Ted Dibiase Jr. Talks Signing With WWE, His Father's Reaction, HBK, Daniel Bryan's Success, More
I think it was harder on him than it was on me and my brothers. But, yeah, I look at that and that kinda the decision that I had to come to make. Am I gonna continue this dream and this really amazing job and miss out on all the small moment and be the one who teases my son how to right a bike and be there for the birthdays or not? It's a tough choice and it's not for everybody. That's the decision that I'd made for now. I'm not saying that I would rule out wrestling in the future, but, for now, this is what I need to do.
Wrestling INC: Being a third generation wrestler, how far back did you seriously know that you were gonna enter the business. I'm sure that it's always, since you were a kid, I'm sure it's always in the back of your mind. But, when did you really start to think like this is something that I want to do?
Dibiase: Well, I'll be honest with you, the dream was always there. As far back as I can remember. You can't be in the back with those guys whose like action heroes and superstars and not wanna do it. Especially as a kid. The challenge was my father was very adamant about us boys not entering into the business, because it was so hard. For the longest time it felt like well this is not even an option, and that was a little disheartening. But I have so much respect for my dad that I'd never do anything against his wishes or something that would upset him, because we have a very good relationship. He's my dad, but he's also my best friend.
But, it wasn't until college - I think it was like '05 - my dad got signed by WWE as kinda an agent role and part of the creative team. He really didn't like it. He was there for about a year and then it was traveling all the time and gone all the time and it was different from when he left. More of a production, and things were done differently. Whereas, my dad and those guys, they used to call matches on the fly and it was hard for my dad to tell somebody how to put a match together or what move to do. The talent that was there was younger, and they weren't as experienced and he was better at taking someone in the ring and actually teaching team. Him going back, that opened the door for me and that kinda revived my dream and of a sudden, it became a reality. Here I am, and the end of college. I'm not quite sure what I want to do and I'm like, "Dad. Here's my opportunity." You see the atmosphere is different, it's a publicly traded company, that has wellness policies, everybody held to a higher standard of conduct. Not only within the ring, but outside the ring. So, because the atmosphere changed, there was more opportunity for financial gain. So, he said, "Well, if you're gonna do this, you have to graduate first." He said, "if you're gonna do it, you're gonna go and you're gonna learn from the one who taught me, and that's Harley Race." I said, "Ok." So I graduated like half a semester early and I jumped in a car the next day I drove 12 hours north and began my journey.
Wrestling INC: I interviewed your father last summer and he was talking about how he was not very happy when you and your brother told him that you wanted to enter the business. Once you started training with Harley, did his mood change at all? Was he getting excited about the idea or was he cautious?
Dibiase: One, he was concerned. When he started, he learned from some of the best, some of the greatest. He was a big star in Mid-South and worked for Bill Watts, and got to work with all those guys there. He was more concerned with, I think he didn't want me to be disappointed if I found out or if I realized that I'm not good at this or I'm not good enough to be in the WWE because that's really to only opportunity for huge success. Unless you want to ground it out on the independents, there nothing wrong with that, but I think he scared. I've been doing some speaking lately and I tell people, my dad at once point asked me and he said, "Son, are you sure you have what it takes?" It kinda hurt my feelings a little bit, just being honest, but he was just being a father. You know, he was a little worried.
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