By Chuck Carroll
The times are a changin’ for Mike “The Miz” Mizanin. He blossomed from a brash young reality television star to one of WWE’s hottest talents. He’s a Hollywood A-lister in the ring and one of the faces driving the company outside of it. He’s a former WWE Champion, an eight-time Intercontinental Champion, and a six-time tag team-champion. He’s also snagged the leading role in a number of movies, including succeeding John Cena as the star of The Marine franchise. But now the ultra-confident Ohio native has a new role — father.
His wife, Maryse Ouellet, is a leading lady in her own right and no stranger to the ring as a former WWE Divas Champion. The real-life couple tangled with Cena and Nikki Bella at WrestleMania 33 and remained white hot as the company’s top villains, until they made a surprise announcement that they were expecting their first child. The pregnancy forced Maryse to come off the road, but she continues to be one of the most popular women in WWE, despite a long absence to give birth to their daughter, Monroe.
Although we haven’t seen her on Raw or SmackDown in some time, she isn’t straying too far from WWE cameras. Following the success of Total Divas and the spinoff Total Bellas, the Mizanins are now getting their own reality show Miz & Mrs. For Mr. Mizanin, it’s a return to the medium that first made him famous. And for Mrs. Mizanin, it’s a chance to show her learning the ropes of motherhood.
Some may call them an odd couple given her French-Canadian roots and his All-American over-the-top, larger-than-life personality. But they mesh perfectly together, and their synergy is impossible to miss. It helps when you’re working side-by-side with your best friend. There is never a lack of chemistry.
But will we ever see that chemistry in the ring again? That’s the million-dollar question. Whether or not Maryse ever returns to the squared circle is very much up the air. She’s just not sure right now. Her focus is on being a mother, something that’s not conducive to an extensive travel schedule that can require her being away from home for weeks at a time.
I had an opportunity to catch up with the couple in between diaper changes and nap times. I learned a lot from them. A lot. Specifically, I was taken to school about a particular type of photo shoot that not even Miz knew about until it was too late. Now, a family friend has seen way more than she bargained for, courtesy of a Laurel and Hardy type of miscommunication.
After 10 minutes of laughs, the conversation turned to Maryse’s future and Miz’s feud with Daniel Bryan.
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What is this whole debacle about a photo shoot when Maryse was pregnant?
Miz: Okay. Say your wife comes to you, and you’re always trying to make them happy, especially when they’re pregnant. You just want to make sure that they’re all good. She goes to me, “We’re doing a photo shoot.” I’m like, “Okay. Great.” Me, I’m thinking, “I’m gonna have a suit. I’m gonna have all this nice sort of thing.” When she tells me, “Hey, it’s an implied nude photo shoot”, and all I hear is nude photo shoot, guess what? I’m gonna do a nude photo shoot for my wife. I’m gonna do that for her because I just want to make her happy. I guess I got it wrong, because implied nude means, “Hey, you can wear underwear” or you can do whatever, so I got that wrong.
Maryse, heading into that day, how long had you known about an implied nude photo shoot? Because I don’t think that a lot of people know about that.
Maryse: Really? I’m French Canadian, so you would think, right? I’ve done photo shoots my entire life [it] seems like, so implied … Implied, come on. It’s like the Demi Moore photo shoots from Vanity Fair. Everyone knows that. She was covering herself.
Miz: So here’s kind of what happened. She goes to me, “Hey, we’re doing a photo shoot.” She did not say implied nude, did not say anything like that, so I was like, “Okay. We’re doing a photo shoot. That’s fine. No problem. Great. Let’s do it.” The day of, my plane was late, of course, ’cause it always is, and she had to bring all the stuff. She brought all my outfits, everything. Then, I guess her and Amanda [Maryse’s best friend], who is the photographer she always uses, started talking about what they wanted to do.
I guess Amanda came up with the idea of doing an implied nude photo shoot. I don’t even know what that is, to be honest.
Maryse: I think it’s because we’ve been working together for so long — me and Amanda — that we know that lingo. But I assumed that you knew. And by the way, I did say, when we were in Brooklyn, that we doing an implied nude photo shoot. You know how husbands don’t listen sometimes, they listen to their wife, but…
Miz: You never said implied nude photo shoot, because I don’t know what that is, and I would’ve asked what that is. So, I get there. When I get in the car and I start asking her what are we doing, [she said] “Listen, you’re gonna be wearing a suit. I’m gonna be in a dress. Another one we’re gonna do is an implied nude photo shoot.” So I went there and I tried to do what my wife wanted me to do.
I feel the need to stand up for my fellow man here. There’s no other way to possibly interpret that.
Maryse: Oh, my God. You gotta be kidding me right now.
Miz: Thank you!
Maryse: No. No, no, no. Every woman would tell you, “No, no, no. It’s implied.” How the heck do you walk onto a set completely fully naked?
Miz: Because I wanted to make everyone feel comfortable.
Maryse: My best friend saw everything!
Miz: Everything. I was out there.
Changing gears… I want to ask you about parenthood. Who’s the better diaper changer?
Miz: 100 percent me.
Maryse: Oh, my God.
Miz: No? Yesterday we go to the doctors, right? And Monroe peed through her diaper, which is the diaper that Maryse put on, not the one I put on. She’s never leaked in a diaper that I have put on.
Maryse: Okay, Mike. Yes, you are the best diaper changer in the world. It’s like I have to raise my daughter and I have a five-year-old that’s actually 37, my husband.
