Ted Dibiase Sr. Talks Leaving WWE, Retiring, Hating His Time In WCW, How Andre Made A Wrestler Quit
WrestlingINC: What made the company finally decide to split you guys up? It seemed like you guys got a lot of success pretty quickly, but the tag team was only together for a little over a year.
Dibiase: Wrestlemania 8 was in Indianapolis, we defended the titles against the great big guys, I can't rememberů Yeah! The Natural Disasters. It's like we had them, we lost them. We got them back, we lost them, we got them back again and lost them. Part of that might be due to the fact that I had decided to leave. My decision to leave after SummerSlam 93, it wasn't because I was dissatisfied with business or anything else. Number one I was tired. I was tired of the grind. My personal life. I had, back in March of 92, Wrestlemania 8, just after that is when I had a major confrontation at home and very nearly lost my family and I wrote a book about it. It was kind of a life changing experience for me and when I left in 93, it really wasn't for any other reason except for I guess you might say, if you're going to overcome your demons, it's kind of like if drinking's your demon then you have to get out of the bar.
What I recognized was that although I had a heart change, and I had stopped in so many ways being selfish and self centered, as far as my family was concerned, the demons on the road would still be there. It's kind of like one of those deals where I realized I had to separate myself from this environment, at least for a while. I guess I was just scared. I was afraid I was going to get sucked back into it. That's really why I left in
'93. I don't know much longer we could have gone on or whatever. We weren't tag team champions at the time, but there was a good chance that we could have been again.
WrestlingINC: When you did leave and you went to All Japan, was your thinking that this was the end of your wrestling run? Even though I know you did end up getting injured.
Dibiase: It really wasn't. What happened was that on my first trip to Japan, they welcomed me back with wide open arms. The first night I was there, they tagged Hansen and me back up and put their world tag team titles on us at Budokan. So I was off and running again. But what happened was, that's when this disc problem in my back manifested itself. Not on that first tour, but the next tour, the second tour I went back, it's like one night I took a bump, just a regular bump from my feet to my back and all of a sudden pain shoots down both of my arms. Then it would just happen every now and then.
So I went home and I went to a doctor and got it checked out and he said you've got a herniated disc. He said what we need to do is, we can treat this with therapy and doing the thing where you stretch your neck, he said but ultimately you're going to have to have surgery and have the disc removed, something put in there in its place and fuse them together. He recommended that I retire from the ring. Now, he said chances are it wouldn't happen, but one you have that surgery, if you get dropped on your head again it could either cause paralysis or even worse. I was about to turn 40. When I looked at all these things together, my dad was 45 when he had a heart attack in the ring and died. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't stay too long. I would get out at the top of my career and not be one of those guys who's body had started to go away and sag and look like and old man trying to still make a living. I thought about where I was with my family and how important it was to get that right. Fortunately, I had a really good disability insurance policy.