Wrestling News

“I Would’ve Really Loved To Have A Run With Bret Hart” – The Million Dollar Man

Ted DiBiase

‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase has broken his silence over which match throughout his storied career he considers his favourite and the man he wishes he’d gotten to work with more.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers never to be WWF Champion – his purchase of the championship from Andre the Giant in 1988 isn’t recognised as an official reign – Ted DiBiase was one of professional wrestling’s true greats between the ropes and was handpicked by Vince McMahon, from Mid-South Wrestling, to portray the character which many believe the boss modelled after himself.

Prior to making his name in the WWF as The Million Dollar Man, DiBiase had been a known in the company in the late seventies under Vince McMahon Sr. and was awarded the inaugural reign with the forgotten WWF North American Championship. Though the reign didn’t last long, DiBiase was part of history when he lost the strap to Pat Patterson in 1979 who then unified it with the fictional WWF South American Championship to make the WWF Intercontinental Championship.

As The Million Dollar Man, DiBiase was arguably one of the top heels in the company in the late eighties and early nineties, with one his biggest achievements being headlining WrestleMania IV with Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage in the Final of the WWF Championship Tournament.

Though he never managed to get his hands on the strap – legally – DiBiase abandoned his pursuit and created the Million Dollar Championship. His own heavyweight gold that belonged exclusively to him and was exchanged between himself and bodyguard Virgil upon the hired help’s babyface turn at SummerSlam 1991.

They say that everybody has a price for The Million Dollar Man and WrestleZone matched that for an interview with the legend prior to his virtual signing for 80’s Wrestling Con. Sitting down with the website, DiBiase talked at length about one of his favourite ever matches and the man he wished he’d have been able to have more time with between the ropes:

“There were a few matches, and I’ve had feuds with several guys, but the one guy that I had just a couple of matches with that I never had the opportunity to have a run with was Bret Hart. As a matter of fact, Bret Hart and I had a match, and this match, I can’t remember if it was on Superstars or [WWF Wrestling] Challenge, but it was in Odessa, Texas, and we just tore the house down.

I came [backstage] and Pat Patterson, who I had the greatest respect for—he’s another guy that had an excellent understanding for the psychology of what we do, and as a matter of fact, if I ever had a question about a finish, a match, if I could get to him, that’s the guy I would go to. And so, he watches this [match] and he says, ‘Man, you guys must be working a lot together. That was fantastic!’ Bret and I looked at each other, then we looked at Pat and I said that’s the first match we’d ever had. We both came from wrestling families and we both came from a style and an understanding of what wrestling is, and that’s what we went out there and did. Bret’s one of those guys that I had a few matches with, but I would’ve really loved to have a run with.”

The bout in question occurred as a Dark Match on the April 9, 1989 WWF Wrestling Challenge – taped March 8 – and ended in a thrilling 15:59 double count out.

Following feuds with ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes and Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, DiBiase transitioned into a tag team role with Irwin R. Schyster as Money Inc. thanks to the years of wear and tear taking their toll on the talent.

Subsequent to several WWF Tag Team Championship reigns and feuds with High Energy, The Natural Disasters, The Legion of Doom and The Steiner Brothers, Money Inc. quietly disappeared into the annuls of wrestling history and DiBiase wrestled his final WWF match at SummerSlam 1993 on August 30 in a loss to Razor Ramon.

With injuries piling up – he had herniated two cervical discs in his back – the talent made his final stand as an in-ring performer for All Japan Pro Wrestling where he and Stan Hansen captured the AJPW World Tag Team Championships from Akira Taue and Toshiaki Kawada on October 14, 1993. His final match of a glorious career came on November 15, 1993 when he and Hansen put an end to Abdullah the Butcher and Kimla II.

Ted DiBiase returned to the ring for night only on December 10, 2007, to win a 15th Anniversary Battle Royal on WWE Monday Night Raw.

Credit for the interview and transcription: WrestleZone