Every teenager who puts on pancake makeup in their high school production of “Oklahoma” dreams of Broadway. Every youngster who hits a seeing-eye single in little league dreams of the World Series. And, every kid who plops a toy championship belt over their shoulder dreams of Wrestlemania.
There are two differences between those people and The Miz. The Miz did it in front of everyone on MTV’s “The Real World” and he made his Wrestlemania dreams a reality. And if the aaaaawesome one has his way, this Sunday’s Royal Rumble will be his ticket back to sports entertainment’s grandest stage.
I spoke with the WWE’s “Must-See” Superstar in the days leading up to the Royal Rumble and had a chance to learn about his new relationship with Ric Flair, his picks and strategies for this Sunday’s show, and how he went from underdog to top dog…
Gordon Holmes: Good morning, Miz. How’s it going?
The Miz: I’m in Los Angeles, California getting ready for the Royal Rumble.
Holmes: Los Angeles? I’m in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania freezing my butt off.
The Miz: It’s 75 and sunny here, so I’m feeling pretty great about myself. I might go take a swim in my pool.
Holmes: You are the worst human being in the whole world.
The Miz: (Laughs) I am.
Holmes: Not only that, but I was on hold and I expected the WWE’s conference call system to have some kind of cool Superstar theme music. Instead it was a weird muzak.
The Miz: Really? When they put me on hold for you it’s always some kind of WWE entrance theme.
Holmes: That’s unfair.
The Miz: I had to sit through Alicia Fox’s entrance music.
Holmes: Well, this leads to an important question, I didn’t want to lead off with it, but do you have the best entrance music?
The Miz: I will say I have one of the best entrance themes in all of WWE. I won’t say the best of all time because my favorite is The Brood. They didn’t even have words, and they didn’t need words. They had the best entrance as well coming up through the fire was just awesome.
Holmes: Nobody’s using that right now, can you swipe that entrance for Wrestlemania?
The Miz: Nope, that’s theirs. I’ll let them keep it. I’ll keep my marshmallow blow-up “Awesome.”
Holmes: Don’t bash the “Awesome” bounce house. That was cool.
The Miz: My friends all made fun of me when I first got them. They said, “Everyone gets this cool pyro. The Undertaker has the lights go out and fog. Then you come out with these blow-up marshmallows. Congratulations, you’ve really made it.” I’m like, “Thanks, guys. Thanks, buddies.”
Holmes: The “Awesome” balloons aren’t free. Someone put some money and thought into it.
The Miz: Right? Kids love it.
Holmes: Alright, this Sunday at the Royal Rumble, correct me if I’m wrong, but this is what I assume is going to happen; The Miz defeats Antonio Cesaro for the WWE United States Championship in the Internet show, then goes on to win the 30-man Royal Rumble.
The Miz: That’s exactly what I’m going to do. This is what’s going to happen, the pre-show I’m going to take the United States Championship from Antonio Cesaro, making it the most-watched pre-show ever. Then I’m going to go on to the Royal Rumble, and it’s going to be the most talked about Royal Rumble in WWE history as well because I’m going to win as the United States Champion. Then I’m going to go on to main event Wrestlemania and it’s going to be the most-watched Wrestlemania, not because of the Rock, not because of whoever else, not CM Punk, not John Cena, but The Miz. I’m going to be a multi-champion. It’s going to be awesome.
Holmes: This isn’t your first Rumble. What kind of things do you do to prepare yourself?
The Miz: A lot of cardio. Running, jump rope, any kind of thing that gets your heart going really fast. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. I was in that ring for 45 minutes last year. I was the first entrant, which is the unluckiest number out of them all. Not only does it take cardio, but it takes luck, it takes ability, it takes strength. One unlucky thing, one slip and you’re done. The best thing you can do is stay under the radar and hope nobody comes after you. If you’re Ryback or John Cena and you’re the favorite to win, guess who everyone is targeting?
