DiBiase at a WWF event in 1995
|Ring name(s)||Ted DiBiase
The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase
|Billed height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Billed weight||260 lb (120 kg)|
|Born||January 18, 1954
|Billed from||Omaha, Nebraska
Palm Beach, Florida (Spring residence)
Hyannis Port, Massachusetts (Summer residence)
Bel Air, California (Autumn residence)
Netherlands Antilles (Winter residence)
|Trained by||Dory Funk, Jr.
|Retired||January 18, 1994|
Theodore Marvin "Ted" DiBiase, Sr. (born January 18, 1954) is a retired professional wrestler, manager, and color commentator. DiBiase achieved championship success in a number of wrestling promotions, holding thirty titles during his professional wrestling career. He is arguably best recalled to mainstream audiences for his time in the WWF, where he wrestled as "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase. Among other accolades in the WWF, he was the first North American Heavyweight Champion, a three-time World Tag Team Champion (with Irwin R. Schyster) and the 1988 King of the Ring. DiBiase also created his own championship, the Million Dollar Championship. He was well-known for his cutting-edge heel promos, which were often concluded with his trademark evil laugh. He used his formidable wealth to try to purchase the WWF Championship from Andre the Giant in 1987, and subsequently appeared with the championship belt, but this period is not recognized by WWE as an official title reign. Nonetheless, DiBiase frequently performed in main event matches and has been cited as one of the finest in-ring technicians in history.
DiBiase is the biological son of wrestler Helen Hild and a man who's identity is not comonly known and the adoptive son of wrestler "Iron" Mike DiBiase. His stepfather died of a heart attack in the ring when Ted was just 15. Seven-time NWA world champion Harley Race rushed to the ring and performed CPR but was unable to save Mike DiBiase's life. In response, his mother fell victim to depression and alcoholism, so Ted was moved to Willcox, Arizona to live with his grandparents. He graduated from Willcox High School to attend West Texas State University on a football scholarship. However, he later dropped out of college to begin a career in professional wrestling.
DiBiase had a short stint with Vince McMahon'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.
DiBiase also spent time in the Georgia area where he had an early face run frequently tagging with Tommy "Wildfire" Rich. The two then feuded, leading to a loser leaves town match which DiBiase won, but instead of Rich leaving the area, he donned a mask calling himself "Mister R." The feud culminated in a match between Mister R and DiBiase, Tommy Rich appeared from backstage and distracted DiBiase. Mister R then rolled up DiBiase to get the win and unmasked as Brad Armstrong. Both DiBiase and Rich left the territory shortly thereafter.
In the early to mid-1980s, DiBiase participated in angles in various territories with the likes of Dick Murdoch, Ric Flair, the Fabulous Freebirds, Jim Duggan, One Man Gang, and Junkyard Dog. He also held various championships and made frequent trips to All Japan Pro Wrestling until his eventual departure from Mid-South Wrestling (which by this point was now the UWF). Typically, his matches ended with the use of a "loaded" black glove, which he pulled from his tights to "knock out" his opponent when the referee was not looking.
While locked in talks with the National Wrestling Alliance in 1987 after the UWF was acquired by Jim Crockett, DiBiase received an offer from the WWF. DiBiase was eventually convinced by WWF to sign up despite the fact that he would not be told his gimmick until after he agreed, under the promise that it was something that would receive a serious push. WWF official Pat Patterson informed DiBiase that if owner Vince McMahon were to go out to wrestle, it would be the gimmick that he would give himself.
In the WWF, DiBiase was 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. DiBiase had a bodyguard by the name of Virgil, that was also by his side during matches, and all of his 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), 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. 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. He frequently stuffed a $100 bill into the mouth of a wrestler on whom he had used the Million Dollar Dream move.
