PARKS'S TAKE PARKS'S TAKE: Two turns, two stories: Why Alberto Del Rio's face turn has been more successful than The Miz's
Jan 23, 2013 - 8:27:36 PM
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By Greg Parks, PWTorch columnist
Both men turned relatively out of nowhere. Both became babyfaces after spending most, if not all, of their WWE careers as heels. Both were struggling to find footing as top heels and needed some kind of change. Yet, of The Miz and Alberto Del Rio, only one man's turn can be considered a success thus far.
The question then, is "why?" The Miz was much more of a "cool" heel than Alberto Del Rio, which would make one think he'd have an easier transition to a babyface role. But that hasn't been the case. The Miz didn't really have a turn "moment." The closest would be shaking Kofi Kingston's hand after Kofi defeated him once again to retain the Intercontinental Title. He later joined the babyface team at Survivor Series to cement the turn.
Alberto Del Rio had a much more well-defined turn, but that's not to say there weren't bumps along the way. He saved Ricardo Rodriguez from bullying at the hands of 3MB at the TLC PPV, then joined the face team to beat 3MB in a six-man tag later in the night. However, Del Rio was also the one booked to run over Santa Claus and job to John Cena in the Christmas Eve episode of Raw, after he had turned face.
The one major reason Del Rio's face turn has turned out better than Miz's so far is that Del Rio has a purpose: He's the new Latin babyface sensation, sticking up for the Latino fanbase against the Mean Ol' Big Show. Meanwhile, WWE is desperately trying to get Miz over by giving him the rub from Ric Flair and even allowing him to use the figure-four leg-lock. Miz is directionless as a face and has no feud to sink his teeth into. WWE has attempted to give him strong heels to play off of in his Miz TV segments, but it just hasn't taken so far.
I've been advocating a promo from Alberto Del Rio, one that would explain exactly what has caused his change. His persona was such a heel that fans need to understand why he's no longer the rich snob to truly get behind him. He hasn't done that, but he's done enough to distance himself from being the Mexican Million Dollar Man. Miz as a babyface is still too similar to his heel character; he's also way more grating on the mic than expected. Miz's first turn as a babyface, when he debuted in WWE as the host of Smackdown, was a complete disaster. So far, his latest turn hasn't gone as WWE has wanted, either. He's like John Cena-lite on the mic, and that's not going to cut it for the young males who were cheering him when he was a heel.
Del Rio's immediate future seems much brighter than Miz's, a no-brainer considering Del Rio is currently World Champion. Some are predicting Dolph Ziggler to cash in the MITB briefcase on Del Rio, perhaps even as soon as the Royal Rumble. But WWE is so intent on getting Del Rio over as a Mexican star that they would run the risk of killing his momentum were he to lose the title so quickly. There really isn't much on the horizon for Miz, except for a United States Title match with Antonio Cesaro on the Rumble pre-show. A few months ago, if I had learned that both Miz and Del Rio would be turning, I would've figured Miz to get over better than Del Rio. I would've been wrong.
Greg Parks has been a columnist for Pro Wrestling Torch since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @gregmparks for live Tweeting during Raw, Impact, and PPVs, as well as other bits of wisdom. Comments, questions and feedback are welcome, and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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