The Miz was interviewed this week on Renee Paquette’s “Oral Sessions” podcast. Miz talked about how he got to WWE, his time on The Real World, his wife Maryse, cashing in his Money In The Bank contract last weekend, and more.
Here are some highlights from the interview:
Miz talked about his relationship with Vince McMahon:
“I think Vince has always believed in me. It’s always been incredible, in my mind, that whenever I’ve had a conversation with him, I think he can tell that if he tells me something, I don’t just hear it. I listen to it, I absorb it, and I’m able to get exactly what he wants out of it and make sure that the big picture is in place. He can lean on me to do that. A lot of people go into Vince’s office and complain or say, ‘We need to do this. We need to do that.’ I’m not that guy. I’m a guy that says, ‘Vince needs this done. I can do that. Not only can I do that, but I can make it even better than what he wants it to be.’ I think that’s the trust that I’ve developed with him and with the company. The company knows this is my passion. This is my life. This is my love. There is nothing more I love than doing this. I love entertaining. I love being out in front of a live audience, granted we have a virtual audience now, but I still love that. There’s still an energy to that. There’s still a difficulty to it that no other entertainment business can understand. I just enjoy it.”
Miz was asked if he’s surprised that he is doing reality TV again and the struggles he had getting into WWE because he was a reality TV star:
“To be honest, I didn’t want to do reality television (again). Once I left The Challenge, I think it was in 2005, I got signed by WWE and I said, ‘I’m never doing reality again, and it wasn’t because I didn’t love reality. MTV was amazing to me. I loved what MTV did for me. But, back then, there was a huge stigma on reality stars. Reality stars were no good, no talent hacks, that were just on a camera. They couldn’t act. They couldn’t entertain. They couldn’t do anything but live their life on TV. That was their only talent. That was the mentality. 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 try to be in the entertainment world. I wanted to make sure that I made so much noise in everything entertainment, that WWE would see it and sign me. I was trying to get acting jobs because maybe if I got on a big show, WWE would say, ‘Oh, he’s on another big show. This guy must have something.’
WWE wasn’t knocking on my door right away when I was on The Real World. I had to do about four years of independent wrestling at Ultimate Pro Wrestling just to try to learn the art of professional wrestling. Finally, Tough Enough happened and I got a call that said, ‘Hey, you can try out for Tough Enough if you wanted.’ By the way, they wouldn’t let me try out for Tough Enough when I was on MTV. I don’t know who it was, but I was told I couldn’t try out for Tough Enough because I was already on The Real World, and back then, you couldn’t be on multiple shows that weren’t like a sister show of The Real World and The Real World/Road Rules Challenge. But, the Tough Enough I was going to be on was going to be on the CW. They said you can try out for this one. So, I went and I tried out.
Back to the stigma of being a reality star, when I would go to clubs or I would go out in L.A. and people would see me, they would turn their nose, I guess you can say. They would be like, ‘You’re a reality star. You’re not going to get into this club. You’re a nothing. You’re nobody.’ By the way, everyone knew exactly who I was. I was famous, but I wasn’t rich, at all. I was literally broke and I couldn’t get an audition, by the way. You know what I was doing for money? I was doing club appearances. Back then, clubs would pay you to host clubs. It was my promo class. That was where I could literally hone my craft into promos. Everything I did was goal oriented to be WWE. I found every tool I possibly could that I felt WWE has as a Superstar and I was utilizing it. When I came to L.A., I had a nutritionist whom I paid $100 a month to give me what I knew and then I had a trainer that would help me out for free. I had a trainer. I had a nutritionist. I had improv classes that I made sure that I was able to pay for. I was barely scraping by.
The way I made money is I would do these club appearances where I could cut promos. Also, colleges would hire me. I never graduated college and they would hire me to come to their schools to talk about my experience on The Real World because it’s so much like the college experience. Literally, I was performing in front of thousands of people, motivational speeches that I would write and I was a twenty something year old doing that. That’s how I was making my money while doing these Challenges while basically making T-Shirts. I saw WWE was big into merchandise, so I made these T-Shirts and created a brand. I had everyone on the show wear these T-Shirts and wear the hats. Every cast member was so supportive of me being a WWE Superstar.
Still, WWE never came calling. I think I sold, in my first year, $100,000 worth of T-Shirts. Everyone that ever bought a T-Shirt from me, I did it. I put it in the envelope. I would go to the post office every day. These were all the things I was doing to get noticed by WWE, but I couldn’t get an audition. Nobody would audition me because they said, ‘We know who you are. You’re The Miz from The Real World. You’re Mike from The Real World. You’re just a reality star.’ So when I got to WWE, nobody wanted me there because I was a reality star. Nobody wanted to learn that I was doing independent wrestling. I was trying to learn the craft. Nobody cared. Back then, it was way different than it is now.
Then, cut to years later, I’m told, ‘We would love to do a reality show with you.’ I said, ‘No, absolutely not.’ It was a 100% no. They said, ‘We really think it would be good.’ 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, “We would love for WWE Studios to produce this if you want.’ They said, ‘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.’ This is at a moment where I was doing bits and pieces for Maryse to do Total Divas. I told them, ‘I’m not doing a lot on Total Divas’, because I didn’t want the stigma that I remembered 15 years before being on The Real World. I wanted to do movies, I want to host, and all these things in entertainment and I couldn’t do those things back then because nobody would let me in the door and I didn’t want them to do that again. So, I said to Maryse, ‘You know what? Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, it’s all a reality show nowadays. Everything’s a reality show. I started getting the confidence that I can do my own thing. I don’t have to take the path of The Rock, John Cena, Batista, I can do my own path and be my own Superstar and be the only Miz there has ever been. I said, ‘I’m going to do this reality show.’ Maryse motivated me and she has always been my big support system. We said, ‘Let’s do this, but we’re going to do it our way. We have to be the executive producers and we have to have full say.’ I told Maryse, ‘The best reality shows, the best things you can put on there, is when you have butterflies in your stomach and not in your throat and you don’t want it to air. That’s what people want to see, and that’s what we’re going to give them.” We did it our way and it’s been a success.”