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The Miz Is That Awesome

Last night my Facebook feed blew up with people proclaiming the Miz’s promo on Talking Smack as the promo of his life. I beg to differ. As great as last night was (and I defy to you tell me it wasnt great), the promo of his life took place a few years ago. There was no musical introduction. He didn’t come down the ramp. He walked around the side of the ramp into the arena, shooting about the road he took to get to the WWE and fulfill his dream.

I don’t recall anything specific he said that night, but I recall how it made me feel. It was the first time I truly believed in the Miz.

The Miz has worked for everything he has been given. His reality TV show fame did not translate to a free pass at OVW; Danny Davis and Rip Rogers would never allow it. He learned from old school guys how to make it in the business, and he learned his lessons well.

The Miz also seized the moment every chance he had. Roni Jonah tells a story about a time she was supposed to work a program as Seth Skyfire’s girlfriend at OVW. Paul Heyman was disappointed with the kiss Seth laid on Roni during a TV taping, and he let his feelings be known to the locker room. “You expect me to believe she’s your girlfriend with a kiss like that?”

The Miz spoke up: “She could be my girlfriend.” Within a few weeks, Roni left Seth on OVW TV for the Miz.

As opportunistic as he can be, the Miz also knows how to put people over when it’s his turn. Did you hear him on Talk is Jericho with Damien Mizdow? At first listen, it sounded like the Miz was there to put himself over Mizdow. Listen again; the Miz puts his tag partner over huge, and then quietly steps away. It was masterful.

Crazy Mary Dobson also experienced the generous side of the Miz in her first appearance on Raw. According to her, the Miz did everything he could to give her as much face time as possible, telling here where to stand so the camera would pick her up.

Crazy Mary’s story runs counter to the general perception most fans have of the Miz: he’s a big mouth hack, a talentless loser, an opportunist who is only out for himself. People who see the Miz that way are seeing exactly what the Miz wants them to see. They don’t see a guy who grew up loving wrestling playing a character on TV because they can’t distinguish the real man from his character.

In an age when kayfabe is supposedly dead and buried, the Miz has done the impossible. He has made himself a true heel in the eyes of the fans. He’s not getting booed because the fans understand that he’s playing a heel and that’s the story being told. He’s not being booed because he’s the heel people “love to hate.” He’s being booed because people truly hate the Miz.

The Miz is a rare talent that could easily has worked in a long-gone era. He’s the kind of guy who makes the fans forget they’re watching a show and boo from the bottom of their hearts. He’s a true student of the game who learned his lessons well, and he’s only getting better.

I don’t expect my thoughts to persuade many Miz haters to see him differently, and that’s okay. The Miz wouldn’t want you turning into a fan of his anyway. The more you hate the Miz, the more you’ll demand – and pay – to see him get his butt kicked

That, friends, is what makes the Miz AWESOME.

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Kayfabe Still Works, Even in 2015

A few months ago, Ronda Rousey was everybody’s darling. She was a role model and and inspiration, especially to women and girls. So why was everyone so thrilled to see her lose this past weekend?

Because Dana White, UFC, and Ronda wanted you to want her to lose.

Dana White knows how to sell a pay-per-view, and he does it the same way the legendary promoters of the old wrestling territories did: with heels, baby faces, and a good story.

Babyface Ronda wasn’t the draw she once was, not after the fight in Brazil.

Ronda’s days in UFC are also likely numbered. Hollywood is calling. So is WWE.

How do you keep interest in women’s MMA from waning?

You turn Ronda heel.

You create an exciting new babyface when the upset occurs.

The result: UFC has a multi-million dollar rematch to sell and a popular new face in the “Preacher’s Daughter.”

Yes, I know, the fights are supposed to be real. But step back and see the big picture. Everything else – the press conferences, the personas, the promos, it’s all a work.

It wasn’t cockiness that kept Ronda from bumping gloves. It was the plan all along. Ronda worked the UFC fans like an old school wrestling heel. That’s why everyone is booing her and cheering Holly Holm.

Kayfabe still works, even in 2015.