Maryse, how has the transition been for you to motherhood and coming off of the road? You had a ton of momentum there, and then it seems like, “Wow! Oh, my goodness. She’s pregnant.” So how has that transition been for you, and when do you think we might see you back in the ring?
I love being on the road, because I get to do what I love, but I get to be with my husband at all times. This might sound cheesy, but we get along, and we have a great dynamic together. I really love being on the road with him. But right now, I just wanna be with Monroe at all times. I just wanna spend as much time as possible with her and just take it in. I’ve been out of WWE for injuries, and I’ve taken time off before, but this is a different time. This is completely different, and I just wanna be there and take it one day at a time, which is weird because I’m such a “go, go, go” type of person. I have to be working or doing something at all times. But for the first time in my life, I really enjoy being home and taking care of her. Every day, she wakes up, and I look at her, and it’s a new day. It’s crazy.
Miz: It’s funny. I leave, and I’m gone. I just got back from Japan. The trip ended up being 13 days. We were stranded there for three days. But 13 days with a three-month old, she changes. She gains weight and she’s just getting bigger and bigger. It’s incredible to witness. But thank God for FaceTime, because I don’t know what I would do.
I would imagine the road now is completely different for you. You’re a grown man now. You’ve got the child. You’ve got the ultimate responsibility. I don’t think that there’s a whole lot of time to cut up and carry on anymore.
Miz: No. You know? I don’t even think about that anymore. I’m a morning person now. I woke up today at like six o’clock in the morning, and I was sitting there having a coffee and just watching her, just staring at her. I feel like a weirdo just staring at my daughter, but that’s what I love doing. I just enjoy seeing her, playing with her, seeing her do things, and witnessing it and just being there.
Maryse: I feel like every day, I sent you about 100 videos and photos of Monroe, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be back on the road or how it would happen or work. I’m just gonna take it easy and enjoy what I’m doing right now, because this is something that has to be enjoyed. We’ll see. Maybe. Never know. For right now, my head is definitely at home with my daughter.
Miz, you know how when you’re a kid and your parents will say something and you’ll roll your eyes, and you’ll be like, “I’m never gonna be like that. There’s no way that will ever be me.” Have you seen some of those traits maybe start to creep into yourself a little bit, now that you’re a father yourself?
Miz: As much as I hate to say it, yes. I see the things that I would always hate when my dad did them. Then, I realized, actually, before I had Monroe, how much I am like my dad. Then, when Maryse sits there and goes, “You’re being George Mizanin right now.” And I’m like, “Um. No.” She goes, “Yes.” Then, I sit there and think about it, and I go, “Oh, my God. I’m becoming my father.”
Maryse, what about you?
Maryse: I always said I am not like my mom, and Mike keeps saying that I’m 100% like my mom.
Miz: Yes. None of the Ouellet family has any patience. If they say this needs to be done, it needs to be done right now, do it. If it’s not done, then they’ll just annoy you until you do it.
Maryse: We’re a little dramatic and impatient.
Miz: A little?
Maryse: Listen, I’m married with The Miz, so I have to be a little dramatic. I have to be able to handle this whole persona, [this] personality that is my husband.
You’ve had some things to say about Daniel Bryan over the last couple of years. Of course, now, he’s a new father himself. So, my question to you is this: Is he ever the kind of guy that you would go to for advice on raising a kid? And would you ever consider raising a vegan child?
Miz: A vegan child? No. I’ll allow Monroe to do whatever she wants to do as far as I’m concerned. Obviously, to a degree. If she wants to be a vegan, then I’ll support her being a vegan. If she doesn’t wanna be a vegan, then I’ll support her not being a vegan. You know? It’s up to her. That’s her decision, and I hope that I am able to raise a strong, independent, and powerful woman, kind of like my wife is.
As far as Daniel Bryan’s concerned, I applaud the fact that he’s a father. I applaud the fact that he’s raising his daughter the best he can. But when he steps into the ring, that’s a whole other thing. You know what I mean? You can’t diss a guy for being a dad, but you can diss a guy for being a WWE superstar and being condescending and sitting there thinking that he’s better than you. Then, all of the sudden, since he wants me to be on SmackDown Live, he goes to the general manager and gets it done and puts me on SmackDown Live. And then I’m here for the past three months, and he has done nothing, and I mean nothing, since I have been there on SmackDown Live.
I am waiting for him, but the fact is, he hasn’t stepped up to me, hasn’t said a word to me, hasn’t really done anything to me. The only thing I’ve done is beat him in a gauntlet match, so as far as I’m concerned, I’ve won. The fact is, I went up to … If you remember talking smack, I think it was three or four years ago, I said everything to Daniel Bryan’s face. I went right up to him. And if you really remember, he started everything. He’s the one that called me a coward, said I had a soft style of working. But then there’s a guy who comes back three years later and says he was fighting for his dreams.
But the thing is, when I was up in his face, I was expecting to get hit, but what did he do? He walked away. Instead of fighting for his dreams and fighting for what he believes in, he walked away like a coward. That’s where I stand with everything.
The Miz & Mrs. premieres July 24.
Chuck Carroll is a former pro wrestling announcer and referee turned sports media personality who now interviews the biggest names in wrestling. He once appeared on Monday Night RAW when he presented a WWE title belt in the Redskins locker room.
Follow him on Twitter @ChuckCarrollWLC.