Passing Judgment – A Few Words About The Miz

I am admittedly a lifelong wrestling fan.  I grew up a Hulkamaniac back in the mid-1980’s and bought completely into the phenomenon that was known as Hulkamania and professional wrestling.  Besides a gap between 1994-1996, I have watched wrestling continuously since 1985.  I watched both WWE and WCW, and now I occasionally watch TNA when there is nothing else on television.  I normally do not write about wrestling, but given that this is the end of the year and I have been inundated with WWE programming all week, I thought I would take a crack at it.  I usually leave the wrestling commentary to the one and only John Canton who is the author and mastermind behind the great blog known as the John Report (www.thejohnreport.net).  But I wanted to chime in here and say some things about the WWE.

In case you didn’t know, the current WWE champion is The Miz.  The Miz, otherwise known as Mike Mizanin, was once a cast member on MTV’s Real World where he shared his dream of becoming a professional wrestler and created the character that we now know as The Miz.  After several years in WWE surviving criticism, practical jokes, and lots of cold shoulders, The Miz has now ascended to the top of the company as its champion and spokesperson.  It is impossible to read any news or sports without hearing about The Miz who has made appearances on late night television, radio, ESPN, news stations, magazines, any just about any other venue where he can market himself and the WWE.  After toiling in the abyss known as the low to mid-card for a long time, The Miz was given a chance to shine in the spotlight and he has not turned back since.

Why is this even important?  For one, it has been a refreshing change of pace to the same main events and players that we have seen over the last few years.  Second, it proves that Vince McMahon actually does reward hard work and dedication.  Much the way John Cena became the company man and the leader of the brand, The Miz has accepted his role as champion and embraced it beyond recognition.  He has been out there promoting himself and the WWE ad nauseum, which is something that Vince McMahon clearly loves.  Third, it is a feel good story that some young kid on televison shared his dream with the world and is now able to live it in front of millions of those same people who laughed him off.  The Miz is an average-sized man – not a physical specimen like Hulk Hogan or the Ultimate Warrior.  He is not a jaw-dropping wrestler like Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart or Randy Savage.  He is not controversial or crass like Stone Cold.  He is not as charismatic as The Rock or Chris Jericho.  He is not a merchandise machine like John Cena.  He is not a 2nd or 3rd generation superstar like Randy Orton.  The Miz is The Miz.  He has a little bit of everything in him, especially that sense of hard work ethic and accomplishment.  You can truly believe his passion when he boasts about what he has overcome on his path to the top.  You can actually believe that he is continually trying to improve his craft, and it shows in the ring.  He is working a program with Randy Orton now, and over the past week, they have clashed on multiple occasions.  The Miz’s ringwork continues to get better and be more believable.  His credibility as a champion will only increase, and this can only bode well for everyone involved.

While the suspension of disbelief has long been gone in wrestling, there is still something magical and entertaining about it even when the outcomes are predetermined.  The storytelling, the action, the characters, the drama, the suspense, the humor…they are all present within the scripts of sports entertainment.  The Miz encapsulates a little of everything with his work as WWE champion.  His cocky, antagonistic character makes you want to see him get his ass kicked, but he is still funny and sarcastic so we like him for that.  His verbiage is premised in both passion and truth, so we have to appreciate him for that.  And he is now beginning to look truly credible holding his own in the ring with the company’s top guys.  All of this translates into good business and better entertainment value.  It also helps justify and re-establish why we are wrestling fans in the first place.  That ability to suspend disbelief where someone always gets their retribution.  One day, The Miz will get his ass kicked by John Cena and likely lose his title.  We know that…it will eventually happen.  But we don’t know for sure whether LeBron James, Michael Vick or any other vilified professional athlete will ever get their come-uppance.  That is the beauty of wrestling…there is always payback.  Right now, The Miz is cashing in his payback on the rest of the wrestling world by showing everyone he does in fact have what it takes to be the top guy.  I for one am a fan of The Miz and I only hope he continues to succeed in this role for a long time.  Why?  Because he is AWESOME!

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