Between the philanthropic appearances, autograph signings, movies and performing for millions on a weekly basis, The Miz is among the hardest working ambassadors for World Wrestling Entertainment.
The charismatic superstar will join Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan in action against the Shield’s Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 7 at the BB&T Center in (South Florida) Sunrise.
“I love South Florida,” Miz said.
“It’s always amazing. The crowd is always incredible. We’re bringing a jam-packed show. You’re getting WWE champion John Cena versus Ryback in a tables match, which are always entertaining matches. Not only that, you’re getting The Shield versus Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan and myself. So hopefully we can give them their first loss.
“Not only that we are bringing R-Truth, Fandango, Rhodes Scholars, Tons of Funk, it’s just going to be a jam-packed, absolutely entertaining show. Bring the friends, bring the family, tell everybody because it’s going to be fun. I definitely have some heart for Florida because Florida brought me the WWE championship in Orlando.”
The popular grappler recently spoke at the You Convention in Berlin, Germany on behalf of WWE’s ‘Be a STAR’ (Show Tolerance and Respect) anti-bullying campaign. For Miz, real name Mike Mizanin, it’s these opportunities to potentially make a difference in someone’s life that helps him stay motivated in maintaining his busy schedule.
“I don’t know how I do it to be completely honest with you,” Miz said with a laugh.
“It’s just one of those things where you have something like the You Convention where you get to go there and do speeches for ‘Be a STAR’. That is what keeps me going when you can motivate kids and young adults to stop bullying and prevent it. It’s fantastic. That’s what keeps me going.”
The Ohio native says he puts his personal life into all of his speeches. Often times he reflects back to his own experiences.
“Growing up as a kid in high school I was five-foot-nothing and a hundred-and-nothing,” Miz said.
“I wanted to play basketball. Everyone told me, ‘You’re not going to make the team. You’re not fast enough. You’re not athletic enough. You’re not tall enough.’
“I would just try to use my heart and dedication. I ended up making that team through that, not listening to that negativity and trying to be more positive with my life. I think everyone grows up, at least three out of four students is what we always say is admitting to being bullied. Bullying is not only a huge thing going on in the United States, but worldwide. So we are trying to make a difference with the ‘Be a STAR’ campaign.”
Miz is a success story, going from MTV’s “Real World” reality show to living his dream of being in WWE. In his tenth year in the business, the superstar is on a roster of talent hungry for similar results.
“I love having new talent come up,” Miz said.
“It’s great, and I think WWE is doing a great job bringing in new characters and new entertainment to the WWE Universe out there and new characters for me to play with out there. I mean now we have a guy that dances called Fandango and during one of my matches I’m wrestling, what does he do? He starts his music and starts dancing during my match. I’m sorry, but I’m the center of attention when I’m in the ring. Not Fandango. It’s been incredible to have all these new characters. It just makes it so much more fun.”
The multi-talented entertainer had the opportunity to work with a number of competitors recently called up in the last year from NXT, WWE’s developmental system.
“Antonio Cesaro is one of the toughest opponents I’ve had to face, and he was just a rookie at that time [when I worked with him,” Miz said.
“Imagine when he is a seasoned vet. He just keeps getting better and better and better. Then you have the Shield. The Shield hasn’t lost yet, whether it’s in a singles match or tag matches. They’re dominant. You look at this Bray Wyatt, definitely freaky and weird and interesting. I can’t wait for this guy to debut just to see what he [and the rest of the family] is all about. There is tons of up-and-coming talent, for me to pick a superstar to be the next Rock or the next [John] Cena, time will tell.”
In addition to getting a taste of the new crop of superstars in the ring, longtime WWE fan had the chance to work with one of his childhood heroes in Ric Flair. Since their association, Miz adopted the legend’s signature figure-four leg lock to his move set.
“It was amazing working with Ric Flair,” Miz said.
“Any time you get to work with someone you grew up watching and idolizing. It’s surreal. It’s not supposed to happen, but it happened to me. It has been incredible. The figure-four leg lock has worked out magnificently for me, so thank you to the ‘Nature Boy’, Woo!”
Even though the veteran performer has a proven track record in WWE, he never really considered himself the guy up-and-comers come up to and ask for advice.
