The Miz was a recent guest on the Voices For Victory podcast and recalled all of the emotions he felt when winning the WWE Championship. He said it was a surreal moment where a ton of different emotions hit him at once, and he recalled being told he wouldn’t last three months in WWE, but has made it 15 years with the company.

“Everyone was telling me I would never get it,” Miz said. “Imagine coming into a career that you’ve always dreamed of, and everyone is telling you that you’ll be gone in three months and won’t make it, that you just don’t have the ‘it’ factor. I just kept going at it. I was a guy that kicked out of the locker room because people said I had a big mouth. Obviously, my big mouth has paid off dividends.

“When I won my first WWE Championship against Randy Orton, I can’t tell you how many emotions ran through me,” Miz added. “There was excitement at first like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe this happened!’ Then there was a knot in my throat, and all this was happening in a matter of seconds. You have this immense excitement and then you think about everything you’ve gone through to get there and everyone that’s helped you, and you almost get teary-eyed, and then you realize you’re on national television, so you don’t want to be crying, and you try to hold it in. I had to over-exude myself to make sure that didn’t happen, but there have been very few moments in my life that I’ve had that feeling. I want to have that feeling again.”

Miz also recalled his time on MTV’s Real World and mentioned that the MTV producers would not allow him to try out for WWE’s Tough Enough when it was on the network because he was only allowed to be on one show. It was only when Tough Enough was moved to the CW that he was able to try out, and he said that although he didn’t win that season, he impressed the executives enough that they gave him a developmental deal with the company.

“When I got on the Real World, it gave me the confidence that I could actually go for the WWE dream,” Miz said. “That was when I found out all the tools that I needed to become a WWE Superstar and decided to go for it. Nobody really knows this, but I tried out for Tough Enough season two. [MTV execs] wouldn’t let me do it because I was already on MTV, and back then, you couldn’t do multiple shows. You had to be on one show and stick to it.

“WWE ended up calling and asked if I wanted to do it, and I told them MTV told me I wasn’t allowed,” Miz recalled. “They told me this would be the first time they moved away from MTV and went with the CW, so I did it. I didn’t win; I came in second place and I impressed the execs enough that they gave me a developmental deal and moved me to Atlanta where I became the first Deep South Heavyweight Champion. They told me that while I was there, in order to make it to WWE, I had to be the standout in developmental.

“From there, I ended up moving up to Ohio Valley Wrestling with Paul Heyman and he turned me into a bad guy,” Miz added. “That was the first time being the bad guy. He was a genius and saw it in me. I’ve been a bad guy ever since. It took me a year in developmental to get there, and people were telling me I’d never make it. And here I am 15 years later.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Voices For Victory with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.