For a time, he was booked as WWE’s next big thing. That didn’t quite work out and his role shifted to one more akin to a journeyman mid-carder. But in recent months, an on-air spat with Daniel Bryan and an exceptional feud with Dolph Ziggler has propelled The Miz into a bonafide renaissance. Today, he’s the true top heel on SmackDown, imbued newfound relevance into the Intercontinental Championship (for a while) and may well be on route to becoming the performer WWE brass hoped he’d be in 2010.
So kudos to Michael “The Miz” Mizanin, but just because things are going his way right now doesn’t mean we can’t still make fun of him for the dumb stuff he signed up for in the past.
In the now infamous Talking Smack segment, Bryan called Miz out on wrestling as if he’s afraid to get hurt -- which he clearly is -- and Ziggler bashed the self-proclaimed “Awesome One” for caring more about fame than professional wrestling. These were (mostly) in-story segments and we have no idea how much they reflect The Miz’s actual attitudes about his profession. But we know for sure he’s been in a lot of crappy movies and appeared on several terrible reality TV shows. If The Miz really does want to be famous above all else, it sure is a good thing wrestling panned out for him. That dude is not a good actor. Without WWE, The Miz would be exactly as famous as almost everyone else who was on The Real World ten years ago. And -- off the top of your head -- can you name a single other MTV reality star circa mid-’00s whose name isn’t Tila Tequila? Maybe if you're a Dr. Drew fan you can also remember Joey Kovar (RIP), but aside from that, nope, you can’t. No one remembers those people.
Hence, we present the most embarrassing moments of The Miz’s public life.
15 Playing Marty Jannetty to John Morrison’s Shawn Michaels
The passage of time sure can be a funny thing. Remember back when the WWE was banking on John Morrison to becoming a breakout star and The Miz as his loudmouthed, not-as-talented buddy? Clearly, The Miz was intended to play Marty Jannetty to Morrison’s Shawn Michaels, or Christian to Morrison’s Edge, or even Animal to Morrison’s Hawk. But it didn’t quite pan out that way.
The Miz went on to rack up a more impressive list of WWE accolades, but Morrison wound up proving that he didn’t need the McMahons' entertainment empire and, today, stands on his own as a Lucha Underground mainstay, action actor, and fitness guru. It’s neat that Miz and Morrison forged their own identities instead of falling into an established paradigm, but it had to bum Miz out at the time, knowing he’d been intended to play someone else’s second fiddle.
14 Awesome Truth
This one’s really only embarrassing because The Awesome Truth should’ve lasted way longer than it did back in 2011. R-Truth and The Miz claimed a company-wide conspiracy had been holding them back and they joined forces to seek glorious retribution. Their tandem surely marked the highpoint in R-Truth’s WWE career -- he plays an unhinged madman far, far better than he’s ever played a rapper -- and had infinite potential for future storylines.
Unfortunately, the writers opted to break them up when R-Truth got nailed with a Wellness Policy Violation that, perhaps, confirmed that there was totally a company-wide conspiracy against R-Truth succeeding. Today, R-Truth wrestles alongside Goldust as The Golden Truth, a team you would expect to be funnier than Awesome Truth, but is definitely not funny at all.
13 Playing Marty Jannetty to Damien Sandow’s Shawn Michaels
At this point in this list, it feels like we should entertain the possibility that The Miz has a knack for bringing out the best in his tag team partners, to the extent that whoever he tags with comes off looking cooler and more interesting than Miz does.
Currently employed by TNA under the new (terrible) alias Aron Rex, Damien Sandow was a comedic "tour de force" during his run as "Damien Mizdow” -- The Miz’s stunt double. It’s unfortunate the WWE didn’t bother to capitalize on the obvious favor with audiences Sandow/Rex garnered aping The Miz’s actions. But at least today, Rex can get his proper slice of the spotlight as a bigger fish in TNA’s smaller bowl. Meanwhile, The Miz will likely never bother finding a new stunt double. He already had, and lost, the best stunt double a B-list actor could ever hope for….
12 Playing Sonny Bono to Trishelle’s Cher
Wrestling fans may not be aware that, at one point, long before he met his current wife Maryse, The Miz had a thing going on with legendary Real World: Las Vegas cast member Trishelle Cannatella. He’s a bigger deal in wrestling, but in the reality TV universe, The Miz is kind of a hack compared to Cannatella. The Vegas season -- which started with Cannatella not-quite-but-almost having a threesome with a pair of other cast members -- changed the tone of The Real World from a show about normal-ish 20-somethings and their life problems to a show about hot people getting paid handsomely to drink heavily in a nearly consequence-free environment.