“I guess they don’t look at me as that guy,” Miz said.
“Obviously, I have a wealth of knowledge, and if they do come up to me for advice, I will definitely give my two cents. I think still, even to this day, I get looked at as this reality star. I think people have realized my talent, but I don’t know. It’s a weird dichotomy I guess you could say.”
Miz looks back at the state of the company when he was breaking into WWE in 2004 and how the landscape has changed.
“I think every business you go in and every TV show and everything you do has to evolve,” Miz said.
“That is what WWE has been doing each and every year. We just keep evolving. You look at now. We don’t just have Raw and SmackDown. We have Superstars, we have Main Event, and we have [Saturday Morning] Slam. We have our YouTube channels. We now have a pre-show now on the pay-per-views, which get mega hits. It’s insane how smart WWE has been with their WWE.com, with their social media, Tout and Twitter. It’s just incredible what WWE has done. It’s just going to keep on evolving.”
The “must-see” former WWE champion says he is inspired by the fans to keep his character fresh and relevant.
“That crowd that pays their hard earned money to be entertained,” Miz said.
“That’s what it is all about to me. To makes sure I keep myself evolving and keep myself entertaining and make sure I entertain all those crowds because I know that is exactly what they want. I’m enjoying what I’m doing. So that’s what it’s all about.”
Despite all he has accomplished already in WWE, the driven superstar continues to set goals for himself.
“One of the things I haven’t had is the world heavyweight championship,” Miz said.
“So I think I need to go after that and grab that world heavyweight championship for once.”
Miz added movie star to his impressive resume starring in the “The Marine 3: Homefront,” a WWE Studios hit on DVD. The budding actor enjoys the film-making process.
“If WWE keeps giving me amazing scripts and great people to work with, I’m going to do it,” Miz said.
“I loved working on ‘The Marine 3: Homefront.’ Scott Wiper, the director, was fantastic. Neal McDonough, the lead villain, and Ashley Bell, who played my sister, are all great talents. Now I have ‘Christmas Bounty’ coming out on ABC Family, and WWE is doing a whole partnership with ABC Family for this movie that comes out during the ’25 Days of Christmas’.
“I’ve really had a blast with the actors and the directors that were working on it. So it’s so fun to do these movies, but am I going to leave WWE to do them. No, I enjoy the WWE Universe too much. The reaction is just incredible to me.”
Miz says his day job helped him make the smooth transition.
“I’m in front of a camera each and every week,” Miz said.
“I’m doing things that even in the acting world they don’t really do. I’m doing it live and in one take. So you have to get it right on one or the crowd will let you know you messed up.”
Whether it’s hosting Miz TV or broadcasting matches at ringside, he is up for the challenge.
“Anything WWE throws at me I look at it as an obstacle I can conquer,” Miz said.
“I will do my best to make it must-see, must-hear for commentating. Anything WWE throws at me I’m going to take it and use it.”
In the end, Miz is grateful for his blessings and to have a solid support system at home. This includes his fiancée and former WWE diva Maryse Ouellet.
“I have my dream girl,” Miz said.
“I finally found the one I’ve been looking for. It has been absolutely fantastic, but obviously with being on the road so much, it causes headaches because we want to see each other. So sometimes I bring her on the road with me, but she understands, and it’s great she understands with me being on the road and with me being with WWE. She knows I’m setting ourselves up for the life that we want.”
• Follow Miz on Twitter @MikeTheMiz.
• WWE returns to (South Florida) Sunrise for the first time since 2011 with a live event 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 7 at the BB&T Center.
WWE champ John Cena battles Ryback in a tables match. The Miz, Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan battle The Shield. R-Truth takes on Fandango with Summer Rae. Tons of Funk takes on the Rhodes Scholars. Rounding out the card is Zack Ryder versus Antonio Cesaro.
Talent subject to change.
Tickets, starting at $20, are on sale via TicketMaster online www.ticketmaster.com, outlets or by phone 800-745-3000, or you can go to the box office of the BB&T Center, home to the Florida Panthers hockey team.
• Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN, http://twitter.com/#!/smFISHMAN, where I post links and information. Opinions expressed reflect no other entity. I can also be found tweeting incessantly during wrestling shows weekly.