|“||Everyone's got a price. Everyone's gonna pay. 'Cause the Million Dollar Man always gets his way!||„|
|~ DiBiase talking about his wealth.|
Theodore "Ted" DiBiase Sr., better known by his nickname The Million Dollar Man, is a retired professional wrestler who served as a major antagonist on the World Wrestling Federation's programming during their "Hulkamania" era (the mid 80's to early 90's.) He was depicted as a stereotypical over-the-top millionaire who used his wealth to get his way. He could be considered one of Hulk Hogan's archenemies and was actually responsible for ending Hogan's four-year WWF Championship reign (when he bought off both Hogan's opponent Andre the Giant and referee Earl Hebner.) He would later become a three-time tag team champion as part of the tag team Money, Inc. with Irwin R. Schyster and after that would become manager of his own stable of wrestlers known as The Million Dollar Corporation.
DiBiase had a short stint with Vince McMahon, Sr.'s World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1979. He was awarded the short-lived North American Championship, becoming the title's first champion. On June 19, 1979, he lost the North American Championship to Pat Patterson, who unified the title with the fictional "South American Championship" to become the first ever Intercontinental Champion. He was Hulk Hogan's opponent in Hogan's first Madison Square Garden match.
DiBiase made his return to the WWF on May 15, 1987 at a house show in Houston, Texas. He came out to the ring to announce to those in attendance that it was only fitting that he was now competing in the WWF. Moments later The One Man Gang and Slick came to the ring for Gang's scheduled match. The referee had to force DiBiase to leave before there was a confrontation. At the next house show on June 7, DiBiase would have his first match and lose to The One Man Gang. He went on to lose two additional house show confrontations to The Gang. Dibiase would tag-team with Sam Houston on June 26 against The One Man Gang and Ron Bass (Houston had run in to assist Dibiase against The Gang at one of the earlier house show matches); towards the end of the match, Dibiase turned on and attacked Houston after Houston missed a dropkick on Bass, leaving him to get double-teamed and pinned. His actions during the match served to effectively turn Dibiase into the great villain he'd become, right before the onscreen debut.
On a June 27 episode of WWF Superstars, DiBiase had his first vignette. He would now be known as "The Million Dollar Man", a millionaire who wore a gold-studded, dollar-sign-covered suit and, in time, a custom-made, diamond-encrusted and self-awarded "Million Dollar Championship" belt. The Million Dollar Man character was based on the type of wrestler that Vince McMahon would want to be. He was billed as having a spring residence in Palm Beach, Florida, a summer residence in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, an autumn residence in Bel Air, California, and a winter residence in the Netherlands Antilles.
DiBiase had a bodyguard by the name of Virgil, who was also by his side during his matches and vignettes. The idea for the name Virgil was based on then-NWA booker Dusty Rhodes, whose real name is Virgil Runnels. The name of DiBiase's finishing move, the Million Dollar Dream (in which someone is put to sleep via sleeper hold), was also meant to be an insult to Dusty Rhodes, who was named the "American Dream". Virgil was often seen performing humiliating tasks, such as rubbing DiBiase's feet. DiBiase claimed "Everybody has a price" demonstrating his power through a series of vignettes in which he did things such as bribe the manager of a local swimming pool to close for the day so he could have the pool to himself, or when the honeymoon suite in a hotel was already booked, he bribed the desk clerk to have the couple already in there thrown out. Other skits featured DiBiase traveling in limousines, giving $100 tips to waiters, and using $100 bills in convenience stores for small purchases like chewing gum. In reality, DiBiase's road travel was deliberately booked for first-class airplane flights and five-star hotel accommodations, and he was given a stipend of petty cash from the WWF Offices so that he could "throw money around" in public (i.e. pick up tabs and "overtip", buy drinks for entire bars, actually pay for small items with a $100 bill, etc.) in order to make the character seem more real. Other times, DiBiase invited fans (including a young Rob Van Dam) to perform humiliating acts (such as kissing his feet) for money. During one skit, he invited a young boy onto a stage and told him if he bounced a ball 15 times in succession, DiBiase would pay him $500. After the 14th bounce, DiBiase kicked the ball away, sending the boy home without pay; however, according to his autobiography, everybody who wasn't paid on-camera was paid off-camera. He frequently stuffed a $100 bill into the mouth of a wrestler on whom he had used the Million Dollar Dream move. Virgil, however, would more often than not retrieve the discarded bill from the wrestler's mouth.
