Birth of a Star
The story of the rise of the Miz starts not in the developmental regions of the WWE or another independent wrestling federation, but instead in reality television.
The year is 2001.
A young man named Mike Mizanin just dropped out of Miami University to star in MTV's "The Real World."
He would also star in many spinoffs of "The Real World," such as "Battle of the Seasons," "The Inferno," "Battle of the Sexes," and a few others.
It was during this time that "The Miz" was born.
During his time on "The Real World," he developed an alter ego and it would stick with him as he decided to pursue a wrestling career. He left the world of MTV's reality shows to start working in independent wrestling federations.
He finally got a break in 2004, when he was announced as a participant on the fourth season of WWE's "Tough Enough."
As is customary with every "Tough Enough" competition, the winner of the contest would receive $1,000,000 and a WWE developmental contract.
Though he started out near the bottom, The Miz worked his way up to the top of the rankings and made it to the final two.
At Armageddon, The Miz competed in a boxing competition against the other man to make it to the final, Daniel Puder. Neither man recorded a knockout, but Puder was determined as the winner.
The Miz received another break and was rewarded a developmental contract, as WWE officials believed he had potential. He was subsequently sent to Deep South Wrestling (becoming heavyweight champion), then to Ohio Valley Wresting (becoming a tag champion) before finally being called up to the main roster, where he would start his WWE career on the SmackDown brand.
He was on Smackdown from 2006-2007, where he did not have any major accomplishments.
He was moved to ECW in 2007, where his sole major accomplishment was an ECW World Heayweight title match against CM Punk, which he lost.
His years of mid-card futility were coming to an end, though, as he would soon win gold for the first time.
Rise of the Miz
In 2007, The Miz began to partner with John Morrison.
After a string of tag match victories, they were awarded a match against WWE Tag Champions Matt Hardy and MVP on the Nov. 16 episode of SmackDown.
Morrison and Miz won the tag titles and began a partnership that would take both men to popularity. Morrison and Miz hosted the WWE.com show, "The Dirt Sheet," during their reign as champions, helping them gain even more recognition then they were getting on-screen.
Miz and Morrison would hold the titles until July 2008 when they lost the titles to Curt Hawkins and a pre-Broski Zack Ryder.
The two stuck together, however, and in December they beat Punk and Kofi Kingston for the World Tag Team titles. They would later lose the titles to the Colons at Wrestle.
The two would split up at the following WWE Draft and the Miz would embark on a singles run that allowed his popularity and success to skyrocket.
After the breakup of Miz and Morrison, the Miz started a rivalry with perennial top dog John Cena. He claimed to be undefeated against Cena, until Cena finally returned from injury and defeated him.
After that feud, his chase for a singles title began.
He started to challenge for the United States title, which he finally won against Kingston on the Oct. 5 edition of Raw, his first singles title.
Miz won the Bragging Rights interbrand tag match for Raw and seemed to be one of the brand's most popular superstars, even though he was a heel.
His new catchphrase, "I'm the Miz, and I'm awesome!," caught on quick with fans who would finish his sentence as he said it.
On the Feb. 8, 2010 edition of Raw, Miz and new tag partner Big Show would beat D-Generation X for the unified tag titles. Miz now held the U.S. and tag belts.
After a few weeks as champs, the two would lose the belts to the Hart Dynasty and end their tag team.
The Miz would then be put on NXT as the coach of Daniel Bryan. He also starred on the second season as the mentor of Alex Riley.
He would get his second reign as U.S. champion after winning the belt at Fatal 4-Way 2010.
Miz went into the Money in the Bank pay-per-view and came out as winner of the Raw match. His singles resume kept building up.
He lost his U.S. title to former student Bryan in September 2010. That would not detract Miz, as it was only setting up his biggest accomplishment yet.
On the Nov. 22, 2010 edition of Raw, after a match where WWE champion Randy Orton defeated Wade Barrett, The Miz cashed in on his opportunity and became the new WWE champion, his biggest accomplishment to date.
The man that had been a reality TV star, and considered second wheel to Morrison had just done something Morrison never did—win the top belt in the WWE.
The Miz finally reached the peak of the WWE, championship-wise and popularity-wise.
He would have many successful-yet-lucky title defenses following the win. He even had a forgettable tag championship run with Cena that lasted for a few minutes.
Miz would finally lose the WWE title to Cena in a Triple Threat steel-cage match at Extreme Rules 2011.
It seemed as though Miz had just reached the apex of the WWE when his descent down the ladder began. He failed to recapture his WWE title belt in many different attempts, his latest being at the recent Elimination Chamber pay-per-view.
He would be paired with R-Truth for a time before the two had a rivalry with each other.
Mizanin would be the longest-lasting competitor in the 2012 Royal Rumble. However, rumblings began to come out of the WWE locker room that the Miz was in the dog house.
He was being blamed for the poor sales at Survivor Series, where he was in the main event with Truth against the Rock and Cena.
Just as if it seemed things couldn't get much worse for the Miz, they did.
On the Feb. 6 episode of Raw, it seemed as though Miz moved out of the way as Truth flipped out of the ring towards him. He was blamed backstage for Truth's injury and was pushed even further into the dog house.
He is currently riding a nine-match losing streak, and at the moment, is not scheduled for a WrestleMania match.
Can this all be blamed on backstage politics?
Blaming him for bad pay-per-view buyrates is not the right thing to do though.
One man will not influence the amount of buys of a pay-per-view (unless your name is the Rock or Steve Austin).
Only in the WWE can a man be on top of the world one day and look like a jobber the next.
It's sad how a man who has worked so hard to reach his goal has only been pushed back to the bottom.
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