Theodore Marvin "Ted" DiBiase, Sr. (born January 18, 1954) is an American Christian minister, counselor, and retired professional wrestler, manager, and color commentator who wrestled as the "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase. Among other accolades in the WWF, he was the 1988 King of the Ring and a 3-time WWF Tag Team Champion.
Ted DiBiase is the son of wrestler Helen Hild and the stepson of wrestler "Iron" Mike DiBiase
. His stepfather died of a heart attack in the ring when Ted was just 15. 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. He would drop out of college to begin a career in professional wrestling
Pro wrestling career
Mid-South Wrestling (First run, 1975-1979)
Ted DiBiase was trained by Dory Funk, Jr.
and Terry Funk
. He made his professional wrestling debut in June 1975 in Mid-South Wrestling
where he wrestled for four years.
World Wrestling Federation (First run, 1979)
DiBiase had a short stint with Vince McMahon
's World Wrestling Federation
(WWF) in 1979. He was awarded the short-lived WWF North American Championship
, thus being the first champion. On June 19
, 1979, he lost the North American Championship to Pat Patterson
who would unify the title with the South American Championship and became the first-ever WWF Intercontinental Champion
Mid-South Wrestling/National Wrestling Alliance/All Japan Pro Wrestling (Second run, 1980-1987)
DiBiase also spent time in the Georgia area where he had an early face
run frequently tagging with Tommy "Wildfire" Rich
. The two would then feud, leading to a loser leaves town match
which DiBiase won. Yet instead of Rich leaving the area, he donned a mask calling himself "Mister R." The feud would culminate in a match between Mister R and DiBiase where DiBiase would control most of the match and just as DiBiase was about to unmask Mr. R, 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 would leave the territory shortly thereafter.
In the early to mid-1980s DiBiase participated in memorable 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 would end with the use of a "loaded" black glove, which he would pull from his tights to "knock out" his opponent when the referee wasn't looking.
While locked in talks with the NWA 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 wouldn't 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, then this would be the gimmick that he'd give himself.
World Wrestling Federation (Second run, 1987-1996)
Million Dollar Man character
DiBiase is considered by many as one of the greatest "heel" wrestlers of all time. This view is mainly due to his work in the World Wrestling Federation. He was known as "The Million Dollar Man", a millionaire who wore a gold-studded, dollar-sign-covered suit (sometimes green and white, sometimes all white, but usually black and gold) and, in time, a custom-made, diamond-encrusted and self-awarded "Million Dollar Belt
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 first-class for flights, into 5-star hotels for accommodations and 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 over tip, buy drinks for entire bars, actually pay for small items with a $100 bill, etc.) in order to get the gimmick 'over'. He once told an Amarillo, Texas television station he personally paid for a large president's mansion that was built on the campus of his alma mater, West Texas State University. In reality, DiBiase provided no funding for the mansion.
Other times, DiBiase invited fans (including a young Rob Van Dam) to perform humiliating acts (such as kissing his feet) for money. One of the more infamous and fondly remembered of these skits was when 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.
DiBiase was a genuinely skilled technical wrestler, with his finishing maneuver being the Million Dollar Dream. After putting his opponents 'to sleep' with this maneuver, he routinely stuffed $100 bills down their throats, uttered his signature lines ("Everyone's got a price," and "Everyone's got to pay."), and gave his signature demonic laugh.
DiBiase later hired Virgil, a bodyguard, whom he treated like a slave. Virgil would eventually grow tired of DiBiase's abuse and made an inspirational and enthusiastically received face turn at the 1991 Royal Rumble.
Ted DiBiase made his WWF debut in the summer of 1987 as "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase. 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
. However, 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 very 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; Andre then announced he was surrendering the belt and handed it to DiBiase. The WWF refused to acknowledge DiBiase as the champion (since at the time WWF titles could not be bought or simply handed to someone else) and declared the title vacant. Later, Andre was recognized for his short title reign.
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 (to DiBiase's delight), Hogan pinned DiBiase to win the match. DiBiase went on to defeat 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 his "slave" from the main event at Survivor Series.