His first big in-ring angle came in late 1987 on an episode of Superstars of Wrestling, where he announced his plan to buy the WWF World Heavyweight Championship from Hulk Hogan, as Hogan refused and said that DiBiase would have to defeat him in the ring for the championship belt. Hogan got the upper hand in a series of matches, and a frustrated DiBiase approached André the Giant to win the title for him, which did happen on the February 5, 1988 edition of The Main Event (which aired live on NBC), where André defeated Hogan under questionable circumstances for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship. This was the match of the great "Who is the true Dave Hebner" debacle . Who the crowd and viewers at home thought was the "real" Dave Hebner (it was actually his real life twin brother Earl, who many now mistake as being the original Hebner) counted the match finishing pin for André despite the fact that Hogan's shoulder was up at the count of one. Afterwards the real Dave Hebner came running into the ring to dispute the ruling his " evil twin " had made awarding the WWF world championship to Andre the Giant; André then announced he was surrendering the championship belt and handed it to DiBiase. In the following days, DiBiase was in fact billed as the WWF World Heavyweight Champion in three house shows, defending the title one time against Bam Bam Bigelow. However, WWF later refused to acknowledge DiBiase as the champion (since titles could not be handed to someone else) and declared the title vacant (as the title could not be given back to Hogan due to the match being official, and Andre's handing off the championship belt to DiBiase was considered a surrender of the title). André's world title win was always recognized though, and is still considered the shortest world title reign in WWF history. This angle was an amplification of an angle in the old Georgia Championship Wrestling (GCW), when Larry Zbyszko paid "Killer" Tim Brooks $25,000 for his NWA National Heavyweight Championship in 1983.
A tournament was announced to crown a new WWF World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania IV, where DiBiase defeated Hacksaw Jim Duggan in the first round and Don Muraco in the quarterfinal before receiving a bye in the semi-finals to advance to the finals of the tournament. The reason for the bye was a double-elimination of Hulk Hogan and André the Giant when they both were disqualified in their match, with DiBiase meant to face the winner. In a backstage interview afterwards, André revealed that DiBiase paid him to make sure Hogan didn't advance in the tournament. DiBiase was defeated by "Macho Man" Randy Savage in the finals, helped by Hulk Hogan negating André's repeated interference in the match. DiBiase continued to feud with Savage throughout the summer of 1988, culminating in a tag team match pitting DiBiase and André the Giant vs. Hogan and Savage at the inaugural SummerSlam (in a match billed as "Where The Mega Powers Meet The Mega Bucks"). Although pro-heel commentator Jesse "The Body" Ventura served as the guest referee, Hogan pinned DiBiase to win the match. DiBiase then defeated Brutus Beefcake, Ken Patera, Ron Bass, and Randy Savage to win the 1988 King of the Ring tournament, receiving his first WWF success.
Bobby Heenan sold Hercules' contract to Ted DiBiase for his services as his personal slave. DiBiase claimed that Hercules was his slave but started feuding with him after Hercules turned face. He eliminated Hercules from the main event at Survivor Series.
At the Royal Rumble in 1989, DiBiase purchased the #30 entrance spot from Akeem "The Dream" to become the final entrant in the match. Big John Studd and DiBiase were the final two participants in the match. DiBiase offered Studd a bribe to eliminate himself, but Studd eliminated him to win the match. DiBiase continued to feud with Hercules; the two had a series of matches including a match that DiBiase won on the February 3 edition of The Main Event. He defeated The Blue Blazer on the March 11 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event. After that match, he introduced the WWF Million Dollar Championship, his own championship belt which was not recognized by the WWF. He created this belt because he was unable to buy or win the WWF World Heavyweight Championship from Hulk Hogan.
