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The Miz assumes a starring role
By JAN MURPHY - Kingston Whig-Standard


The Miz listens for a reaction at a WWE show in Sacramento, Calif. in January 2013. Photo by Devin Chen, www.chdevinphotos.com

With the exception of The Rock, few WWE Inc. superstars are busier these days than Mike Mizanin, a.k.a. The Miz.

He's a mainstay on WWE programming, whether it be wrestling or hosting his popular Miz TV segments or even helping out on the commentary and he's the star of the company's latest film, The Marine 3: Homefront, which will hit stores on March 5. That doesn't even take into account the rigorous travelling that goes along with being a wrestling, TV and film star.

For his part, Mizanin couldn't be happier.

"I love it," Mizanin said over the phone from Texas this week. "Whenever you're jam-packed, you have no days off, you're like, 'Man, all I want is one day off,' but then when you have too many days off, you're like, 'Man, I just want to be back on the road.' It's always (a) grass is always greener (scenario).

"I'm loving it. I get to perform in front of thousands and thousands of people, and millions at home," he said. "I get that opportunity to do that. I get to go to Monday Night Raw and perform in front of a sold-out American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Not only that, but I get to go on to SmackDown where we're going to be in Oklahoma City, sold out again, and perform there in front of thousands of people.

"Not only that, I get to come Saturday to the K-Rock Centre at 7:30 p.m. in Kingston and I get to perform there in front of the thousands of people there," he said, referring to his appearance in this city on Saturday. "It's an incredible, incredible thing."

Working for the largest sports entertainment company on earth certainly has its perks.

"You get opportunities of a lifetime," Mizanin added. "I got to film The Marine 3: Homefront. It's just incredible. "To film a movie, to be performing in front of all these people, it's like a dream come true."

Mizanin is no stranger to being in front of a camera, having first gained fame as a cast member on MTV's The Real World: Back to New York, and its spinoff series Real World/Road Rules Challenge. He later appeared on the televised WWE show Tough Enough.

He also had a small role in the Will Ferrell/Zach Galifianakis hit The Campaign.

But The Marine is Mizanin's first starring role. To say he enjoyed would be an understatement.

"Oh my god, are you kidding me?" he asked, his voice rising. "It was incredible. I spent about a month up in Vancouver, getting to play with guns and explosions ... like a kid in a candy store."

What, he was asked, was it like to see yourself in film, while watching the final product?

"It's interesting," Mizanin said. "My dad says it the best. He's like, 'I don't know how I'm going to feel about you being in a movie.' And I'm like, 'Why Dad?' And he's like, 'Well, because in the movie, you have sisters, but I know you don't have sisters.' I'm like, 'Yeah, Dad, but what about when I'm in WWE and I'm The Miz?' And he's like, 'Yeah, but that's just you, I can see that.' I'm like, 'Dad, thank you, thank you very much for your support.' It's always fun with my Dad."

A starring role in the WWE and in feature films ... hmm ... sounds familiar. Another WWE superstar, The Rock -- perhaps megastar is a better description -- has carved out a pretty nice living for himself blending those platforms.

That's not lost on Mizanin.

"You go to a movie theatre right now, and all you see is The Rock ... he's got G.I. Joe: Retaliation, he's got Snitch, he's got all these movies coming out," Mizanin points out. "I mean this guy has become a box office hit. With The Marine 3 coming out ... that's somewhere where I want to go. This is just the start. Now I'm going to go film Christmas Bounty for ABC Family and hopefully I can keep developing from there."

Mizanin, for one, is thrilled to be working with The Rock, the new WWE champion, these days.

"It's great whenever The Rock comes back because Rock brings that audience, that new audience that he's developed, that movie audience," Mizanin said. "That brings more people watching the WWE and I say, the more people who are watching the WWE to see The Rock, guess what, they're going to see me, and they're going to stay to see me, even after The Rock is gone. I'm here, I'm staying and, hopefully, The Rock stays a long time as well, but ... sometimes he's gotta go do his movie stuff. I'm all for it. The Rock was the reason why I wanted to become a WWE superstar, so to have him come back is always a great thing for me."


The Miz heads to the ring at a WWE show in San Jose, Calif. in January 2013. Photo by Devin Chen, www.chdevinphotos.com
With such a hectic schedule, one would think Mizanin might miss his anonymity from time to time. Not so, he said.

"I always enjoy when people recognize me, and I get to sign autographs, take pictures," he said, adding that he would prefer if people didn't approach him when he has a mouthful of food.

"One of my pet peeves is when I have just taken a bite of food, and my mouth is full -- I probably have some barbecue sauce on my face -- and someone comes up and goes, 'Hey, can get a picture with you?' And I'm like, 'I've got stuff on my face, I can't even talk to you right now because my mouth is full.' I wish they would wait till after I'm done eating, but you know what, that goes along with the territory, you can't be mad at that."

ESSENTIALS
What: WWE’s Road to WrestleMania tour.
Where: K-Rock Centre, 1 The Tragically Hip Way.
When: Saturday, March 2, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $15 to $95, plus applicable service charges.
The card (subject to change)
• John Cena, Sheamus, Ryback vs. The Shield
• Kofi Kingston vs. CM Punk
• The Miz vs. Antonio Cesaro (United States Championship match)
• Sweet T. and Brodus Clay, with Naomi & Cameron vs. 3MB
• Layla vs Tamina
• Justin Gabriel vs David Otunga
• Zack Ryder vs Michael McGillicutty
For Mizanin, he applies his own childhood experiences when he's approached for an autograph.

"I remember when I was a little kid and I would go to the Cleveland Indians games," he said. "I would go to Cleveland Stadium and I would try to autographs from all the baseball players. There was one baseball player who would always come. He wasn't the most popular, he wasn't really famous, I don't think he ever did anything with Cleveland. It was Mark Lewis. He would come over and sign autographs every time I was there and I always thought that was the coolest thing. I try to be that guy, where it's like, 'You know what, embrace it because there was a time when I was that kid wanting to get an autograph,' so I try to put myself in their shoes."

These days on WWE programming, The Miz is mostly embraced by fans, something he has rarely enjoyed as a superstar. Mizanin doesn't believe it's anything he's done that has transitioned the fans to his corner. Nor has he ever considered himself a heel.

"I've always considered myself a good guy," he said, "but everyone else would just boo me and tell me that I suck and tell me that I'm awful. Now, I'm the same character, but I feel like I used to be the cocky, arrogant, egotistical person who (back talked) to the audience, and now I'm the egotistical, cocky, arrogant person who talks it to the people who they hate more. I'm kind of like their cocky, egotistical guy. I'm just having fun with it. I give what I get, and if the audience is going to boo me, I'm going to boo them right back. If they're going to cheer me? I'm going to embrace it."

When The Miz walks down the ramp at the K-Rock Centre on Saturday to face United States champion Antonio Cesaro for the title, he'll have one goal in mind.

"Last time I was in a match with Antonio Cesaro, I tapped him out with the Figure Four leglock and I plan on doing it in Kingston at the K-Rock Centre. I may not be walking in as the United States champion, but I plan on walking out the United States champion, for the third time."

RELATED LINKS

  • The Miz bio and story archive
  • Twitter: @mikethemiz


    Visit the SLAM! Wrestling store!


  • Order a WWE The Miz Name Tag Pendant
  • Order a WWE The Miz Skin for iPad
    Jan Murphy is the news editor at the Kingston Whig-Standard and has written about wrestling for 15 years. You can follow him on Twitter at Twitter: @Jan_Murphy.