Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Man Moniker Started As A Mysterious Pitch From Vince McMahon

Before he became the "Million Dollar Man," Ted DiBiase had spent time wrestling for various promotions. He performed for Mid-South Wrestling, where he feuded with names such as Ric Flair, Junkyard Dog, and Jim Duggan. During his Mid-South run, DiBiase also made numerous appearances in All Japan Pro Wrestling.


His work in MSW and AJPW caught the attention of WWE's forbear, the World Wrestling Federation. In anĀ interview with Sportskeeda, DiBiase said that he received a call saying that Vince McMahon was "extremely interested" in him. The two men spoke and McMahon teased an intriguing idea for him.

"I got that call from Vince and I went up there. It's funny, that first trip up there, he just told me, he says, 'Look Ted, your mic skills are great, you're great in the ring, you're the total package, and I have an idea,'" DiBiase said. "He says, 'There's a lot of things in wrestling that have been done over and over and over, but this is fresh and new. But here's the deal, I can't tell you what it is unless you agree to come on board because I don't want to give away a great idea and then you go somewhere else and do it.'"


Terry Funk Influenced DiBiase's Decision

Ted DiBiase wanted time to think about the proposition before giving his final answer. When it came to business-related decisions, there was one wrestler who he'd always go to for advice: Terry Funk. Before he signed with WCW, the Hardcore legend had a short stint with WWF, so DiBiase reached out to Funk for his insight on the opportunity from McMahon.


"I called Terry. I told him about my conversation with Vince," DiBiase recalled. "He says if Vince McMahon has an idea he says is tailor-made for you, he says 'Pack your bag and don't look back. Go.' And so I called Vince and said 'I'm your guy.'"

After that, McMahon flew him out to Stamford and revealed the details and origins of the "Million Dollar Man." The gimmick pushed him to the forefront of WWF, becoming a three-time tag-team champion, 1988 King of the Ring winner, and the Million Dollar champion. DiBiase even purchased the then-WWF Title from Andre the Giant and wore the title at live events during the one week period before WWF President Jack Tunney vacated the title.