinental Championship he wears around his waist? I doubt you will see him in a world title situation again, which in my opinion is a shame.

When he is on, The Miz is a solid worker.

If nothing else, The Miz helps strengthen a mid-card that is solid, but not spectacular. There are too many uncertainties on SmackDown Live with the direction of the main event roster. After Dean Ambrose, John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, and AJ Styles, what do you have? This is where The Miz becomes an invaluable commodity because of his ability to talk. Given that he just disposed of Apollo Crews at SummerSlam, who is next for the champ?

Does this mean Bryan teases a return to the ring to claim a title he never lost? If that is the case, WWE has gold in its hands. The fact it would seem WWE officials knew little about the confrontation beforehand and Renee Young looks as mystified as ever, sells this confrontation like it was a challenge during a live segment on SmackDown Live or Raw. There has to be more to this and it cannot just sit on a shelf and collect dust.

I suspect this becomes a storyline or the storyline of it not going further becomes the story. Either way, WWE just found another nugget to build on as SmackDown Live digs its feet in as a solid alternative to the big brother Raw. The Miz helped create a whole new angle with his mouth, not his in-ring ability

David Levin
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