DiBiase fought Brutus Beefcake to a double-countout at WrestleMania V. DiBiase's next big feud was with Jake "The Snake" Roberts. A few weeks after WrestleMania, DiBiase attacked Roberts on WWF Superstars of Wrestling after Roberts defeated Virgil in a match. DiBiase put Roberts out of action for several months with a neck injury. (The storyline was created so Roberts could get surgery on his back from the guitar attack from The Honky Tonk Man a year earlier.) While Roberts recuperated, DiBiase defeated Jimmy "The Superfly" Snuka at SummerSlam by countout. On the October 14 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, DiBiase faced Hulk Hogan in a match for the WWF Championship where DiBiase had the monster Zeus by his side. DiBiase lost the match when he accidentally hit Zeus and was pinned by Hogan with a small package. At Survivor Series, DiBiase captained a team dubbed the "Million Dollar Team" consisting of himself, The Powers of Pain (The Warlord and The Barbarian), and Zeus against Hogan's "Hulkamaniacs" consisting of Hogan, Jake Roberts, and Demolition (Ax and Smash). DiBiase eliminated Roberts after pinning him with help from Virgil before being pinned himself by Hogan.
In 1990, he was punished for buying #30 in the previous year's Royal Rumble. For his punishment, he was forced to enter as entrant #1. He broke the record at the time by lasting 45 minutes in the Royal Rumble match after entering as the #1 entrant. He eliminated two opponents before he was eliminated by The Ultimate Warrior. He then continued his feud with Jake Roberts, who stole the Million Dollar Belt, leading to a match at WrestleMania VI where Roberts was counted out. Shortly after WrestleMania, he had a brief feud with Big Bossman which dated back to when DiBiase tried to bribe Bossman into retrieving the Million Dollar Belt. Bossman refused DiBiase's bribe and returned the Million Dollar Belt to Roberts. At SummerSlam, DiBiase bought the services of Sapphire, who was the manager of Dusty Rhodes at the time. This led to Rhodes and DiBiase feuding throughout the end of 1990 into the beginning of 1991. On the October 30 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, he attacked Dusty's son Dustin Rhodes during Dusty's match with Randy Savage. DiBiase and Dusty captained rival teams at Survivor Series, with DiBiase's mystery partner turning out to be the debuting Undertaker. DiBiase wound up eliminating both members of The Hart Foundation and was the sole survivor of the match. He, however, was eliminated in the main event by Hogan. DiBiase said about Undertaker's debut "nobody knew him, at the time if you know how this works they were using my celebrity and me introducing The Undertaker was helping him get over. At the Royal Rumble, Ted DiBiase and Virgil defeated Dusty and Dustin Rhodes in a tag team match. After the match, DiBiase ordered Virgil to put the Million Dollar Championship belt around his waist. Virgil instead hit DiBiase with the belt, turning face. At WrestleMania VII, DiBiase lost by countout to Virgil, who had help from 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper. Sensational Sherri, who earlier in the night had turned on a losing Randy Savage, came down midway through the match to help DiBiase and became his full-time valet. On the April 27 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, DiBiase fought Bret Hart to a double countout.
DiBiase lost the Million Dollar Championship to Virgil at SummerSlam when Virgil smashed his head into an exposed turnbuckle and pinned him to get the victory. DiBiase participated in the 1991 King of the Ring tournament drawing with Ricky Steamboat in the first round. DiBiase and Steamboat would battle to a time-limit draw with neither man advancing in the tournament. DiBiase regained the Million Dollar Championship from Virgil with help from Repo Man on the November 11 edition of Prime Time Wrestling which was dubbed "Survivor Series Showdown." At Survivor Series, he was one of the contestants eliminated from his match. At This Tuesday in Texas, DiBiase and Repo Man defeated Virgil and Tito Santana.
