This was filmed in 2000 at DiBiase’s home in Jackson, MS
The interview was conducted by Rob Feinstein
It is a two-disc set. Disc One runs at two hours and five minutes long and Disc Two runs at one hour and two minutes long.
Ted is first asked what it was like growing up in a wrestling family. He said that it is similar to an “Army Brat” as you get used to moving a lot. Even though his dad (Iron Mike DiBiase) was really his stepfather, he never called him that. Ted then lists all the places he has lived as a kid as he basically moved every year while he was in elementary school.
He said that he wanted to become a wrestler when he was a kid but how his dad never wanted him to do to that. Ted now talks about how he has three sons and that he does not want his kids to become wrestlers because you pay a price as you have little time for your family and the divorce rates are sky high and you have no life when you are gone 90% of the time as you are all over the country. Ted then talks about all of his friends that have been ruined by drug and alcohol addiction and says how trouble finds you on the road. He does say that he loves getting into the ring and performing.
Ted talks about how for every wrestler that makes it huge, there are 100 others who are just as talented but never get a break. He talks about someone, he forgets their name, but he trained in Japan as a sumo wrestler and had a ton of charisma but the WWF had Yokozuna at the time and when he was on the downside the company was not going to bring in the same type of person and from that goes into how timing is everything.
When asked if he grew bitter towards the business after his father died of a heart attack in the middle of his match. DiBiase said he did not and goes into how his dad had heart disease and they did not know a lot about that in 1969 and that might have been prevented today.
In College, DiBiase played football at West Texas State with John Ayers, Tully Blanchard, and Tito Santana. When asked, he said that it was great. Originally, he was going to play football at Arizona University then saw on TV that the Amarillo territory was coming into town and saw Dory who told him to come back next time to see Terry. Ted was closer to Terry than the others. He spoke to Terry and when that happened he realized that he wanted to become a wrestler and wound up at West Texas State so he could be around the Funk’s. He said that Tully was the quarterback and Tito was the Tight End.
He said that the Funk’s, especially Terry, mentored him throughout his career. DiBiase talks up Funk and how brilliant he is and claims that when he left college, Terry told him step-by-step how wrestling would reach a National level.
DiBiase goes into on what it takes to become a wrestler. He said you cannot learn to work at a school, only how to learn the mechanics, and stresses you learn on the job and goes back when he was breaking into the business when the veterans told him that he needed to have an “ear” for the business so you know how to react. He said that when he wrestled, it was never choreographed and you only knew the finish as the heel lead the match. DiBiase said that is missing from the business today.
On Harley Race, DiBiase said that he was the one who ran into the ring and performed CPR on his dad the night of his death. He then said that one night, Harley told him that he had “it” then DiBiase talks about how at one point in the early 1980’s, he was scheduled to become the NWA World Heavyweight Champion as Harley, The Funks, and Bob Geigel all wanted him to be the champ/ He was then told that the belt would be moved around himself, Dusty Rhodes, and Ric Flair and that was going to become the main story for the promotion but Dusty did some politicking and got that switched.
DiBiase then said that he went down to Georgia and worked for Ole Anderson right at the tail end of their hot run. He was told do to go down there and get on TV for more exposure to prepare for the World Title run. He said that Robert Fuller was the booker, someone DiBiase said was not great, and even though he did not know enough at the time on how to book a promotion himself, he knew when it was not good. He was also not part of Fuller’s crew but Jim Barnett ordered Fuller to push DiBiase. Fuller ended up aligning DiBiase with himself and that did not get over and at that time the Crockett Territory was really heating up so the talk of him being a champion ended. DiBiase said that he has no regrets then jokes about how he has probably made more World Champions than anyone else. He did like working in Atlanta as the travel was much easier than Mid-South or Amarillo and he got to sleep at home every night.
He talks about how he was brought into the WWWF as the North American Champion in 1979. DiBiase said that Vince Sr. liked his work but that was a big man territory and he was still young and that his belt was actually the belt that was used for the Intercontinental Championship as Pat Patterson beat him then after that, the WWWF used the story of Patterson winning a tournament in Rio De Janeiro.
