Ask any long-term wrestling fan at or around my age their opinion of "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and they'll likely start singing his entrance theme, impersonating his inconic laugh or telling their favorite memory of him.
Mine, like many others, was the infamous basketball incident. I watched it just now for kicks and it still cracks me up.
Wrestling New Source recently invited DiBiase onto their podcast for a great, lengthy interview. They tackled all sorts of topics like the death of the territory system and its impact on younger wrestlers, his friendships with Dory and Terry Funk as well as Stan Hansen, who on WWE's current roster he'd like to work with and many others.
Hint: it's John Cena.
DiBiase brought up his time in Japan, his relationship with the wrestling business today but of, course, that one topic always comes up.
Was "The Million Dollar Man" supposed to go home with the gold?
Find out what the second-generation Superstar had to say after the jump.
"Wrestling is a business and ... if you're given the title you're getting marked as the best and that's not necessarily always true. A belt, is a gimmick in our business. It's a status symbol. [Winning the WrestleMania IV tournament] was the intial plan. I would win it and have my run with Hogan."
So why didn't that happen?
DiBiase goes on to explain:
"You gotta satisfy a lot of people and someone said Honky Tonk Man didn't want to drop the intercontinental belt to Randy Savage and they wanted to make Randy happy too. So somebody came up with that idea to turn Randy babyface. So the question was posed to me, 'What would get you more heat, Ted? If you didn't win the belt? Or if in your arrogance you thumbed your nose at it and created your own belt?' And I said that's the ticket. And it was. Today this day, you talk about a conversation piece. Everybody wants to come take a picture with me and the Million Dollar Belt. The Million Dollar Belt made me more money than the WWF Title ever would have."
Man, that's just pure genius talking right there and someone who really gets the raw emotion behind why people watch and care about pro wrestling.
And I suppose it's why fans, to this day, love "The Million Dollar Man." He says the fans' reactions to him at wrestling conventions and indie shows are "amazing and extremely flattering." He also mentions fans will talk to him about matches that he, himself, has forgotten.
"Wrestling fans are the greatest fans in the world. Because they are so loyal. I mean once they're with you, they're with you and they never forget."
Like I wrote before, the entire interview is great and there's a lot more I could write about but you should check it out for yourself. Click here from the entire interview courtesy of the WNS Podcast.