Without Trishelle, there would have been no Shot At Love With Tila Tequila or Jersey Shore. Her reality TV career was a game changer. The Miz’s is only noteworthy because of his subsequent pro wrestling accomplishments.
11 Having To Pretend to Respect Ric Flair
Announcers still occasionally mention that The Miz was supposedly taught the Figure Four by its most famous practitioner -- “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. In that storyline, The Miz had to act like Flair was his idol and he was happy to learn the secrets of the craft from Flair while adopting a mentor/student relationship. But the truth is Flair is a weird, gross old codger who claims to have slept with famous women like Halle Berry who he’s probably never been in the same room with.
The Miz knew how to do the Figure Four long before he met Ric Flair. Everybody knows how to do the Figure Four leg-lock. It’s not exactly rocket science. John Cena is already far superior to Ric Flair. The ‘80s were not as cool as everyone says they remember the ‘80s being. The ‘80s sucked.
10 Losing On Tough Enough
Most of our collective memories of Daniel Puder’s time in the WWE -- assuming we have any at all -- are likely limited to the occasion in which he sorta-kinda tapped out Kurt Angle amid a fiasco that involved parties agree was principally Vince McMahon’s fault. However, it’s retroactively noteworthy that Puder’s closest runner up on Tough Enough was, in fact, the performer who would eventually be better known as The Miz.
Puder only lasted in the WWE a year following his Tough Enough triumph -- as Al Snow pointed out, Puder’s million dollar contract came attached to a million dollar’s worth of expectations, which was virtually impossible for Puder to live up to coming in with no experience. Although the early-career loss was embarrassing for The Miz, considering what happened to Puder, perhaps it was also a lucky break that The Miz didn’t get paid a million dollars until he had enough time to make himself worth a million dollars.
9 Dressing Up Like A Giant Chicken
WWE plays an apparently self-produced KFC commercial in which Dolph Ziggler -- attired as a beefy Colonel Sanders -- slaps around a chicken costume-clad Miz during its bi-weekly broadcasts. It’s a little humiliating for both ring warriors, but especially for The Miz.
We don’t even know how much we need to expand on this. Here we have The Miz, a mighty douchebag former Intercontinental Champion in one segment, reduced to a goofball farm animal surrogate/metaphorical and actual punching bag for an evil multinational corporation’s mascot minutes later during the ad break. Next thing we know, WWE will force The Miz to dress up like The Hamburglar and take a beating from Finn Balor dressed up like Ronald McDonald. Such a scenario would be incredible for everyone involved, especially the viewers, but nonetheless embarrassing for The Miz.
8 The Marine 3: Homefront
Racking up a dismal 32 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, The Marine 3: Homefront invites reviews with lines like, “Wow is this movie bad.” Another review calls director Scott Wiper’s execution as “shoddy” and Miz’s performance as the titular marine as “charisma-free.”
From what we can gather, the plot involves The Miz having to blow up a fictionalized version of Occupy Wall Street that turns into a homicidal, terrorist gang. Anyone who ever spent time in the vicinity of an actual Occupy camp should be able to immediately recognize the implausibility of this scenario. Not only were occupiers generally averse to physical violence of any sort, they were also far, far too disorganized to attempt a kidnapping/bombing plot of any sort. Half the time, they could barely pull off a protest march without, like, 20 of them getting arrested.
7 The Marine 4: Moving Target
As is the case with most WWE-produced films, Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t bode well for anyone about to sit through The Marine 4. Having watched a few seconds of it, we can confirm it’s brimming with guys running around in a forest pretending to shoot at each other. It’s kind of like The Final Deletion, except without the self-awareness, action, suspense, and ability to entertain an audience. Also, not as much fire and no dilapidated boat.
Summer Rae also appears in the film, but most fans don’t realize this was largely due to happenstance. In real life, Rae is a gun enthusiast and just-so-happened to be shooting at a passersby as the cameras were rolling. The Miz almost died by getting shot by Summer Rae, all in order to make this crappy film.
