The Miz Dishes on WWE Title Win, Headlining WrestleMania 37, His Haters and More
For the first time in nearly a decade, The Miz is the WWE champion. And despite rumblings from fans that his reign will be short-lived, he is ready to take pride in proving everyone wrong yet again.
It was a similar story in 2010 when he won the Money in the Bank ladder match and was expected to be the first to cash in the contract and fail. Instead, he defeated Randy Orton to capture the title and went on to headline WrestleMania 27 with John Cena—and walk out with the prestigious prize still in his possession.
After losing the title to Cena at Extreme Rules 2011, Miz was slotted back into the midcard and did some of the best work of his career. Although his many runs as intercontinental champion were well-received, the main event scene was where he belonged.
At Elimination Chamber 2021, The A-Lister finally regained his spot among the elite when he traded in the opportunistic briefcase for an impromptu title match against Drew McIntyre. Within minutes, his lengthy WWE Championship drought was over.
Of course, he'll have his hands full on Monday's Raw when Bobby Lashley challenges him for his newly acquired hardware, but until then, he's determined to celebrate this milestone achievement and set his sights on potentially headlining WrestleMania 37 as WWE champion.
Fresh off his huge championship victory, The Miz chatted with Bleacher Report about what the moment meant to him, silencing his haters, a WrestleMania-sized prediction he made for himself one year ago, and more.
Check out the complete audio of the interview on the next slide and stick around for the highlights.
Why He Doubted He'd Be WWE Champion Again
Miz is as confident and as cocky as they come in WWE, yet even he will tell you he never expected to be wearing world title gold again in his career.
Holding the Money in the Bank briefcase wasn't a guarantee he would win the WWE Championship. It wasn't until the day of the Elimination Chamber event that he found out what was in store for him later in the evening.
"If I can be honest with you, I walked into Elimination Chamber and I did not expect that to happen," Miz said. "I had no idea that was going to happen until... I started getting a feeling of the rumblings and I was like, 'Oh, this could happen.' And then I had a little conversation with a colleague and I was like, 'This is going to happen. I'm going to cash in tonight and I could be WWE champion.'"
The self-proclaimed most must-see Superstar in WWE today praised Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns for being dominant in their roles as world champions. He was under the impression that he wouldn't even attempt to cash in until they were no longer champions to ensure he had a better chance of winning.
The A-Lister automatically assumed a successful cash-in wasn't in the cards. Luckily for him, that didn't turn out to be the case.
"To be completely honest with you, I thought, 'I'm never going to cash in until these two get rid of the titles because they're such strong champions,'" he said. "I can't remember the last time we had such strong champions in WWE. To be able to go in there, beat Drew McIntyre, who has been on fire as of late, and win my second WWE Championship... I wasn't sure it was ever going to happen.
"Ten years ago, I was WWE champion, and I've had opportunities here and there but sometimes you just wait and you see and you push and you make sure you're always evolving, always getting better, always doing the right things," he continued.
"From then on, I was like, 'Wow, this is going to happen.' I'm still in awe that it actually happened and I'm just very proud and happy. I love the fact that on Twitter, everyone was going nuts. Some positive, mostly negative, but I always enjoy all the negativity because it fuels my fire to do better and to be better and to gain the respect of my haters."
How His Second WWE Title Win Compares to His First in 2010
Although the reaction to Miz winning the WWE Championship on Sunday was essentially the same as it was in 2010, the performer himself has evolved immensely in the last decade, making this victory that much sweeter.
He was still a relatively fresh face at the top of the card in 2010 and arguably wasn't ready to carry the company on his shoulders.
Despite WWE's questionable booking of him in recent years, there can be no doubt Miz is better suited for the role of WWE champion this time around.
"It feels better because I feel that I'm ready and I'm worthy," he said. "When I first won the WWE Championship, I was still gaining my confidence in WWE. I was pretty new to the main event scene.
"As a matter of fact, I think that was my first main event. I wasn't in the main event picture. To be able to work with Randy Orton and John Cena, who literally took me from his lower-level midcard Superstar into a main eventer... This is how good they are, that when you're in the ring with them, you have to elevate yourself and get to that level. If you don't, they'll swallow you up and spit you out, and so many Superstars have done that.
"I was able to learn, take it in, and I remember being Mr. Money in the Bank in 2010 and everyone thought I was going to be the first person to lose that Money in the Bank contract. But then I won the WWE Championship.
"When I won the title, everybody said I was going to be a transitional champ. Then I went on 160 days, headlining WrestleMania and went on to retain the main event of WrestleMania as a person who wasn't liked by the audience. That never happens."
Miz acknowledged that everyone felt he was overshadowed on The Road to WrestleMania in 2011 thanks to the bad blood that was brewing between Cena and The Rock, but his main event win spoke for itself.
Going forward, he wants to ensure viewers stay glued to Raw and make it as must-see as possible by bringing back an unpredictability factor that has been desperately missing lately.
Why He Wants to Continue Proving His Haters Wrong
Fans' biggest criticism of The Miz's WWE Championship victory coming out of Elimination Chamber was that it came from out of nowhere.
Granted, he's been in possession of the Money in the Bank briefcase for months, but his win-loss record hasn't exactly been stellar, specifically in singles competition.
It's been difficult for fans to take him seriously because of how he's been portrayed on Raw lately. Whether putting the WWE Championship on him will help with his lack of credibility remains to be seen, and as deserving as he is of this opportunity, it could have meant so much more had the booking been better up to this point.
To his credit, Miz has held up his end of the deal as well as he can and wants to continue proving his detractors wrong as to what he can and can't do. Holding the WWE Championship for more than a few weeks is the first step of that process.
