Mike 'The Miz' Mizanin on What Makes 'Cannonball' a Summer Must-Watch
If you’re looking for a wet and wild good time this summer without getting off the couch, Cannonball has got you covered. The series sees contestants from all walks of life facing off in water-based obstacles for $10,000, helping their drenched dreams come true.
The stateside version of this international favorite is hosted by WWE superstar Mike “The Miz'' Mizanin and Rocsi Diaz. Comedian Simon Gibson reports from the shoreline. On June 30, NBC gave audiences their first look at Cannonball Bay, home to such things as the towering Megaslide and Surfrider 50-feet above water.
“When they told me they were going to preview it on NBC, I was like ‘Wow,'" Mizanin said. “NBC Universal is really behind this show. When you’re up there and doing it, you can feel if the show is going to be good or not...You never know what is going to happen with television...Then it does [2.75 million viewers on initial airing] and succeeds. It gives you a vote of confidence. I always knew it was a great show.
"Now the fans are seeing that it is entertaining. It’s fun, especially in the world we are in today with all the drama in it. You want to just come home and watch something that is effortless. You don't have to think much. You just are entertained. That’s exactly what Cannonball does."
Before the belly flops and splash-tastic spills really get underway, we caught up with Miz on dry land to talk about why the show is ‘must-see.’ The consummate entertainer also gives a peek behind his music videos with tag partner John Morrison and when we can expect more Miz & Mrs.
You’ve hosted talk show segments on WWE like Miz TV and reality competitions like The Challenge. How were you approached about this opportunity?
Mike “The Miz'' Mizanin: It’s funny. I got told about the show by Renee [Young], a host and backstage interviewer at WWE. She came to me and was like, “Are you up for Cannonball? I’ve heard from a bunch of different people in the industry that this show is coming out, and you were attached to it.’ I had no idea about it. Then all of a sudden, I got the call from USA about setting up a meeting. They wanted to show me the show and were really excited about it. They told me I was the only one they wanted to talk to. I thought, "Is this real?" You hear in Hollywood all the time that this person is attached to this or that and it never happens. For it to happen, I was floored.
I asked them, "What do you want me to do? Do you want The Miz?" They told me, "Honestly, we want you. We want Mike Mizanin. We see what you do on Miz & Mirs. We love that guy, but we also love The Miz on WWE. We want a combination, and honesty, Mike from Parma, [Ohio].” This was the first time I heard that in 20 years because ever since The Real World everyone has wanted The Miz more than Mike. This is the first time they wanted Mike over The Miz.
And rounding out the broadcast team is Rocsi and Simon. What do you think of your dynamic?
Rocsi gets into the room, and we started our banter. You add Simon Gibson, which if you don’t know his name in comedy, in about 10 years he will be a household name. This guy is that funny. It was so easy to work with this cast and crew. Sitting with Rocsi who did the play-by-play when while I did color. She kept Simon and I in line. Simon and I can banter for an hour and be laughing. Rocsi holds the fort down. She came in so professional. Not only is she witty, she is fun. She is just someone who knows exactly what’s going on and where we need to go. It was a smooth transition with everyone. I was really excited to be surrounded by the talent I was surrounded by.
How many of the challenges did you try yourself?
I wanted to try all of them. Rocsi and I fought tooth and nail every single day...On the last day, we were doing photo shoots. I asked, “Where is the photo shoot?” It was on top of the Megaslide. Rocsi and I looked at each other thinking after the photo shoot we were gong down. We get up in the air. Rocsi and I are doing the photo shoot all those stories high. We are ready. Simon doesn’t want to do it by the way. He is afraid of heights and hated being a hundred feet high. As we’re walking toward the slide, the water stops. You just see the crew laughing. They stopped the water. I’m not going down a hundred foot slide dry because my body is going to chafe really bad. We didn’t get to do it. We wanted to really bad.
What’s great about the show is you see everyday people and these fun personalities. There different backgrounds and skill levels. You don't necessarily have to be an athlete to be successful.
This is a competition for everybody. You can see your neighbor. You can be sitting on the couch and be that person on TV. Anyone can win. I watched collegiate athletes, NCAA top dogs come into this thing so confident and cocky. They would do the Megaslide and not succeed. When you have people from all walks of life, whether they are a barista or never worked out a day in their life. They can succeed in this competition. Anybody can succeed if you have the right focus, technique. The main thing that I think sets us apart from other places is the fear factor. You go up top a hundred feet high. Whether you like heights or hate them, you’re going to be scared. I watched a guy who said in his interview how he is afraid of heights and didn't want to do it. He was thinking of their wife, dad, mom, loved one. He wanted to do it for them. They’re hesitating, but when they finally do it and succeed at it. The look on their face. That is what makes the show and separates it from everything else.
Who do you think from WWE would do well in this competition?
Me, myself and I. John Morrison because John Morrison is arguably one of the most athletically gifted. He is also artsy and has this artsy frame of mind. This isn’t just about athleticism. This is about having a different frame of mind you would in football, basketball, baseball, wrestling. This isn’t any of those things. You have to have a different mindset, and he has that. He can figure out different techniques to succeed. You know who would also do well? Otis! He would got a hundred miles an hour on the Megaslide and fly farther and higher than anybody.
That's quite the visual. You mention John. It’s great to see you guys back together on SmackDown. You two have been putting together these over-the-top music videos seen on WWE TV that have gained traction. Those must have been fun to shoot.
We have two songs out “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho,” and “Hey, Hey, Hey.” John comes up to me and said the rap video did so well, let’s do an ‘80s ballad. I’m like, “John, I can’t sing.” He said, “Neither can I. Let’s get a producer and hopefully they can auto-tune our voices.” We sat up one night and wrote down all the lyrics. We were going up against the Universal champion Braun Strowman. We wanted to make something memorable. So we did a dis ‘80s ballad.. We got this guy Freddy [Scott] who does RuPaul’s Drag Race. He does music all over the place. He produced us over my house.
I said,”Freddy, I don’t know how to sing.” He would sing it, and his voice is magic. I would sing, and it would be terrible. He would keep repeating himself until I got to the octave he wanted. He would work with me to get me to that note. By the way, the song is a hundred percent John and me. It’s barely auto-tuned. He worked with us that much. The music videos wrote itself. We just did everything we loved about the ‘80s. I had a Miami Vice outfit going. John was always shirtless because that’s what he does. We filmed it all at my house in one day. Probably, five hours it took us.
I’m sure your dad has been bothering you about being involved too.
You don’t understand what I have created with Miz & Mrs and him being inside the ring at WrestleMania putting his dukes up against Shane McMahon. It became viral, that photo. I have to hear about it every single day....Everyone loves him on our show. They love [my mother-in-law] Marjo and all these cast of characters. I have to live with all this. Your entertainment is my hell. So everyone gets to enjoy that as well.
What can you tell us about the future of Miz & Mrs? How has the pandemic impacted production?
We already have most of our stuff shot already. We’re going to have 14 episodes I feel by fall. We should have them edited and ready to go. We think it will live up to the first season as well as the first six episodes of the second season. I think they are actually going to deliver those new episodes in a row.
I think the fans can look forward to even better, even more funny. People ask for my dad more, Marjo more. That’s exactly what we are giving them. We’re giving them what they want. It’s action-packed, entertaining and funny. When you watch reality shows, a lot of them are about train wrecks and drama. Our show is something you can watch with your family, escape your reality and enter ours and laugh. That’s what our show is dedicated to providing.
Cannonball premieres July 9, 8/7c, USA Network