Prior to 2016, it had been roughly 5 years since The Miz was a legitimate contender on the WWE Championship scene.
His rise to that point after joining the main roster had been one of the more impressive ones in the WWE, with multiple titles to his credit, Slammy Awards, and once earning the right to be Mr. Money in The bank which lead to a six month WWE Championship reign.
During that time he was not only considered the top heel in the company, but one of the top performers in the business. He was the first man to get the better of John Cena at Wrestlemania in singles competition, all leading to well-deserved top rankings in both categories in Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s top 500 for 2011.
Following the Cena feud WWE creative seemed unsure how to utilize him properly, and he gradually fell out of the title picture entirely before a two month absence followed by a questionable face turn that was not received well by the public.
It was not until returning from filming for the Marine 4: Moving Target in June of 2014 that he once again returned to his natural fit as a heel and adopted the movie star persona that he has now perfected. Fast forward to last year and The Miz easily had his best since 2011-2012, having multiple Intercontinental Championship reigns to his credit with the help of his wife Maryse.
He has been one of the biggest benefactors of the brand split, which has allowed him to be showcased as a top talent by keeping the title exclusive to Smackdown Live at Survivor Series and increased its value in feuds with Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, and through verbal warfare with General Manager Daniel Bryan.
With rumors that A.J. Styles could be heading toward a face turn in the coming months, The Miz is poised to be the top heel on Smackdown and potentially the entire company. His microphone skills can stand up to anybody put across from him, his promos are consistently entertaining, and he has continued to expand and improve his in-ring ability.
It is unlikely Cena will hold the WWE Championship for very long given his schedule outside of wrestling, and The Miz is already set up for major feuds with several other top stars on the show. If nothing else there is no other heel more worthy of carrying the most prestigious title in sports entertainment.
It will be interesting to see how he is used leading up to Wrestlemania, but regardless he is poised to potentially have the biggest year of his career.