Everybody's gonna pay
Because the Million Dollar Man
Always gets his way!
Listen up, you nickel-and-dime peons: "The Million Dollar Man" Theodore Marvin DiBiase Sr. (born January 18, 1954) is a retired professional wrestler. He was one of the premier Heels in the "federation years" of the WWE. He was inducted into WWE's Hall of Fame in 2010, and has since been keeping a watchful eye over his son Ted DiBiase Jr. in his WWE run. He is a 3x WWE World Tag Team Champion with Irwin R. Schyster (Mike Rotunda) as Money Inc., a 1x WWF North American Heavyweight Champion, a 2x All Japan PWF World Tag Team Champion with Stan Hansen and 1x All Japan Pro Wrestling World Tag Team Champion also with Hansen, and held various territorial titles in the late 1970s and through most of the 1980s before arriving in WWE in 1987.note
"Every man has his trope":
- Affectionate Nickname: Nicknamed "Teddy Bear" by his moll, Sherri, an oblique reference to being her Sugar Daddy. She kept right on calling him that, even in retirement.
- Arch-Enemy: Junkyard Dog, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Dusty Rhodes, Virgil, The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon), the Legion of Doom, Razor Ramon, the Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott)note , The Undertaker, Lex Luger, Diesel, Bam Bam Bigelow (after he quit/was fired from the Million Dollar Corporation), Savio Vega.
- Author Avatar:
- Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Man character was based on the type of wrestler WWE boss Vince McMahon wanted to be. This was years before Vince himself would turn heel following the Montreal Screwjob and become the Big Bad we know today.
- DiBiase noted after Eric Bischoff brought him to WCW as "Trillionaire Ted", the financial backer of the nWo, that the character was basically an avatar for Bischoff himself. Much like McMahon, Bischoff would go on to portray a similar character himself.
- Badass Preacher: Became one after his wrestling career petered out; he frequently worked with Nikita Koloff on combined Christian/wrestling events. And he does weddings, too.Redditor: He also insisted that we do counseling with him pre-wedding, so we spoke with him about life and love and lovemaking (which he referred to as "romp-and-stomping" in his thick Mississippi accent—hilarious, but a touch awkward, too).
- Bash Brothers: With "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, "Maniac" Matt Borne, "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, Virgil, IRS, Stan Hansen
- Battle Butler: Virgil, Wrestling Superstar. Amusingly, in 2013 Ted let slip the reason he left WCW was because he refused to be "Hogan's Virgil".
- Beard of Evil
- Bling-Bling-BANG!: Not sanctioned by the WWF, the Million Dollar Belt was more a huge piece of jewelry than anything else. Taking a belt shot covered in diamonds? That'll leave a mark.
- Catchphrase: "Everybody's got a price for the Million Dollar Man!"
- Demoted to Extra: As with so many other stars, Ted was kept on WCW's payroll despite rarely appearing on television. Ted was one of the first WWF Superstars to jump ship to WCW, and also one of the first to jump right back. The idea was that Ted bankrolled the nWo, with Hogan and the others providing the muscle. He turned face and disappeared from WCW programming later that year, and his boss role was subsumed by Eric Bischoff. According to Ted, it slowly dawned on Eric that he was essentially paying someone to play himself, but DiBiase had signed a three year contract. When he kindly pointed this out, Turner Entertainment realized that they had no choice but to keep employing him, so Ted became a road agent for Nitro. He really took them to the cleaners.
- Dirty Coward: Whenever he couldn't buy his way out of a situation, he folded like a lawn chair.
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Sang his WWF entrance theme.
- The Dog Bites Back: From his "servant," Virgil.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Returned to the WWF as a face in 1987, feuding with old nemesis One Man Gang at house shows in Texas. He didn't begin his "Million Dollar Man" gimmick and start appearing on WWF TV until a month later.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- One of the ways heels got under Randy Savage's skin during his WWF World Heavyweight Championship reign was to threaten Elizabeth, and more than once grab her and swing back a fist, night club, etc. Not DiBiase; he never once even so much as acknowledged Elizabeth ... he just wanted the WWF World Heavyweight title.
