How The Miz’s Current Face Turn Succeeded Where His First One Failed

the miz

Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

At any given point in 2018, if you were to be told that The Miz would not only turn face, but be a successful babyface, then you would probably be called crazy, unless the person knew exactly how unpredictable wrestling can really be. Throughout his career, The Miz has been an established heel, and also one of the rare Tough Enough success stories.

But to say that The Miz has been a loyal employee to the WWE would be a massive understatement. In fact, he’s been with the company for so long that there have been multiple occasions where people have taken him completely for granted. If you were to ask someone like Cody Rhodes, for example, he’ll tell you that The Miz is just as hard a worker as John Cena, even with regards to media.

It’s hard for anyone to be able to keep up with WWE’s grueling schedule for so many years, but for The Miz, it’s been 13 years on the main roster, and he’s never complained once. The fact that fans don’t view him on that level or haven’t acknowledged how hard a worker he is, just goes to show how masterful his heel work has been over the years. Not many superstars can make the bold claim that they own their characters, but The Miz certainly can.

The Miz really had to work years to get his first major main event push, i.e, winning the Money in the Bank contract. He would hold on to it before cashing in on then-WWE Champion Randy Orton, which resulted in the famous meme “Miz girl”, who reacted angrily after he won the title.

Even as WWE Champion, he never really got his due despite an entertaining mini-feud with former partner John Morrison and even Jerry “The King” Lawler. 2011 would be the year he main evented WrestleMania, an achievement which he can still consider to be his greatest. It was only over a year later before there started being signs of a face turn.

At the time, it wasn’t necessarily a bad idea. Here was a superstar who worked hard for six years in one role, so naturally, it would be a good time to change it up. And change it up they did. While he did have some good reactions at first, the type of character change just didn’t make him seem like a convincing face. He proved to be a natural heel and quickly after his face turn, there was already criticism of him not being suited to the role. It was a failed experiment.

Unsurprisingly, WWE would turn him back to a heel, and he thrived in his role. But it was 2016 where his career took an incredible upward trajectory. Maryse would make her return on the RAW after WrestleMania, and The Miz would win the Intercontinental Championship. This would kickstart what was undoubtedly the best Intercontinental title run of the decade.

Moreover, having Maryse by his side added an edge to him, a sense of legitimacy that he previously lacked. He upped his game as a heel and it was perhaps the best year of his career, even if there was no World title win. Moving to SmackDown Live after the re-introduction of the brand split only further cemented his incredible run, with feuds against Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose, etc.

While his year-long run on RAW from 2017-18 was average if not great, his return to SmackDown Live truly showed that it was the place that he belonged. However, we’re going to skip past the first seven months and go directly to Crown Jewel, when he was supposed to take on Dolph Ziggler in the “WWE World Cup Finals” to determine “the best in the world”. He was injured mid-match and was replaced by Shane McMahon, who ended up winning the trophy for SmackDown Live.

This would kickstart his fun storyline with Shane McMahon, where he began to slowly turn face again. They would call themselves “The best tag team in the world”, and they had different motives for wanting to win the tag team championships. For Shane, it was his childhood dream, while for The Miz, it was so that he could get validation from his father.

They would have an incredible feel-good moment at the Royal Rumble as they did become tag team champions. Naturally, their title reign wasn’t meant to last long, and they lost it in their first title defense and rematch as well. This was where Shane McMahon turned on The Miz. It came as a shock because fans expected The Miz to be the one to turn on Shane.

However, it was a stroke of genius by WWE. Not only did it turn out to be unpredictable, but The Miz is genuinely ready to be a babyface, and the crowd reaction spoke for itself. It happened in his hometown of Cleveland, so it was also the perfect place to get heat. However, what really makes The Miz’s babyface turn different from last time?

For one, he isn’t the same character anymore. He’s progressed incredibly well throughout the years and has developed his persona. His wife and daughter have definitely made him more relatable to the average fan, and those who follow them outside WWE know exactly what they are – awesome!

Moreover, enough time has passed where a lot of fans know exactly how much dedication The Miz has and the work that he’s put in to his career. His character is now a man who clearly craves for acceptance and he’s humane in a way that many people didn’t expect him to be. It’s not easy for fans to admit that he’s one of the best in the company, because he isn’t flashy, he doesn’t complain, he hardly ever gets injured, he does his job well always and he’s been rather quiet about it outside.

The Miz is truly one of the best performers in the company, and if fans don’t realize it now, they certainly will in hindsight.