Ted DiBiase officially formed the tag team, Money Inc., with Irwin R. Schyster (IRS) a tax man who would continue to aide DiBiase for years to come. The duo, mostly managed by Jimmy Hart, won the WWF Tag Team Championship three times between February 1992 and June 1993. Their first reign came on February 7, 1992 when they defeated The Legion of Doom for the titles. Money Incorporated then feuded with The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon). They defended the title against the Natural Disasters at WrestleMania VIII and lost the match by countout, thus retaining the title. On July 20, they lost the title to the Natural Disasters.
After losing a match to the Legion of Doom at SummerSlam, DiBiase and IRS regained the belts on the October 13 edition of Wrestling Challenge from the Natural Disasters. This title change led to a feud with The Nasty Boys, who were originally scheduled for the title shot. On the November 14 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, they defended their titles against the Ultimate Maniacs (Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage). DiBiase and IRS lost the match by countout and thus retained the titles once more.
DiBiase participated in the Royal Rumble match, entering at #4 before eventually being eliminated by The Undertaker. Shortly after, DiBiase and IRS became involved in a major angle with the returning Brutus Beefcake. DiBiase faced Beefcake on one of the first episodes of Monday Night Raw. DiBiase and IRS attacked Beefcake after the match and slammed his face (which had been surgically repaired following a windsailing accident) with a briefcase. Money Inc. also attacked their manager Jimmy Hart, who was disgusted by their actions. Beefcake's best friend Hulk Hogan came to Beefcake's defense and challenged Money Inc. to a tag team title match at WrestleMania IX. DiBiase and IRS retained their titles by disqualification after Hogan used Beefcake's protective face mask as a weapon.
Money Inc. would dominate the tag team division of the WWF. They feuded with the Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott) and had a series of title exchanges. DiBiase and IRS were defeated by the Steiners for the WWF Tag Team Championship on the June 14 edition of Monday Night Raw. They would regain the titles on June 16 however, at a live event but lost them back to the Steiners three days later on June 19 at another. DiBiase last wrestled for the WWF in August, bowing out following an angle which saw Razor Ramon turn face and 1-2-3 Kid debut. The Kid had scored an upset pinfall against a cocky Ramon, causing DiBiase to mock Ramon and tell him he would show him how it was done. He then went on to also lose to the Kid, giving Razor a newfound respect for the Kid thus turning Razor face. This included a match at SummerSlam between DiBiase and Ramon which DiBiase lost. This was DiBiase's last TV appearance in the WWF during this run.
Million Dollar Corporation
DiBiase returned to the WWF at the Royal Rumble as a guest commentator. DiBiase then began working as a commentator and manager for the WWF. Later in 1994, DiBiase purchased the contracts of many wrestlers for his Million Dollar Corporation stable in the WWF, which over time included I.R.S., Bam Bam Bigelow, Nikolai Volkoff, Kama, King Kong Bundy, Sycho Sid, 1-2-3 Kid, and in a swerve, Tatanka. DiBiase also renewed his connection with the Undertaker after the latter's six-month hiatus after the January Royal Rumble. Saying that he had originally brought the Undertaker to the WWF, and he was going to bring him back, DiBiase debuted a new Undertaker under his control. This Undertaker however proved to be an impostor played by Brian Lee, and was subsequently defeated by the real Undertaker at SummerSlam.
DiBiase also had a place in the main event of WrestleMania XI as the manager of Bam Bam Bigelow in his match versus Lawrence Taylor. Surrounding the ring were members of DiBiase's corporation to offset Taylor's entourage of NFL All-Pros on the opposite side. After Taylor defeated Bigelow, DiBiase publicly referred to Bigelow as an embarrassment. This culminated in Bigelow quitting The Corporation after DiBiase fired him following a loss to Diesel in a WWF Championship match. Bigelow aligned himself with Diesel in a feud versus members of DiBiase's corporation.
As a manager, DiBiase also later introduced "The Ringmaster", who eventually became Stone Cold Steve Austin, to the WWF in January 1996. Austin became the Million Dollar Champion and began wearing DiBiase's gold belt that was introduced in 1989. DiBiase's last appearance with the company was at In Your House: Beware of Dog 2 in 1996, where he was kayfabe forced to leave the WWF after Steve Austin lost to Savio Vega. In reality, he left for rival promotion World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
World Championship Wrestling (WCW)
In WCW, DiBiase became the fourth member of the New World Order (nWo) (along with Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and former enemy Hollywood Hogan) on August 26, 1996, one month after their formation in July 1996. He claimed to be financing the group (thus playing on his "Million Dollar Man" gimmick that WCW could not legally use outright). He was referred to, instead, as "Trillionaire Ted," a play on "Billionaire Ted," (the WWF-given nickname of Ted Turner.)
