Before Renee Paquette and The Miz delved into the highly praised sound-off between him and Daniel Bryan on Talking Smack five years ago, the WWE Champion spoke up about the difficulties he still finds himself in when creating relevant promos and title runs.
“I wasn’t always good at promos,” The Miz noted in his interview on Oral Sessions. “Like I said, I would do club appearances and speeches. I sucked at those things, but it gave me confidence with the microphone. Cut to years later, you know, I thought I sucked when I would cut promos when I first came to WWE. I had personality, but I wasn’t really good.
“All of my failures have led to my successes. All of my failures have taught me more than anything I’ve ever learned from being a success. So, I’ve always been a person who’s prepared more and more, and I still prepare to this day. I’m not exactly where I want to be. People are like, ‘Oh wow, you have your own reality show. You’re a WWE Champion. You must be exactly where you want to be.’ No, I’m not. I’m never satisfied. I think this is a WWE or maybe more of a pro wrestler mentality that we’re always pushing. We’re always doing so much more.”
Next, they began their discussion of the infamous Talking Smack segment. The Miz admits that he blacked out when he told the then SmackDown general manager, Daniel Bryan, off.
“I went black, to be honest,” he mentioned.
Paquette, who was caught in the middle of that segment, added, “You were so in that moment. Me, as the third party to that scenario of you and Bryan going off on each other on Talking Smack, just the level that it got to. I remember at one point feeling like I needed to get in between the two of you. ‘Cause I was legit concerned.”
The Miz then explained what triggered his animosity that night.
“It was a bad day for me,” he began. “So, I had the Intercontinental title, and I just got drafted to SmackDown, and that night I wasn’t on the show. I really wanted to make the Intercontinental Championship relevant again. I wanted to make it as big as it was when I saw it in the ’80s. It was literally the workhorse title, and I wanted to get it back to that.
“And then you walk into TV, and they said, ‘Ah, yeah, you’re not needed. We’re going to be on the dark match tonight.’ I was like, ‘You’re kidding, right?’ I hold this title. This title has been held by all of my heroes, and I’m trying to do something here but you’re not allowing me to do it. They were like, ‘Well, we’re introducing two new titles tonight on SmackDown, so we have too much going on.’ I was so angry that I went up to Road Dogg, and I said, ‘Put me on Talking Smack.’ He goes, ‘Why?’ I was like, ‘Daniel Bryan is the general manager. I’m going to unleash it all on him.’ They were like, ‘Cool.'”
The Miz continues the story but concludes that Bryan did an excellent job getting underneath his skin that night.
“So, we went on Talking Smack, and he called me a coward. But when Daniel Bryan called me it, it was different than when someone [says] it on a promo. There was something was underneath it,” he continued. “I knew what it was, and I knew where he was going with it. It infuriated me because I was still able to do what I wanted to, and he wasn’t. I’m in there doing this day in and day out, and you’re not.
“It made me think about everyone who just doesn’t understand me. I was trying to make people understand what I was going through and why I do the things I do. And then, when he walked off, that was even more disrespectful. This was the guy that was beloved by everyone. Why can’t they love me? I don’t think he was trying to be mean. I think he was trying to get underneath my skin, and he did.”
No stranger to reality television and creating off-the-wall segments, The Miz also brought up how The Dirt Sheet helped him showcase what he could be capable of, in other words, a prelude to his pipebomb on Bryan some years later.
“When John Morrison and myself were back in 2007, we were having great matches, but nobody knew who the hell we were as a tag team,” he stated. “So, I went up to Stephanie McMahon and cut a promo on her and said, ‘John and I want to do The Dirt Sheet.’ And she was like, ‘What’s The Dirt Sheet?’ And I go, ‘It’s going to be a show that’s like The Soup and SNL. It’s a lot of skits with lots of variety. We’re going to pick on everybody.’ And then, I got really heated, and I cut a promo saying, ‘We’re the greatest tag team in the 21st century. Be jealous.’ She was like, ‘I like that.’
“The next day, I got a call from creative, and they asked, ‘Hey, what’s this thing you want to do? Stephanie wants you to do it.’ So then, we started writing and editing every single week, The Dirt Sheet. This was before YouTube was even a thing. We created this, and it allowed us to showcase exactly who we are.”
You can listen to The Miz’s full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Oral Sessions w/Renée Paquette with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.