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May 21, 2010

Q&A with Ted DiBiase Jr.

I conducted a phone interview Thursday with Ted DiBiase Jr., who will face R-Truth Sunday as part of WWE’s Over the Limit pay-per-view.

I interviewed your father a couple years ago and he mentioned that he had discouraged you and your brother from following in his footsteps and becoming pro wrestlers. At what point did you know for sure that wrestling was what you wanted to do, and when did your father give his blessing?

Honestly, as far back as I can remember I knew I wanted to wrestle. As I got into my teens, there were a few moments where I really went to my dad saying, “I’m not kidding. I’d really like to give this a shot.” No. No. No. It wasn’t until I was a senior in college when my father got hired back as an agent and part of creative, and he saw then that the business had changed so much after it had gone corporate. It was just a new atmosphere. Guys were making more money and were more successful. They had instilled programs that promote health and wellness. So it was a changed atmosphere and that’s when my dream was revived. I went to him and said, “Look, I’ve got a year left in college, and when I graduate, this is what I want to do.” And I threw in the line, and he’ll tell you all the time, I said, “Dad, you’re my hero and I just want to be like you.” And I meant it, but I knew he couldn’t say no to that, so he finally gave in.

teddyd.jpg

Has sharing a name with a famous wrestler and a great worker like your father been a bit of a blessing and a curse? Being a second- or third-generation wrestler opens doors for you, but on the other hand, it also raises expectations.

Exactly. It’s probably more of a curse than a blessing, especially right at the beginning. You are – you’re under the microscope. Every move you make, everything you say or do will be compared to what your father did, and mine just happened to be a Hall of Famer. The Million Dollar Man was one of the greatest villains ever in this business. So the comparisons and the expectations were very high. But that was a challenge I was willing to take on, and I knew that going in. My dad made that very clear. Even coming from other wrestlers, I think there was an attitude at first of, “Oh, he’s only here because of his father,” and that just motivated me more and gave me more of a drive to succeed on my own and to make a name for myself. I think I’ve done that.

Do you and your father talk much about wrestling? Does he critique your performances or offer suggestions?

Oh, yeah. I always ask my father what he thought because I definitely value any feedback I can get from him and I’m constantly trying to learn. I always want to get better. I think that’s one of the biggest things: never settle and keep pushing to get better. That’s why the guys that are on top are on top, because they never stop learning.

What was it like working closely with Randy Orton? I’m talking backstage, off camera. Was he in any way a mentor to you and Cody Rhodes?

Yeah, absolutely. Gosh, I’m going to say that was one of the defining moments in my career. I was lucky enough to be paired with a veteran who had experience with so many of the top talent that has come through the WWE. Randy has wrestled everyone, from The Rock to Hulk Hogan to all the top guys – Shawn [Michaels] and Hunter [Triple H]. He’s had that experience. He was part of Evolution with Hunter, Batista and Ric Flair – he got to ride with him and pick his brain, and so Cody and myself got to pick Randy’s brain. For two young guys coming up, you couldn’t ask for a better opportunity or a better guy to learn from – in the ring [laughs].

You’re making the transition now from being a member of a tag team to a singles wrestler. Assess how that transition has gone to this point.

I think it’s going great. I’m loving it, now that I’ve just inherited my trust fund from my father. Who wouldn’t want to be me? I’ve got all the money I need and the Million Dollar title, and I’m as happy and cocky as ever [laughs]. No, it’s fun, man. This was a goal for both Cody and I, to go on our own and have successful careers by ourselves. I’m sure somewhere down the road we’ll meet up again. I wish him the best of luck. I know he’s going to do great on Smackdown.

There was a lot of speculation that when Legacy inevitably split up, you would be turned babyface, but obviously that didn’t happen. Was that ever the plan, and if so, do you know why it didn’t end up going down that way?

That’s the funny thing about the rumors and the Internet. There are so many people out there that they just know a hundred percent what’s going to happen, and it’s so funny when they’re wrong [laughs]. I never felt that way. That was just something that kind of had a snowball effect.

Photo courtesy of WWE

Posted by Kevin Eck at 3:20 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Q&As
        

Comments

Let's be honest though - he would have made a horrible baby face. He looks naturally smug. Cody on the other hand...he just looks like a nerd (and I laughed when I found out he was one)

The interesting theme I've been reading though is that these wrestlers are coming into the business out of college. Very interesting.

Not to get off subject, here, but I caught the debacle between Goldust and Regal on Superstars while flipping channels last night, and, aside from the asinine blood-stoppage to tend to Dustin's paper-cut, there was something that really bothered me about this match, and I just can't go on ignoring it. The finishing sequence saw Regal go for his finisher, the knee-trembler, only to have Goldust avoid it and immediately hit his own finisher thereafter for the 1-2-3. I can't be the only one who's noticed that at least, AT LEAST 75% of all matches in the WWE end with this very same sequence: Sports-Entertainer A goes for his finisher on Sports-Entertainer B, who reverses it into his own finisher, and gets the win. IT HAPPENS ALMOST EVERY FREAKIN' TIME! Lazy booking at its downright ugliest, and surely someone else has noticed, right?! Eck, my man, tell me you've seen this!

RESPONSE FROM KE: Yes, it's pretty standard.

I like DiBiase but I don't think he takes his character very seriously like the original did which makes him come off as a tweener. I don't expect the guy to be in character all the time but its a totally different person. He interviews like a face.

Also he doesn't seem to be very comfortable with the smugness required for his gimmick. Virgil tried to hold his belt after the match on Monday and DiBiase smiled at him and said "Nah, I've got it" and waited awkwardly for the ropes to be held. Simply put he needs to be more of a jerk.

seems like a nice guy. it's good to have the million dollar belt back in wrestling!

His character is just a more boring, less interesting version of what his dad was.

How can he say his babyface turn was just made up internet stuff after it was clear he was about to turn face when he and Orton had that one match on Raw last year where it was clear that is where they were headed?

Ted doesnt need to be a babyface he needs to follow in his fathers footsteps as the million dollar champion

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
E-mail Kevin.
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