Despite being in the WWE for a decade and a half, there are still instances when Mike “The Miz” Mizanin has to take a step back and pinch himself. The reality TV star, movie star, and the only two-time Grand Slam Champion in the organization’s history encountered one of those moments in the buildup to WrestleMania with his inclusion in a recent SNICKERS commercial.
“If you’d have told 10-year-old me that a SNICKERS bar was going to be dedicated to me — like my catchphrase is, ‘I’m the Miz and I’m awesome,’ and you can go to Dollar General right now and buy a SNICKERS bar that says ‘AWESOME’ on it because of me — that’s insane,” Miz told Uproxx Sports. “I get to play a VR video game and be clumsy and be that guy that people laugh at and say ‘what a great commercial.’ That’s incredible to me. And not only that, but I get to perform at WrestleMania. This is like every childhood dream you could possibly want wrapped into one big present for me.”
Miz’s childhood dream of wrestling in front of millions across the world is something he’s done countless times. But a year into a global pandemic, the former champion says he can’t wait for the return of a live audience at this year’s show, which kicks off two nights of WrestleMania on Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET, live on Peacock.
“I’m in peak performance for WrestleMania, for that live audience,” Miz said. “We didn’t know that it was going to be a live audience back in January, but when I heard it was, I upped my game because I miss our live audience. As much as WWE has done a tremendous job with the Thunder Dome and the virtual audience and making it feel like a live crowd, there’s nothing quite like having the electricity and the energy of a live audience. And I can’t wait to perform for them.”
The topic of performing in front of live audiences was highlighted this week in an interview with Ryan Satin from Fox Sports, where Seth Rollins discussed how performing without live crowds allowed WWE to tell “cleaner” stories. For Miz, it has been a “different” experience for sure.
“I enjoy things that are different in WWE. And honestly, this was very different. Having no audience challenged me as a WWE Superstar, as a talent, as an entertainer, as an actor, as a storyteller, it challenged every piece of me,” Miz said. “Are we able to tell a story differently with no audience? Absolutely. But with an audience, does that help it? Yes, of course. So it’s different. One is not better than the other. It’s just different. And it’s our jobs as WWE superstars to make sure that we are able to tell these stories and be good enough — with or without an audience — to make sure that it creates captivating, entertaining television for everyone to watch.”
The last year saw Miz reach extraordinary heights in the WWE, joining long-time tag team partner John Morrison to capture the Smackdown Tag Team titles and, most recently, cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase to claim his second WWE title.
“It was amazing,” Miz said of his WWE title run. “And you know, a lot of people were like, ‘oh, you only held it for eight days.’ Whether you hold it for eight days, one day, one hour, one minute, one second, you held the most prestigious title in all of WWE. You are the guy for that amount of time, and it’s your job to do whatever it takes to make sure that everyone that has held that prestigious title before you, that you hold it with respect and dignity and prestige and you propel whoever is going to have that title after you to a whole new level. And if you look right now, has Bobby Lashley ever been better than he is right now? He is a monster and he is on fire and he is ready for WrestleMania. He’s ready to main event WrestleMania as WWE champion.
“He’s going up against a former WWE champion in Drew McIntyre who, without having an audience, was able to keep the audience engaged, entertain them and give them matches that are still talked about to this day. So that match between Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley is going to be absolutely incredible at WrestleMania.”
While Miz won’t head into ‘Mania in a title match, his bout might yet again be the headline stealer, as he partners with Morrison to face off against rapper, singer and songwriter Bad Bunny alongside Damian Priest.
“You never know when a celebrity is going to overstay their welcome. Obviously (Bad Bunny) came to do a performance (at the Royal Rumble). He loves WWE. He’s a huge, huge fan and he wanted to train. So I guess he’s been training the past couple of months and from what I’ve heard in the locker room, I don’t think any other celebrity has done the work he is doing. He literally came to a WWE ring and trained after winning a Grammy. He went to the Grammy’s, did a performance and then came to WWE ring the next day to train. This guy is dedicated and he’s hardworking, but he’s barking up the wrong tree,” Miz said.
“I thought I sent a message to him when I hit him with a guitar and then I thought I sent him another message by painting all over his $3.6 million Bugatti and ruining that car. But this is the greatest spectacle in all of entertainment. He’s standing across from the only two-time Grand Slam champion in the history of WWE. So if he thinks this is going to be fun, his fans are going to be really upset with me afterwards because he probably won’t be able to perform for a very long time after this match.”
There was a brief moment in the build to WrestleMania that we could have been set up for a champion vs. champion showdown, with Miz holding the WWE title and Bad Bunny carrying the 24/7 belt.
“Things always change at the drop of a hat,” Miz said when asked if there was ever a possibility he would face off against Bad Bunny with the WWE belt on his shoulder. “I had no idea I was going to cash in and win the WWE championship that night. I didn’t know until the opportunity presented itself. And I was like, this is really happening. This is it, I’m going to be WWE champion again. I still have chills and it almost brings tears to my eyes because that’s how much it means to me. You don’t know what’s going to happen on a week-to-week basis to be honest.”
Instead, Miz is looking forward to his showdown with Bad Bunny and continuing the trend that began at WrestleMania 1 with welcoming celebrities from all forms of entertainment into the squared circle.
“I always look at when a celebrity comes into WWE, they bring a whole different audience and whether you know Bad Bunny or not, you can’t deny how big of a fan base he has. Go to YouTube, look at his music videos. They have over a billion views,” Miz said. “So for people to say, ‘oh, he shouldn’t have that spot.’ Look, he’s bringing an entirely different audience. And by the way, we’ve been doing this since WrestleMania 1 and it will keep happening. And it’s our job as WWE superstars to tell compelling stories and to make sure when Bad Bunny gets into that ring, that he knows he’s taking a spot of a WWE star who has shed blood, sweat and tears to hopefully have a spot, so he needs to earn that spot. And I’m going to make him earn that spot on Saturday.”
WrestleMania will stream live on Peacock on Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11 at 8 p.m. ET.