DiBiase quit the nWo shortly after Spring Stampede. Less than a few months later, on the August 4, 1997, episode of Nitro, he made a face turn, managing The Steiner Brothers. DiBiase managed The Steiners until Scott turned heel and joined the nWo. DiBiase also managed one-time WWF rival Ray Traylor for a while until he stopped managing altogether. DiBiase then became a road agent for the company and left entirely when his contract expired in late 1999.
Retirement and Hall of Fame
In late 2004, WWE offered DiBiase a job as creative. He accepted the job (at the beginning, he didn't want it) and worked as part of the creative team a year and a half. In April 2005, DiBiase was hired as a creative consultant and road agent for the SmackDown! brand of World Wrestling Entertainment. On October 3, 2005, at WWE Homecoming, DiBiase appeared with other WWE legends in a ceremony. He eventually led the attack on Rob Conway, who had come down to the ring to insult the legends.
DiBiase made his first in ring appearance in over five years at the Raw 15th Anniversary Special on December 10, 2007, by winning a 15-man battle royal, in which he was not even an active participant. Irwin R. Schyster, DiBiase's former tag team partner of Money Incorporated, had won the battle royal. DiBiase came down to ringside and offered Schyster a bribe to eliminate himself. Schyster accepted and hopped over the top rope, making DiBiase the victor. DiBiase then declared that even after fifteen years, everyone still had a price for the "Million Dollar Man."
On the May 19, 2008 edition of Raw, he was seen alongside Mr. McMahon about to "discuss business", in William Regal's office. On the following Raw, DiBiase introduced his son Ted DiBiase, Jr. to WWE as its newest member.
On the June 29 episode of Raw, Ted DiBiase, Jr. announced in a segment with Cody Rhodes and Randy Orton that DiBiase would appear on Raw the following week as the special guest host, and DiBiase appeared as scheduled on July 6. On the show, DiBiase booked his son to face Orton. After DiBiase Jr. lost the match, he accused his father of setting him up and trying to steal his time, even slapping his father across the face. DiBiase would later come out at the end of the show and sanctioned a triple threat match for Randy Orton's WWE Championship at Night of Champions including John Cena and Triple H in his final act as the guest host. He is also a playable character in WWE Legends of WrestleMania and an unlockable superstar in WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010 and WWE 2K14. DiBiase was announced as the first inductee of the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2010 on the February 8 episode of Raw. DiBiase appeared again on the November 2 edition of NXT, where he was the minister for Aksana and Goldust's wedding. On February 21, 2011, it was announced DiBiase would induct Jim Duggan into the Hall of Fame. He appeared on the Slammy Awards episode of Raw on December 12 alongside fellow legend Mick Foley, and presented the "Holy %&@*# Move of the Year" award, which was won by Mark Henry and Big Show. On April 10, 2012, DiBiase made an appearance on Smackdown: Blast from the Past. He returned on the March 4, 2013 Old School Raw at ringside with The Prime Time Players and agreed to be their manager if they won the match against Team Hell No. DiBiase appeared at the 2014 Old School Raw special, encountering Big E Langston on his way to a match and told him everybody's got a price, to which Langston smiled. During July 2015 DiBiase made an appearance at the Armageddon Expo in Wellington, New Zealand.
- DiBiase was actually scheduled to win the tournament and the title at WrestleMania IV.
- DiBiase never held a world championship
- He was actually billed as WWF champion at a couple of house shows after Andre "sold" the WWF Championship to him.
- DiBiase wrote two books on his life in wrestling
- All three of his sons were professional wrestlers
- He was managed by Bobby Heenan and would follow his footsteps in becoming a manager himself