WWE Evil kicked off with a heavy dose of nostalgia, prioritizing Hulk Hogan's star power over fresh content. But in episode two, a current and ever-consistent heel is the central focus. The Miz, the self-proclaimed ‘A-Lister' of WWE, has been arguably the greatest heel in the last twenty years due to his ability to generate legitimate hatred from audiences – a rare feat in the age of ‘internet wrestling fans'. Unlike the “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan episode, The Miz's story is fresh, and it focuses on a career heel, thus making the episode a far more engaging one from start to finish. However, what makes this episode (to quote The Miz) “Awesome” is its fascinating blend of fact and fiction and how the birth of The Miz stemmed from Mike Mizanin's desire to be liked and, more importantly, respected.
The story starts in a very apropos manner, with Miz criticizing the film crew for ruining their opening shot of the documentary. It's a small moment but a perfect introduction to WWE's “most must-see” superstar for anybody unfamiliar with the outspoken performer. More potently, the episode eventually sets the stage for the entire narrative by discussing Mike's stint on the reality show, The Real World. It's here we see how an uncomfortable and unpopular Mike created The Miz character to appease, entertain, and get through this show. This moment perfectly outlines how the creation of The Miz is not only Mike's “cushion,” as his wife Maryse calls it, but also his tool to be appreciated and respected.
WWE Evil's intelligent blurring of fact and fiction continues when the documentary shifts to The Miz's transition into the WWE and his initial struggle to be accepted by the fans and the locker room because of his reality star image. It's this moment in the episode that makes you emotionally invest in his story and coincidentally turns him into a sympathetic “good guy.” He recounts how after being banished from the locker room for six months, he became fuelled by the thought: “I don't care if you love me or you hate me, but I want you to respect me.” Those inspiring words provide a sense of excitement and give you as a viewer a desire to see Miz become the most effective heel in WWE.
The episode eventually glides through the ‘A-Lister's' various incarnations of his narcissistic character, such as the obnoxious up and comer calling out John Cena, the WrestleMania main eventer, and the Hollywood snob. Along with showcasing Miz's evolution, audiences get to see his intelligence and smarts. Making changes to his character, like being the biggest Hollywood star that only makes B movies, displays his smarts while reinforcing his all-important ability to generate hatred from an audience. However, even more effectively, the former WWE Champion's evolution showcases how despite his success, his fight for respect remained.
I do. Vividly. You worked your a** off on the road to the event and at the event itself. Sacrificing your body during the event to do all you could to give the audience every ounce, even possibly at the expense of your own memory. Your passion and dedication hasn't ever changed. https://t.co/VJkfwOOiYV
— John Cena (@JohnCena) March 26, 2022
WWE Evil concludes in a somewhat symbolic manner, spotlighting Miz's critically acclaimed Talking Smack promo on Daniel Bryan in August 2016 as the moment he finally accomplished his goal of gaining respect. After years of being The Miz, the famous promo “was Mike,” according to Maryse, and by being Mike, he obtained the respect of the fans and fellow wrestlers. It's a fantastic completion of our subject's arc, as we start by introducing an unimpressive Mike, and we conclude with a Mike achieving his ultimate goal. It's classic storytelling.
“He has the courage to be a dick.” The quote is a humorous line from WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley, but it's a fitting one as The Miz's courage to be “a dick” is what sets him apart from almost every heel in wrestling today. It's also this courage that makes his journey for respect such a captivating one. One could be excused for thinking The Miz's episode will simply be a highlight reel of his evil moments in WWE. But what we get instead is a powerful and “awesome” tale of the antagonist known as The Miz.
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