The Miz was born Michael Gregory Mizanin on October 8, 1980 in Parma, Ohio. In his high school years, he excelled and swimming and cross-country and was the captain of the school’s basketball team.
Dropping out of college where he was studying business, Mizanin joined the 2001 cast of “The Real World“, an MTV reality series. His career truly launched at that point, allowing Mizanin to emerge in numerous spin-offs of the series and winning its challenges. It was during his Real World period that The Miz character was developed and his brash, smarmy attitude and mugging for the camera led to numerous other reality show appearances.
He had some wrestling training and experience through Ultimate Pro Wrestling in 2003 and was able to snag a role as an entrant in the 4th season of the WWE-MTV reality series “Tough Enough”. After making it nearly to the end of the eliminations, Mizanin lost to finalist Daniel Pruder in a boxing match. Despite his loss, the WWE took an interest in Mizanin and sent him to their developmental territory of Deep South Wrestling (DSW) where he underwent further training by Bill DeMott. From here, Mizanin wrestled in a few dark matches for WWE television before he was sent to another WWE developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW).
In OVW, The Miz gained some success as the host of an interview segment called “Miz-TV” and was able to capture the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship belts with partner Chris Cage. After Cage was released by the WWE shortly after gaining the titles, The Miz had to forfeit his share of the title as well.
The Miz made his main roster debut as the host of WWE SmackDown! in mid-2006 and served to conduct some backstage interviews and host a bikini contest.
His career as a interviewer was really going nowhere until he and Ashley Massaro become co-hosts of the annual Diva’s Search Competition.
The Miz then got a break as an in-ring competitor and went on a winning streak, defeating the likes of Matt Hardy and Tatanka. He was involved in a storyline whereby his affections for Diva Search winner Layla El were shunned, causing The Miz to interfere in her matches, securing his heel status.
The Miz’s winning streak was eventually broken by The Boogeyman of all people and this led to a brief absence from WWE television. Upon his return, he tried to resurrect Miz TV and adopted a more aggressive in-ring style. This led to an eventual transfer from SmackDown! To ECW in mid-2007.
In ECW, The Miz became the object of affection for Layla, Brooke Adams and Kelly Kelly, then calling themselves “Extreme Expose” for their love of exhibitionism. The Miz became known as a “chick magnet” and soon enough Extreme Expose became his valet/managers.
The Miz was engaging in a minor feud with the late Balls Mahoney and would lose a shot at the ECW Championship from CM Punk.
In November of 2007, The Miz captured his first ever WWE title – the WWE Tag Team Championships alongside partner John Morrison. While champions, the two began their own successful promotional segment called “The Dirt Sheet” whereby they generally mocked other wrestlers and spread about rumors/gossip. They had a successful run as champions, ultimately dropping the belts to Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder as part of a Fatal-4-Way at the “Great American Bash” Pay-Per-View event.
Morrison and Miz had a high profile feud with aging legends Degeneration-X (Triple H and HBK Shawn Michaels) but ultimately their disparaging remarks against the duo led to a loss. Morrison and Miz would resurrect their success with another reign as WWE Tag Team Champions after defeating the team of CM Punk and Kofi Kingston.
Miz and Morrison would lose the belts to The Colons (Carlito and Primo) in a dark match at WrestleMania XXV, which united the WWE Tag Team titles with the
World Tag Team titles. Shortly thereafter, The Miz was drafted to Raw following an attack on Morrison, turning Morrison face and breaking up the team.
Upon entry into Raw, The Miz declared war on John Cena whom he would lose to at the Great American Bash. He would also subsequently lose to Cena again, with the stipulations of the match being that he was banned from SummerSlam, Raw and appearances at the Staples Center. Undeterred, The Miz returned to programming under a mask as the “Calgary Kid” and defeated Eugene, earning a contract in storyline and ending his feud with Cena.
He then set his sights on the United States Championship and after several losing efforts, The Miz finally secured his first singles championship title by defeating Kofi Kingston. This set the wheels in motion for a confrontation most WWE fans were holding their breath for: Miz against Morrison. At the “Bragging Rights” Pay-Per-View event, The Miz defeated Morrison and later on, the Miz’s team would defeat Morrison’s at the Survivor Series.
