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He’s the Miz, and he’s awesome!

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WWE champion The Miz returned home to Cleveland with his title belt.

The title of this post is the paraphrased catchphrase of the reigning WWE champion. Fans of the Real World remember him as Mike Mizanin. Wrestling fans know him as the Miz. Recently, he became known as Cleveland’s champion.

I have never watched an episode of the Real World in my life. So when Mike Mizanin showed up on World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) Tough Enough competition in 2004 I had no idea who he was. I do not remember much about the competition itself, which took place over two months of WWE programming. All I remember is what happened afterward.

Mike Mizanin did not win the competition. However, those in the WWE must have seen some potential in him, because he was signed to a contract anyway. In professional wrestling, many new wrestlers with very little experience are slowly eased into the business. Many times they play the roles of bodyguards or sidekicks to other wrestlers while they learn to wrestle off camera. Mizanin’s role was the “host of WWE Smackdown.”

Each week, Mizanin was shown somewhere among the audience. He would introduce matches in the most obnoxious manner, including verbally trashing the participants. He ended each of his segments with his catchphrase “Hoo-ra!” Suffice to say, I was not a fan. He annoyed me to no end, much like he did those who watched him on the Real World.

He eventually entered the ring to compete in matches, where he officially became The Miz. His role was the ultimate rookie bad guy. Not only did he continue to annoy fans with his loud, obnoxious personality, but he also cheated to win many of his matches. But like many wrestlers, the Miz was not a star right away. He had to work for his spot.

Over the next three years, the WWE moved the career of the Miz along slowly, giving him every opportunity to succeed. Though he was not the best in the ring, he had amazing charisma. Due to his history in television, the Miz could cut a promo. He was good at making the fans hate him. Because of this ability, the WWE rewarded him with multiple championships and high profile programs; first with a tag team partner and later as a solo competitor. He even garnered a few awards from pro wrestling magazine and internet writers.

This year Mike “The Miz” Mizanin hit his peak as a professional wrestler. He began the year as a mentor on a new concept WWE television show in which rookies were paired with pros in another competition series. The Miz was paired with a “rookie” Daniel Bryan (real name Bryan Danielson), who actually had over ten years of prior wrestling experience. This controversy was the centerpiece for the new program’s first season. To continue the story, the Miz was brought back for season two, paired with a rookie with no experience and a personality much like his mentor.

While serving as a pro for the competitions, the Miz continued to shine and rise up the ladder as a top heel in the WWE. Once again he found himself in storylines with the bigger names of the company, including a short program with the legendary Bret “Hitman” Hart.

This past July, the Miz won the WWE’s “Money in the Bank” briefcase. Rules stipulated that winners of the coveted briefcase were allowed to “cash in” a contract for a title match at any time. This storyline, which has taken place every year since 2005 has made for great entertainment. Due to the stipulation, fans are left wondering when the winners will cash in their contract. Most of the time, the contract was cashed in during the most opportune times, with the champion in a state of peril. As a result, a new champion was crowned each time. When the Miz won the briefcase, fans and wrestling critics alike saw him as someone who could actually be the first to fail in his attempt to cash in his title match. Like previous “Money in the Bank” briefcase winners, the Miz kept the fans on edge, even teasing the cash in a few times on national television.

The guaranteed title shot only increased the Miz’s display of arrogance. Not only was he involved with top WWE storylines, but he was also able to take part in “extracurricular” activities. This year, the WWE has acquired the services of mainstream celebrities to serve as “host” of Monday Night Raw. On September 13th, Cincinnati Bengals star Chad Ochocinco (formerly Johnson) hosted Raw. The Miz wasted no time getting in Ochocinco’s face and cutting a promo on him and the Bengals. One could even make the argument that the Miz foreshadowed the problems the Bengals have had this football season. On November 1st, Paul Reubens hosted Raw under his classic Pee-Wee Herman character. Again, the Miz made his way to the ring and ran down the popular children’s television star.

Then, after months of teasing, it happened. On the November 22nd episode of Monday Night Raw, the Miz, like many others before him, took advantage of an injured prey, cashed in the “Money in the Bank” contract, and won the WWE championship. Immediately, the media blitz began. His title win was covered by outlets such as ESPN, TMZ, and MTV. Recently he made an appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

The day after he reached the pinnacle of his career, the Miz returned to his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio for his yearly pre-Thanksgiving celebration, Miz-Fest. He made appearances at several bars from North Royalton to Parma to downtown Cleveland. This time, however, he had the WWE championship belt in tow. His first words to those at the Sip-N-Post in North Royalton were “Lebron couldn’t win us a title, but I did!”

Those who appeared at the Sip-N-Post for his autograph session cheered. He oozed the same cockiness that he made a career of. Only this time, the same fans he was able to make hate him for the last decade, smiled with admiration. Where Lebron James failed, the Miz succeeded.

Professional wrestling is generally not considered a sport. Many people consider it to be a joke. To be a wrestling fan is considered taboo. I am guilty of watching professional wrestling since I was eight years old. Since that time I’ve learned that, while wrestling is scripted, professional wrestlers have to have some talent in order to be a champion. Vince McMahon does not decide to give the title to just anybody. Over the last six years since he joined the company, the Miz showed the WWE brass that he has what it takes to be a World champion.

To a city that has not seen a championship since 1964, those who do not watch wrestling may consider making an exception. To this writer, after what has gone down with Lebron James, Mike “The Miz” Mizanin is Cleveland’s champion.


Written by apokorny

December 20, 2010 at 6:25 pm

One Response

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  1. Awesome article! Great job Anthony!


    December 21, 2010 at 1:01 am

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