"I don't think people listen to me. I think they hear me, but they don't listen," he said. "They take it in and it goes out the other ear. The problem is they're not analyzing what I'm saying. They're just letting it go. When I say I'm going to do something, most of the time, I end up doing it. Now, people don't believe I'm going to do it and hate on me and say I'm not going to do it, but I do it.
"I have never, in my entire career, been content with where I am, even right now as WWE champion," he added. "I'm not content being the WWE champion. I want to make sure that the WWE Championship is the most coveted title in all of WWE and that when you're talking about a champion, you are talking about The Miz and about Monday Night Raw."
Calling His Shot in the Main Event of WrestleMania 37 One Year Out
A year ago, The Miz jokingly vowed to quit the company in an Instagram post if he didn't compete in the main event of WrestleMania 37. That's because the 2021 event was originally scheduled to take place at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, where he has called home for the better part of the past decade.
Although The Show of Shows is staying at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida this year after the COVID-19 pandemic caused the 2020 showpiece to be held at the Performance Center instead, it's possible he stays true to his promise by taking the WWE Championship to WrestleMania.
It would mark his first marquee match on The Grandest Stage of Them All for a decade.
Miz explained his decision to publicly declare he wanted to main-event WrestleMania 37 a year ago: "I [make] goals that are completely out of reach. You look at that [post] a year ago and people didn't think of me as main-eventing WrestleMania. But now, a year later... I put it out there. I put it out in the universe. You ever hear of The Secret? Where you put things out in the universe and they come back to you? That's what this is. I put it out there."
The A-Lister compared this to actor Jim Carrey, who wrote himself a $10 million check before he broke into acting. He landed a major movie role soon after and was able to make more than that check within a few years.
Miz is always working toward that next goal and strengthening his skill set any way imaginable. Regardless of whether he's in the 'Mania main event or not, the fact that he's come this close is a testament to his talent.
"You can't just put it out there. You have to work towards it," he said. "You have to do everything in your power to get where you need to be. For me, it's getting all the right tools. The new up-and-coming Superstars who are here in WWE right now are more athletic. Some of the things they do are absolutely incredible, and I have to make sure I can keep up. Not only keep up, but also excel and be better than any of them.
"The youth coming into WWE always keep me young and it's funny saying that because I remember when I was 25 just coming into WWE and I sit here at 40 as the WWE champion. I feel like I'm in my prime. I've never been better. I'm able to talk, do so many different things in the ring, and able to captivate an audience unlike any Superstar WWE has."
Will We Get Another 'Hate Me Now' Video Package at WrestleMania 37?
Miz vs. Cena at WrestleMania 27 is widely regarded by fans to be among the weakest WrestleMania main event matches of all time—and for good reason.
It wasn't necessarily the fault of the performers, but rather the company for not doing an effective enough job of making The A-Lister out to be a real threat to Cena ahead of time.
The bout, while not exactly awful, was far from WrestleMania-worthy. In fact, the best part about the contest was the video package that preceded it.
Before Miz made his entrance, a quick vignette aired recapping his history in WWE and how he got to where he was. It was set to "Hate Me Now" by Nas, a song that perfectly encapsulated everything he stood for at that time.
Miz was as happy with that promo as anyone and has already texted the man responsible for making it about a possible sequel for April 10-11.
"I've already texted Adam Pennucci, who did my 'Hate Me Now' vignette for WrestleMania and said, 'Ready for Part 2 whenever you are!' He did an absolutely incredible job," he said. "To this day, I don't think there's a vignette that showcased a period of someone's career in such a short amount of time. Literally, I think the thing was three minutes long, and you can see the ascent of my career, and he just showcased it perfectly and did an amazing job."
Prior to that point, no one viewed Miz as a legitimate main eventer, and some still don't. However, that video package did change a few people's perception of him and is still being talked about.
"I'm very thankful that he made that because honestly, when I was going out there, I don't think the audience was fully invested in me, but when that 'Hate Me Now' vignette aired, I think people were like, 'Woah, OK,'" he said.
"I think it got people behind me 100 percent and that was the icing on the cake that I needed. I was very thankful for that, and I'm hoping we can do another one."
His Family and Friends Remain His Biggest Supporters
Miz's parents have had more of an impact on his WWE career than virtually anyone else, both inside and outside of the ring.
His unique relationship with them can be seen in USA Network's Miz & Mrs., and unsurprisingly, they were among the first people to reach out to him following his WWE Championship win at Elimination Chamber.
His friends from high school also congratulated him on a job well done, having been with him since the start of his wrestling journey nearly two decades ago.
"My mom goes, 'I'm so proud of you, my Michael,' because that's what she calls me," Miz said. "All my friends from high school literally texted... it was funny. My friends put on social media, and I follow them, them watching the show. They still watch to this day.
"I remember watching pay-per-views with The Rock and ["Stone Cold" Steve] Austin in my living room with my 10 best friends, and my 10 best friends are still watching the show and watching me and supporting me. Seeing their reaction when I won really warms my heart."
Miz's dad, George Mizanin, wasn't as elated for his son's historic title win as his mom and friends seemed to be. Rather, he was wondering the same as most of the WWE Universe: When he was going to lose it.
"My dad was like, 'Wait, you won? It's the world championship, right, Mike? The big one?' I said, 'Yes.' He goes, 'Oh, that's great. When are you going to lose it?' I said, 'I don't know, Dad. Can you pat me on the back for a little bit while I have it?' But yeah, it's really cool and my mom is always immensely proud of me with everything that I do.”
A babyface at home and a heel everywhere else, Miz is excited to get going as WWE champion and hopefully make this reign even more awesome than the first.
Catch The Miz on new episodes of Miz & Mrs. starting April 12 and WWE Raw every Monday night on USA Network.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more wrestling-related content.