He then had an uneventful feud with MVP (Montel Vontavious Porter) and formed a successful partnership with the Big Show. Show and The Miz had a landmark victory in a triple threat match defeating Degeneration X and the Straight Edge Society (CM Punk and Luke Gallows) to become the Unified WWE Tag Team Champions. This meant The Miz currently held 3 titles: The US Championship, WWE Tag Team Championship and World Tag Team Championship belts simultaneously.
Now calling themselves “ShoMiz”, the two would drop the Unified Tag team titles to The Hart Dynasty (Tyson Kidd and David Hart Smith) which prompted Show to attack The Miz and depart to SmackDown! while The Miz stayed on Raw, ending the alliance.
The Miz then became the reluctant mentor for Daniel Bryan on NXT and once Bryan was eliminated from NXT, he exacted his revenge with an attack on The Miz. During this period, The Miz would also lose the US Championship to a returning Bret “Hit man” Hart as part of his ongoing feud with the Hart Dynasty.
The Miz’s success was far from over as he regained the US title by defeating Morrison, Zach Ryder, and R-Truth in a Fatal 4-Way match on Raw for a second solo championship run. Whilst still US champion, The Miz defied all odds by winning the “Money-In-The–Bank” ladder match for a shot at the WWE Heavyweight title any time he wished in the next year.
The Miz would tease other competitors and the fans by seeming like he would cash in his opportunity, only to attack his would-be opponent with the briefcase and save it for another opportunity.
The Miz started a feud with his old protégé Daniel Bryan, with Bryan ultimately capturing the US title after The Miz’s near 4-month second run as champion.
Two months later, The Miz would cash in his Money In the Bank contact with an impressive victory over a vulnerable Randy Orton after Orton had just finished successfully defending the tile on an episode of Raw. Now WWE Heavyweight Champion, The Miz would successfully defend against the likes of Orton, old rival Morrison and legend Jerry “The King” Lawler in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match which is preserved on Lawler’s “It’s Good to be the King” DVD anthology.
On an episode of Raw, The Miz and arch rival John Cena were paired up to face WWE Tag Team Champions The Corre (Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel). The Miz and Cena would win the belts, but moments later would drop them back in a rematch. It was also around this time that The Miz appointed Alex Riley as his apprentice.
After a few more successful title defenses, The Miz would lose the WWE Heavyweight Championship to Cena in a triple threat steel cage encounter also including Morrison.
He had numerous title shots against Cena thereafter and their feud finally came to an end when The Miz lost an “I Quit” match at the “Over the Limit” Pay-Per-View event. The Miz blamed his sidekick Alex Riley for the loss and the two started a feud, turning Riley face.
Riley and The Miz would have a series of bouts against one another with Riley often emerging victorious in tag team and singles encounters. The Miz would go on to defeat Riley in a tournament to determine the new WWE Champion, but would lose in the next round to Rey Mysterio Jr.
In August of 2011, The Miz and R-Truth formed an alliance together called the “Awesome Truth” in reference to The Miz’s catchphrase, “Because I’m The Miz and I’m Awesome”. The two held the common belief that they were being held back from attaining main event status by the WWE brass. The unlikely pair would attack many wrestlers and interfere in one another’s bouts to their advantage. Some of their victims included CM Punk, HBK Michaels and Cena. In storyline, Triple H “fired” them Raw.
After be reinstated by John Laurinaitis, the two had some mixed success as a tag team, losing to Cena and The Rock, but winning against CM Punk and Triple H. Cena would instigate some friction between the two causing The Miz to perform his signature “Skull Crushing Finale” on R-Truth to end their alliance.
He had a feud with Truth for the remainder of the year and suffered losses at the Royal Rumble and Elimination chamber events.
After a short absence fro television, The Miz returned to Raw and defeated Christian to become the WWE Intercontinental Champion for the first time. He successfully defended the belt until the premier episode of The Main Event where the dropped the strap to Kofi Kingston.
When he was unable to regain the strap from Kingston, The Miz had a falling out with Paul Heyman and became face for the first time in his career. He gained a new mentor in “Nature Boy” Ric Flair and tried in vain to defeat US Champion Alberto Del Rio to losing efforts.
He won the Intercontinental Title once again from Bad News Barrett at a WrestleMania pre-show, only to drop it back the next night. He was unable to capture the title from Barrett and then went onto to have some unremarkable feuds with Randy Orton and Fandango.