Holmes: As the Royal Rumble winner you get to choose which champion you face. Have you given thought as to who you’re going to target?
The Miz: At this point, you never know who’s going to be the champion at the time. You’ve got CM Punk going against the Rock at the Royal Rumble. And, if the Shield is involved in this match, CM Punk will get striped of the title. That’ll be interesting to watch on its own. Then you have the World Heavyweight Championship where it’s the Big Show versus Alberto Del Rio, nobody wants to go up against a seven-foot tall, 450-pound man at Wrestlemania in the main event. So, it all depends on who’s going to be the champion at the time.
Holmes: You’re one of only three guys that has had a recent match with the Rock and CM Punk. Who do you like in that bout?
The Miz: Here’s the way I look at it; if I win the Royal Rumble, CM Punk…
Holmes: Whoa…if you win the Rumble?
The Miz: When I win the Royal Rumble I will have the choice between the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship. So, you look at it and you go, CM Punk vs. the Rock. CM Punk has held the title for 400-something days. He’s a proven champion and he’ll do whatever it takes to win that title at all costs. Then you have the Rock coming back, hasn’t been in the ring in almost a year now. CM Punk has been defending the championship for the past year. He’s crisp, he’s in his prime. The Rock might have a little ring rust. But, I want the Rock to win. The Rock is the reason I wanted to become a WWE Superstar. I would like to face the Rock in the main event of Wrestlemania, beat him, then solidify myself as the most must-see WWE Superstar of all time.
Holmes: You wrestled the Rock in his first match back at the 2011 Survivor Series. Was there any ring rust? Has he missed a step?
The Miz: Not that day. You heard the sold-out Madison Square Garden chanting at him, “You’ve still got it.” He definitely still had it then, but remember, that was a year and a half ago. A lot of things happen in a year and a half. Obviously, he’s training and getting ready, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens.
Holmes: Alright, true confession time. A lot of people, and I include myself in this, were rooting against you. By that I mean, here’s this kid who gets some fame from “The Real World.” He wants to be a WWE Superstar, but does he appreciate what it really takes to make it? A lot of people would use that modicum of notoriety to get their foot in the door, but then wouldn’t have the work ethic to do anything beyond that. So, add me to the list of people who were wrong about you.
The Miz: Oh! Are you one of the naysayers?
Holmes: Yes, I was one to say “nay.” Did we help drive you?
The Miz: My entire life it’s been like, “You can’t do this, you can’t do that.” And, those are the people that motivated me to be the person I am today. When I was trying out for “The Real World” people told me I wouldn’t make it because there’s 40,000 people trying out. What makes me stand out? And once I started trying out and they saw me be successful, all my friends tried out the next year. And when I tried to be a WWE Superstar there was, “You’re not big enough. You’re not athletic enough. There’s no way.” And, I went in and said, “Yes I am.” And once I got to the WWE, people said, “You’re never going to be a success. You’ll be fired in three months.” Everyone wanted me gone. I was kicked out of the locker room, everyone hated me. But I kept a positive head on my shoulders and kept working hard. Harder than everyone else. Anytime there was media, interviews, I was on it. I wanted it more than everyone else. That’s my workman’s mentality and it worked in the end.
Holmes: The confession I just gave you, have you heard similar confessions from other people in the industry?
The Miz: I don’t think people like to confess that kind of thing. Most people like to be right.
Holmes: I like to be right too, but I can admit when I was wrong.
The Miz: I guess the only one that comes to mind was when I was on “The Real World,” I asked an executive producer, “Why did you pick me?” And he said, “I didn’t pick you. I was outvoted. I thought you were a buckethead. I couldn’t stand you.” He called me a buckethead!
Holmes: I was going to say, “What’s a buckethead?”
The Miz: He said I was a buckethead. But he said, “As the season progressed, not only did I like you, but you became my favorite. So, I was proven wrong.”
Holmes: You’re starting to be cheered now.
The Miz: It’s weird, isn’t it?
