Real Name: Theodore Marvin DiBiase
Weight: 245 pounds
Born: January 18, 1954.
From: Omaha, Nebraska.
Nickname(s): The Million Dollar Man; The Million Dollar Champion
Favorite Saying(s): "Everybody's got a price."
Favourite Move(s): Million Dollar Dream (sleeper hold) WWF Titles Won: WWF Tag Team Championship (3) and WWF Championship for a few minutes thanks to that moron "commisioner" Jack Tunney
One of the most successful and genuine characters in WWF history belongs to the man known as "The Million Dollar Man", Ted DiBiase. Being the son of a former pro wrestler, Ted has been involved in the business from the time he was a child. At the age of 15, his stepfather "Iron Mike" DiBiase died of a heart attack while in the ring. His mother fell into depression and alcoholism, and Ted moved to Arizona to live with his grandparents. Later on, Ted (and his brother John) were sent to Texas, and were taken in by Dory Funk Sr. Ted became a sort of brother to Funk's sons, Terry and Dory Jr.. After high school, Ted went to West Texas State University on a football scholarship, something he credits the Funks with helping to give him the push he needed to do. DiBiase studied communications and physical education at West Texas State, and also did wrestling training with the Funks. Ted eventually dropped out of school and went into wrestling, starting on the Oklahoma circuit.
DiBiase's first big match came against Killer Karl Kox, a match Ted won that started him on his way to notoriety. DiBiase also had some classic matches early on with Dick Murdoch and Greg Valentine. After some time in Oklahoma, he made his way to Japan where he encountered such grapplers as former AWA champ Jumbo Tsuruta, Giant Baba, Tank Patton and the Wolfman. DiBiase considers his matches with Tsuruta some of his best. Ted's time in Japan was invaluable, and provided him with the experience he needed. He headed back to the U.S. and it didn't take long before he won a title, the Central States belt, which he won from Sgt. Slaughter. Later, Ted would add the Western Tag Team Championship (teaming with Irvin Smith) as well as the Missouri title (from Dick Murdoch) to his list of accomplishments. It was in the Mid South area that DiBiase would eventually become a signature star. He teamed with Murdoch to win the NWA U.S. (Tri-State) tag title on April 28, 1976, and in December of 1976 young Ted won the Mid South's version of the North American title from the Spoiler.
After a while, Ted became noticed on a national level. As a result, he was given a title shot a t Harley Race's National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) world title. It was a big match for Ted against the seasoned veteran Race, and DiBiase put up a great showing before the match was halted due to a throat injury suffered by DiBiase. Ted went home to recuperate, but upon his return it took him no time to reestablish himself as a competitive wrestler. In the Spring of 1979, Ted defeated the legendary Fritz Von Erich to win the North American Heavyweight Championship. Soon after, Ted entered the World Wrestling Federation and brought the N. A. title with him. He was acknowledged as the first WWF North American champion and did battle against some all-star talent such as Pat Patterson, Hussein Arab (The Iron Sheik), Bulldog Bob Brower and others. On June 19, 1979 in Allentown, PA, DiBiase lost the title to Pat Patterson. But his days in the WWF weren't over. Ted competed briefly in the tag team division with such partners as West Texas State classmate Tito Santana and the late great Andre the Giant. Also, in December of 1979, Ted became the first ever opponent in Madison Square Garden of a guy you might have heard of by the name of Hulk Hogan.
Ted left the WWF in 1980 and returned to the Mid South region, which would eventually become affiliated with the NWA. DiBiase won the North American title a second time on February 1, 1980 by defeating Mike George in Shreveport, LA. Between 1980 and 1987 Ted won this title four more times, making him a five-time N.A. champion. Ted also won the NWA United National Heavyweight title in October of 1983 after winning a 12-man tournament when Jerry Lawler forfeited in the finals. But DiBiase's dominance in the Mid South/NWA area wasn't restricted to singles action. He also won the tag team championship there on several occasions. The first came on October 27, 1982 when he teamed with Matt Borne (as the "Rat Pack") to defeat the Junkyard Dog and Mr. Olympia. Ted would win the belts on three other occasions; once with Hercules Hernandez and twice with "Dr. Death" Steve Williams. Williams and DiBiase in particular were an incredible tag team that dominated the Mid South territory, and were the first ever UWF tag champions after the Mid South titles were renamed.