He then took some more time off to film the crappy movie “Marine 4” and upon, his return to Raw, he re-assumed his heel persona, this time as a cocky movie star. He would win the Intercontinental title for a 3rd time at the “Battleground” Pay-Per-View event and then drop the title to Dolph Ziggler at SummerSlam.
Around this point in time, The Miz developed an unusual but entertaining tag team with Damien Sandow. The premise was that Sandow would mimic everything
The Miz did and said including his in-ring moves. He became known as “Mizdow” and would interfere on The Miz’s behalf in his matches or act as partner to
The Miz in tag contests.
The Miz would regain the Intercontinental title for a fourth time from Dolph Ziggler, but would lose it back again to Ziggler the following night.
The Miz and Mizdow would win the WWE Tag Team Championship belts in a Fatal-4-Way match at Survivor Series and start to get embroiled in a feud with The Uso twins.
Just before the close of 2015, The Miz and Mizdow dropped the titles to The Usos on Raw. Friction started to occur between the two when Mizdow started to get a positive crowd reaction from the fans for his comical portrayal of The Miz as his “stunt double”. Additionally, The Miz’s on-screen partner in the Marine 4, Summer Rae would start to form an alliance with Mizdow, making The Miz jealous.
The Miz would end up facing and defeating Mizdow on Raw and it was revealed that Rae was with the Miz all the way along and was only using Mizdow as a patsy.
Entering into 2016, The Miz would lose attempts to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship from Ryback, and would lose at Survivor Series. He would also lose an attempt to win the IC title in a ladder match at WrestleMania XXXII, but would eventually capture the strap for the 5th time after his new valet Maryse distracted champion Zack Ryder.
The Miz and Maryse became a power couple from there on in. He would have a very successful run as IC Champion this time around, defeating the likes of Cesario, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens.
He and Maryse would take some time off to film “The Marine 5” and then return to more successful title defenses. He would rekindle his feud with Dolph Ziggler over the belt and would defat Ziggler by spraying some aerosol into his face when the referee was distracted. The Miz would drop the IC belt after 188 days to Ziggler once again in a title vs. career stipulation match.
SmackDown! General Manager Daniel Bryan approved a rematch for the IC belt against Ziggler on the 900th episode, which The Miz won for the 6th time. With the help of Maryse, The Miz retained the belt against Kalisto, Dean Ambrose and Ziggler in a ladder match.
The Miz would stir the pot when he was being interviewed by Renee Young and The Miz revealed her romantic relationship with Ambrose which prompted a slap in the face. On a later episode of SmackDown!, The Miz would drop the belt to Ambrose despite Maryse’s assistance.
The Miz and Maryse would start a feud between John Cena and real-life fiancée Nikki Bella. The pairs would have a series of intergender matches with The Miz and Maryse ultimately losing at WrestleMania XXIII.
The Miz and Maryse would be traded to Raw and would have a short feud with Finn Balor. He rekindled his feud with Ambrose over the IC title and The Miz would secure the strap for the 7th time at the “Extreme Rules” Pay-Per-View event.
On an episode of Raw, Maryse gave The Miz a celebratory gift in the form of a grandfather clock which The Miz destroyed as he thought Ambrose was hiding inside. Maryse would get the clock restored. She presented it again to The Miz and when he was confronted by Ambrose, The Miz use Maryse as a shield. Maryse destroyed the clock again and abandoned The Miz.
The Miz was able to recruit Bo Dallas as Curtis Axel as his “Miztourage”, watching his back and interfering in his matches. With the help of Dallas and Axel, The Miz successfully defend the belt against Heath Salter and Ambrose.
The Miz is currently the reigning WWE Intercontinental Champion. His career has expanded from reality show geek to professional wrestler to multiple title holder and crummy movie star. Like him or not, you have to respect his success and staying power in the competitive WWE Universe.
Special thanks to Dr. Stephen Balsky for contributing the above wrestler profile.
Dr. Stephen Balsky is a chiropractor currently in practice in his native Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has been a wrestling fan since age 13 and is very passionate about the product, especially the “old-school” 80’s – 90’s era. He completed his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree in 2015 and currently is also working part-time as a professor in both business and healthcare.