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The Miz on Bad Bunny: ‘His Brain and Work Ethic Are Next-Level’

The past six months have been a whirlwind for Mike “The Miz” Mizanin.

Since January, he has reclaimed the WWE title for the first time in a decade, showcased the WWE product to a new audience in a WrestleMania feud with Bad Bunny and continued starring in his own reality show, Miz & Mrs, alongside his wife, Maryse. He also reportedly injured his ACL during a zombie-filled lumberjack match against Damian Priest, a rare injury for a performer who has been remarkably durable during his career.

Even with the injury limiting his work inside the ring, Mizanin remains a force to be reckoned with in wrestling. One constant for him has always been giving back, which he is doing in a new charity initiative as the spokesperson for Lotrimin’s #GoWithConfidence campaign.

Speaking with Sports Illustrated, Mizanin spoke about the Soles4Souls charity and shared insight about working with Bad Bunny at this past WrestleMania. The interview took place before the injury, and, in a follow-up that took place this week, Mizanin opted not to discuss any details surrounding his injury.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

SI: You have all your championship titles on display at your home. Which one is your favorite?

MM: The IC title. Growing up as a kid, I was a huge WWE fan. All my favorites had the Intercontinental title. I always grew up loving that title. I remember the first time I won it [in 2012], it was incredible. I’d worked so hard and I finally won it. Almost 10 years later, I’m one of the more decorated Intercontinental champions. To me, I still find that pretty incredible.

SI: You’ve worn the belt eight times, which is really impressive. And there is something special about the Intercontinental title, especially from that past era, when it was held by Randy Savage, Rick Rude and the Ultimate Warrior. For me, it went to a whole new level with Curt Hennig, who was genuinely perfect as IC champ—and I loved both of his SummerSlam IC title feuds, with Kerry Von Erich in 1990 and the masterpiece with Bret Hart in 1991. As a kid, I remember living and breathing it. Who was your favorite?

MM: The Ultimate Warrior. I was glued to the screen every time he was out there. He changed the color of the belt, he was full of energy and those promos—I’ll always remember, “Load the spaceship with the rocket fuel.” There was nothing else like that. I wore the face paint. I wore the streamers. I loved everything about it.

SI: To me, the definition of your career isn’t the titles. You are WWE’s Swiss Army knife. You can open the card, wear the world title, transition it to someone else and even make Bad Bunny look like he’s been wrestling for years, even if he’s in his debut match at WrestleMania. It’s that everyday pursuit of brilliance that defines your work.

MM: That means a lot, thank you. You always want to be looked at as the biggest star in WWE, but there’s more than that. It’s taken me a long time, but all I want to be is The Miz. You’re always taught to grab from the ones you like, but this is an original character I created. This is me.

SI: On the subject of WrestleMania 37, what stood out most to you most about Bad Bunny?

MM: I was very, very impressed by him in the few months I got to know him. He has the utmost respect for WWE, and he’s like the Swiss Army knife of entertainment. He can do music, comedy, entertainment, Saturday Night Live or WrestleMania. His brain and work ethic are next level.

SI: Credit to you, Bunny, John Morrison and Damian Priest for making that WrestleMania match so meaningful. To go behind the curtain, did you request to work with Bunny? Or was that something presented to you?

MM: A little bit of both. Any time a celebrity comes in, you’re getting a different demographic than we’re normally used to. With Bad Bunny, he’s a megastar. So, of course I want to be part of the eyeballs he brings in, and I want to be a reason those eyeballs stay and continue watching. That’s a challenge, a challenge that I love.

When I wrestle, I wrestle talent that have wrestled for years and years. This is different—it’s someone that’s never wrestled before, but I don’t want the audience to notice the difference. It’s like Dancing With the Stars, when someone that has never danced before looks like the greatest dancer ever. That’s because of the professional dancer. It’s the same thing in WWE. A WWE superstar can make someone look incredible if that person is up for the task.

SI: That program with Bad Bunny worked so well because of your eagerness and determination to make it work, but also because of your experience. During the guest host era of Raw, you constantly interacted with the celebrities, some of whom were more comfortable than others to be on the show.

MM: It felt like I was with that guest host every single week. You had to have incredible improv skills, and it was such a challenge, one that I always enjoyed and loved.

SI: Your new partnership makes sense, as your feet are critical to your livelihood. How did you get involved with Lotrimin, which focuses on foot care, and Soles4Souls?

MM: My feet play a vital role in my success, and I also want people to take care of themselves, so I’m thrilled to partner with Lotrimin. This also got me connected with Soles4Souls, which is a charitable organization that finds sustainable jobs for people, as well as gives people shoes and clothing. We’re doing a charity auction, where you can win an autographed pair of shoes signed by me. All of the money goes to Soles4Souls. It’s hashtag #GoWithConfidence, and I’m grateful to help spread a positive message to people around the world about giving back.

SI: Thinking about foot care, and though it doesn’t happen too often anymore, wrestling has had its share of barefoot wrestlers. Rusev immediately comes to mind, though he eventually shifted to boots. To me, wrestling barefoot seems incredibly difficult.

MM: I don’t know how anyone does it. Matt Riddle is a barefoot wrestler, and he walks barefoot all the time. When I’m barefoot, I can’t even step on a pebble or else I’m in pain for the next hour.

SI: Why should people make sure they get involved with Soles4Souls?

MM: This is an amazing auction for charity. You can bid on these autographed shoes, ones from me and other celebrities, and your donation is going to a really good cause. It’s great to give back to people, and that’s what this is: a chance to help.

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