Whether he’s fighting off zombies, wrestling a pop star or carrying the WWE’s top prize, The Miz says confidence is the reason for his success.
“The reason I have confidence is I always make sure I’m ready for the opportunity whenever it presents itself,” The Miz told The Post last week while promoting his involvement with Lotrimin’s #GoWithConfidence campaign promoting foot care and a partnership with Soles4Souls to help clothe people in need.
The opportunities have been plentiful recently. In late February, Miz captured the WWE championship for a second time, a decade after his initial reign. It was an unexpected accolade given Miz’s absence from WWE’s main event scene.
Miz said he believes that him being champion creates a different dynamic on WWE television. For most of his 17-year WWE career, Miz has been portrayed as a brash and silver-tongued, yet cowardly and beatable villain, which he feels makes him the perfect antagonist.
“I always want to be WWE champion or WWE Universal champion,” Miz said. “I think whenever I do have the title, it creates intrigue because you look at our champions now: Bobby Lashley is an unstoppable force, Roman Reigns has been on fire since he’s come back and nobody has been able to take the title from him.
“Now, imagine if I get the title? When I get the title, it’s completely different because anyone can beat me on any given day and you never know when it’s going to happen.”
The title reign lasted a mere eight days as Lashley defeated Miz to win his first WWE championship. Miz exited the WWE title picture and used his brief reign to fuel his on-screen feud with Latin pop star Bad Bunny.
The feud began at the Royal Rumble, where Bad Bunny made a cameo during the Royal Rumble match to leap onto Miz and his partner John Morrison. After months of buildup, Miz and Morrison teamed to face Bad Bunny and NXT standout Damian Priest.
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“When I walked into WrestleMania, I was very confident but I didn’t know how the audience would react,” Miz said of the buildup. “I wasn’t sure if they were gonna boo me or cheer me because usually when a celebrity comes to WWE, they’re booed.
“The reason being, we have uber fans that feel like somebody else should have that spot at WrestleMania, someone that’s dedicated their lives to being a WWE superstar when this guy is taking it from them.”
The Grammy Award-winning singer ended up praised across the wrestling world for his impressive in-ring debut at the star-studded event. From Miz’s vantage point, the singer paid his dues through extensive in-ring preparation and respect for his new peers.
“When I walked down, I got booed and I was like ‘Oh, okay, that works.’ And when he came out, he was cheered and I was like ‘Oh, we got something here,’ ” Miz said. “I don’t think anybody thought Bad Bunny was going to be in the ring as much as he was, I think they thought of him as an afterthought.
“Bad Bunny had 90 percent of that match and did a tremendous job and you could tell that man trained and trained and worked hard to get where he was at. Honestly, he earned my respect and I think he earned the WWE Universe’s respect.”
The Miz’s WWE run has yielded several memorable WrestleMania moments. In 2011, he headlined the event as WWE champion against John Cena, a match he has limited memory of due to a concussion he suffered midway through the bout. In 2017, Miz and his wife Maryse took on Cena and Nikki Bella in a mixed tag team match that ended with a Cena proposal.
In the ensuing years, he opened WrestleMania 34 in a memorable triple threat bout for the Intercontinental championship against Seth Rollins and Finn Balor. The following year, he fought Shane McMahon in a dramatic Falls Count Anywhere match around MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
For Miz, his effort against Bad Bunny may be his best yet.
“Not only was I happy about that match, I was ecstatic about the match,” Miz said. “Not only was I ecstatic, but the reason was also when I looked at Twitter before the match, people were crapping all over it, saying, ‘We don’t want this match, this match shouldn’t even be happening.’ After the match, people were saying it was the match of the night. People are talking about it to this day and it happened a month ago.”
In WWE’s recent installment of the company’s WWE 24 docuseries, Miz detailed his career in a never-before-seen way. The Parma, Ohio native notoriously transitioned from his reality television notoriety on MTV’s “The Real World” into the WWE.
The story of Miz being kicked out of the WWE locker room after an incident where he dropped some chicken on another superstar’s bag followed him around for years. On the WWE 24 episode, Miz recalled his first conversation with company chairman Vince McMahon, who he said viewed him as “WWE’s version of Ryan Seacrest.”
Nearly 20 reigns with various WWE titles and a rollercoaster career later, Miz says he’s looking forward to sharing his knowledge.
“I want to make sure I hand down my knowledge like it was handed to me, from the likes of John Cena and Randy Orton,” Miz said. “Those guys brought me up and taught me and I learned from them. Not many superstars get to have that now because John Cena is not there, [Randy] Orton is there but I think it’s my turn to start loaning my knowledge out.”
However, that does not mean Miz is not looking to pad both his and a good friend’s career accolades before he’s done as an active in-ring competitor.
“My goal is to main event WrestleMania again, be WWE champion, be Universal champion, get the Intercontinental championship again, tag team titles with John Morrison [and] get John Morrison to the promised land,” Miz said. “I feel like he is at a main event caliber and the way his mind runs and the way his character has been going, he deserves a shot at the WWE championship.”