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 Championship from Hulk Hogan. Hogan refused and said that DiBiase would have to defeat him in the ring for the belt. Hogan got the upper hand in a series of matches, and a frustrated DiBiase approached André the Giant to win the belt for him. On the February 5 edition of The Main Event (which aired live on NBC), André defeated Hogan under questionable circumstances for the WWF Championship. Referee Dave Hebner was detained backstage and replaced with a referee DiBiase paid to have plastic surgery (actually Dave's twin brother Earl). He counted the pin for André despite the fact that Hogan's shoulder was up at the count of one; André then announced he was surrendering the belt and handed it to DiBiase. The WWF refused to acknowledge DiBiase as the champion (since titles could not be handed to someone else) and declared the title vacant. 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, 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 Champion. At WrestleMania IV, 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. DiBiase was defeated by "Macho Man" Randy Savage in the finals. After repeated interference by Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan got involved to even the odds. 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 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 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. 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 (Warlord and 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 broke the record at the time by lasting 45 minutes in the Royal Rumble match after entering as the #1 entrant (rather than #30 like the previous year). He eliminated eight 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. 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 King of the Ring tournament drawing with Ricky Steamboat in the first round. 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 Incorporated, with Irwin R. Schyster (IRS). 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 8 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.
Ted 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. dominated 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 at a live event but lost them back to the Steiners three days later on June 19 at another live event. 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. After a few months in Japan, he quietly announced his retirement due to accumulated injuries and returned to the USA.
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 December 1995. 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 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.
In WCW, DiBiase became the fourth member of the 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 the "Billionaire Ted" nickname of Ted Turner). Less than a year later, on the August 4, 1997, episode of Nitro, he left the nWo and made a face turn, managing The Steiner Brothers against the nWo until Scott turned heel and joined the group. DiBiase also managed one-time WWF rival Ray Traylor for a while as an ally to the Steiners but eventually stopped managing altogether.
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 inducted his former manager Sensational Sherri into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 1, 2006 and made an appearance at WrestleMania 22, offering Eugene $1000 to dribble a basketball 100 times backstage and kicked the ball away at the last second. DiBiase also appeared on Raw on April 17 behind a newspaper doing his famous evil laugh as the camera went off air. DiBiase made an appearance at an IPW show in Newton, Iowa on July 14, 2006, where he watched his sons' tag team match. The following day, he accepted the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame induction for his father, Mike, at the International Wrestling Institute and Museum. He also appeared at the Raw Family Reunion on October 9, 2006 aiding Ric Flair in his match with the Spirit Squad. On October 26, 2006, Ted DiBiase was released from his WWE contract.
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.
DiBiase is now a Christian minister who runs combined Christian/wrestling events under the promotion, Power Wrestling Alliance. He frequently works with Nikita Koloff, another born-again Christian at these events. In 1999, he founded Heart of David Ministries. Ted is also the author of Every Man Has His Price, a part- autobiography and part-Christian testimony.
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 Randy 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 playable character in WWE Legends of Wrestlemania and an unlockable superstar in WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2010. DiBiase was announced as the first inductee of the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2010 on February 8, 2010 during an episode of Raw.
All three of his sons, Mike, Ted Jr., and Brett are professional wrestlers, with Ted Jr. currently wrestling for World Wrestling Entertainment's Raw roster (following an introduction on television by DiBiase himself). He went to West Texas State University, where he was a member of Alpha Tau Omega.
He admitted in an interview conducted by IGN.com that his Million Dollar Championship title — a belt composed of real diamonds and gold — cost $40,000, and DiBiase has mentioned that he had to carry documentation for the belt whenever he went through customs. The Million Dollar Championship is now locked in a safe at Titan Towers, WWE's corporate headquarters. For the first time since the title became retired it was shown on RAW television in July 2009 by DiBiase who was a special guest host.
DiBiase, appeared in Christian Living Magazine in the July/Aug 2008 edition where he stated: “God had allowed me to climb to the top — my life was made into action figures; I wrestled in front of 80,000 people. Yet, I was still not satisfied. I was trying to fill this void in my life, like so many others have done in the entertainment world. But the thing that’s almost unbelievable about God is His grace and mercy. We fail all the time, but there’s no shame in failing—only in not getting up and keeping on.”
On May 14, 2009 Ted appeared in MuscleSport Magazine where his ministerial booking agent and publicist William J. Bruce III commented saying, "I have had the privilege of getting to know Ted over the last couple of years as his booking agent and publicist though Willowcreek Marketing. I will never forget a comment that I once heard him relate about the difference of knowing God or knowing about God; “a lot of people remember my last match, they can remember what I wore, what moves I made and who won, they know everything about me, but they don’t know me. In many ways that is how we as Christians are, we know everything about God…but we don’t know Him.”
1The Million Dollar Championship isn't an official championship recognized by World Wrestling Entertainment. It is a championship created entirely for the promotion and storyline of Ted DiBiase's "Million Dollar Man" character.