Holding a toy championship belt in one duke and a bandy pillow in the other, Mike Mizanin stood aloft a couch and airish triumphantly.
He had aloof reclaimed the artificial appellation from his housemates afterwards hitting them with a alternation of pantomimed punches and block them through the house. He activated a cartoonish adaptation of the barb hold, batten in a bassy articulation and sauntered forth the attic as he messed about with Coral Smith and Lori Trespicio. And now the costume-store championship was his again, a actuality fabricated bright by his affected attitude on the furniture.
This was an accustomed afterimage in the house.
Cameras generally bent Mizanin morphing into his adapt ego, The Miz. During his time on The Real World: Aback to New York in 2001, a academy kid from Parma, Ohio, became an amalgamation of pro angry personalities.
“There were pieces of Ultimate Warrior, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, DX [D-Generation X], you name it. I was demography from all of them,” Mizanin told Bleacher Report of the afflatus for his Miz character.
He roughhoused with his housemates. He captivated a lamp to his aperture as he issued debris talk. He grew brash, loud and ridiculous.
Mizanin couldn’t apperceive at the time that these ventures into addition cocky would be the alpha of a WWE career.
What began as a antic act from a frat boy concluded up actuality the aboriginal accomplish into the apple of the boxlike circle. Eventually, Mizanin would become The Miz abounding time. Years afterwards his six-month assignment on absoluteness TV, he became one of WWE’s best apparent faces, captivation the WWE Championship, confined as intercontinental best six times and headlining WrestleMania XXVII.
Before cutting those gold straps, though, he aboriginal agitated about a artificial one, aback The Miz wasn’t a arena name, but a persona he slipped on for fun.
A built-in of Parma, Ohio, Mizanin went to academy beneath than 300 afar from his hometown.
His time at Miami of Ohio began commonly enough. He advised business, aing the Theta Chi fraternity, went to class, partied, the usual.
But while watching TV, he begin the afflatus to footfall into the absoluteness TV world.
“I bethink sitting on my couch on a Saturday watching reruns of The Real World. And it said, ‘Do you appetite to be on The Real World? Go to MTV.com and you can try out there.’ And I said, ‘I appetite to be on The Real World.’ And I beatific in my tape,” Mizanin recalled.
After producers advised the VHS of his admirers and interviewed him, Mizanin begin himself in a abode abounding of strangers in Greenwich Village, New York.
It was a shock to the arrangement for a adolescent Ohioan.
“I’m 20 years old. I move to New York City, the bigger melting pot in the world,” Mizanin explained. “You go in there. You accept these cameras on you. You accept attached you’ve never met before, bodies from all altered walks of life.”
Viewers could see how afflictive he was. Mizanin struggled to bang with his housemates aboriginal on.
He acquainted that he struggled to fit in from moment one.
“Right from the start, it acquainted like I was the outcast, the actuality that cipher was activity to like,” he said.
Things afflicted aback he began to actualize what become accepted as The Miz.
Mizanin issued over-the-top threats in a low, abrasive voice. He comatose into a bivouac to appearance it didn’t aching him. He amiss about beneath the guise of a wrestler advancing The Real World.
He told the cameras, “The Miz is a appearance I created. He’s basically a angry star. And he’s accessible for the big leagues.”
The Miz became a way to cope. It was the affectation he could abrasion at the masquerade.
“The Miz came in as a way to say absolutely what I was activity and not accept any repercussions for it because it was a appearance I was playing. That appearance became actual popular, not alone with admirers but with castmates,” Mizanin said.
The castmates asked him to reprise the role, to re-embrace the role.
“They were in on the joke,” he explained. “They were bedlam with me. And they admired it. They were accepting so abundant fun with it.”
After the appearance concluded and Mizanin had to acknowledgment to accustomed life, The Miz could accept calmly dissipated. It could accept been an act that he reflected on fondly, but instead backward actual abundant in the present.
Mizanin didn’t dream of WWE distinction aback he captivated up his toy championship or assertive his housemates from The Real Apple to corrupt with him. His angry persona was a amusement then.
But the crawling to access the arena anon hit.
After filming ended, Mizanin watched himself and his adapt ego aback on TV. Again, afflatus addled from the screen.
“In August, aback I started watching the show, I thought, ‘What do I appetite to do now?'” Mizanin said. “I was sitting in my bedchamber at my dad’s condo. I bethink seeing an activity amount of The Rock and going, ‘You apperceive what? I’m activity to become a WWE Superstar.'”
He sat at his computer and researched angry schools. Ultimate Pro Angry based in Southern California popped up. And luckily, he had an in.
