After years of accomplishing nothing, The Miz seemed to be forever destined to be an afterthought and, for diehard wrestling fans, a punchline. As Psycho Andy noted, "He keeps telling us how awesome he is, even though he's never really done anything to prove it. He's got a lame-ass fauxhawk and has been a huge joke in the wrestling world for the last several years ... he's switched over to proper wrestling tights, to show us that he means SRS BZNS. Unfortunately, this makes him more generic than before, which is quite possibly more annoying than the twit he had been portraying for the last several years."
The Miz was either oblivious to his criticism or driven by it. WWE paired him up with the highly-capable but under-utilized John Morrison in 2007, and the two got a chance to "run with the ball." Miz & Morrison had a WWE.com series of webisodes called "The Dirt Sheet," which unexpectedly grew in popularity amongst fans. This success raised their profile as a team, which WWE inexplicably broke up a few months after reaching their stride.
Back on his own, Miz arguably faltered in his first high-profile feud with John Cena, but he improved constantly. By WrestleMania XXVII, he was one of the most solid mid-card talents in WWE (especially on the mic) and a break-through seemed to be just around the corner. His opportunity happened upon winning the Money In The Bank briefcase in 2010, which almost ensured his first reign as WWE Champion. Miz cashed in on Randy Orton the night after the 2010 Survivor Series to win the championship, which he held until May 2011, becoming only the second heel in WrestleMania history to retain in the "main event" (last match of the night).