'The Million Dollar Man' Ted DiBiase was one of the most popular characters in the late '80s and early '90s in WWE, and held the WWE Championship after buying the title from Andre the Giant in 1988, although he is not officially recognised by WWE as a former WWE Champion.
DiBiase Sr. recently joined Bill Apter and Josh Shernoff on The Apter Chat and discussed a lot of topics, including Vince McMahon coming up with the 'Million Dollar Man' character. Ted revealed that Vince told him he had an idea, but wanted him to sign the WWE contract before divulging more details.
"Well, the first time I went to New York and we spoke, all he said was, he said, 'Ted, I've got a great idea.' He said, 'There's so many things in wrestling that have been done and redone and repackaged, but this is fresh, it's original and I think you're the perfect guy for it. Here's the deal, I can't tell you what it is unless you agree to sign a contract with the WWF. If I tell you and then you don't sign with me, I've given away a great idea and I'm not going to give this idea away.' It kind of put me on the spot, so I said, 'I need a little time to think about it.' He said, 'Okay, that's fine.'
"It was very cordial that first meeting and I called my buddy Terry Funk, who I pretty much would turned to for just about every decision I ever made in my wrestling career and I said, 'Terry, what do you think?' He just said, 'Teddy, if Vince has something that he thinks is tailor-made for you, it's his idea and never been done, pack your bags and don't look back.' I said, 'I thought that's what you would say.' 'If he thinks it's tailor-made for you, he has watched you, and he knows if you're a babyface or a heel," Dibiase said. "He knows what type of guy you are. So obviously he sees this as fitting your character.' I called Vince back and said, 'Okay, I'm your man. So what's the deal?'"
DiBiase Sr. was also asked about the plans for WrestleMania IV, and if there were discussions about him beating Hogan to win the WWE Championship.
"I get asked that question a lot and originally it was discussed," Dibiase noted. "It was discussed that I would somehow underhandedly end up in the last match with Hogan and screw him to win the title. But along the way it was almost like, I think people expected that because, as it is in wrestling, Hogan obviously after beating Andre, he was the man and he's the champ. WWE or WWF, you want primarily because you're catering to the kids at this point because it's family entertainment. You want your champion to be the good guy as much as possible.
"But there was the thought of having me screw Hogan and then have the run with Hogan. Usually a heel champion in the WWE, back then anyway, was somebody who was transitional. He either gets the belt and he drops it to the new babyface champion, or he drops it back to the guy that he beat. It was Pat Patterson who approached me and he said, 'Ted, here's what we've been thinking.' He ran all those things by me which I knew, which was the standard deal."
If you use any portion of the quotes in this article please credit The Apter Chat with a H/T to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.