For the early part of his career, Ted took on the role of "babyface" or "good guy" in wrestling. He was obviously successful and garnered many championships in those early years. Ted had actually broken into the business as a "heel" or "bad guy" (a role his father had portrayed) but was unable to generate the type of heat from the crowd that a successful heel requires, so he went back to a face and stayed that way for the first several years. Everything would change in 1983. Ted was a fan favourite in the Mid South, and teamed regularly with the Junkyard Dog, who was the most popular star in the region at the time and one of the most popular ever. After a while, the Mid South area lost heel wrestlers such as Paul Orndorff and the Samoans. Bill Watts, the mastermind and boss of the Mid South, got together with assistant booker Ernie Ladd and decided that what the Mid South area needed was a strong heel. The two told DiBiase and other Mid South wrestlers to keep their eyes on the wrestling circuit for a man who could fit the bill. The rest of this story comes from DiBiase himself, courtesy of a Prodigy chat on October 2, 1997:
At that time the strong babyfaces were myself and JYD. I used to tease JYD and say "you know they play your music, you walk out and bark like a dog and 10 minutes later it's over... you make all the money. I go out and put in 45 minutes a night... something's not right". Then it came to me one day... I went to Ernie Ladd's hotel room and told him "I have found your heel". He was all excited... and said "who is it?". I said "you're looking at him". His eyes got big like silver dollars and he realized it was right in front of him. When I saw how excited he got, he couldn't wait to get on the phone and call Bill. It was almost like immediate... he said "That's it".
With DiBiase being the babyface that he was, and with he and JYD being frequent tag team partners, nobody could imagine Ted turning on the Dog. But that's exactly what he did. DiBiase would become a monster heel, and portrayed the character perfectly. He earned big-time success as a heel, dominating the Mid South championship scene either as champion or top contender. In November of 1985 he once again became a face after an NWA title shot against "Nature Boy" Ric Flair was interrupted by the hated Dick Murdoch who felt he deserved the title shot and beat up DiBiase in the process. However, Ted's time as a heel impressed a lot of people. He'd showed what he's capable of.
In 1986, the Mid South area was renamed (under Watts) the Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF). The company also became more involved with the NWA, and in 1987 the company was absorbed into the NWA (which later became World Championship Wrestling). This left DiBiase with two main choices. The NWA or the WWF. But then, it happened. Ted explains in an interview with RichInKC in September of 1997:
It truly was a dream come true. Vince McMahon called me at home, said he had a great idea and thought that I was the man that fit the bill. He then flew my wife and I first class to New York City where a stretch limousine picked us up and took us to his office in Stamford, Connecticut. As I sat in Vince's office, he laid out this character in detail to me. "Ted, we're going to make you the most evil villain that wrestling has ever seen. You will be wrestling's J.R. Ewing, or Ebenizer Scrooge, if you will. You will be filthy rich. You will throw money around like it's water. Throwing it at peoples' feet, laughing in their faces and telling them to get on their hands and knees and grovel for your money and then, I want the full visual effect. Ted, we're going to fly you all over the country wherever you go first class. Lear jets, if they are available. There will be a limousine to carry you everywhere, no matter where you are. I am going to make sure you have a wad of $100 bills, and even if you only buy a pack of gum, I want you to always use a hundred. You will stay at the finest hotels and we are even going to give you a bodyguard (Virgil, now the NWO's Vincent). On top of all of that, you're going to make a lot of money."
My response was disbelief. I couldn't believe this was happening to me. Without any hesitation, I said, "I am your man." With that, he then says, "I want you and your wife to take the limousine outside and I've made arrangements for a room at the Helmsley Palace in New York City, dinner at one of the finest restaurants in the city, and after that tickets to the theater. Ted, welcome aboard, go start being the Million Dollar Man. . . ." And that's exactly what he did. DiBiase debuted in the WWF in late-1987 and became one of the sports' biggest heels almost overnight. For weeks the WWF teased his debut by showing video vignettes of him doing dastardly things. He bought the honeymoon suite of a hotel, kicking a honeymooning couple out in the process. He bought a public pool for a day, forcing all the children in the pool to stand and watch from the other side of the fence. He got himself from the end of the line in a fancy restaurant to the best table in the house. Then Ted (and Virgil) brought their spectacle to arenas all over the world. DiBiase evenimg challenged kids to do things for money. On one occasion he challenged a youngster to dribble a basketball ten times for money, but after nine dribbles Ted kicked the ball away and gave the boy nothing. He was hated, he was despised. But because of it, people flocked to the arenas to see Ted get beat up. "The Million Dollar Man" was a million dollar success.
