How The Miz’s rise through reality TV has made him the ultimate entertainer

WWE, The Miz, Maryse (Photo by: Jesse Grant/USA Network/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)
WWE, The Miz, Maryse (Photo by: Jesse Grant/USA Network/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images) /

Ahead of the Cannonball season finale, The Miz talks to Daily DDT about his latest venture, Season 2 of Miz & Mrs., continuing to perform at his highest level in WWE, and more.

Former WWE champion. The Real World alum. Star of Miz & Mrs. Host of USA Network’s Cannonball. WWE Studios staple.

Mike “The Miz” Mizanin has had many titles over the course of his career (both figuratively and literally), but he oftentimes refers to himself as the most must-see Superstar in all of entertainment. That’s more true now than ever before with all of the projects he’s involved in at the moment, including Cannonball every Thursday night on USA Network.

The show has been airing new episodes throughout the summer and will have its grand season finale this Thursday night. From there, fans of The Awesome One will have the remainder of Season 2 of Miz & Mrs. to look forward to this fall, also on USA Network.

This past Tuesday, September 1, marked 14 years since Miz made his official in-ring debut on SmackDown. In that time, he’s captured countless championships and even headlined WrestleMania against John Cena in 2011.

Despite his current commitments outside of the wrestling world, Miz remains an active competitor for Friday Night SmackDown and has been doing great work alongside his longtime tag team partner John Morrison. In fact, the two reigned as SmackDown Tag Team champions as recently as April.

The feedback to him hosting Cannonball has been overwhelmingly positive, Miz admits.

“Honestly, the feedback has been better than I ever could have expected,” he told Daily DDT in an exclusive interview conducted over the phone. “I didn’t expect this show to be as popular [as it has been], I didn’t expect NBC as well as USA to be behind it. I didn’t expect Cannonball to be on NBC, but NBC Universal loved it so much that they wanted more and more of it and I’ve been wowed by it. It’s just a fun show, especially when there’s been so much drama and conflict in this world. I think people need a chance to just revamp themselves and just laugh and this show gives you exactly that. We’ve just been having fun with it.

“It’s been a great show and all my friends want to be on it now,” he continued. “Not only that but WWE Superstars. Sasha Banks comes up to me every week and says, ‘So, when am I going to be on Cannonball?’ I’m like, look, if we get another season, and judging by the popularity of Cannonball I feel like we will, I think we got to have a WWE version of Cannonball.”

Miz has excelled at virtually everything he’s set out to do in the entertainment, but no one project is identical to another. Especially now, with no fans in attendance for WWE’s shows, it’s become both tougher and easier in certain respects to perform.

That’s drastically different from Cannonball, where he isn’t cutting promos on the cuff as much and is instead playing off his co-host, Rocsi Diaz. In WWE, he’s used to feeding off the energy of the audience but finds himself making the most of the current circumstances.

“There’s no teleprompter,” he said. “That’s all in my head and it’s live. Well, it used to be live in front of 20,000 people, now we have virtual fans out there in the ThunderDome in Orlando, but that’s the difference. Whenever you have 20,000 people and you have hecklers heckling at you the entire time, which we encourage and allow our WWE Universe to be involved with everything that we do, so if I say something they don’t like, you can hear them cheer. You can hear them boo if I say something they don’t like. With Cannonball, I don’t have that. I have a teleprompter and we tell people the rules and what’s going on. Honestly, they give me freedom to do whatever I want. Roxxi and I, we’re really good playing off one another. The idea is to entertain and make people laugh and literally I never thought I would be singing on a nationally televised show, but here I am making up country songs on the spot.”

The Awesome One couldn’t imagine a scenario 20 years ago where he was as much of a multimedia, mainstream star as he is today. His work on The Real World was really what got him going and gave him the confidence he needed to become the ultimate entertainer he is today.

“When I was on The Real World, Bunim/Murray was the production company. Now, with Miz & Mrs., I had a choice for what production company I wanted to use for that show and I chose Bunim/Murray because of the relationship I had with them on The Real World,” Miz said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for MTV’s The Real World. If I wasn’t on that show, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to leave college, move to L.A. and pursue my dreams. My life, if I didn’t get on The Real World, probably would have been dropping out of college, moving back to Cleveland, and working for my dad flipping burgers for the rest of my life.”

