by Hunter Shull”The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase made his first appearance on In Your Head, Wednesday, July 16th, 2008, with hosts Jack, OIB, and Barbie! Go to www.inyourheadonline.com to listen to the interview in its entirety.
Jack opens the show by letting everyone know that Ted DiBiase’s book “Ted Dibiase : The Million Dollar Man” is available everywhere books are sold.
Why did DiBiase write the 2nd book? His first book dealt with his spiritual journey, not his wrestling career. Since that book’s publication, he has had many requests from wrestling fans who wanted to hear about his career, so the new book focuses on that. The WWE approached him about doing the book, and both DiBiase and the company are completely happy with the finished product.
The only criticism about the book that DiBiase has heard is from people who want “the dirt”. DiBiase says, “If my wife didn’t need to know the dirty details, the rest of the world doesn’t need to know either.” DiBiase said he didn’t want to use the book to destroy anybody’s credibility.
Jack notes the great stories told in the book about other wrestlers, including Dick Murdoch. DiBiase feels that Murdoch never gets the credit he deserves for his in-ring work because he was a great practical joker. DiBiase feels that was the reason Murdoch was never World Champion, because the promoters never knew which Murdoch would show up, as Murdoch was a great worker, but would often clown around.
DiBiase talks a little about his philosophy on the business. Wrestlers are “athletic actors.” The reason people are drawn into movies is because the actors “become” the character they are playing, and make the audience believe that they really are that character. Pro wrestlers are the same way. When DiBiase was growing up, he defended the business, for example, putting other people in sleeper holds to demonstrate that they could really put someone to sleep. When DiBiase broke into the business, he had the attitude of “They might think every other match is not real, but I’m gonna make them believe mine.”
According to DiBiase, the art of wrestling is calling the match as you go, in the ring, not knowing anything beforehand except the finish. When DiBiase did interviews, he never used a script, he only had an idea of what he was going to say.
DiBiase puts over the WWE school in Florida. He says that it’s great that Steve Keirn, Tom Pritchard, and Dusty Rhodes are in charge. DiBiase feels that the problem with OVW was that it wasn’t run by people who had main evented in wrestling.
When DiBiase came to the WWF, he wasn’t worried that they would give him a bad gimmick. He felt like he had been a strong heel, and the WWF would create something for him based on what they had seen him do previously.
DiBiase gives some advice for those trying to break into the business: “Be sure the guy taking who’s your money and training you to wrestle knows what he’s doing. I would not give my money to somebody who was never an established wrestler. I don’t care what he’s done on the Indy circuit. (…) There’s no Indy wrestling that even comes close to what would be expected of a WWE Superstar.” When Ted’s son wanted to start wrestling, Ted didn’t want to send him to OVW, so he sent him to train with Harley Race.
A caller asks whether DiBiase knew what huge stars The Undertaker and Stone Cold Steve Austin would become, since DiBiase was there at the beginning of both of those
men’s WWF runs. DiBiase had no idea that The Undertaker would become such a star, but Mark Calloway really blossomed in the role.
DiBiase definitely saw the potential in Austin, and while other agents were telling Austin that he needed to do more high-flying moves, DiBiase told Austin that what he was doing was good because it was different than what everyone else was doing.
DiBiase’s take on the first Souled Out PPV: “I hated it.” He was a color commentator, not a Play-By-Play guy, and didn’t mesh well with Bischoff in the announce booth. He and Bischoff didn’t discuss anything beforehand, which was an example of how unorganized WCW was. DiBiase finds it amazing that WCW was able to compete with the WWF for as long as it did.
Rey Mysterio was someone DiBiase noticed in WCW as having great potential, but was not being utilized properly. He also feels that the luchadores’ matches in WCW were too much high flying, with not much making sense.
DiBiase calls JBL the modern day version of “The Million Dollar Man.” He says that fans will always hate the type of heel who talks big, but runs away when it’s time to fight.
DiBiase says “so far, so good” when asked about his son’s WWE career. He has been getting good feedback from those in the company, and is impressed with everything he has seen so far.
A caller asks about Junkyard Dog. DiBiase says that JYD was one of his best friends, and the best man at his wedding. DiBiase believes that JYD had more charisma than anyone he’d ever seen. DiBiase used to tease JYD about the length of his matches. DiBiase notes that one time they did a survey in the New Orleans public schools about which celebrity the children wanted to see, and JYD won, being more popular than even the New Orleans Saints.
DiBiase says that it is more fun to be a heel because you’re not really being yourself, and he would always laugh about how fans would be screaming and throwing things at him during a show, and 15 minutes later come up to him and ask for his autograph.
