There has been a lot of criticism over the last week over WWE’s decision to put the world title on The Miz. Opponents of the move argue that The Miz is too small, not tough enough, and generally not perceived as a world title caliber wrestler.
Those all may be true, but they all may be all the more reason to put the world title on him.
Big-mouthed, vulnerable heel champions have long been a staple of the sport, and if booked right can actually draw big money.
The most obvious example that comes to mind is the Honky Tonk Man, who still boasts the longest Intercontinental title reign in WWE history. For more than a year, fans clamored to see obnoxious, cowardly Elvis impersonator get beat for his title. And every time he somehow survived a title defense with his championship in tact, fans were outraged, and became that much more eager to see him get beat.
Granted, while there have been several other “chicken----” heel title holders in wrestling over the years, it’s tough to come up with any WWE Champion in recent memory who has appeared as vulnerable as The Miz. Plenty of feel champions have cheated to win the title, but all were, for the most part, already perceived as top tier wrestlers. Indeed, The Miz has still never headlined a pay-per-view in a one-on-one contest.
Nevertheless, while I might agree that The Miz could have used a few more months of seasoning before given a world title run, I’m still optimistic about The Miz’s potential to be a big-drawing world champion. But, as was the case with Honky Tonk, the key to accomplishing that is to have The Miz have a lengthy title reign, filled with several successful title defenses against a wide range of opponents—as unrealistic as that may seem to some.
It’s all a means to an end. I can still remember how loud the pop was when The Ultimate Warrior finally ended Honky Tonk’s reign in 1988. That win helped make the Warrior’s career. Similarly, if The Miz’ title reign is handled properly, the day eventually loses the belt could really mean something.
I’m not necessarily saying that The Miz’s title reign should last more than a year, but even if he could just hold onto it until WrestleMania, a Cena-Miz main event could seem like something really special. And if and when Cena defeats him for the title that night, it could mean a lot more than any world title change in a long time.