Ted Dibiase Sr. Talks Signing With WWF, Why His WWF Title Reign Was Nixed, Savage, Mid South
Pictured: Ted Dibiase Sr. | Send Us Your Photo
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.
WrestlingINC: I wanted to talk a little bit about your start in the business and your time in Mid South. What memories stick out from that area, being in the NWA Mid South in the late 70s ad early 80s?
Ted Dibiase: Mid South was just a huge part of my career. I started there in 1975 when I got out of college. I had a very good relationship with a guy named Dick Murdoch. Dick Murdoch had come out of West Texas, his father Frankie Hill Murdoch was a wrestler. I had known the Funks all my life, that's how far back it goes. When I got out of college, it was my junior year, I actually had a year left, and Murdoch suggested to me that I go to Mid South. He was going down there and he said I'll talk to Bill Watts, maybe come down here and get your feet wet and find out if you really want to do this. I thought that was a great idea, so I went to Mid South in June of 1975 and at the end of that summer, realistically I should have gone back to school. Everybody tried to tell me to go back. 'You only got a year left, finish school, finish school.' But I had done so well and I had saw the handwriting on the wall as far as I was concerned.
Now today, I kick myself in the rear end for not completing college. But as I look back from where I am today, I realize that I, without even knowing it, had been positioned in one of the greatest territories in wrestling. And one of the greatest minds in wrestling, Bill Watts. So I didn't go back to college and I ended up a full year there. I left near the end of 1976, made my first trip to Japan. I wrestled in and around Amarillo for a while. I actually went up to Kansas City and then back down to Amarillo. And then I went to New York for the first time in 1979. And when I left New York, I went back to Mid South. I really spent the better part of the first 12 years of my career wrestling for Mid South. Fond memories, but a grueling territory.
Mid South covered four states: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and then even reached over into Houston Texas. So, we put on a lot of miles down there.
WrestlingINC: You wrestled Danny Hodge in your very first match, right?
Dibiase: Yeah, the first television match that I'm going to have, I got put out there with Danny Hodge and I was scared to death. Here I am, a young guy, wet behind the ears. Of course Danny had a reputation. Everybody knew that he was an unbelievable amateur wrestler. He was famous for being able to put the squeeze on you like a pair of pliers and that was legitimate. That wasn't worked at all. He was just easy as can be. He took real good care of me.