WWE Superstar The Miz is a man of many talents. Between the ropes, the dude’s pretty much perfect, capable of brawling away with dudes like The Big Show and Sheamus while also executing solid technical moves against a guy like Daniel Bryan. His catchphrase (simply “I’m awesome!”) is memorable, funny and plays to Mike “The Miz” Mizanin’s charming and often funny personality. First appearing on reality television by way of The Real World: Back To New York, The Miz honed his over-the-top, ultra-aggressive personality among his roommates/cast mates during that season, often to hilarious result.
The Miz is currently starring in The Marine 3: Homefront, in which he plays Jake Carter, a Special Forces sergeant returning home from active duty only to find his niece and her boyfriend kidnapped by extremist Jonas Pope (Neil McDonough). The Marine franchise kicked off with John Cena’s feature, then followed by Ted DiBiase Jr.’s sequel. Receiving a much-needed shot of personality, The Miz’ entry into the franchise looks to be an action-packed and fun jaunt.
While on a day off from the WWE, The Miz was nice enough to take some time to chat about The Marine 3: Homefront and the life of a WWE Superstar. Note: In real life, I have a tendency to say “awesome” a lot. I don’t know why, I just do. So, The Miz made sure to bust chops a bit when I would inadvertently drop his signature catchphrase from time to time during out chat. I certainly wasn’t meaning to, it’s just a normal thing for me to say.
I kicked the interview off by asking what it’s like stepping into the franchise after DiBiase Jr. and Cena both took cracks at the franchise. While each Superstar played a different character, its only natural for fans to compare. “When they asked if I’d like to star in The Marine 3: Homefront, I jumped at the chance, it’s an opportunity of a lifetime. The Marine franchise has been very successful for WWE Studios and hopefully I can prolong that success and hopefully it’ll be the best one that’s been done. I certainly feel it will be, but hopefully sales will reflect that, as well.”
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson squared off against Neil McDonough in the remake of Walking Tall. I was interested to see if the once-M. Bison was much of a threat to The Miz. “Neil McDonough gives a lot of people a run for their money, man. Whether it’s Captain America, The Rock or any of the TV shows he’s been on. The guy steals the show and does an incredible job. He was absolutely incredible to be with, both on-screen and behind the scenes. You know, just talking to a guy like that, a veteran actor, you know, I’m the type of person to want to learn from a guy like that. I’d wanna’ see how he does it, you know? And so, just sitting there and observing how he attacks a character helped me out a lot. You know, it was just really cool being against him, even though, of course, The Miz always shines through in the end, as Jake Carter, USMC.”
I’ve always been curious about how difficult it is for a professional wrestler to establish themselves in the WWE. You can watch a documentary like Beyond The Mat or any number of the WWE-produced docs, but you never really could get the true story of what it takes to succeed. I wasn’t expecting The Miz to be quite so candid when he responded: “The WWE has so many great Superstars. It’s very difficult to get to that main event-level. Everyone’s fighting for it, you’re in a shark tank. When someone sees any type of weakness, they’re going to exploit it and expose it to others. Luckily, my weaknesses weren’t on display too much and I was able to battle through the grounds and attack folks and go after what I always wanted: main event at Wrestlemania. I did that at Wrestlemania 27. I’m looking forward to Wrestlemania 30 where I can maybe main event once again. This year’s Wrestlemania (29) is going to be incredible, but the main events are pretty much locked down at this point.”
Chatting about Wrestlemania brought us back to the reality television concept. It would seem that a guy with substantial time in front of the camera for MTV would only be a natural in front of the camera for the WWE. This has definitely proven to be the case for The Miz. “It was pretty much hell going from The Real World and entering the WWE. The WWE Universe, the fans, they’re like a fraternity. Anyone on the outside, someone trying to become a WWE Superstar is unwanted. Nobody wants a reality star to become successful because reality stars aren’t talented individuals. More often than not, they’re just living their lives in front of the camera. However; that’s exactly what I didn’t want to happen. I worked really hard on the independent scenes and worked my way up through the WWE. It took me a very long time to gain respect, and to be honest, I still think I’m gaining respect with fans, as time progresses. Right now, in the WWE locker room, I’m one of the veterans, one of the guys who's been there the longest, so, it’s pretty cool that I’ve lasted longer than I was expected to last. Nobody thought I’d last this long.”
