The Truth About The Miz Revealed

The Truth About The Miz Revealed


There’s no one who embodies the idea of a
fan who became a superstar as much as Mike Mizanin, better known to WWE devotees as the
Miz. We’ve watched every single step of his journey
for 20 years. From reality TV star to working the main event
of WrestleMania, here’s the untold truth of the Miz. When the Miz first appeared on television
screens across the country, it wasn’t as a pro wrestler. In fact, it wasn’t even as the Miz. In 2001, he was just Mike, a guy from Ohio
who dropped out of college to become a cast member MTV’s long-running reality show, The
Real World. MTV’s official bio touted Mike as, quote,
“the quintessential all-American boy” and played up the idea that growing up in a suburb
of Cleveland had left him incredibly naive on the subjects of race and sexuality. Naturally, that brought him into conflict
with other cast members, almost as though they had stopped being polite and started
getting real, where he was challenged to learn more about people who weren’t like him. The arc of his season, and of his further
appearances on the show’s spin-offs, was largely the story of a kid who moved to New York,
met a whole bunch of people, and tried to deal with the negative stereotypes he learned
while growing up in the suburbs. That happens to a lot of people, but it doesn’t
usually play out for millions of viewers on TV every week. “We went to see foreign films.” “Celebrated Black History month.” “Is it cool?” “Is it Black History month?” “Mm-hm.” “Oh hell no.” Of course, there was another aspect of Mike’s
personality put in the spotlight during his time on The Real World. Much to the amusement (and occasional frustration)
of his housemates, Mike had an alter-ego he dubbed “The Miz,” an over-the-top fantasy
version of himself as a pro wrestling superstar. There’s plenty of footage of him goofing around,
doing wrestling moves on his housemates, and even carrying around a toy WWF Championship
belt. At the time, this made him seem like an affable
goofball, but knowing that less than a decade later, he’d be defending the real thing in
front of a live crowd of over 70,000 people in the main event of WrestleMania makes all
that goofiness seem a whole lot more prophetic. Given how up front he was about his desire
to be a pro wrestler, it shouldn’t be a surprise to learn Mike parlayed his success on The
Real World to a career in the ring. After doing some training on the indies, he
became a contestant on yet another reality show in 2004: Tough Enough, which had previously
aired on MTV before moving to UPN as a part of SmackDown. Mike was a runner up, but, as was often the
case with Tough Enough, he wound up doing better than the actual winner, catching enough
interest from the higher-ups at WWE that they signed him to a contract. It wasn’t a direct route to the ring, though. First, he did some more training in Deep South
Wrestling, a “developmental” promotion that was basically WWE’s version of baseball’s
minor leagues. He did well, and was even tapped as Deep South’s
first heavyweight champion in over 15 years. Before long, he was called up to the main
show…just not as a wrestler. Instead, he got the job of hosting Diva Search,
a reality show-style segment where aspiring models competed for a WWE contract. It did not go well. In a disastrous segment, the Miz was clearly
nervous in front of the live crowd, and wound up with a deer in the headlights blank stare,
stammering his way through instructions on how to vote for your favorite Diva while getting
drowned out by some very intense booing. There was one very good thing to come out
of the Miz’s time with Diva Search, but we’ll get back to that in a moment. It would be very charitable to say that the
Miz got a mixed response from the crowd in the early days of his career. The truth is that a whole lot of people absolutely
hated him, and not just because he was playing the bad guy on TV. In addition to his awkward performance on
Diva Search, there was the perception, however inaccurate it might’ve been, that he was only
getting opportunities because he’d been on The Real World. It wasn’t just the fans, either: the Miz has
often talked about his difficulty earning the respect of the other wrestlers, including
a story where he was once kicked out of a locker room for having a post-match snack. “It was one of those things where I got kicked
out of the lockerroom…” “They made him change in the public bathroom!” “That’s good, that’s good.” “It was brutal, man.” Fortunately, pro wrestling will always have
a place for people the audience hates, because every good guy needs a villain. To his credit, the Miz was a better villain
than most, and even provided WWE with one of the most forward-thinking tactics for getting
over that any wrestler has ever used. While working as a tag team, he and John Morrison
launched a streaming segment on WWE.com called The Dirt Sheet. Miz and Morrison wrote and performed the show’s
five-minute episodes every week, filling it with goofy jokes, impressions, and other ways
to antagonize their opponents while wearing hats that made them incredibly easy to hate. Just the absolute worst hats, seriously. These days, that’s not actually unusual. WWE’s Xavier Woods has carved out a dedicated
fan base outside of wrestling for Up Up Down Down, a YouTube series where he and other
wrestlers play video games, and the entire All Elite Wrestling promotion has its roots
in its founders’ YouTube series, Being The Elite. But here’s the thing: The Dirt Sheet happened
in 2008. YouTube itself was only three years old at
that point, and streaming shows were far from commonplace. Say what you will about those hats, but the
Miz was a pioneer at digital media. After spending a few years in the middle of
the card, the Miz embarked on what would be the high point of his career to that point
In July of 2010. It started when he won the “Money in the Bank”
ladder match, a six-man competition where the winner got a contract he could “cash in”
for a WWE Championship match at any time, anywhere, over the next year. That November, he cashed in, won his first,
and so far only, WWE Championship, and kicked off a feud with John Cena, the company’s top
star. That would lead him to the main event at WrestleMania,
the biggest show of the year. “Why me?” “Because I like you! You’re brash, driven, and hungry!” There was, however, a problem. Despite the fact he was in the main event
match as the company’s top champion, the story going into WrestleMania 27 wasn’t really about
