Long before he was The Miz on WWE television, one of the best heels in the business and, you could argue, one of the last actual heels in the industry, he was Mike Mizanin, a painfully lame dude appearing on The Real World season 10. And make no doubt about it, he was nothing like the charismatic, polished performer you see on SmackDown Live each week. Painfully lame is being nice about it.
You wouldn’t have been wrong to think he was there because he had a story they could sell, and he was loud. Or, rather, he was talentless. Of course, we know now that’s not the case, but his appearing on reality television at all is why he believes he’ll never get the respect he deserves in professional wrestling.
As he told The Mirror:
“I will never get the respect I deserve, because I was on a reality show. Whenever you’re on a reality show, you’re the scum of the earth. You have no talent, you’re a nothing and you deserve nothing. That’s the way I’ve been brought up and how I feel people look at reality [television]. Do I look at it that way? Absolutely not; I thank my lucky stars I was on a show like The Real World on MTV and I thank them for putting me on that show because it gave me the ability to say ‘I can do anything I want with my life.’”
He’s been a success story, no question, but reality television is what it is and he’s the exception, not the norm. That said, there’s definitely an argument to be made he doesn’t get the respect he deserves.
That’s a damn shame, too, because he’s consistently one of the most entertaining acts on literally any show he’s featured on.