In 1988, Ted set out to capture the WWF heavyweight title. When he was unable to get the job done on his own, he decided to buy the contract of Andre the Giant. The Giant promised DiBiase that he would win the title and present it to him. In February of 1988, Andre defeated champion Hulk Hogan on a "Main Event" special in one of the most controversial title changes in wrestling history. True to his word, the Giant gave the title belt to DiBiase. Ted's title reign would be short-lived, as WWF President Jack Tunney stripped the Million Dollar Man of the title and announced a WWF title tournament to take place at Wrestlemania IV. DiBiase entered into the tournament and made it all the way to the finals before being defeated by "Macho Man" Randy Savage thanks to outside interference from Hogan.
Ted's loss to "The Macho Man" set up a heated feud between Savage and Hogan (known as the Megapowers) and DiBiase and Andre (called the Megabucks). The two teams squared off at the first ever Summerslam, with Ted's team coming out on the losing end.
Besides Savage, Ted had some memorable feuds in the WWF. After introducing his "Million Dollar Championship" belt in 1990, DiBiase got into a feud with Jake "The Snake" Roberts after the Snake stole the belt from Ted. The feud climaxed at Wrestlemania VI when the two squared off for the belt, a match that Ted won. Another memorable feud was against the Big Bossman, whose services Ted had initially enlisted to help him get the Million Dollar belt back from Jake. When the Bossman discovered that his manager Slick was being paid by DiBiase, the "law abiding" Bossman refused to help and a bitter battle resulted.
One of Ted's best WWF feuds was against "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes. DiBiase enraged Rhodes when he bought Dusty's manager Sapphire. There was also an edition of Saturday Night's Main Event that saw DiBiase buy the seats of the entire front row. One of the seats was occupied by Dusty's son Dustin Rhodes (Runnels) who refused to give it up. Ted and his bodyguard Virgil delivered a beating to Dustin, and to Dusty as well when he tried to come to his son's aid. This led to a special 10-minute challenge match on WWF national television between DiBiase and Dustin. The younger Rhodes lasted the 10-minutes and won the match. Next came a series of tag matches involving DiBiase and Virgil against the Rhodes. During one such match at the 1991 Royal Rumble, the years of humiliation that Virgil had taken from Ted became too much as he turned on his "boss". Virgil would later win the Million Dollar title from DiBiase, but Ted would eventually win the title back. DiBiase also enlisted the services of "Sensational" Sherri Martel, making him an even more dangerous competitor.
On February 7, 1992, the Legion of Doom were set to defend the WWF tag titles against the team of the Natural Disasters. The Disasters' manager, Jimmy "Mouth of the South" Hart, threw a curveball at the challengers as well as the LOD, as he announced that another team would be the replacement opponents for the 'Disasters. Hart introduced "Money Inc.", comprised of Irwin R. Shyster and DiBiase. The two defeated the LOD and with that, Ted had his first legitimate WWF gold. The Disasters were out for revenge and defeated Money Inc. that July, but DiBiase and co. won the belts back on October 13, 1992. Then came Wrestlemania IX, when Money Inc. took part in one-half of the double main event against the team of Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake. Jimmy Hart had left Money Inc. weeks earlier to join Hogan and Beefcake (aka the Megamaniacs) following the champions' brutal assault on Beefcake during an episode of Monday Night Raw. The 'Maniacs won the match at Wrestlemania by disqualification, but didn't win the belts, a huge moral victory for the champs. But things would come to an end that June. Money Inc. swapped the titles with the Steiner Brothers before losing them to the Steiners for good on June 19, 1993. Money Inc. gained several title shot rematches, one of which was a special steel cage match that August. But the team was unable to regain the titles.