“That’s awesome,” I replied, not realizing the mine field I walked into.
“Oh, trust me, I know. I say it every week,” The Miz said, chuckling.
We started talking about how most actors and professional wrestlers prefer to play the villain or “heel” instead of playing the hero or “face.” These are wrestling terms for the uninitiated. There are entirely too many more to write here, but if you ever read an interview with “Big Sexy” Kevin Nash, he has a tendency to drop them all from time to time.
“Well, now, I’m being looked at as a good guy, which is weird, because I’m still the same exact person I was before, but now I’m just doing things to the Superstars the fans don’t like, or, at least, the ones they like less than me,” The Miz said, adding “It’s weird an interesting, and I really enjoy it. I’ve always given the audience what they give me back. If the audience boos me and tell me I suck and that they hate me, I’m gonna’ dish it right back to ‘em. If they’re going to cheer me, I’ll embrace it. I’ve always been that cocky, brash, egotistical Superstar, but now I’m their cocky, brash, egotistical Superstar.”
On the subject of faces and heels, I asked The Miz who his favorite WWE Superstar to work with is. “I think you always want to work with the best, so, whoever is the WWE Champion or World Heavyweight Champion at the time, that’s who you want to go up against. Right now, I’d say The Rock and Alberto Del Rio. They’re Champions, they have the thing everyone wants in the WWE.”
Wrestling’s not an easy form of entertainment. Countless wrestlers have endured tremendous injuries, some even fatal. I was interested in finding out exactly which was worse, the stunts for The Marine 3: Homefront or the bumps in the WWE (particularly The Big Show’s “Weapon of Mass Destruction”). “Any time you’re going against the world’s largest athlete, a seven-foot tall, 400-plus Superstar, you’re definitely not going to wanna’ get the knockout punch from him, he’s not a dude you wanna’ mess with. As far as The Marine 3: Homefront’s stunts go, I’d love to say that I bruised ribs, broke my fingers, my wrists and that I soldiered through, but I really only had the following injury: In one scene, I was gonna’ go through a door, and basically, the bad guy on the other side of the door kicked the door in and it hit me in the foot. I ended up losing my big toe nail. Let me tell you something now, that doesn’t sound like it hurt that much or that it wouldn’t be that bad, but it hurt worse than like, when I broke my ankle or anything else. It was the worst, it was horrible. So yeah, I lost my big toe nail doing one of the stunts for The Marine 3: Homefront and it killed. I still went on to shoot the entire fight scene, since it was the first one of the day and we had to do the whole thing. It was eight hours of stunts. I’m a trooper, if you will, for fighting without a toe nail. Thankfully, it grew back, so I’m okay!”
The Miz is one of the illustrious few who stands as a Triple Crown Champion. That is to say, he’s won the tag team championship, the Intercontinental (my personal favorite belt) and the WWE Championship. He’s one of 25 men to ever hold such a prestigious title. While 25 might seem like a lot, when you take a look at his company on that list (Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, to name a few), you see that it’s pretty elite. Not even a legend like The Undertaker is a Triple Crown Champion.
“It’s one of the proudest things I’ve ever done in the WWE, other than headlining Wrestlemania 27. I get to say that I’ve held every single title except for one in the WWE. That’s incredible. When you first get into the WWE, you just want any title. You don’t care which one, let alone being former tag team, United States, Intercontinental, WWE Champion, not to mention Slammy Award winner and Money In The Bank, not only have I met my expectations, I’ve exceeded them.”
My last question for The Miz was related to film and whether or not he’d like to continue exploring different genres, like The Rock. “I want it all, man. Whenever I set out to do anything, I want it all. Right now, my goal is set to do another movie, The Christmas Bounty, which we’re about to film in April. It’s a Christmas movie, obviously, and will be on ABC Family. I’m excited to be a part of it and partnering up with ABC and making a fun movie.”
To close, I wanted The Miz to have the last word(s). “I’m The Miz. I’m awesome. I’m the most must-see WWE Superstar of all-time. I have so many catchphrases at this point, I could just do them all at once.”