As a kid growing up in Parma, Ohio watching pro wrestling with his childhood friends, he had no idea he would one day be one of the WWE’s top stars. Once he achieved the goal of becoming a headlining WWE Superstar, The Miz moved to L.A. to take his dreams to Hollywood. And he needed a car that fit both his bad guy persona and his own personal tastes. His black-on-black 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited not only fits his flashy new surroundings perfectly, but also looks the part of a big-time villain’s car. Always a connoisseur of imposing, powerful vehicles, The Miz once owned a Hummer H2. “It used to be my favorite car of all-time, but it was too big for the Hollywood streets.” So he went on to buy cars that felt more at home in Southern California, first a Mercedes-Benz S550 and later, his Lambo-doored 2013 Audi R8. However, he found that there were some things even the mighty R8 was incapable of. “You can’t really go grocery shopping in an R8.”
So, he wanted a car with the same attitude and toughness his old H2 had, but he needed it to be quicker and more agile. “My buddy bought a Jeep Wrangler. It was lifted, it had wheels, and as soon as he took me for a ride in it, I thought, ‘You know what, I need to get one.’” He wanted his Jeep to stand out, even in an L.A. crowd, so he quickly brought the Jeep in to DUB for its transformation into a ride that befits the slick, tailored-suit wearing WWE villain fans see on SmackDown Live every Tuesday night on USA Network. From the gloss black 22” TIS Wheels wrapped in Nitto Trail Grappler tires to the matte-black Road Armor front bumper capable of clotheslining other cars out of the way in gridlock traffic, the Jeep fits him to a T. Topped off with MetalCloak suspension, Heise LED lighting and the intimidating sound from the MBRP exhaust, the stealthy black Jeep is an attention getter.
“I bought it from Orange Coast Jeep and drove straight to drop it off with Myles [ Kovacs] at DUB to let them do their thing. When I picked it up a few weeks later I was blown away! It was way beyond what I expected, and I love everything that was done to it.” Now an L.A. native, he’s growing his collection of head-turning rides, but still stays true to his Ohio roots, hand washing and detailing his Jeep and R8 himself just like how he used to help wash his dad’s classic Corvette back in the day as we witnessed right before the photoshoot.
The Miz got his first taste of the limelight while starring on MTV’s pioneering reality show, “The Real World.” On a whim during college, he tried out to be a part of its cast of twenty-something strangers who would live in a house together while being filmed 24/7. “It kind of made me believe I could do anything I wanted with my life. 60,000 people tried out (for 7 spots). And out of all of them, I got one.” It was while filming his first season that he invented the persona that would one day propel him to WWE stardom. Initially, he used the character to break the tension between the roommates. “If Mike couldn’t say something to the roommates, The Miz would,” he remembers. “They only showed me doing the character in like two episodes, but after the season ended, when I would go out, people would start calling me ‘The Miz.’”
His big break came when the WWE got into the reality show business with its “Tough Enough” series. An “Ultimate Warrior” fan from childhood who still loved watching wrestling during his college years, The Miz tried out to be the next big WWE prospect. Although he was not chosen as his season’s winner, he still caught the company’s eye with his outsized personality, which included an element of humor many bad guy wrestlers lacked. “I’m only 6’1” and at the time could not get heavier than 195 lbs., no matter how much I ate or how hard I worked out. I knew I could never be the biggest guy out there, so I tried to be the biggest character.” Eventually, The Miz was signed by WWE and they put him in spots where he could use his skills on the mic as host of the WWE’s “Divas” reality show, where he would meet his future real-life wife and on-screen manager, Maryse Ouellet. When they first met on the “Divas” show, he recounts, she hardly spoke any English. The Canada native would do her interviews in French, prompting The Miz to think, “I don’t know what you’re saying, but this is the sexiest thing ever.”
As The Miz worked his way up the WWE ladder over the past decade, he has won multiple championships, from the WWE Tag Team Championship all the way to the coveted WWE Championship, when he beat this generation’s most famous good guy WWE Superstar, John Cena. But of all these in-ring accomplishments, it was a small moment only his closest friends may have even noticed that will always be special to him. “The coolest moment about being in that ring in the main event at WrestleMania wasn’t my entrance. It wasn’t even holding the title in my hand. I don’t really remember that. The coolest moment was looking over to my left and seeing all my friends from high school that were in my living room in 1999 watching WrestleMania. Looking over at them in the front row and saying, ‘We did it.’”