Before Steve Austin was Stone Cold, he was known as The Ringmaster and he was managed by Ted DiBiase. In an interview with Andy Malnoske of Wrestling Inc., DiBiase discussed his experience working with one of the greatest WWE superstars of all time.
Austin was introduced as The Ringmaster in 1996 and he became the Million Dollar Champion and began wearing DiBiase's trademark gold belt. DiBiase, whose documentary The Price Of Fame will be released on Nov. 7, said he first got the inkling to be a manager after his in-ring career had ended and he had a successful stint doing commentary.
"When I came back, Vince wanted me to do color commentary with him at the Royal Rumble and I did that he said , 'You know what? First time out you did a pretty good job.' And I told him, 'I'd like to give it a go, if you'd like me to come back in a managing role, I'm more than open to it,'" DiBiase said. "And that's what he did, he put Steve with me. Of course back then we called it 'the rub,' when you have a guy coming up, you see the talent and you 'rub' him up with somebody that's red-hot or has been big to elevate him. That's what that was for."
DiBiase said he immediately saw Austin's talent but never expected him to become the phenomenon he was. He was the face of the Attitude Era and his popularity brought the WWE to new heights.
"I saw Steve's talent, buy I don't think anybody envisioned that he would become the icon that he has," DiBiase said. "Just a stellar career, unbelievable."
As Austin's manager, DiBiase was his mouthpiece and handled most of his promo work. When he was given the opportunity, Austin eventually grew into the one of the best talkers ever to get on the mic. DiBiase said he always believed Austin would eventually get over.
"I did a lot of talking for him but as he went along, he just blossomed, it just became natural. I remember there were a lot of agents at the time telling that were telling him, in terms of what he was doing in the ring, something like, 'You need to do more,'" DiBiase said. "And I said, 'You know what Steve? Here's my advice. Don't change anything, because you come across very real. It may take you a little longer to get over, but once you're over, you're over, and then you can do whatever you want.' And that's exactly what he did."
You can check out the full interview in the video above. Dibiase's new documentary, The Price Of Fame, will be released on November 7th. The film centers around DiBiase's redemption and faith.