Embrace the Hate: Why The Miz is WWE's best heel
The Miz is the most unpopular heel in WWE and that's exactly how it should be.
The Miz is the best heel in WWE. Many fans may not know it and some time could pass before everyone agrees, but eventually we will all be on the same page. He may not be the popular choice for those that prefer Kevin Owens or AJ Styles, but Miz is the absolute best at being a heel.
Unlike other antagonists in the company, there is nothing even remotely redeemable about him. He doesn’t have a particularly great sense of humour. He’s not especially witty or clever with his comebacks. He doesn’t play up to the crowd in between moves. But then again, heels aren’t supposed to do any of those things.
Therein lies the problem with being a heel in today’s WWE. It’s no longer about upsetting fans, and stirring them up until they’re ready to kill. It’s not even about getting heat against their babyface opponents. Now it’s about being popular, and it’s become a major issue.
Fans are actually okay with it, mostly because cheering for heels has become cool. Instead of hating on the villains and believing in their characters, fans have seen past them. They’ve chosen to be entertained, and while there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, it’s continuously hurting the WWE product.
After all, it’s hard to believe in anyone when there’s no effort made to truly stay in character. When it seems as though the character is merely just a role for the sake of TV, then it’s impossible for a real connection to be made.
The WWE faithful look beyond the character and see only the talent behind it. With a wink and a nod, guys open themselves up to be seen as people that are just having fun, instead of the vile aggressors that they should be. Fans respond by not only showing respect but siding with the heels as if they’re antagonists that are really just protagonists in the making.
Owens is indeed a great example of a heel that’s just too entertaining to be hated. The edge he had upon arriving on the main roster has softened to the point that comedy has taken over. He has a great ability to work the crowd, but they’re too busy laughing at his words to take him seriously. KO hates on them, but they love him for it.
Styles is too respected to be hated. Though the same was true of Ric Flair in his prime as the NWA world champion, it’s different with AJ. There seems to be no good reason why Styles is a heel in the first place, which prevents him from truly being despised. Fans want to love him, and they find reasons to applaud him no matter how heelish he acts.
But when it comes to The Miz, fans have no problem hating everything about him. When he looks down his nose at the crowd, they’re actually insulted. He has a way of making them feel inferior, though he himself is not on Flair’s level, in terms of swagger.
The fact is that Miz has no ulterior motive to work the fans. He’s not trying to win a popularity contest or create banter that makes them believe he’s just playing a role. When he stares into the camera and spits venom at the crowd, it’s as if he means every word he says.
That has been the key to him getting over as a top heel. There’s been virtually no time he has even toyed with the idea of turning face. Miz is the villain, and that’s how it is.
What The Miz does isn’t pretty, it’s not funny, and it’s not meant to make him popular. Fans aren’t supposed to respect him to the point that they forget who he is. He’s such an expert at being bad, that it’s not till after his match that they realise just how good he really is.
Being the antagonist is an accepted part of his work, and fans can’t see past it to really give him any credit. There’s been no real outcry from the WWE faithful to give him overdue respect and hail him as one of the greats. He doesn’t typically get standing ovations after the bell rings because of the effort he gives.
Despite how many times he leaves it all in the ring, fans can’t bring themselves to show him any love at all.
But they’re not supposed to. Miz is not meant to stand out as a wildly popular Superstar that deserves undying respect for what he does. The Miz is supposed to be hated because he is a heel, and he understands how to do his job. There’s no room for any praise because he just doesn’t leave any. That is how the business is supposed to work.
There’s no one in WWE like him, but there should be. At one time every heel in the industry was as committed to his character, and that’s the way it should be now. But a jaded audience combined with a locker room full of potentially great heels that have lost focus, prevent that from happening. The Miz is the exception, rather than the rule.
No matter what he does, he may never receive the acclaim that he should. But that’s probably just fine with him. The Miz isn’t doing what he does to get over as a popular ‘bad guy.’ He’s doing what he does because no one else can do it quite like he can.
The Miz is the best at what he does, and he doesn’t care if fans love him for it. In today’s WWE, that’s truly awesome.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Sportskeeda. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online here
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