At the Royal Rumble
, DiBiase purchased the #30 entrance spot from "The African Dream" 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 would continue 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, DiBiase's rival 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 "Iron Man" record at the time by lasting 45 minutes in the Royal Rumble match
after entering as the #1 entrant. He was eliminated by The Ultimate Warrior
. He then feuded with Jake Roberts over the Million Dollar Belt, leading to a match at WrestleMania VI
where he retained the title when Roberts was counted out. Shortly after WrestleMania, he had a brief feud with The Big Bossman
which dated back to when DiBiase tried to bribe Bossman into retrieving the Million Dollar Belt when Roberts stole it. 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 & 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 would captain rival teams at Survivor Series. DiBiase wound up eliminating both members of The Hart Foundation and was the sole survivor of the match. However, he 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 dropped but picked it up on DiBiase's orders and instead whacked it on his head, turning face. At WrestleMania VII
, DiBiase lost to Virgil by countout with help from 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper
, who had begun training Virgil to 'be a man'. 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 would regain the Million Dollar Championship from Virgil with help from Repo Man on the November 11 edition of Sunday Night Slam which was dubbed "Survivor Series Showdown".
Ted DiBiase officially formed the tag team, Money Incorporated
, with Irwin R. Schyster (IRS)
. The duo were three-time WWF Tag Team Champions
between February 1992 and June 1993. Their first reign came on February 7
when they defeated The Legion of Doom
for the titles. Money Incorporated would then feud with The Natural Disasters
). They defended the titles against the Natural Disasters at WrestleMania VIII
and lost the match by countout, thus retaining the titles. On July 20
, they would lose the titles 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 & 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, former WWF Champion 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. They had a successful title reign as they dominated the tag team division of the WWF. They feuded with the Steiner Brothers
) 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 a memorable 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 services of many wrestlers for his Million Dollar Corporation
stable in the WWF, which over time included I.R.S., Bam Bam Bigelow
, Nikolai Volkoff
, King Kong Bundy
, Sycho Sid
, 1-2-3 Kid
, and in a swerve
. 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 a fake Undertaker played by Brian Lee
and was subsequently defeated by the real Undertaker at SummerSlam
DiBiase would also have 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 would publicly refer 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 would align himself with Diesel in a feud versus members of DiBiase's corporation.
As a manager, DiBiase would also later introduce "The Ringmaster", who would eventually become 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 left for WCW in May. On WWF TV, it was explained that he was "forced out" of the WWF per pre-match stipulation when his protege Steve Austin lost to Savio Vega
at In Your House: Beware of Dog
World Championship Wrestling (1996-1998)
In WCW, DiBiase became part of one of the biggest angles in wrestling history. DiBiase became the 4th member of the nWo
(along with Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and former enemy Hulk Hogan) immediately 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, 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/E rival Ray Traylor
for a while as an ally to the Steiners but eventually stopped managing altogether.
Retirement from active wrestling
Continued involvement with WWE (2005-2008)
Despite playing a character fans loved to hate, DiBiase is fondly remembered, so much so that he was chosen as a legend fans wanted to see in the SmackDown! games
, during a poll survey done by THQ
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 to the USA Network, DiBiase appeared with other WWE legends in a special legends ceremony. He eventually led the attack on Rob Conway who had come down to the ring to insult the legends. He was also seen in a segment involving Mae Young where he offered her money to stop "flashing" backstage.
DiBiase inducted his former manager Sensational Sherri into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 1 2006, and made a cameo at WrestleMania 22, offering Eugene $1000 to dribble a basketball 100 times backstage. In typical fashion, he kicked the ball away at the last second.
DiBiase also appeared on RAW on April 17 2006, after an Unlimited segment. The segment included Goldust and Gene Snitsky asking Candice Michelle to do "things" with a big chunk of Jarlsberg cheese. DiBiase was shown behind a newspaper doing his famous evil laugh as the camera went off air.