On wrestling Hulk Hogan at Madison Square Garden in Hogan’s MSG debut, he said that Vince Sr. told him that he knew that he would put over Hogan right (DiBiase was leaving to go to Mid-South) and to do whatever you think is right. DiBiase said he spoke to Hogan and told him what he wanted to do and they went out and had a great match. DiBiase then said that he would love to have that match for his personal library then said that Hogan thanked him very much and that he owed him for his work. DiBiase said that he saw the money in Hogan even back then.
DiBiase said that Bill Watts came up with the loaded glove gimmick. He said that they needed a heel in the territory and at the time, Ernie Ladd was the booker and DiBiase knocked on his door and said that he would be a heel by turning on JYD. DiBiase said he came up with that as he always teased JYD for working 5 minute matches and doing a lot of taunts and dancing yet he made all of the money as he was working his ass of in 30 minute matches. They built up a program and they were facing off in the finals for the North American Championship and would cut babyface promos leading up to the match. The finish was when JYD kicked DiBiase out of the ring and the ref was counting out DiBiase, JYD stopped the ref as he did not want to win like that and rolled DiBiase back in the ring then DiBiase loaded up his glove and won the match that way.
He puts over Bill Watts for having a great mind for the business but that he was a bully and a “slave driver” as the travel was brutal. He even looks into the camera and tells Watts if he was watching that he was a bully.
DiBiase said that Watts did not have the connections that Vince McMahon did in New York and when he realized that it was too late and could not compete with Vince on a National level.
Feinstein asks DiBiase about several workers. He said that Watts paired him up with Steve Williams and that he caught on quick. He also credits Williams for shedding weight as he was really heavy when he started. He tells a story of how he was supposed to blade during a segment with Dick Murdoch. He said that one of the tricks of the trade was before you were going to blade, you took an aspirin and a shot of brandy. DiBiase swiped his forehead and he cut really deep and when his heat would beat, blood shot out. DiBiase said they bandaged up his head and he came back out and tore some of it out as blood would still shoot out and freak out the girls in the front row. He said that he loves Jim Duggan and tells a story of the first time he got into the ring with him. They were at a spot show in Alabama and when they tied up Duggan was so stiff that he tagged out to his partner and let him wrestle Duggan. DiBiase also said that Duggan was “afraid of the blade” and hated when he had to get color. He talks about JYD and said that he would tell you that he was not a great worker but he was a great talker and had a ton of charisma.
On working in Japan, DiBiase said that he loved it over there. He went there when he was 22 years old and even though he was there with all veterans who he had nothing in common with, he learned to love the food and culture. DiBiase said that seniority is important over there and they do not automatically love someone as it takes time. He teamed with Stan Hansen and knew that he was the one who would be doing the selling as Hansen made the hot tag.
DiBiase now talks about how he signed with the WWF. He said Mid South was on fire when Bill Dundee was brought in too book things but that he hot-shotted everything and when that stopped working, it plummeted. He went back to Japan and told Bruce Prichard to put in a word for him in the WWF as he had an interview with them. While in Japan, Watts sold his territory to Crockett. DiBiase said that he had a meeting with Crockett but before that, Prichard called him and said before he signed anything to talk with Vince McMahon first as he wants to bring him into the WWF. DiBiase met with Crockett who asked him what it would take to sign him. DiBiase said that he wanted what Luger was making as he was a better worker and put in more time and that if he is not worth every penny to them as Luger was, then they did not need him. Crockett then agreed to give DiBiase the same deal as Luger and DiBiase even got them to agree to let him work in Japan too. A week went by and still no call from Vince as DiBiase was still mulling over whether or not to sign with Crockett, who had no idea that the WWF was interested. Vince then calls up DiBiase and tells him about an idea he has but wants to discuss it in person. DiBiase flies to see him and Vince tells DiBiase that this idea has never been done before and that he knows he can pull it off but refused to give him the idea until he officially signed because he did not want to give away the idea for free. Vince had to take a call then Pat Patterson came in and told DiBiase that this idea his what Vince would create for himself and ensured him that DiBiase will fully back him and push him with everything he has. DiBiase went home and called Terry Funk, who told him to pack his bags and go with Vince. DiBiase flew up again, this time with his wife, and Vince put him up in a luxury hotel and had a chauffeur drive him around to all of the expensive restaurants and the theatre as he wanted DiBiase to actually be the Million Dollar Man. When asked if the other guys resented him for this, DiBiase said that they might have but he never saw it and in general most guys never got mad at someone for taking a great opportunity.