Rick Bassman, the school’s founder, knew a absoluteness TV producer, Scott Freeman, who had formed on The Real World. That affiliation helped get the brawl rolling for Mizanin as a wrestler in training.
It didn’t amount that Mizanin had been on TV and developed a afterward of sorts. He started with a bare slate at angry school.
And at first, Bassman took little apprehension of him.
“I had over a thousand acceptance appear in through the door. We were absolutely abounding at the time. I was so hyper-focused on the giant, jacked-up guys at that point,” he explained.
The able-bodied and alluring John Cena stood out at UPW. Mizanin did not.
“I knew from day one that guy [Cena] was activity to be a star. It was appealing obvious. I absolutely wouldn’t accept had that consequence about Mike,” Bassman said.
Mizanin’s accustomed anatomy didn’t t the trainer’s eye, but unfortunately, his attitude did.
“I bethink him actuality absolutely aloof in the aboriginal stages,” Bassman recalled. “I absolutely prided myself on active a academy and a backstage that was cool copacetic and friendly. Mike didn’t absolutely fit that mold.”
The UPW headman absitively to adventure bottomward a aisle he hadn’t afore to antidote that.
The advance captivated shows at the training adeptness at times area the matches were fabricated on the atom and the trainees had to bound allotment calm a plan afore performing. Mizanin’s adversary that night was Sylvester Terkay, a 300-plus-pound alloyed martial artist and kickboxer.
Bassman instructed the big man to go afterwards Mizanin adamantine in the ring.
“He exhausted him up good,” he said of Terkay bridge paths with The Miz. “After the match, Mike came up to me and said, ‘I get it.’ And that airs was aloof gone immediately.”
After that abrupt shift, Mizanin began to t on to the art. He begin his stride bottomward a difficult path.
“He was advancing forth absolutely nicely. At that point, you could see that he was ultra-serious, and that he was probably going to go somewhere,” Bassman remarked.
And months later, at a appearance in Anaheim, California, Mizanin would get a campanology endorsement from a above apple champion.
Diamond Dallas Page stepped in to accomplish a adornment for the UPW promotion. He requested Mizanin as his partner. The brace took on Adam Pearce and Babi Slymm in advanced of about 700 people. DDP admired what he saw angry alongside the rookie.
“After the match, he (Page) came aback to me and said, ‘That guy’s activity to be a star,'” Bassman said.
To accomplish that status, though, a abundant workload accessible him. As abundant as absoluteness TV able for the talking ancillary of wrestling, it didn’t drag him accomplished his aeon at UPW. Bassman acclaimed that while Mizanin “was absolutely a acceptable promo guy,” he didn’t angle out from a accomplished crop of grapplers.
It would booty added stages in his change to appeal added attention.
A amalgam of his accomplished two adventures awaited. Mizanin would be both a angry abecedarian and a absoluteness appearance brilliant as allotment of WWE’s Tough Abundant in 2004.
This was the fourth division of WWE’s absoluteness appearance competition, and the aggregation chose to amp things up by accepting the finalists accomplish assorted challenges on its SmackDown show. This copy of Boxy Abundant additionally promised the champ a million-dollar contract.
Mizanin had a leg up on anybody abroad acknowledgment to The Real World.
“It got me adequate in advanced of the cameras,” he said of his absoluteness appearance experience. “Whenever I had an interview, it wasn’t a afraid situation. That was article I’d done for a continued time.”
“It showed me I could comedy up to the cameras. The camera was my friend,” Mizanin explained.
He additionally had a arch alpha over some of his antagonism acknowledgment to what he abstruse at UPW. But didn’t accept an able-bodied bend over closing champ Daniel Puder, who was an MMA fighter afore signing up for Tough Enough.
Puder hadn’t apparent Mizanin on MTV, but afterwards a quick chase on the computer he apparent how abundant of a name his adolescent adversary already had.
When the MMA fighter saw Mizanin in action, he came abroad impressed.
“I anticipation he was smart. He knew how to body a name. He knew how to create what he wanted,” Puder said of the man who would become The Miz.
In Puder’s mind, Mizanin was driven, but not as abundant as himself. That’s what accustomed him to appear the victor, banishment Mizanin to achieve for the runner-up spot.
“I exhausted him in a mile chase every day. He capital to exhausted me. I came in training harder than him for what this was. But he was a acceptable athlete,” Puder said.
If anyone absolved Mizanin as too bendable for the boxlike circle, they were bound accepted wrong.
Mizanin took the around-the-clock abuse of the training and strode on. His aback accursed adjoin the canvas over and over. Trainers rode him and his aeon hard.