In the Summer of 1993, Money Inc. began appearing on Monday Night Raw in interviews in which they made jokes about Razor Ramon (Scott Hall). Ramon had just lost in a huge upset to WWF newcomer the 1-2-3 Kid (Sean Waltman) on Raw. Ramon didn't take kindly to these comments and took on Waltman as an ally. DiBiase took on the Kid on WWF Superstars, and thanks to the outside distraction of Ramon, was pinned by the Kid in a major upset. Then came Summerslam '93, with Razor going one-on-one against the Million Dollar Man. Ted put up a good fight, but was beaten cleanly by Ramon. Later in 1993, Ted suffered an injury to his neck/spine. He explains here what he decided he had to do, courtesy of Prodigy chat, October 2, 1997: <
What I was told was that should I have the disc removed and replaced that I could possibly wrestle again, but in doing so I would risk being paralyzed if dropped on my head wrong. The injury took place at around the same time I was turning 40. I can remember as a kid deciding to get into wrestling, and the fact my father died in the ring at 45, I promised myself I wouldn't go beyond that age. When this injury took place at about that time, I said "That's it."
With the injury, the Million Dollar Man saw his wrestling career come to an end. He left the wrestling business altogether in late 1993, but he would return. By the Spring of 1994, Ted DiBiase, the manager, was back at it in the WWF. He immediately took on former partner Irwin R. Shyster as a protege, and added Bam Bam Bigelow to his Money Inc. stable soon after. Then, DiBiase announced that he'd brought back the Undertaker (who had been out of action since the 1994 Royal Rumble), and introduced his fake Undertaker (aka Brian "Chainz" Lee). DiBiase's Undertaker took on, and was defeated by, the real Undertaker at Summerslam '94. Also at that event, Ted added Tatanka to his stable after the Native American turned on Lex Luger. DiBiase continued with his group well into 1995, as he added WWF great King Kong Bundy, Sid, and the 1-2-3 Kid. Despite the impressive men that Ted enlisted, he never achieved great success with this group. Ted's feud with the Undertaker continued after Summerslam '94, and it saw UT plow through all of DiBiase's men, including feuds with IRS, Bundy and Kama. DiBiase also enlisted the services of Henry Godwinn at one point, but Godwinn soon had enough of "boss Ted" and engaged in a brief and ridiculous feud with Money Inc. that saw DiBiase get a bucket of pig slop dumped over him on several occasions.
By the end of 1995, Money Inc. had basically disbanned with the exception of the 1-2-3 Kid. However, Ted began to focus his attention on his newest recruit,The Ringmaster (aka Steve Austin). DiBiase proclaimed that Austin was the new Million Dollar Champion, and Steve even used Ted's "Million Dollar Dream" sleeperhold as his finisher. Just like the wrestlers before him, Austin just didn't enjoy a high level of success under DiBiase. He engaged in a feud with Savio Vega that climaxed with a Caribbean Strap Match in May of 1996 at WWF In Your House: Beware of Dog II. DiBiase announced before the match that if Austin lost, Ted would leave the WWF. Austin did indeed lose to Vega, and with that, DiBiase's long and illustrious WWF career came to an end.
DiBiase had done a lot in the WWF. Besides being a contender for several years (as well as the manager of contenders), Ted has also been the benefactor of Brother Love, and had been the man who introduced the Undertaker at the 1990 Survivor Series. DiBiase's history of being a man to introduce stars continued on as he joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW) shortly after his WWF career ended. Ted became the benefactor of WCW's popular nWo angle. He then left the group because being a devout Christian it wouldn't set a good example of what the NWO did and what he was preaching. He became a face manager mananager for The Steiner Brothers in 1997, but by 19998 they had all disbanded and gone they're seperate ways.
Today, Ted DiBiase is a born-again Christian who travels across the United States preaching the word of God at various churches and religious conferences. He is greatly involved in charity work, and is a spokesman for the Sunshine Foundation, an organization that grants wishes to critically ill children. Ted is also a motivational speaker, and appears at various assemblies to speak out against drug and alcohol abuse. He warns America’s youth about the trap of being addicted to drugs and alcohol. He also encourages them to stay in school, set reachable goals and pay whatever price it takes to become the best that they can be. To top it off, DiBiase wrote his own book this last year, an autobiography entitled "Every Man Has His Price: The True Story of Wrestling's Million Dollar Man".
Visit The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase's official website!! Click here!!