DiBiase made a special guest appearance at an IPW show in Newton, Iowa on July 14, 2006, where he watched his sons' tag team match. The following day, he would accept the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame induction for his late father, Mike, at the International Wrestling Institute and Museum. Other inductees included Bret "The Hitman" Hart, Dory Funk, Larry Hennig, Nikita Koloff, Tom Jenkins, and Bob Roop.
DiBiase 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 by World Wrestling Entertainment due to low cutbacks.
He will be running wrestling clinics across the country on delivering promos and storytelling.
DiBiase made his first "in ring" appearance in over 5 years at the WWE 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. True to his evil "Million Dollar Man" character, DiBiase came down to ringside and offered Schyster a sizeable 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 WWE Monday Night 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.
Christian ministry and wrestling
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
His religious involvement along with his wrestling career is featured in an article of a recent ESPN The Magazine
. Ted is also the author of Every Man Has His Price
, a part autobiography
and part Christian testimony
- Finishing and signature moves
- *Figure four leglock - Mid-South
- *Million Dollar Dream (Cobra clutch)
- *Second rope falling back elbow drop
- *Delayed falling fist drop
- *Front backbreaker
- *Gory special
- *Gutwrench suplex
- *Jumping stomp to face
- *Russian legsweep
- *Scoop powerslam
- *Second rope double axe handle
- *Sleeper hold
- *Spinning toe hold
- *Standing clothesline
- *Vertical suplex
Championships and accomplishments
- *AJPW Unified World Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Stan Hansen
- *NWA United National Championship (1 time)
- *PWF World Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Stan Hansen
- *World's Strongest Tag Team League (1985) – with Stan Hansen
- *NWA Central States Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- *NWA National Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- *NWA National Tag Team Championship (2 times) - with Stan Frazier (1) and Steve Olsonski (1)
- *Mid-South North American Heavyweight Championship (4 times)
- *Mid-South Tag Team Championship (4 times) - with Matt Borne (1), Jerry Stubbs (1), Hercules Hernandez (1), and Steve Williams (1)
- *NWA North American Heavyweight Championship (Tri-State version) (1 time)
- *NWA United States Tag Team Championship (Tri-State version) (1 time) - with Dick Murdoch
- *NWA Western States Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Tito Santana
- *NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- *TASW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- *WWF North American Heavyweight Championship (1 time) (First)
- *WWF Tag Team Championship (3 times) - with Irwin R. Schyster
- *Million Dollar Championship (2 times)1
- *WWF King of the Ring (1988)
- *PWI Most Hated Wrestler of the Year (1982)
- *PWI ranked him # 17 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the year in the PWI 500 in 1991.
- *Best Heel (1987, 1988)
- *Best Technical Wrestler (1981)
- *Feud of the Year (1982) vs. Junkyard Dog
- *Feud of the Year (1985) vs. Jim Duggan
- *Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1996)
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.
Three of his sons are now pro wrestlers. On July 14 2006
, Mike DiBiase
and Ted DiBiase, Jr.
defeated Daniel Cross and Dakota at an Impact Pro Wrestling show. Ted and his wife Melanie also have a son named Brett who is also a wrestler. 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.
Ted DiBiase, Jr. holds the Tag Team titles with another second generation wrestler, Cody Rhodes.
DiBiase's Million Dollar Man character is featured in the WWF WrestleMania NES game
, the WWF WrestleMania computer game
, Steel Cage Challenge
, WWF Super WrestleMania
, WWF Royal Rumble
version), and WWF WrestleFest
. His likeness has appeared in all three Legends of Wrestling
video games, and has appeared twice in the WWE SmackDown!
video games as a legend
He also appeared in the 1978 Sylvester Stallone movie Paradise Alley.
Nick Cannon mentions DiBiase's name is his 2004 single "Feelin' Freaky" where he says "We tearin' the club like them boys did in the roxy, Million dollar thug like I'm Ted DiBiase".
- DiBiase, Ted (1997) Every Man Has His Price, ISBN 1-57673-175-8
- Bonham, Chad (2001) Wrestling With God, ISBN 1-58919-935-9
- The Million Dollar Man Ted Diabiase.