DiBiase talks about the gimmick and how not only was it a huge break but you got that break in style. He then says that Vince gave him the biggest break and treated him better than any other wrestling promoter and will never forget that. However, that will not stop him from feeling the way he does for the direction Vince is taking the wrestling business and how it is not even wrestling anymore. He talks about wrestling has always been good vs. evil in its simplest form but today they glorify the antihero. From that he talks about how he is an ordained minister and then says he does not want to expose the current raunchy storylines to his children. DiBiase says that when he is asked today, he says that he came from an era when it was wrestling. He then goes into it further about society being entertained by “disgusting” people like Howard Stern and Jerry Springer and talking about school shootings and how it all intertwines with the wrestling product today and tells Vince that he owes some responsibility to have moral conduct and that integrity and character is missing from wrestling and has been replaced by the dollar. This is a very long segment as he most definitely gets preachy here but it is not all that bad to be honest.
In the locker room, DiBiase said that Hogan was always very good to him. He recalls the first time he worked with Hogan when he was the Million Dollar Man, Hogan told him he was going to pay him back for putting him over at MSG several years earlier. He said that Hogan chose to work with him and at the time he was drawing a ton of money on the card then DiBiase talks about Hogan going out of his way to help a lot of other wrestlers. He puts over Hogan for being able to take advantage of his opportunity and could make the most of what he had and utilized that with his opponent and for that he was a great worker.
He is talks about how he misses wrestling when he sees a really good match and guys with a lot of potential. He loves watching Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, and Eddie Guerrero but admits that he doesnt watch too much at the moment. He does state that when he does watch them he feels that they are working too hard and are wasting moves as there is no realism. He said that drove him nuts in Japan when there would be 30 suplexes in a match and top rope powerbombs yet the match is won with a small package.
DiBiase is asked about how he got paired with Virgil. He thinks it was one of the Wild Samoans who referred Virgil to Vince as they wanted a guy with a good physique to be his bodyguard. DiBiase tells a funny story of how Bobby Heenan was the one who came up with the Virgil name as a rib of Dusty Rhodes then when they were in WCW, Heenan was the one who came up with the decision to call him Vincent.
Feinstein asks DiBiase about the Honky Tonk Man refusing to drop the Intercontinental Title, which led to the WWF giving Randy Savage the Heavyweight Championship that was going to be given to DiBiase because Savage was going to kill Honky and they wanted to pacify him. DiBiase said that is also what he had heard too and that the Million Dollar Belt was created to pacify DiBiase for losing out on the Heavyweight Title. DiBiase confirmed that he was told that at WrestleMania IV he would become the Champion then he was later told that his character would not care about that belt and just create his own. He calls the belt a status symbol and a tool but that the stories and conflicts are what draw the money and the belts are only good for enhancing them. He then talks about not playing politics and letting his work speak for himself.
He said that a lot of guys resented Zeus when he came into the company but he does not resent anyone who takes advantage of an opportunity. He then laughs when he is asked about the Ultimate Warrior and said that he used the wrestling business as a means to the end. He also said that he never had a problem with him and believes that Warrior trusted him but said that he was a bad worker. He then puts over Hogan for his performance at WrestleMania VI then said that the Warrior was a monster that the WWF created as he witnessed him acting horribly in public by swearing at kids, making flight attendants cry and being nasty in general. When DiBiase told this to Vince, he was told by Vince himself that Warrior was his monster. He then said that at that point, he believed that Vince thought he could make anyone a star.
When asked about Jake Roberts, DiBiase said that he has known Jake when he was a referee and puts over his talent and said he would make a great booker then says that his best WrestleMania match was with Roberts. He then said he has tried to contact Jake but has not heard from him and is saddened by his demise.
