With all the hype and hoopla surrounding celebrity appearances from Shaq to Big Ben on WWE's "Monday Night Raw," Mike Mizanin, who's wrestling's most outspoken bad boy and is otherwise known as The Miz, has a special invitation to a certain someone in the sports world he'd like to see attending a future broadcast.
"A person I'd like to see and smack the s--- out of is [Cleveland Browns coach] Eric Mangini. That's what I'd like to do. He is doing absolutely horrific. He is horrible," the longtime Browns fan says. "Brady Quinn sucks. Derek Anderson sucks. But the reason why they suck is that their offensive line is not giving them time to throw the ball. I want to smack Eric Mangini so hard he poops himself. The Browns are the new Lions. It's horrific."
Will Mangini answer the call and show up to "Monday Night Raw" next time it hits Cleveland? Will he bring some of his offensive linemen with him for protection? Would his offensive line even protect him? Only time will tell, but if Coach wants to get out his frustrations on The Miz beforehand, he might have to settle on picking up a copy of "WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010," THQ's new wrestling game, and a title that is shaping up to be the best version in series history.
I caught up with The Miz in Los Angeles to get his thoughts on the game, his new trunks and why he's calling out not only Eric Mangini but also The Rock.
Jon Robinson: John Cena told me that the way you assaulted him verbally reminded him of himself when he was first trying to mark his spot in the business.
The Miz: That's what you have to do in this business, you have to go after the best. You're not going to get anywhere by just sitting around. I remember going over my promo and telling people what I was going to say and how I was going to go after him, and everyone was like, 'Are you sure you want to do that? You can't do that to John Cena. He's the poster child. You can't talk that way about John Cena.' But the thing is, nobody has talked that way about Cena, and since he just got thrown through a searchlight, it wasn't like he was going to come out.
So what do you do when you know nobody is going to come out? Put it this way, when you see a bar fight and you see two guys going at it, as soon as people start to break it up, that guy getting held back starts yelling more than he did before. That's how I felt. He wasn't going to do anything to me, and I wanted to say everything I wanted to say because I knew as soon as he got his hands on me, it was going to be the end of me. But the fact is, I think I turned some heads. I think I made some things happen, and I made some entertainment. I think I also showed that I could hang with him, because I hung with him in a match for 17 minutes, which is a hard thing to do with John Cena these days. These days, you need to drag him into a Hell in the Cell to beat him.
Robinson: How long did it take for people to respect you as a wrestler and not just someone from 'The Real World' and 'Tough Enough' who is looking for another shot at Hollywood?
The Miz: I think it's still an uphill battle. If I mess up even once, everyone will crap all over me. People don't like me. People hate me. They think I'm arrogant. They think I got my way to WWE through a reality show, and they don't like that. However, if someone comes from MMA or an NFL background, or if you're 7-1 and can't even walk, they get all the respect in the world. But if you come from a reality show, 'Oh no, he can't come in here. He can't come into our world. A reality star can't fight.' Please, are you kidding me? The fact is I started wrestling back in 2001. I was wrestling the independents, trying to earn my stripes, trying to work my way up. Finally, WWE called and asked me if I wanted to do 'Tough Enough.' I didn't win, but I earned my way to developmental, where I then earned my way onto TV. Then when I was on TV, people crapped all over me in the beginning. They hated me. Then I formed a tag team and started building my character, started working my way up, started studying the craft, and now I'm at the top of my game.
Robinson: Is there a moment in the ring that you remember thinking to yourself, 'Damn, I finally made it?'
The Miz: When I beat Kofi Kingston for the U.S. title. That was a dream for me. For all the hard times, coming up in a reality setting, wrestling in the independent setting and people telling me I wasn't big enough, how I wasn't going to make it because I was a reality star. They always asked me, 'What's going to make you stand out from all of these huge, huge guys?' I didn't care, though, because I knew what I wanted to do.
But then you have those moments where you start to doubt yourself. Everyone has those moments, but I was wondering if I was really going to make it. Then I finally got my contract.
But when I went to Deep South for training, Deep South was hard, it was grueling. Every day I'd wake up and talk myself into doing it for one more day because I knew what was at the end of the road. Then I made it on TV, and I totally messed up. I don't know if you remember, but my first month of TV was hosting the Diva search. I got the number wrong. I told everyone to call the wrong number. [laughs] To come back from that, with millions of people seeing me screw up and people backstage telling me, 'You suck, you're terrible, you just ruined our whole thing.' I was sorry, I didn't mean to, but I didn't have any cue cards like Ryan Seacrest does. I had to memorize everything in a matter of hours. It was hard.
So coming back from that and then getting the chance to wrestle and hearing people constantly tell me that I wasn't good enough, that I was never going to make it. There was this constant belittling of people telling me I wasn't good enough, wasn't smart enough, that I wasn't this or that so to finally see some of the old-timers come around, some of the veterans saying, 'Hey, this kid may have something.' To finally working with John Cena, the top talent, the main eventer, the poster child of WWE -- I got to work with him and berate him.
And then, once you get pummeled by John Cena, where do you go from there? You start to think that you'll never make your way back up. But I slowly started to work my way back up to wrestling for the United States championship, to being a champion, and I plan on holding this title for a long time.
Robinson: You made a switch in your costume lately. Why the change to the short trunks?