6 The Marine 5: Battleground
While it’s yet to be produced, The Miz’s upcoming starring feature The Marine 5: Battleground costars Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas, Heath Slater, Maryse, and Naomi. Apparently WWE feels it isn’t enough to seriously damage one of its stars chances of ever having a serious career in Hollywood once his body finally collapses and he can’t wrestle anymore. They feel the need to put black eyes on the IMDB resume of plenty of their other stars before their acting careers can even really get off the ground.
Why are these Marine movies still being made? Who is watching them, and why? How is this a viable financial endeavor? We know it’s not The Miz’s fault, he clearly signed a contract -- back when he was in his 20s and desperate for the money -- in which he has to do literally anything Vince McMahon asks him to do. Nonetheless, if WWE truly cares about the troops, then they shouldn’t continually sully the good name of the US Marine Corps by churning out stupid, stupid movies with their namesake.
5 Santa’s Little Helper
Scoring an impressively shameful 17 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, this dingus of a holiday humiliation features Paige fulfilling a contractual requirement and likely picking up an extra payday. That’s the one good thing to come out of Santa's Little Helper.
Many people complain about a supposed “War on Christmas” transpiring every year. But those who feel Christmas’ power is being slowly eroded shouldn’t be worried about, for instance, public schools second-guessing their unquestioned advocacy of what’s essentially a religious holiday or passersby wishing them a Happy Holidays. They should be angry about crap like Santa’s Little Helper that seeks to exploit their love of Jesus and offer nothing but bad acting and hollow sentimentality in return. Vince McMahon hates Christmas and also probably hates Mary, Joseph, The Three Wise Men, Santa, and all of his reindeer.
4 Christmas Bounty
Y’know what The ABC Family Network is good for? Reruns of Gilmore Girls when your Netflix account gets suspended. That’s it. And even Gilmore Girls comes with a warning that it depicts situations that may be considered inappropriate for younger viewers, plus they censor out words like “crap” and “hell.”
Meanwhile, one of the networks’ biggest success stories is The Secret Life of An American Teenager. Granted, most of us haven’t seen loads of that show, I recall stumbling across one scene in which a mother and daughter argue about which one of them is a bigger “sl**.” I thought to myself, “I rewatched the ECW PPV where Tommy Dreamer drops Beulah McGillicutty on her brain this morning and even I think this is offensive.” However, do you know what their most offensive production is? Another Christmas movies starring The Miz.
3 Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader
The Miz admitted on national television that he is, in fact, not smarter than a fifth grader, which is inherently embarrassing. That said, his journey toward this revelation is actually pretty great. Asked how many times it takes the Earth to complete a full rotation on its axis, The Miz correctly answers “one” and celebrates as if he’s just trounced Roman Reigns, John Cena, Brock Lesnar, and Odin in a gauntlet match for the all-time Supreme Galactic Wrestling Champion for life. Plus, he won some money for a children’s charity of some sort, so that’s good on the Miz, yeah?
John Morrison was also on the show and while Morrison may well be smarter than most fifth graders and therefore not as hilarious, we’ll be darned if he wasn’t the friggin’ epitome of charming on that show.
2 Real World/Road Rules Challenge
The whole Real World/Road Rules Challenge series hinged upon viewers recognizing and identifying with cast members from previous reality shows. Essentially, MTV was creating its own celebrities and then wearing them out like circus ponies. Maybe that was savvy marketing on MTV’s part, although the Challenge shows hopefully weren’t quite highlights of any individual contestant’s lives.
The Miz utilized his superior athletic prowess to ample success on the competitions, but to be honest, we have no idea what the heck is going on in this clip. The Miz is mad at a woman for lying to him, he says. Okay. Did she lie about the bricks she’s carrying back and forth across a plank? Also, why is she doing that? Some of the dumb kids from The Real World: Boston cast are also there and they’re also yelling at each other for ambiguous reasons.
1 The Miz Doesn’t Know When Black History Month Is
Seriously. In this clip from his time on The Real World: Back To New York, The Miz reveals that he has no idea February is Black History Month. How could he possibly not know that? What the heck was going on in Parma, Ohio when the Miz was growing up?
Also, MTV pretty much cast him as the obligatory “roommate who grew up sheltered in middle America and consequently doesn’t know crap about the frick. Through various interactions with his roommates, The Miz learns to be less of a stupid jerk. Luckily, no one on the show tries to dissuade him from pursuing his dream of becoming a professional wrestler, even though, let’s face it, that’s a pretty unrealistic dream for a person to have.