On the Undertaker, DiBiase said that he had a great look and at the time of his debut was still raw but loaded with potential. He then said the style he had to work was not an easy one either.
DiBiase is asked about his feud with Dustin Rhodes and if he recognized his potential. He said that he saw the potential and thought it was fun and wanted to help him out as Dustin was similar to himself in that he grew up in a wrestling family. He gives Kerry Von Erich credit for being able to maintain his physique with a prosthetic foot then talks about the family and how they got into drugs at an early age then puts them over for all being very kind. DiBiase said that the police in Dallas continuously gave Kerry breaks until they finally told him he was going to have to serve time, he was busted for forging prescriptions, and that Kerry ended up committing suicide as a result because he was unable to face prison.
When asked why he left the WWF in 1993, DiBiase said that he got caught up in drugs and women due to being on the road and was confronted by his wife then goes on about how he felt lonely as he was away from his family and filled the void with those two things then said he had to change and decided to turn back to god, who he said helped him cope with the death of his parents. DiBiase said that he had to leave to take care of this problem but decided to go tour Japan first as there was much less pressure there. He did say that Vince was mad that he was leaving This is another long discussion from DiBiase.
He talks about the injury that ended his career. He had an MRI on his neck and told that he should not go back to work but could probably have surgery and go back but there was always a risk that he could get dropped on his head and become paralyzed. DiBiase said that he had a Lloyd’s of London insurance policy and was 40 years old and wanted to be with his family and made a commitment to stay with them so he decided to retire.
DiBiase then talks about how Bruce Prichard called him up to see if he wanted to do commentary at the Royal Rumble alongside Vince. After that, they asked him about being an agent and DiBiase said he would if they gave him benefits and paid for his rooms and cars he would but they declined. DiBiase said he said that because at the time, he had no desire to be on the road.
He said that he did not being a manager because he was on the road. When asked, he said that he loved Steve Austin and when he saw him wrestle, he saw himself in Austin and praised him for not doing a bunch of crazy moves and just going out there and working a match. DiBiase said that agents would tell Austin to do more in the ring and DiBiase would tell him to do what he is doing as it makes you different and that will get you over. He then said that he was glad he left the WWF when he did because he disliked the Austin character and the WWF product as it “mocked Christianity” and goes on again about how the current WWE product and how it lacks morals.
On how he wound up in WCW, DiBiase said that he heard through the grapevine that they were interested in him as they knew DiBiase was unhappy being on the road all the time as a manager. He said that he kept the Million Dollar Man persona but could not actually be called that and was brought in to be the money behind the nWo and when that stopped he managed for a bit and they had no ideas for him and told Bischoff that he would rather sit at home than hold Hogan’s belt during the matches and Bischoff told him to sit home until they had an idea for him. After a few months they told him to show up in Detroit for a show and paired him with the Steiners. DiBiase said he liked them but it made no sense. He said that he got paid well for three years doing nothing but would have liked to ended his career doing something better.
They ask DiBiase what he thinks of Vince Russo running WCW and he said it is the blind leading the blind and that Russo can only create smut then talks about Russo running the business into the gutter.
When asked where he sees the business in a few years and uses this as a platform to speak about Christianity for several more minutes before saying that he wants to start the wrestling equivalent of the “Power Team,” who are power lifters that go to schools and reach out to kids about the dangers of drugs and would like to replace the feats of strength with wrestling. He then gets to the question and says he wonders where the business can go as they keep pushing the envelope and sooner or later everything is going to bottom out.
He is asked about Eddie Gilbert and calls him a sharp guy then puts over his dad Tommy Gilbert for being a great worker. DiBiase talks about meeting Shawn Michaels for the first time in Mid-South and sad he was the shyest guy but how he went through a bunch of stages and wound up being the totally opposite guy. He remembers telling Shawn that he would get his break and that it just takes time then calls him a tremendous talent and wishes him well.
DiBiase closes by actually acknowledging and joking about how long he can talk for then talks about how you can entertain the fans by using the fast-paced action and removing the smut.
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