The Miz: Ever since I was a kid, I've always liked wrestling, and I've always liked the people who looked different. I always liked The Rockers. They had the tassels, and Shawn Michaels just always had something cool about the way he looked and what he wore. The Hardy Brothers, I always liked what they wore. I never liked the tights, I never liked the trunks. So when I was coming up, I decided to wear something different. I wanted to wear shorts, but I wanted to spice them up a little bit. I didn't want to look like John Cena. I didn't want to look like anybody. I wanted to stand out from the crowd. So I made my first pair of shorts myself, then I moved on and had the seamstress start bedazzling my shorts. I added a fedora, a bandanna, and I looked absolutely loud and obnoxious. Then I got moved to Raw and started going singles until I got banned by Jeremy Piven. Who gets banned by a Hollywood actor?! So I had to come back, but how do you come back?
I had to look completely different because I had to fool everyone, so I wore a mask, but everyone knew that if I wore shorts or if I wore tights, people would know it was me because they know my body frame and my mannerisms. So I wore trunks, and nobody knew it was me. Maybe one or two people who really study WWE knew it was me, but for the most part, they had no idea. So I go out there, win my match, win my contract on Raw back, and I figure I'm going to go back to my shorts the next week.
But walking back from the ring, Vince McMahon stops me and says, 'You look great in trunks, kid. You've got great legs. You should be wearing trunks.' I'm like, but I don't like the trunks. I want to look different. I want to stand out. And he said to me, 'You already stand out enough. Now we're going to make you serious.' I really didn't want to do it, but when Vince McMahon comes up to you and tells you that you have great legs and that you need to be wearing trunks, well, you're wearing trunks.
So I have the seamstress making me some trunks that are a little different than everyone else, but they're still trunks. I like looking different than everyone else, and I will look different, but at least I know Vince likes my legs. [laughs]
Robinson: We were just checking out your character in 'WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010,' and unfortunately, you're one of the worst wrestlers in the game. What do you think of that 78 rating? You have the same rating as Gail Kim and Festus.
The Miz: I think it was a typo. They must've meant to put 87. Maybe the person who does the ratings is dyslexic, I don't know. But to be the same power as Festus and Gail Kim, what do you do in this sort of situation? I think people just like a challenge, and since so many people like to play as me, they wanted to make it challenging for my fans. They couldn't have Miz dominating the entire game. So they decided to put me at a 78 because my people needed a challenge.
Robinson: One of the cool things you can do in the game is write your own storylines. If you could write your own storyline up until WrestleMania, what would it be?
The Miz: All the Divas start really, really wanting to be with me. They start to help me out however they can, even blowing me kisses during my matches and helping me win. It then ends up with a battle royal with Divas for my love. That's one storyline that could take place, then that feeds into me working my way up and going up against The Rock. Why The Rock? The Rock is my favorite wrestler of all time, and I always wanted to beat The Rock.
So my storyline would go like this: I would beat John Cena in five minutes, because he beat me in under five minutes to get me banned on Raw. Him and Jeremy Piven and the naked guy from 'The Hangover.' Anyway, I defeat John Cena in five minutes, then Jeremy Piven comes down the aisle and I beat him up, then I beat up the naked guy, but he's not naked at the time, because that would be kind of weird.
Then I move on to fight Stone Cold Steve Austin. I am going to beat Stone Cold Steve Austin, then I am going to steal his catchphrase of 'Hell yeah!' If you want to see The Miz kick Stone Cold Steve Austin's ass, let me hear you say 'Hell yeah hell yeah!' What? Because I'm The Miz and I'm awesome. Then I move onto Wrestlemania against The Rock. Not only do I beat him with the Rock Bottom and the People's Elbow, which I steal and claim as my own, but I kill him with a skull-crushing finale. He's dead, so I steal all of his movie roles. That's my story.
Robinson: Are you going to set this in motion when The Rock hosts his upcoming episode of 'Raw?'
The Miz: I would love to start it when he's the host, the thing is, I think he's too much of a girl now. He's no longer The Rock, he's Dwayne Johnson. 'I'm Dwayne Johnson [in his best girlie voice].' I think now that he's Dwayne Johnson, I can take him. He's skinny. He's like a toothpick. He's what, 150 pounds soaking wet?
Robinson: Who was your favorite guest host of the show so far? I thought Shaq was pretty amazing.
The Miz: Bob Barker was by far my favorite. I loved Bob Barker, but then again, Big Ben was my favorite because he was the reason I got a chance at the United States title and won. And he said I was awful. That even made it on 'SportsCenter.' I also got to tell him, 'If you had another chance to beat the Bears because you blew it the first time, wouldn't you want that chance?' How many people get to say that to Big Ben?
Robinson: When I smack around your character in the video game, his chest gets all red and he gushes some serious blood. What's the hardest you've ever been hit in the ring?
The Miz: The hardest I've ever been hit in the ring for real has to be from the Big Show. When he slaps you, if you ever shake his hand, you'll see that his hand is like a baseball glove, and when that big hand comes slapping down on your chest, you see lights. You see God for a split second, and God says to you, 'Are you all right? Can you go on?' And you go, 'Wow, God really does have a beard.' And then you come back to life and you go, 'I'm OK, I'm OK.' And then Big Show slaps you again.