When WrestleMania 23 took place in Detroit in 2007, The Miz was a fresh-faced 26-year-old new to World Wrestling Entertainment’s main roster and just a few years away from starring in the 10th season of MTV’s 20s. experience in a big city “The real world”. He appeared at Ford Field on the card for this event in a pre-show fight, as one of 36 wrestlers circling the ring in a lumberjack match.
He was still figuring it out and finding his place in the company. Things clicked four years later when he headlined WWE’s biggest annual extravaganza, defeating John Cena in the main event of WrestleMania 27 to retain the WWE Championship.
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing since then. He quickly felt out of place, toiling in mid-card feuds and struggling to regain his notoriety. Today, he’s got his mojo back and he’s heading to Monday’s WWE “Raw” event at Little Caesars Arena after an appearance at WrestleMania 38 last weekend, where he appeared in a tag team contest at the alongside megawatt social media personality Logan Paul — a stranger to the world of suplexes and bodyslams, as the Miz once was — whom he lit and dropped in the middle of the ring at the end of their match. Welcome to WWE, kid.
For The Miz, it was just another day in the office, an office that saw him compete in front of over 70,000 screaming fans and a global streaming audience of millions. It’s the continuing fulfillment of a lifelong dream for the native of Parma, Ohio, a few miles south of Cleveland, who is always looking to accomplish even more inside and outside the ring.
“I always push myself to be better, to do better, to be bigger,” Miz, born Michael Mizanin, said on the phone from his home in Los Angeles earlier this week.
“You will never be the most popular, you will never be the most hated, you will never be the morebecause everyone has a different opinion. One guy will say Shawn Michaels is the greatest, another will say Hulk Hogan, or The Rock, or Stone Cold Steve Austin. One guy might even say The Miz! But it’s my job to make sure more people, every time I’m out there, say, ‘it’s the Miz.’
“And so I always strive to achieve that,” the 41-year-old says. “I know I can never do it, but I will strive for it, I will push it. And maybe one day it will actually happen.”
Miz and Mrs.
The Miz credits his wife, fellow WWE Superstar and former model Maryse Ouellet with getting him out of his in-ring funk.
After leaving WWE in 2011, she returned in 2016 and began appearing in the ring alongside her husband, who bragged about being “awesome” and called himself “the most go-to superstar in history. of WWE”, although he was not still alive. until this self-imposed billing. The couple have become a naughty power couple onscreen, and he says she helped him save all his loud swagger on the mic.
“I didn’t know how to get back to where I was, I was just trying to keep my head above water, and I couldn’t,” he says. “And then Maryse came back, and everything I said seemed true, because this beautiful, smart woman is not going to be with a loser.”
Off-screen, the couple – who started dating in 2008 and married in 2014 – are parents to a pair of daughters, Monroe and Madison, aged 4 and 2 respectively.
But on WWE programming, The Miz and Maryse are the couple you love to hate, cheat to win, and always have the last laugh. They wrestled together as recently as January, taking on fellow WWE Supercouple Edge and Beth Phoenix at the Royal Rumble.
Their chemistry has extended to their own reality show, “Miz and Mrs.”, which enters its third season on the USA network in June.
It’s one of Miz’s few attempts outside of WWE: he starred in four direct-to-DVD sequels to the action movie ‘The Marine’, he hosted the game show ‘Cannonball’ in the United States in 2020 and he appeared on the 30th season of “Dancing With the Stars” in late 2021. (He came in 9th place on the show, but managed to beat top “Beverly Hills 90210” star Brian Austin Green and former Spice Girl Melanie “Sporty Spice” Chisholm, and appeared in several segments alongside his wife.)
His awesomeness isn’t just an in-ring gimmick, he says, it’s a lifestyle.
“I’m still good, 100% awesome, all day, every day of my life,” says The Miz, who attended Miami University in Ohio before joining ‘The Real World’ in 2001. When you have two beautiful daughters who are healthy and happy and you have an amazing wife, I think you’re pretty happy.”
“Hall of Fame without the fuss”
But wrestling is his primary focus, and The Miz is currently the only two-time Grand Slam champion in WWE history, which means he’s won the WWE Title, Intercontinental Championship, United States Championship and the Tag Team Championships at least twice each.
This makes him the “ultimate utility player” in WWE, he says.
“I would say my role in the company now is as someone who can develop newcomers, but also be in the main event, or help the main event, or be on the midcard. I can be anywhere,” he said. “I’m the person they look like, ‘hey, we’ve got this,’ and if they give it to me, they know it’ll be gold.”
That puts him on a surefire route to the WWE Hall of Fame, says Kenny Herzog, a longtime wrestling reporter who currently contributes to Bleacher Report.
“The Miz is someone who has worked really hard to get where he is,” says Herzog, who named The Miz Wrestler of the Year in a 2017 article for Rolling Stone. “Whether you like his character or like him on his reality show or not, it really doesn’t matter. What’s undeniable is that he decided, “I’m going to be more dedicated to this than anyone has ever been.” He’s put to work, whether it’s acting lessons or training to restore his image in the ring. And his work ethic, and his almost insane commitment to being the best performer in the world, is indeed the reason he is where he is today.”
Even if The Miz doesn’t reach the heights of ringside purist legends such as The Undertaker or Bret Hart, “I don’t think there will be many naysayers who will debate his place (in the Hall of Fame of the WWE),” Herzog said. “So, you know, it could be worse.”
Miz himself says he’s a “no frills hall of famer”, which is typical of his character. But he’s earned his right to say that, even if he’s not ready to hang up his boots.
“Not yet,” he said. He’s still having too much fun, and with people like Logan Paul — or rapper Bad Bunny, who he worked with at WrestleMania 37 — he’s able to mentor them, teach them the ropes, so to speak, and to help them live up to their potential in the ring.
“My goal, every time a celebrity walks in, is not for them to sit on the sidelines and watch me work. What the fans have paid to see is, ‘Is Logan Paul gonna can do that?’ And I want to be able to give that response to the fans, whether it’s positive or negative,” he said. “So I’m going to push any celebrity to be the best, and that only works if they have the heart, the dedication, the will and the athletic ability to do it.”
As for the future, “I hope to be able to perform at the top of my game, be injury free, have fun and maybe get a few more shows on TV,” Miz said.
He’s also on the hunt for the role of action movie star turned fighter Johnny Cage in the sequel to the 2021 hit “Mortal Kombat.” He is ready to go, and social media campaigns have been launched to push him to play the role, but even if he wants to do it, the decision is not up to him.
If he gets it, it would be another notch on the belt for your hardest working guys in showbiz. And if he doesn’t, well, that’s motivation to do even more. And that’s nothing new for The Miz.
WWE Monday Night Raw
7:30 p.m. Monday
Little Caesars Arena, 2645 Woodward Ave., Detroit