Ted will be appearing at the NWA Legends Fanfest in Charlotte, NC August 14-17. On Sunday, 8/17 he will speak at a Worship Service along with Thunderbolt Patterson.
Jack asks about Ernie Ladd. DiBiase replies that he was a very good friend, and someone who was very wise about the business. DiBiase always went to him for advice.
A caller asks about the angle in Mid-South involving DiBiase, Murdoch, and Ric Flair. DiBiase discusses the blade job, saying that it is more difficult to blade when you haven’t warmed up. He took an aspirin and some brandy to thin his blood. He ended up cutting an artery, and every time his heart pumped, blood would squirt out of his forehead.
Jack asks about the Nikolai Volkoff angle, noting that he is still waiting for a payoff. DiBiase isn’t sure were that was supposed to go, he thinks it was just to give Nikolai something to do.
Another caller asks about the origin of The Million Dollar Man’s trademark laugh. DiBiase threw it in at the end of an interview during a TV taping once. Vince overheard it, and told him to do it in every interview from then on.
DiBiase says that the benefit of working overseas like his son did, is that a person becomes a more well-rounded wrestler and learns different styles.. DiBiase then discusses the Japanese fans. He had trouble getting used to them at first because they don’t react as much as American fans do, which made it more difficult to call a match based on their reaction. Japan is also one of the topics included in DiBiase’s book.
Why didn’t DiBiase stay longer as a manager? The main reason why he had left the WWF in the first place was that he wanted to avoid life on the road. By the time his three years in WCW were over, he felt that his “season” as a wrestler and commentator had passes. He will always be grateful for his years in WWE, and still loves the company. He continues to makes appearances representing the WWE, and says that we might see him at ringside again sometime in the future.
“If you’re selfish, you’re not accomplishing what the office wants, and ultimately who’s paying you? The office.”
A caller’s question leads into DiBiase’s feelings about The Ultimate Warrior. “I can’t keep from beating that drum,” DiBiase says. “The guy disgusts me because he has absolutely no respect or regard for anybody in our business. All the wrestlingbusiness was for him was a means to an end.” DiBiase feels that The Ultimate Warrior only knew a few moves in the ring, and everything else had to be spoonfed to him, but Warrior is very arrogant and self-serving, and doesn’t appreciate the people who worked with him and helped him out. When he learns about Warrior’s recent comback match against Orlando Jordan in Spain, his response is “Orlando Jordan? He can’t work either.”
DiBiase discusses his match with Warrior in the Tokyo Dome, which is covered in the book. DiBiase was angry during the match because he made the Warrior look like “King Kong” at the begining of the match, but then when it was time for DiBiase to get his heat, the match was cut short. As a result, the match basically ended up being a squash, upsetting Ted.
Does DiBiase feel that the Virgil angle was racist, or that there was a lot of racism in the business in general while DiBiase was a wrestler? Not at all. If somebody has the talent, he will succeed. If any black wrestlers weren’t successful, it was because they weren’t any good, not because of racism. If a wrestler could get over, the promoters would use them. “I don’t ever recall there ever being a case of any kind of racism in wrestling.”
He says that Virgil wasn’t a great wrestler, but was very coachable and always listened. When they started the angle, they knew that one day Virgil would turn against DiBiase. DiBiase feels that the long build-up made the angle successful.
A caller asks about the 1983 program in Atlanta between DiBiase and Tommy Rich, which featured DiBiase defeating Rich at the Omni, and Rich’s return under a mask as “Mr. R.” DiBiase enjoyed that program, saying that it was a repeat of an angle he had done in Louisiana with The Junkyard Dog.
Barbie asks Ted about the Million Dollar Man vignettes that were done in the WWF. DiBiase says that those were all a lot of fun, and mentions that the one he is asked about a lot is the famous segment with him kicking the basketball.
DiBiase was nervous travelling around with the Million Dollar Belt, since it was worth around $40,000. He tells a story about leaving the belt at the airport in Atlanta one time.
DiBiase closes the interview by explaining the Bible verse Matthew 16:26, which he includes when he signs his autograph. The verse: “For what does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his soul.” He includes this because the Million Dollar Man’s life was only about money, but this scripture has become the defining verse for his life. “You can have all the money and success and fame in the world, but if you don’t have Christ in your life, you’ve got nothing.”
To hear the entire 60+ minute interview, go to www.inyourheadonline.com. Also, Check out www.Teddibiase.com and www.nwalegends.com to find out about Ted’s upcoming appearances.