On the subject of his eccentric father, George Mizanin, Miz confirmed that fans of Miz & Mrs. can expect to see a whole lot more of him on the remainder of Season 2, coming to USA Network this November.

“You’re going to see a lot more of George, let me tell you,” he said. “My dad is now retired from work and that means he has a lot of time on his hands, so what does that mean for me? I’m seeing a lot more of my dad. Everybody loves my dad it seems to be because whenever he’s on Miz & Mrs. or WWE, he sets the internet on fire. I imagine people are going to be really excited to see more of him on Miz & Mrs. this season.”

Season 2 got off to a strong start earlier this year and the rest of it is set to be equally entertaining according to Miz. It will consist of 14 episodes, airing every week on USA Network going into the new year, and will feature a lot of laughter, fun, and even conflict.

“We see Madison get born and we see Maryse’s and my dynamic with how we take care of two children,” he said. “Let me tell you something: it is mayhem. One child was a lot, it’s difficult, but two is a whole other level. I teach Monroe how to swim and I’m still doing that to this day and I want her to be a really good swimmer and every day I’m teaching her out to swim. A couple of weeks back, the coolest moment happened where I was really far out, almost into the deep end, and I told Monroe to swim to me. Usually, she’s really nervous, but here’s the funniest part. She goes, ‘3, 2, 1, Cannonball!’ and jumps in and starts swimming. I was joking, but she’s two. Instead of ‘3, 2, 1, go!’ I was going ‘3, 2, 1, Cannonball!’ and I did it once. Literally, after that, all she does is ‘3, 2, 1, Cannonball!’ every time, so that’s her go.”

A case can be made for Miz being one of the busiest men in all of entertainment, right up there with The Rock and Chris Jericho. In addition to being a husband and a dad to two girls, he’s constantly thinking about what his next project is going to be.

He isn’t opposed to playing celebrity golf tournaments and partaking in fantasy football occasionally, either. When asked about how he finds the time to do all of these things, he simply said that he’s almost always in work mode and Maryse, his wife, is no different.

“Well, I don’t really have much downtime, which is what I like,” Miz admitted. “My mind is always going, my wife’s mind is always going. When our kids go to sleep, most people would go and relax and watch TV. Maryse and I will sit down and start talking about different things and projects that we want to do with our production company. We have something in development right now with WWE Studios that we’ve been working on and are really passionate about as well as another show with Bunim/Murray. We’ve been working on the sizzle and the deck. They were renovating our house and we were watching them work, and we thought, ‘Oh my god, this is a television show and this is something we think people will really enjoy because we enjoy watching them.’ We developed the deck, we got a sizzle together, and now we’re going to go to the network with it.

“Even with Cannonball, with Miz & Mrs., with WWE, we’re still thinking of other things to do,” he continued. “With me, right now I’m enjoying what I’m doing with Miz & Mrs. and Cannonball, I think one thing missing from my collective entertainment career is big budget movies. I look at The Rock and John Cena and Batista and I’m trying to figure out ways to get myself into that realm. Not to mention animation, as I haven’t really dove into animation yet, so I’m still looking into those things as well.”

Despite everything he’s accomplished up to this point, getting approval from his parents has given Miz more satisfaction than most of the movies, matches and shows he’s been a part of. His dad George in particular has been notoriously difficult to please, but seeing the process for Miz & Mrs. being put together has made Mr. Miz realize how big of a star his son truly is.

Of course, that’s right behind the time George got a WrestleMania moment of his own at WrestleMania 36 when Miz took on Shane McMahon and George took center stage.

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“I said I would be on The Real World and my parents didn’t really care until they were on the show. Then it was like, ‘Oh my god, this is a big deal.’ My dad’s always told me I’m not doing the right stuff in WWE and how I should be more like Kofi Kingston and do more flying up in the air like AJ Styles, so when he was in the ring with Shane McMahon and put up his dukes and became viral on the internet, it was a huge moment for him. I honestly think it’s Miz & Mrs., seeing how we do the show and how hard it is to be in front of a camera. I think they’re understanding my talents and what we do to make a show as successful as it is. They weren’t aware of that and didn’t realize that until we started shooting it, so I think them being able to be a part of Miz & Mrs. and see how it’s done and get a little notoriety from that as well, I think they’re really happy with that.”

Catch the season finale of Cannonball this Thursday at 8/7c on USA Network.