Today, Ted DiBiase Jr. is a WWE Superstar who has appeared with old school manager Virgil and the classic Million Dollar Title, but all of those roots stem from a Hall of Fame career that his own father had.
The “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase was a main event star that aligned himself with some of the best wrestlers in the business and was a great in-ring performer. His millionaire character allowed him to be part of some of the greatest storylines in WWE history.
Buying the WWE Title from Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan and Ted DiBiase fought in a series of WWE Title matches where Hogan always ended up the victor. Frustrated, DiBiase attemped to by the title from Hogan, but he would not give it up.
This led to the creation and showcase of the “Million Dollar” title, the gold and diamond encrusted title that has become a historic WWE prop.
When DiBiase could not beat Hogan, he enlisted Andre the Giant to challenge him a 1987 edition of “The Main Event.” DiBiase was able to use this money this time when he paid off the identical twin of referee Earl Hebner. Andre was awarded the WWE Title, but he immediately handed the title to DiBiase who declared himself champion.
This controversial move was a first in the WWE and was one of the most original storylines seen at that time. In a matter of minutes Hogan was defeated, Andre finally has the title and then he just handed it over. Because of the controversy, the title was declared vacant and a tournament was set up for Wrestlemania IV.
After Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan eliminated each other with a double count out, DiBiase was left to climb through the tournament brackets until he met “Macho Man” Randy Savage in the finals. Hogan and Andre would be at ringside and the distractions caused Savage to get the victory over DiBiase.
One of the most successful tag teams in WWE history was Money Inc. DiBiase teamed up with I.R.S and the two grapplers defeated teams like Legion of Doom, The Nasty Boys, and The Natural Disasters to claim multiple WWE Tag Team Championships.
Their best storyline involved the return of Hulk Hogan and his tag team partner Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake. On an episode of “WWE Monday Night Raw”, Money Inc. used a briefcase to smash Beefcake’s face in.
This forced him to wear a mask for his shattered face. Hogan returned to defend Beefcake and they had a match scheduled for Wrestlemania IX. They retained the titles by disqualification and walked out as the official winners over Hogan and Beefcake during the event.
War with Virgil
For years, DiBiase’s longtime manager was Virgil. Often it was Virgil who got attacked and beat up by DiBiase’s opponents like Hogan. Fed up with torment of always defending Virgil, these two started a long feud over the “Million Dollar Championship.”
After Virgil turned on DiBiase at the 1991 Royal Rumble, the two wrestlers fought at Wrestlemania VII with Roddy Piper in Virgil’s corner. Surprisingly, Virgil got the victory, but it was due to a countout and no title change took place.
The two would continue to feud over the summer and met in a title rematch at the 1991 Summerslam event. This time, Virgil took advantage of an exposed turnbuckle, pinned DiBiase and won the Million Dollar Title from him.
The feud continued for the two for months after and during an episode of “Primetime Wrestling”, DiBiase finally won over his former valet and reclaimed the Million Dollar Title.
The final match of their year long feud occurred at the special “This Tuesday in Texas” pay per view event. Teaming up with Repo Man, DiBiase showed more of his tag team success as he easily defeated Virgil and Tito Santana.
This was one of the best examples of the great manager/wrestler feuds and will be seen as standard for these feuds in the years to come.