Ted Dibiase Sr. Talks Signing With WWF, Why His WWF Title Reign Was Nixed, Savage, Mid South
WrestlingINC: And you were originally penciled in to win the WWF Championship at the tournament. Did they notify you about that or did you find out about it later?
Dibiase: We talked about it. Originally the thought was that I'd buy my way into it, somehow win the tournament and then if I'd done that, like any other heel I'd have had my run with Hogan and then that would have been it. And then I'd step down a couple notches on the food chain and wait 'til the next thing to come along. I believe it was a conversation I had with again, Pat Patterson, and he said to me, he said let me ask you a question. What would put greater heat on you? If we go and at Wrestlemania have the tournament and in any underhanded way you win the title. It's kind of like, that's been done. He said or, you don't win the title and as a result of not winning the title and getting your way, you create your own title. Basically you just turn your nose at the World Championship and say you know what, I don't need that belt. I'm creating my own championship belt. Here it is and parade around with this thing. It's like you have your own championship match every night. You're declaring yourself the Million Dollar Champion and I said that's the ticket. That will just make people boil. And so that's what we did.
I've been asked many times, do you regret never having been the world champion, you know? I kind of laugh. I say well, you know, this business is a work. It's like, none of those guys are ever really the world wrestling champion. The titles are props in this business. That's what it is and yeah, it would have been nice to have held the belt and obviously if you're somebody is good enough to be in that position then obviously it's recognized. Yeah, that would have been great, but in the long run, what did Ted DiBiase more good? It was the creation of the own belt, the Million Dollar belt. So yeah, I would have like to been champion, but do I lose sleep over it at night? No, not at all.
WrestlingINC: I spoke to Honky Tonk Man recently and he was saying that him not dropping the Intercontinental Title to Randy Savage also played a factor in that because…
Dibiase: That's true. He didn't want to drop the Intercontinental Title to Savage. It's kind of like, I guess they wanted everybody to be happy. If Honky Tonk Man wasn't going to drop the Intercontinental belt to Savage, what can we do? I really think that what they did was the best thing they could have possibly done for business because it was unique. It was different. It took Randy and overnight made him, he went from this heel who abused his wife to a baby face. Everybody was covered.
WrestlingINC: So, there wasn't any animosity there between you or Honky Tonk Man over it?
Dibiase: God, no. That's the thing is, people have said this about me, that I could have been even higher up the food chain if instead of always wanting to do what was best for me, I always wanted to do what was best for business, if that makes sense.
WrestlingINC: You guys definitely did. You and Randy had that feud that summer. I think that was the first big feud that was selling out house shows that didn't involve Hulk Hogan since Hogan won the WWF Championship.
Dibiase: That's correct.
WrestlingINC: What was it like working with Randy during that period?
Dibiase: It was great. Randy and I had, we had great matches and I think one of the best cage matches I ever had was the cage match with him at Madison Square Garden. It was the one. People got so excited that actually one of the times Virgil tried to climb up on the outside of the cage. A fan jumped the barricade and tried to climb up the cage too to try and get him down. It was pretty hot. And Randy was a pleasure to work with.
Make sure to check back tomorrow for the second part of our interview, where Dibiase discussed working with Andre The Giant, why he left WWF, returning as a manager, why he signed with WCW and much more.