The Miz, WWE’s Renaissance Man, Juggles All Sorts of Projects

He has a reality show with his wife. He’s in a commercial for a video game. And, of course, he’s the “Money in the Bank” contract holder. Mike “the Miz” Mizanin certainly knows how to keep busy.
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Thursday night marks the season finale of Miz & Mrs, which has offered a unique look into the lives of Mike Mizanin and his wife Maryse. The show is a light comedy, allowing viewers to see a different side of one of WWE’s top villains. Despite the warmth that Mizanin shows to his wife and two daughters, he is not concerned that the WWE audience will ever stop disliking him.

“Maryse says the show is going to make it harder for me to be disliked, but I’m not worried about that,” Mizanin says. “I’m pretty talented at making people hate me.”

Somehow, as 2020 fades into 2021, the Miz remains a key element of WWE content. The mere idea of this would have been mocked endlessly when a brash and naive Mizanin—known solely for his reality television escapades—first appeared on Tough Enough in 2004. Yet through an unstoppable drive, a willingness from his peers to let him in their fraternity (he was kicked out of the locker room early in his WWE tenure, typically a sure indicator of looming failure) and a little luck along the way, the Miz—who currently holds the “Money in the Bank” contract—has built a reservoir of confidence from the office in his ability to create quality content.

Mizanin, now 40, has no shortage of goals moving forward. In addition to his enterprises within the WWE universe, his trademark drive is visible in all his projects. He has teamed up with his wife to create MadRoe Productions with a long-term goal of creating new television shows, and he has reestablished himself on television with Miz & Mrs on USA Network, which follows an opportunity as a host of Cannonball last summer. Always seeking a way to grow and elevate both himself and WWE, he also starred in the commercial for PGA Tour 2K21 alongside PGA staple Justin Thomas, rapper Schoolboy Q and Chris McDonald, who will forever be remembered as Happy Gilmore villain Shooter McGavin.

“I was so stoked when I heard Shooter McGavin was in it,” Mizanin says. “He was such an entertaining villain. That’s the game, too—it’s fun, it’s competitive, it’s exciting. You can wear licensed apparel for your create-a-character. I have a great relationship with 2K, and I loved being in that commercial.”

Ever since the 2K commercial, Mizanin has had a new opponent in mind. But this matchup would not take in a wrestling ring, but rather on the links.

“I’m still trying to make this come to life,” Mizanin says. “If Justin Thomas gave me 30 strokes, I would beat him in 18 holes of golf. We could put money on the line for charity, and there is no doubt in my mind I can defeat him. Thirty strokes, 18 holes of golf, I won’t just beat him. I’ll school him.

“People might not know this, but I can be very annoying. If you think I’m a loudmouth in wrestling, wait until you see me in golf.”

Thomas is one of the world’s premier golfers, and even with a 30-stroke handicap, he would still be an overwhelming favorite. But that mindset is a critical piece of Mizanin’s approach to his work, where he remains relevant in wrestling a decade after main-eventing WrestleMania 27. There is no conquest he is not ready to tackle, which was on full display when Mizanin accepted an invitation in 2018 to play in the celebrity softball game at the MLB All-Star Game—and then was named the game’s MVP.

“We were on the road for WWE live events, and I found as many batting cages as possible and I hit at every one of them,” Mizanin says. “This is bigger than me. I’m not just doing this for me, I’m representing WWE. We are the greatest athletes in the world. We can host; we can do it all.”

Mizanin would relish another run as WWE champion, though that seems unlikely with Drew McIntyre firmly ensconced at the top of the Raw hierarchy. Yet he holds the “Money in the Bank” briefcase, which, when cashed in, has a history of being one of the more exciting moments in the yearly wrestling calendar.

“Right now, there is nothing more important to me in WWE than making the ‘Money in the Bank’ contract,” Mizanin says. “That’s my goal. Drew McIntyre is a true, bona fide superstar, and he’s the champion for a reason. But you never know when I’ll cash in.”

Each time Mizanin accomplishes one goal, he is immediately onto the next. Hours away from the Miz & Mrs season finale, with so much remaining to prove, he is already plotting his next move.

“The Browns have a winning record, we’re capturing our reality on our Miz & Mrs. show, and I’m trying to be the cornerstone of Raw,” Mizanin says. “And after so many years on the road, I like being home. I taught my daughter to swim, and that was amazing. I do miss the live audience, but we at WWE are still out there entertaining our audience.

“WWE is always evolving. You can’t stay the same. I’m doing my best to keep learning and evolving, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”

Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.