Ted DiBiase Speaks On Managing Steve Austin, Being Misused By WWE & More

Submitted by Matt Boone on September 12, 2013 - 9:02pm
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The following are highlights from a recent "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase interview on Ring Rust Radio:

On the WWE Mid-South DVD release and his time with the organization: Well, I think the thing that will surprise some people is that, of course I haven’t seen it yet so I don’t know what matches they have of mine, but the better part of the early part of my career I was a babyface, or "good guy", and, you know, WWE fans don’t remember me ever being a "good guy and, actually, I turned heel the first time when shooting an angle with Junkyard Dog. But I think one of the things that’s on the DVD is a match that Ric Flair and I had where I actually had been a heel for a very long time, and Bill Watts, in my opinion, his knowledge and psychology for the wrestling business are remarkable. I mean he turned me back babyface in one night. There was a scheduled match where somebody gets a shot at the World Heavyweight Champion and it ends up being me, and as this match is about to start, Dick Murdoch interrupts, and everyone knew that Dick Murdoch and me had a history where I was his protégé and he broke me into the business and brought me into Mid-South. So he comes up to me and says "hey kid, you know this is my time, this is not your time, you know." And I said "your time? Your time is way past, pal. Hit the road."

And of course he busted me open before the match starts, and so I go back into the dressing room and they tape me up and do the old spirit of ’76 thing where, I guess there isn’t going to be a World Title match tonight and then I come out to the ring and have this match and I’m bleeding and what really made it exceptional was I actually really hit myself pretty hard with the blade back when we were bleeding and the bandage actually came off and every time my heart would beat it would just shoot ha-ha. But anyway we get to the end of the match and, as a babyface; my finish was that I would do a Funk Spinning Toehold into a Figure Four Leg lock. And of course Flair’s finish has always been the Figure Four Leg lock as well so I go for this move and he kicks me off and I take this bump over the top rope to the floor and I get counted out but it’s like in the mind of the people it was the most valiant fight of my life and the whole thing with Murdoch turned me babyface and then Murdoch comes out and looks like he’s going to help me up off the floor and he picks me up and gives me a brainbuster on the floor on the outside, so it started another program. So it’s one of those matches where you just go "Oh my god, wow."

On being in the new WWE 2K14 video game: Well, just have a good time. The amazing thing is, like you said, here I haven’t been in the ring physically to have a match in 20 years, and I’ll be 60 on my next birthday so I’m an over the hill guy, even though some of my contemporaries are trying to still go, and they’re almost 60 or older, but that’s another story. I’ll give you an example; it amazes me the marketing (for the game). I was in Scotland and I’m walking into their equivalent of a Walmart and I’m going to be there for a couple of weeks there’s going to be an Indy wrestling organization that I became good buddies with the owner, SWE, Scottish Wrestling Entertainment, and so this particular trip, this was a couple of years ago, and I was staying a couple of weeks so I went in to buy some things.

As I’m walking in, there’s a little boy and he’s got his grandmother by the hand and they’re walking out. And as they pass me I heard the little boy say to his grandmother, "that’s the Million Dollar Man". I almost had a heart attack. I swung around wide eyed and with my jaw dropped open and I said "you know who I am?" You know, I don’t have blonde hair anymore, I’m 20 years older, I’m wearing glasses and about 30 pounds heavier and this kid recognizes me. He says yes, you’re the million dollar man. I said how do you know me? He said one word, video games. So it’s incredible the marketing and yes I’m thrilled I’m in the new game and, as the million dollar man says, everyone’s got a price and I’ll get a pretty nice royalty check. So, of course I’m always happy to know when they put me on a new game.

On managing Steve Austin and if he thought he'd become as big of a star as he did: No, I guess I’d say I don’t that anybody would say that they thought Steve Austin would become, in my opinion as a wrestling star, he’s the biggest guy we ever had. Now the Rock, of course the Rock went on to become an A list movie star and nobody’s going to deny that but in terms of worldwide recognition and popularity I don’t think anybody is going to top the Rock. But, as far as wrestling goes, yeah as a matter of fact the reason Vince put me with Steve basically because Vince, you know, he put me with several guys to more or less help groom them, give them advice and be with them what have you, and of course that rub also helps them because anyone that was put with me automatically was hated. I can remember some of the agents back at the time telling Steve he needed to spice up his TV matches and do more stuff and I told him no, don’t change anything. I said what you do is very believable, you go out there and wrestle and you’re not going to get over as fast as, say, some other guy, but the guys who get over real fast are the ones that die real fast, even though it’ll take you longer to get over you’re going to be over so solid you can do anything you want, and I think you’ll be one of the biggest stars we’ve ever had. I don’t think anybody realized it would be as big as it has been.

On being misused by WWE: Well, you know, I was a top heel in the company for a long time and whether I was moved over to a tag team with Mike Rotunda, you know, we were a top heel team. One of the things everybody asks me is it seems like you’ve been one of the all-time greatest heels but you were never the World Champion, whether it was NWA or WWE, and they say "don’t you regret that?" And I say well, you know I guess to be able to have the career that I had and to at one point say that I was the Heavyweight Champion of the World would be great, but here’s what you gotta understand. Wrestling is a business, it is show business and wrestling championships are props. Now, it’s true that, most of the time, the guy that’s wearing the World Heavyweight title is an extremely good wrestler, but again, the first Wrestlemania I had, Wrestlemania 4, initially the thought was that I would win that tournament somehow, underhandedly, you know, screw Hogan out of it, and have that run.

Of course at the end of that run with Hogan you would lose the belt and Hogan would be champion again and then a new heel comes in, it’s kind of like you go from the top to a simmering stage where you’re still there but you’re not the top guy, but it was presented to me this way, I think it was Pat Patterson, who said, "Ted, what’s going to give you more heat? What’s going to generate more heat and what’s going to generate more money? If we do what we would normally do, and been done a thousand times, and we go to this Wrestlemania and you underhandedly win the title and you have the run with Hogan and on and on you go. Or, you don’t win and somehow you get screwed out of it and then in your arrogance you declare to the world that you don’t need the WWE’s world championship belt you’ll create your own." And I said that’s the ticket. For me to walk out every night with my own belt declaring myself champion, I mean, people would just absolutely loathe me and I’ve made more money with the Million dollar belt than I ever would have with the other one.

Check out the complete interview online at BlogTalkRadio.com.

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