the Miz. It wasn’t even really about John Cena fighting
against the Miz. It was about John Cena and Dwayne “The Rock”
Johnson, who had returned to the company as the “host” of WrestleMania, whatever that
means. At the end of the main event match, the Rock
interfered, hit Cena with his finishing move, and let the Miz pin him. The whole thing was to set up a match between
the Rock and Cena that would happen a full year later at the next WrestleMania, which
was billed as “Once in a Lifetime.” They would have a rematch the following year. Twice in a lifetime is still pretty rare,
though, so whatever. In other words, the Miz wasn’t even the second-most
important person in the feud between John Cena and the Miz. He was a distant third, coming in behind a
dude who wasn’t even wrestling on the show. He may have become a part of the rarefied
roster of people who have performed in WrestleMania’s main event, only 35 men and three women, but
it would always be overshadowed by the presence of the bigger stars. While he’s had a long and successful career
in the ring, the Miz’s work for WWE hasn’t always been confined there. He’s had a perhaps unsurprisingly prolific
career on the TV and movie side of things, starring in a handful of studios for WWE Films,
including four installments (3 through 6, if you’re keeping track) of their homegrown
action franchise, The Marine. As for why a guy who clearly loves pro wrestling
spends so much time on the set of movies like The Christmas Bounty and The Marine 6: Close
Quarters, the Miz actually addressed that on an episode of The Art of Wrestling, a podcast
hosted by indie wrestler Colt Cabana. He called himself, quote, “the guy that never
says no.” His idea was that saying yes to whatever opportunities
the WWE presented him with, whether in the ring or out of it, would make him more valuable
to the company, and get him more opportunities to show what he could do. “If I don’t get a heart necklace because of
THAT dude, I’m unleashin’ the guns, Frederico and Pepe! Boom! Boom!” His relatively prolific acting career has
also bled into his in-ring persona. For a while, the Miz billed himself as “the
A-Lister,” with all the arrogance of a Hollywood superstar. Remember when we mentioned there was a good
thing to come out of the Miz’s otherwise regrettable time hosting Diva Search? When he talks about that part of his career,
the Miz usually skips over the part about writing the phone number on his hand to remember
it, and skips straight to talking about it as the place where he met his wife. In 2006, Maryse Ouellet was a contestant on
Diva Search, and, much like the Miz back on Tough Enough, she was a runner-up who would
go on to work for the company for years. She and the Miz began dating, got engaged
in 2013, married in 2014, and have two daughters together. As you might expect, their relationship has
been featured in WWE storylines, but it also broke out, or broke back in, depending on
how you look at it, to where it all started: reality television. In 2016, Maryse joined the cast of Total Divas,
a show that follows the WWE’s female superstars (formerly known through WWE branding as “Divas”)
in their backstage and off-screen lives. Naturally, Mike showed up a few times as well. The two proved popular enough they were moved
into their own show: Miz & Mrs. Unsurprisingly for a reality show veteran, the Miz comes
off pretty well on the show. In 2010, WWE launched NXT, a show very similar
to Tough Enough, but where rookie wrestlers who were already under contract were paired
with established WWE Superstars as their mentors. The Miz was one of the mentors, and his “rookie”
was Daniel Bryan. The thing is, while he was new to WWE, Bryan
was hardly a rookie by any measure. He was already a well-known wrestler outside
of the company, who had worked on the independent scene for over ten years, and was regarded
as one of the best performers in the world. “I want to say thank you, thank all the independent
wrestling fans all over the world. You guys are the people who made me who I
am today. Thank you very much.” Hardcore fans resented that Bryan, who had
been winning titles in Japan and helping to found the Ring of Honor promotion while the
Miz was still just Mike on The Real World, was paired up with someone they saw as a manufactured,
corporate star. Some even believed that Bryan’s entire run
in NXT was meant to undermine someone who had become popular outside of their system,
and if it wasn’t the intent, it was done so poorly that it might as well have been. Whether or not that was actually the case,
Bryan would overcome setbacks like losing an 18-second match at WrestleMania to become
one of the most popular stars in the company. Unfortunately, a series of injuries including
multiple concussions led to his early retirement in 2016, although he would eventually return
to in-ring competition and regain his spot at the top of the card. In the meantime, though, he remained a part
of WWE as an on-screen authority figure, and with their history with each other, his story
remained inextricably tied to the Miz. On August 23, 2016, Bryan and the Miz appeared
in a segment that seemed to blend in-storyline conflict between the two characters with their
real-world history. Bryan leveled a heavy criticism of the Miz’s
wrestling style, even going as far as calling him a coward. The Miz responded by launching into the single
best promo of his career. After Bryan said that he’d love to return
to the ring if the WWE’s doctors would let him, a furious Miz asked him, quote, “You love wrestling, right? Well why don’t you quit? Why don’t you quit and go to the bingo halls
with your indie friends?” Bryan left the set, the Miz turned his ire
to the viewers, and fans were left wondering how much reality had bled into the promo. It was at that moment the Miz and Daniel Bryan
became one of the greatest ongoing sagas in pro wrestling, and with Bryan actually being
cleared to return to the ring in 2018, and defeating The Miz in a showdown in December,
2019, there may be plenty more to come in this saga. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Grunge videos about your favorite
stuff are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
bell so you don’t miss a single one.

14 Replies to “The Truth About The Miz Revealed”

  1. I remember when The Miz joined WWE and he was portrayed as a goofball and he was even on the receiving end of a tongue lashing by The Undertaker for not taking wrestling seriously

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