Holmes: It is weird. Have you had to make any tweaks in this new role?
The Miz: I’d say it’s the same exact role I’ve played my entire career. I’m still the cocky, arrogant, egotistical Superstar. Now, I’m just their cocky, egotistical Superstar. I’m the guy who calls it like it is. Have I changed at all? No. It’s just the people that are coming up to me now are the people that most people hate. I’ve always been a person that what you give to me, I will give you right back. So, if you boo me? Guess what? I’m going to make you boo me even more. If you cheer me I’m going to try to make you cheer for me even more.
Holmes: You’re starring in a movie, “The Marine 3: Homefront.” Now, you’re the Marine and some guys have got your niece?
The Miz: My sister.
Holmes: Gotcha. My question is; why do these guys keep messing with these Marines?!
The Miz: (Laughs) I don’t know.
Holmes: It never turns out well for them.
The Miz: You’d think these people would get it. Alright, this guy’s a Marine, I can’t mess with him. But, they keep doing it. You don’t want to mess with a Marine, that’s number one.
Holmes: The WWE does a lot for the military with the Tribute to the Troops shows. Has there been any feedback about the movie?
The Miz: They’re always incredible. This year I went to Bahrain. Myself, Vince McMahon, R Truth, Layla, and Eve all got to see what our Navy does. And let me tell you, these sailors are incredible. I asked one guy why he wanted to be in the Navy. And he told me, “The reason I wanted to be in the Navy was because I was working at Lids, you know, that hat place, and I was having a daughter, and I wanted her to be proud of me.” And the thing is, he doesn’t get to see her often, but he knows he’s paving the way for her to have a great life. And I thought that was amazing. These guys sacrifice so much for our freedom. And I hope that I make every Marine proud with “The Marine 3: Homefront.” And I think I will. I’ve seen the movie and I was like, “Wow, this is incredible.” And normally I’m very critical of everything I do. But, this is something I’m very proud of.
Holmes: If Must-See Miz could go back and give some advice to “Real World” Miz, what would it be?
The Miz: I would tell him to do exactly what you’re doing, because whatever it is, you’re doing it right.
Holmes: It’s like “Back to the Future” and you’re afraid too much information about the future will screw him up.
The Miz: If I change one little small thing, something might change. And right now I really love my life. I love the memories I’ve had since “The Real World.”
Holmes: What’s the best advice you received when you were coming up?
The Miz: Probably from Billy Kidman back when I wasn’t in the WWE. I was actually at a Playboy party and he was there for Torrie Wilson’s cover. His best advice was, “Stick with it.” And it sounds so simple, so stupid, but so many times people find excuses to not fulfill their dreams.
Holmes: As far as your proudest moments in the WWE, was it winning the WWE Title from Randy Orton or participating in a “Woo” off with Ric Flair?
The Miz: (Laughs) You know, you really can’t beat having a “Woo” off with the legend Ric Flair. Not only that, but to have Ric Flair allow me to apply the figure four, it’s almost like…I hate to say a passing of a torch, but I felt so honored. To sit there and talk to Ric Flair on Miz TV and not only strut like Ric and “Woo” like Ric, but to have the honor of putting on the figure four and now using the figure four is just an incredible feat.
Holmes: Did he give you any figure-four pointers?
The Miz: Well, if you watched Raw I had trouble putting it on Dolph Ziggler due to Beat the Clock. Now I’ve been watching tapes of Ric Flair to make sure I never have problems again.
Holmes: In your defense, Ric Flair has been using that moves for decades.
The Miz: I agree. He’s been doing it for thirty years, I’ve been doing it for two weeks. I’ll take my faults, but the Twitter universe was on me. Man, they were killing me.
Holmes: Whoa…hold the phone. You’re trying to tell me the Internet was negative about something?
The Miz: (Laughs) I know, right? You take it with a grain of salt, then perform as best you can the next time out.
Don’t miss WWE: Royal Rumble this Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes