From 'The Real World' to WWE

An ex-reality TV star chased his dreams and put them into submission


Mike “The Miz” Mizanin is a WWE wrestler and former reality TV star who was born in Parma, Ohio.

Not only has he been a WWE Champion, but he is also a Triple Crown Champion, a title given to wrestlers who have been the World Heavyweight Champion, World Tag Team Champion and WWE Tag Team Champion. He was also on MTV’s "The Real World: Back to New York" and multiple "The Real World" spin-off challenge shows.

He said he is thankful for the opportunity to be on those shows, because they put him in position to become a WWE wrestler. He was raised in the Cleveland area and is a diehard Cleveland Indians, Browns and Cavaliers fan.

The Miz is a Tim Tebow fan and thinks the Jacksonvile Jaguars should give him a chance. He loves heavy metal music and spoke highly of Bullet for My Valentine and Five Finger Death Punch. However, if you ever run into The Miz in public, don't ask him about LeBron James.

The Miz will be part of the WWE Live event June 9 at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, headlined by John Cena defending his title against “The Unstoppable” Ryback in a Tables Match.

The Miz will be part of a trio called “The Viper,” along with Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan, and will fight a trio from “The Shield” — Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. Other notable wrestlers on the card, which is subject to change, are R-Truth, Fandango, Zack Ryder, Antonio Cesaro, Tons of Funk, Team Rhodes Scholars and the Divas.

Folio Weekly: When did you just know you wanted to be a wrestler?

The Miz: When you are a kid, you don’t think you could ever do something like that because the superstars are larger than life. When I realized this is something I can actually do and pursue, it was actually after I got on “The Real World,” because when you grow up in Parma, Ohio, you kind of go to college. After college, you go back to where you live and you get a job and a family. That’s just what you do, but when I got on “The Real World,” I realized I could do whatever I wanted with my life, so I said I’m going to become a WWE superstar. I also loved “Ultimate Warrior.” I would paint my face and put steamers on my arms and run around cutting promos like the “Ultimate Warrior” and annoying my mom all day, every day.

F.W.: What wrestlers did you watch growing up that influenced your decision to pursue wrestling?

T.M.: When I was growing up, I was huge into tag-team wrestling. I loved the Rockers, Marty Janetty and Shawn Michaels. I remember my friend and I always playing and I would always be Janetty and he would be Michaels, even though I feel like now that every tag team you go in, you want to be the Shawn Michaels because of the success he has had in the WWE.

F.W.: After dreaming of being a wrestler for so long, how did it feel to become a WWE champion?

T.M.: It’s pretty incredible. Dreams are supposed to be meant for when you’re sleeping or for when you’re like ‘I wish I could do this.’ They’re not really supposed to happen, but my dream not only happened, I exceeded it. To win the WWE championship, there is no feeling like it, especially when I won it and people didn’t really want that. They hated it and they booed me out of the building and I absolutely loved the feeling. There is no greater feeling than either getting booed out of the building or cheered and loved. There is no greater feeling than when I won the WWE championship.

F.W.: How much time do you spend training and working out to maintain the form you need to compete the WWE?

T.M.: I make sure I work out every group of muscles once per week at least. I make sure I do enough cardio and it’s all about eating. When they say you are what you eat, truer words cannot be spoken. I just think you should eat the correct foods and as long as you’re eating the right foods and exercising daily, you’re going to have the body you want.

F.W.: Have you ever been part of any WWE events in Jacksonville and if you have, how did you like it here?

T.M.: Oh, I’ve been to Jacksonville many times and every time, the fans are fantastic. Every time we come back there, they always greet us with open arms. I just love it, whether they’re booing me or cheering me, as long as they’re reacting and being entertained. That’s all that matters.

F.W.: What are your thoughts on fighting the trio called The Shield in your six-man tag-team match here in Jacksonville?

T.M.: The Shield’s whole thing is that they’re getting rid of the injustices of the WWE, but now that they’re tag-team champions and United States champions, the way I see it is as long as they’re on top, everything is OK. I feel like they’re very me-me-me-oriented. When I take them on in Jacksonville, along with Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton, we’re going to basically show them the injustices they’re putting in the WWE.

F.W.: Do you have a prediction for the tables match between WWE champion John Cena and Ryback?

T.M.: I’ve been against John Cena in the ring. I’ve been against Ryback. I went against John Cena in the biggest stage of them all at Wrestlemania XXVII and defeated him, but I know the heart and dedication that John Cena has and when he’s WWE champion, he’s hard to knock off. Ryback is definitely a viable contender, but if I’m going to have to pick one, I’m going with John Cena. The tables matches are above and beyond entertaining and they’re brutal, but they’re a lot of fun to watch. The fans are really going to enjoy it.

F.W.: Brock Lesnar went into MMA fighting and The Rock went into acting. Are there any career changes you’d consider if the circumstances were right?

T.M.: I’m enjoying being in the WWE. I love the live audience. I’ve done movies before. You don’t get that first response from that crowd when you’re doing a movie. You have a couple cameramen there that get to witness it. You don’t have 15,000 people booing you or cheering you. The WWE is the thing that I love and when it stops being fun, that’s when I’ll stop. I don’t ever see that happening.

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