Puder begin himself apropos the guy from MTV.
“He’s a boxy guy. That’s why he’s gotten so far in life,” Puder said. “When you go into WWE and you’re in there for added than a bout and you get pounded, you’re tough. Aback you accumulate advancing aback day afterwards day afterwards day, you’re tough.”
“He accomplished adamantine in the gym. He listened. Out of all the added guys, I’d say he was the one that absolutely pushed the envelope.”
That blame and training was abundant to t WWE’s eye, alike with the second-place accomplishment in the competition.
WWE exec John Laurinaitis afterwards alleged up Mizanin to activity him a development accord with the company’s then-feeder arrangement Deep South Angry in McDonough, Georgia.
As abundant as his acquaintance with The Real Apple able him for WWE activity by bombarding him with interviews, it additionally accomplished Mizanin how to advance about he didn’t feel comfortable.
When he formed his way up to the capital agenda in 2006, he was met with his fair allotment of resistance.
He was the “MTV guy” who didn’t belong. He was the outsider.
Mizanin put it simply: “I wasn’t liked.”
“I anticipate of WWE as a fraternity. You accept the admirers involved. You accept the WWE Superstars involved. And you accept me absent to be a allotment of the fraternity and no one accepting me,” he said.
Fans generally absolved him as a C-list celebrity accepting an befalling he didn’t deserve. He didn’t accept the indy cred that catholic wrestlers like CM Punk had.
His career became a continued alternation of moments area he accepted himself, from his tag aggregation success alongside John Morrison to his contempo memorable reigns as intercontinental champ.
It wasn’t until the aftermost few years that the majority of the admirers started to acknowledge Mizanin’s able-bodied ability, his ability of his appearance and the accent exact jabs he throws.
The accepted adaptation of The Miz is a brash, egoistic jerk who believes himself bigger than anyone else. He and his wife Maryse strut about the WWE landscape, cutting sunglasses central and demography pot shots at everyone.
It’s actual little like the loud, in-your-face persona he played while on The Real World. He’s acquired the appearance as he’s anchored himself as one of WWE’s key figures.
Mizanin relishes the acclivous attributes of his ascend to this point.
“Every ounce of account I accept today, I had to earn,” he said. “I assumption I’m animated for it because it fabricated me the actuality I am today and I like me.”
Today, he’s demography on a new ascend in a medium—acting.
Playing the activity hero Jake Carter for the third time, Mizanin starred in The Marine 5: Battleground. The cine alternation has affected him to dive into a altered ancillary of himself.
“You appetite to basis for Jake Carter,” Mizanin explained.
“Every time I appear into the Jake Carter character, I anticipate of him as Mike from Parma. The kid that aloof capital to be a WWE Superstar who would assignment adamantine and activity for everything.”
The annulment of the characters is clear. The Miz is a self-server; Carter is a protector.
And abnormally enough, in this latest cine role, he begin himself amidst by accustomed faces from his WWE gig. Superstars Naomi, Curtis Axel, Heath Slater, Bo Dallas and Mizanin’s wife Maryse all brilliant in the activity flick.
Mizanin credits some of his contempo success with accepting Maryse so aing to him.
“The acumen I’ve had such a acceptable 2016 and 2017 is because I get to accept my wife with me at all times. She pushes me. She drives me,” Mizanin said.
“To accept her there on the cine set to shoot a arena is aloof an complete bonus.”
Movies may be Mizanin’s go-to art anatomy at some point. If he proves himself there as he did in the WWE ring, success awaits him. And he’s triumphantly gone from one belvedere to the aing before.
As his old trainer Bassman acicular out, he had to assignment adamantine for his success.
“He didn’t appear in with all the ability of a accustomed athlete,” Bassman recalled. “He had to appear from the pack.
“He redesigned himself. He recreated who he was,” Puder said of his above Boxy Abundant competition. “He’s done absolutely well. I’m absolutely appreciative of him.”
From Ohio kid to absoluteness TV brilliant to WrestleMania amateur to actor; that redesigning action for Mizanin rolls on.
The Miz (@MiketheMiz) is a above WWE and intercontinental champion. He has starred in three installments of the blur alternation The Marine.
Daniel Puder (@DanielPuder) won the 2004 WWE Boxy Abundant competition. He is a above MMA fighter and architect of the nonprofit My Activity My Power.
Rick Bassman (@rick_bassman) is the architect of Ultimate Pro Wrestling, aptitude abettor and the columnist of Little Big Man.
Ryan Dilbert is the WWE advance biographer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were acquired immediate unless contrarily noted.
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