The Million Dollar Man lived it up in WWE and then some. Now he’s joining the Turnbuckle Weekly with Chuck Carroll.
When the Million Dollar Man burst on the wrestling scene, WWE (then WWF) honcho Vince McMahon made sure Ted DiBiase was living the million-dollar lifestyle. It’s a luxury of the kayfabe era that would never fly today.
DiBiase said that was just part of McMahon’s marketing brilliance and recalled a conversation the two had around the time his character debuted.
“In an effort to make people believe you really are rich, we’re going to fly you everywhere first class. You’re going to stay in first-class accommodations, and you’ll have limousine service daily,” DiBiase was told.
It’s nice work if you can get it.
At that time, the only wrestlers receiving the five-star treatment were Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant.
Coming out of the smaller regional territories, he thought he had hit the jackpot.
Hearing all of that from DiBiase made me wonder if he began buying into his own gimmick like “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, who was notorious for jet flying, limousine riding, styling and profiling.
In short, no.
“I was never as flamboyant as [Flair]. And the other big difference… Ric’s [tab] was coming out of his own pocket,” he laughed.
As for whether he’s wrestled his final match?
“Never say never,” he told me.
But I wouldn’t hold your breath.
I caught up with DiBiase ahead of the Masters of Ring Entertainment Tribute to Jim Cornette this weekend in Wilmington, North Carolina. The WWE Hall of Famer will be among a virtual who’s who of wrestling greats attending the event including Harley Race, The Midnight Express, The Rock ‘n Roll Express and J.J. Dillon.
Here’s everything we covered in part one of our interview.
– The real story behind the million-dollar lifestyle
– Did the “Million Dollar Man” character take over real life?
– Witnessing the struggles of Jake “The Snake” Roberts first hand
– Roberts’ surprising recovery
– Dallas Page’s role and his own battle with demons
– Why former wrestlers turn to the church
– One final match?
– Criticism of Eric Bischoff and WCW
Chuck Carroll is former pro wrestling announcer and referee turned sports media personality. He once appeared on Monday Night RAW when he presented Robert Griffin III with a WWE title belt in the Redskins locker room.
Follow him on Twitter @TheChuckCarroll.