Before becoming The Miz, Mike Mizanin found himself in a peculiar position when he joined the 2001 cast of MTV’s The Real World, where the “A-Lister” The Miz was born. Despite the skits, he created as well as comedic catchphrases like, “No one takes The Miz’s belt,” Mike says it was all an act so he could be relateable to his housemates. He never thought his alter-ego would be the most talked-about thing that season and the building blocks that created the two-time WWE Champion.
“Yeah. A lot of people don’t get Mike right away. They get The Miz,” The Miz said during his interview on Oral Sessions. “On The Real World, I was the outcast, and nobody liked me. I created this character called The Miz that basically told everyone exactly what I was feeling at the time. And the crew, the cast, everyone, even the world watching gravitated towards The Miz and loved The Miz. So, I just started doing that, and it was a part of me.
“Obviously, we always tell WWE that The Miz is just Mike turned up to 100. But I have been doing it for so long that that’s how I meet people. And a lot of times, it rubs people the wrong way because it’s a lot. I have a lot of energy, and I pick, and I did things that usually don’t come off perfect the first time you meet me. But then, once we get out of the realm of WWE, and you starting talking, you’ll find Mike in there somewhere.”
The Miz revealed that while he enjoyed the notoriety he got from his time on The Real World, he made a vow to not go back into that form of entertainment again, especially when there was a stigma that surrounded reality stars.
“No. To be honest, I didn’t want to do reality television,” he admitted. “Once I left The Challenge – I think it was in 2005 – I got signed to WWE, and I said I’m never doing reality again. It wasn’t because I didn’t love reality, and it wasn’t because, you know, Bunim/Murray [Productions] was mean to me. Bunim/Murray was incredible to me, and that’s the production company that does The Real World; MTV was amazing to me. I loved what Bunim/Murray and MTV did for me.
“Back then, there was this huge stigma on reality stars. Reality stars were no good, no-talent hacks that were just on a camera and they can live their life. They couldn’t act, they couldn’t entertain, they couldn’t do anything besides live their life on TV. That was your only talent; that’s all you get. That was the mentality. And by the way, when I moved to Hollywood, I was training to become a WWE Superstar, but I was also doing improv classes and acting classes. I wanted to be in the entertainment world. I wanted to make sure to make so much noise in everything in entertainment that WWE would see it and sign me.”
Although he took an oath to never be on a reality show again, The Miz came up with his own terms when WWE Studios brought it to his and Maryse’s attention that they wanted them to have their own show.
“Cut to a few years later, and I’m told, ‘Hey, we would love to do a reality show with you.’ I was like, ‘No,’ right off the bat,” he continued. “So, three years later, Maryse and I created a sizzle for a house-flipping show because we were flipping houses at the time. We brought it to WWE and said, ‘Look, we would love for WWE Studios to produce this if you want.’ [We] sat down, and they were like, ‘We don’t want this. This isn’t money. You two on a show is money. What will it take to get you on a reality show?’
“I didn’t want the stigma that I remembered 15 years before on being on The Real World and people saying, ‘You’re never gonna [go far.’ I wanted to host and produce movies. I wanted to do all of these things in entertainment because no one would let me back then. I didn’t want them to do that again. And so, I said to Maryse, ‘You know what? Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, it’s all a reality show nowadays.’ I started getting the confidence that I could do my own thing. I don’t have to take the path of The Rock, John Cena, or Batista. I could do my own thing and take my own path. I said, ‘We’ll do it. But we’re going to be the executive producers.’ So, we did it our way, and it’s been a success.”
Next, Renee Paquette and The Miz talk about what life is like for his family once the cameras stop rolling for their Miz & Mrs series. Although he enjoys having his mother-in-law, Marjo, and his family there during the filming process, he prefers to have his downtime spent with his wife and two daughters.
“Marjo has a big personality. She comes and goes. I love watching her with my daughters. It is incredible,” he began. “But when you have your mother-in-law or your mother there every day all day, you kind of just want time with your family.”
Before wrapping up this portion of the interview, The Miz asked Paquette what were some of her goals going forth in the entertainment industry. With rumors swirling that Paquette will join AEW once her non-compete clause ends, she admitted to The Miz that she would like to pursue other television hosting jobs outside of professional wrestling.
“I still want to get that Kelly Ripa gig, man. That’s always been that quintessential…staying in that hosting role either in the daytime or nighttime gig,” Renee Paquette replied. “Coming from WWE, we all have other things that we’re good at. I feel like me in that variety bit show is what I want to do.”
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.