The Miz told skysports.com about his wrestling heroes and what it takes to be a WWE Superstar.
Last Updated: 23/03/12 12:29pm
WrestleMania XXVIII is getting ever closer - but The Miz still has fond memories of last year's big event.
The Ohio-born grappler successfully defend the WWE Championship against John Cena inside Atlanta's Georgia Dome and he told skysports.com all about that unforgettable night.
The Awesome One also revealed his favourite 'Mania moments of all time, his views on the imminent clash between Cena and the Rock and which Superstars influenced him growing up.
Plus, he also spoke candidly about proving his critics wrong and why it takes more than just athletic prowess to make an impact in the WWE...
You main evented last year's WrestleMania against John Cena. How did that make you feel?
THE MIZ: Being involved in the biggest match of 2011 was pretty incredible. To main event WrestleMania was a dream come true and something every kid who is a WWE fan has thought about growing up. Not only did I do that but I retained my WWE Championship, not once but twice. I always set out to be the first person to do something and that's what I did at WrestleMania.
Did you think you were overlooked in the build-up to the match and that too much attention was paid to Cena's issues with The Rock?
THE MIZ: I was almost feeling like I was lost in the battle of The Rock and John Cena, but towards the end I really started picking up my pace. By the end of it, I truly believed that people weren't just talking about The Rock and John Cena, they were talking about The Miz. And now people are talking about The Miz more and more as a top-tier talent rather than a person who's trying to get to that level.
The Rock and John Cena will face each other at WrestleMania XXVIII in April. What are your views on that match?
THE MIZ: The Rock v John Cena will be a huge match; a real icon v icon clash. John Cena has proved himself to be one of the biggest names in sports entertainment, while The Rock has become an A-List movie star. I think everyone's going to be entertained and will be talking a lot about the match - but they will be talking about The Miz once WrestleMania is over.
What are you favourite 'Mania moments of all time?
THE MIZ: I think everyone remembers Hulk Hogan picking up Andre the Giant and body-slamming him at WrestleMania III; that was an incredible moment. But I also loved all those Rock-Stone Cold Steve Austin matches at WrestleManias 15, 17 and 19, because I was a huge Rock fan and my friends were always the Steve Austin fans. Watching those and having The Rock almost always lose was fun for all my friends!
Who were your wrestling heroes growing up?
THE MIZ: When I was a kid growing up in the '80s, I wanted to be the Ultimate Warrior. I would put the streamers on my arms, paint my face and cut promos like him. I also loved the Rockers tag team of Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty. When I teamed with John Morrison we always said we were like a new-age Rockers because we were fast and exciting. Unfortunately for Morrison, he became the Jannetty and I became the Michaels! Going into the Attitude Era, I liked D-Generation X because they were doing stuff that had never been done, while The Rock and Stone Cold were also exciting.
You were a reality-TV star before you made it to the WWE. Do you think people have underestimated you because of that?
THE MIZ: I still think to this day that people don't believe in me enough but as long as I believe in myself that's all that really matters. Each and every week I go out there I get booed by the audience whether I'm at the O2 Arena, Madison Square Garden or selling out the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The fans tell me that I suck, that I'm miserable and that I can't wrestle. That just fuels my fire and allows me to say: 'I'm better than this and I'm going to prove you all wrong."
Over your time in the WWE you've formed tag teams with John Morrison and R-Truth and mentored Daniel Bryan and Alex Riley. Will you be doing more of that or are you focussed on working alone?
THE MIZ: Are you kidding me? I'm done with these people. I bring them up to main-event status but when they leave me they become irrelevant because they can't survive on their own. Not only that, they also try to drag me down to their level. They try to make me suck, which I don't. I'm on my own from now on.
Daniel Bryan is the World Heavyweight Champion so he hasn't done too badly, has he?
THE MIZ: I take full credit for Daniel Bryan being World Heavyweight Champion having mentored him on NXT and Monday Night Raw. When he won the Money in the Bank briefcase he promised that he would do something that no-one else had done before and cash it in at WrestleMania. But then he did what everyone else did - what he watched me do the year before - and cashed it in at the end of another match. He followed directly in my footsteps.
Which young Superstars have impressed you recently?
THE MIZ: I thought Alex Riley would be very impressive but then he left my side and all my coaching went out the window. He's gone his own way now and where has that got him? On Superstars every week! I think Brodus Clay could be very good. He is entertaining and he is a huge guy but he has a long way to go to be taken seriously. And while I don't consider Dolph Ziggler new, he is fresh to the main-event scene and I think he is doing an incredible job.
You were part of WWE Tough Enough in 2004. What did that that teach you about the wrestling business?
THE MIZ: Tough Enough taught me that you need to be tough physically and mentally to become a WWE Superstar. You need to be able to withstand not just the audience but the locker room as well. If you cannot do that, you cannot be successful. Luckily I can.
The London Olympics are only six months away now. Do you think the WWE scouts will be keeping an eye on potential new Superstars?
THE MIZ: I think a lot of athletes can get into the WWE, whether they play football, basketball or wrestle. However, everyone can say that they want to be a WWE Superstar but will they go through all the pain, miss family birthdays, travel the world, go to Abu Dhabi to London and back to America inside four days, and perform for an hour in the ring? It takes more than athletic talent to forge a successful WWE career.
And finally, we've seen other WWE Superstars show up in the movie world. Will we be seeing you do the same?
THE MIZ: You will. I just filmed a cameo role in a Will Ferrell movie that will be coming out in August. That's all the detail you're going to get, though...
The Miz will try to reclaim the WWE Championship when he enters the Elimination Chamber on Sunday February 19. You can catch all the action live from 1am on Sky Sports HD1.