The Truth About Mike 'The Miz' Mizanin's Vast Entertainment Background

Back in the old days of pro wrestling, one of the biggest crimes a wrestler could commit was to break kayfabe, meaning to let on that anything about the matches or the story lines was made up. In the modern era, however, even the name World Wrestling Entertainment (yes, that's what WWE stands for) winks at the fact that yes, we know that Steve Austin wasn't christened "Stone Cold." We're also fairly sure that Bray Wyatt isn't as fiendish (or Fiend-ish) as he's been made out to be, nor did the Undertaker really bury A.J. Styles in Wrestlemania 36's infamous Boneyard Match (via YouTube).

With The Miz, though, it may be a case of "what you see is what you get." Long before he ever set foot in a wrestling ring, the young Mike Mizanin was starring in kayfabe's final frontier: reality TV. Twenty years ago, he was one of the housemates on "The Real World: Back to New York" (via Bleacher Report), and his IMDb page shows that he, like so many other reality stars, parlayed his breakout role into a string of appearances on similar shows including "MTV Spring Break," "Battle of the Network Reality Stars," "The Challenge," and "Fear Factor." Where The Miz broke away from the pack, though, was by managing to pivot into an entirely different (well, at least somewhat different) field of entertainment.

The Miz character was literally made for reality TV

Mike Mizanin, the 20-year-old reality show contestant, morphed into his alter ego The Miz as a gimmick to get over on "The Real World." Blossoming under the bright lights of the TV cameras, he told viewers "The Miz is a character I created. He's basically a wrestling star. And he's ready for the big leagues." What he didn't admit, at least until much later, is that the Miz persona helped him to cope with the insecurities he was feeling as an Ohio college kid transplanted to the Big Apple and forced to share a house with total strangers all competing for a share of the limelight. As he told Bleacher Report in a 2017 interview, "The Miz came in as a way to say exactly what I was feeling and not have any repercussions for it because it was a character I was playing. That character became very popular, not only with fans but with castmates."

Once "The Real World" ended, Mizanin decided to pursue wrestling stardom for real. He enrolled in a wrestling school, but it wasn't his athleticism or his physique that allowed him to stand out, as neither of these were anything too out-of-the-ordinary. Instead, he had to fight hard to make a name for himself relying on his toughness, his determination (or downright stubbornness), and the fact that he already knew how to work a mic thanks to his reality show background.

Mizanin has had a few movie roles

Like many WWE stars (and a few former reality show alums), The Miz has managed to parlay his entertainment experience into several movie roles. IMDb lists his first one as a character called Mikey Muscles in a 2012 made-for-TV Christmas special called "Christmas Bounty." The following year, however, Mizanin landed his biggest role to date, playing Sgt. Jake Carter in "The Marine 3: Homefront." He has so far appeared in this role in 4 movies in the franchise, with the most recent being 2018's "The Marine 6: Close Quarters." As Bleacher Report points out, the franchise has a history of employing WWE superstars, and among Mizanin's co-stars have been his wife, Maryse, as well as Naomi, Curtis Axel, Heath Slater, and Bo Dallas. (The original "Marine," of course, was John Cena, while as per MTV, "Marine 2" starred Ted diBiase Jr., son of the Million Dollar Man himself.)

While some may have expected Mizanin to go all-in on movies as did fellow WWE alum Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, The Miz has yet to make such a move. Apart from the "Marine" roles, his film work has been limited in recent years to voicing himself in 2 Scooby-Doo movies ("Scooby-Doo! Wrestlemania Mystery" and "Scooby-Doo! and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon") and making a brief appearance, again as himself, in 2019's "Fighting With My Family."

The Miz has now come full circle with his own WWE reality show

In 2018, The Miz returned to his reality show roots, although this time as the star of the show (via IMDb). "Miz & Mrs.," which airs on the USA Network, was spun off from the WWE's "Total Divas" series and, as the title indicates, also features one of those divas: Mrs. Miz, aka Maryse. It shows the couple, complete with their "larger than life personalities" (a term that, at least in his case, appears to be polite-speak for "massive ego"), in their natural habitat, a quaint little abode of a mere 6 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms. According to real estate magazine Dirt, Chez Mizanin set the couple back a mere $6.4 mil.

While The Miz, his Mrs., and his mansion are all pretty OTT, the real scene-stealers, of course, are the mini-Mizzes, 3-year-old Monroe and 2-year-old Madison (via Distractify). While the senior Mizanins had spoken in the past of expanding their family and even trying until they finally got a boy, it seems they may remain a family of four. In an episode aired last spring, both The Miz and Maryse said that they were probably done with the baby-making as they agree that their lives are complete with 2 beautiful daughters.