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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ted DiBiase Interview Recap

Courtesy of Adam Wilcox:

Between The Ropes
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
ESPN Florida AM 1080 and AM 1060
Simulcast online at BetweenTheRopes.com

WWE legend Ted DiBiase appeared as a guest on Between The Ropes this past Tuesday night to discuss his newly released autobiography, the upcoming NWA Legends Fanfest, his son Ted Jr.’s career in WWE, and more.

DiBiase looks forward to meeting with fans and former wrestlers at the NWA Legends Fanfest in Charlotte, North Carolina from August 14th - 17th. “This is like a family reunion of sorts, because when you’re in an industry like ours, you’re pretty much a big family. So you see people which you haven’t seen for years and people who you spent a lot of time going up and down the road with, and it’s always a pleasure to get back together and reminisce and share old stories.”

Ted managed Steve Austin early in Stone Cold’s WWE career and says he saw a lot of potential in the man who would go on to revolutionalize the wrestling business and usher in an unprecedented boom period for the company. “A lot of the agents at the time were telling Steve to do more than what he was doing and that his matches weren’t exciting enough … I told him, ‘Don’t change anything.’ I said, ‘If you do the same thing everybody else does, than you’re just like everybody else. The thing that sets you apart in this business is to be different. You have a very aggressive, rugged style and you’re very believable.’ I said, ‘It’s going to take you longer to get over and established, but once you’re over and established, you’re over for good.’ And that’s exactly what happened.” DiBiase also noted how many of today’s wrestlers attempt to model their physical appearance after Austin.

DiBiase addressed his 1996 departure from WWE and cited a desire to prioritize family over the wrestling business as his main reason for leaving the company. “When I went back to work for (WWE) in ‘94, I was in a managing and commentating role, and it didn’t require me needing to be on the road as much. I had spent so much of my life and time on the road and that had been to the detriment of my family, and I was trying to rekindle that and put the emphasis on my family. I decided I wasn’t going to be one of those guys who lost everything … Vince is running a business and he has to take people and put them where he thinks will be most effective for them. And at that time, what he thought would be most effective for me was to be a manager on the road … I wasn’t ready to be back on the road and I didn’t want to be on the road.”

The promise of a lighter road schedule led to DiBiase signing with WCW shortly following his exit from WWE. However, the former Million Dollar Man does not reflect upon his two-year stint as an employee of the Ted Turner-owned company with fond memories. “I was really unhappy with the decision once I got to WCW, because WCW was the most unorganized, ill-run company I have ever worked for in my life … There were nights when we would actually go on the air - live television - and they still didn’t know what the outcome of the main event was going to be.”

Ted admits to having some objections in the past regarding the content of WWE programming, but does not agree with the grapplers of yesteryear who put down the state of the industry today. “I hear a lot of old-timers talk about how it’s just not like it used to be. The talent today work four days a week - they’re off three days a week unless they go on a foreign tour. They have better health care. They make so much more money than anybody else ever did in the past. And things are so much better - why are you complaining?”

DiBiase is proud of how his son, Ted Jr. has fared in WWE thus far, but is also sure to educate the third-generation wrestler on the pitfalls of the business. “I’ve told my son, I’ve said, ‘It’s about character and integrity. Walk up brightly, keep your nose clean, work hard.’ I said, ’I don’t care how talented you are - there are a lot of very talented people who ended up broke and dead, because in spite of their talent and in spite of how much money they made, because they had a lack of character, because they weren’t disciplined, they turned to drugs and alcohol and all those other things. They ended up losing everything and sometimes their life.’”

To hear this interview in its entirety - including DiBiase’s thoughts on the quality of current WWE programming, why he feels holding the Million Dollar belt was more beneficial to him than becoming WWE Champion, and more - visit the show online at http://www.BetweenTheRopes.com, where you can also become a site member and access hundreds of previous BTR broadcasts and interviews. Join Brian Fritz, Vito DeNucci, and Dickerman for Between The Ropes every Tuesday night from 6:00-8:00 PM ET on ESPN Florida AM 1080 and AM 1060 or worldwide on BetweenTheRopes.com.