- Evoked this from other heels when he announced his plans to buy the WWF title from Hulk Hogan. It wasn't for noble reasons though, they were simply outraged that he would have the audacity to sidestep them (and the process of winning a wrestling match) and procure the title for himself.
- Every Man Has His Price: The main point of his shtick, as highlighted by his entrance theme (see quote at the beginning of the article). He bribed whoever it took to get his way, including that time he bought the WWF Championship from André the Giant.note
- Every Year They Fizzle Out: Regularly tops lists of the best wrestlers to never win a world title. He did briefly hold the championship when he bought it from Andre, even defending it at some house shows, but his reign was retconned from WWE canon.
- Evil Knockoff: When Yokozuma bested The Undertaker at the '94 Royal Rumble, he finally broke Paul Bearer's hold over the zombie wrestler. DiBiase declared that everybody from there to Timbuktu was searching for The Undertaker's remains, but had come up short. Using his vast money and resources though, the Million Dollar Man claimed he did indeed find the casket first and signed a contact placing Taker (actually an impersonator, Brian Lee) under his control. Paul called B.S. on this, as not even he knew where Taker was buried. In due course, Paul unsealed the power of the urn and the real Undertaker re-materialized to take the imposter out.
- Evil Laugh: Almost without doubt the greatest and most-iconic in professional wrestling. Ted Dibiase is always laughing; he must be very happy.
- Expy: Claimed in his autobiography Every Man Has His Price that Vince McMahon described the "Million-Dollar Man" gimmick to him as a wrestling version of Donald Trump. Which made it funny in a meta sense when DiBiase gladhanded with Trump at WrestleMania V, held at Trump Plaza.
- FaceHeel Turn: Few people knew it at the time due to the lack of national exposure, but before his days as the "Million Dollar Man", Ted Dibiase was the fan favorite of the old Mid-South territory. He played the same scrappy asskicker character in his stints in the pre-Hulkamania WWF, so when he came back in 1987, he had the same persona, but after his debut return match, he quickly turned to his heel tendencies, and very soon after, the first Million Dollar Man vignettes began airing on WWF television, showcasing his new character.
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated (who covered his face years and always refused to go with Vince's insistence that they pretend it's a totally new wrestler) explained away his sudden money as years of payouts from victorious matches and title wins.
- Faux Affably Evil: DiBiase always appeared to be a congenial guy, but the moment things didn't go in his favor, he would lash out at everyone.
- Fiction 500: He is basically Daddy Warbucks with fists. This was parodied by Kayfabe News (basically a wrestling The Onion) with the article "DiBiase Bails Out Greece".
- Finishing Move:
- The Million Dollar Dream submission hold (a Cobra clutch).
- He also used the Cobra clutch combined with a Russian legsweep, a top rope backwards elbow drop, and a spinning toe hold at different phases of his career.
- His unique fist drop was sometimes used as this or as a Signature Move.
- Heel: Probably one of the best-known characters of this archetype.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: After the famous incident in 1993 where The 1-2-3 Kid beat Razor Ramon, Ted challenged the Kid to a match to prove how easy it was to beat "a nobody." During said match, Ted kept picking the Kid up at the count of two just to inflict more punishment. When Razor himself showed up, Dibiase decided to rub it in by attempting the most nonchalant cover imaginable... only for the Kid to crucifix him for the win. Razor, his HeelFace Turn now complete, cracked up laughing on the outside.
- "I Am Great!" Song: MoneyMoneyMoneyMoneyMoney
- It Runs in the Family: See Wrestling Family below.
- Jerkass Has a Point: "IF YOU CAN'T DO THE JOB, YOU DON'T GET PAID! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
- Laser-Guided Karma: He bought the #30 spot in the Royal Rumble from Akeem in order to have the best chance at winning. Along with that, he tried to buy off Big John Studd so he could win the whole thing. Studd didn't bite, making the Million Dollar Man the last man eliminated. In the subsequent Rumble matches he participated in, DiBiase drew #1 in 1990, #2 in 1992, and #3 in 1993. He was even the first man eliminated from the Rumble in 1992.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: His entrance attire is a tuxedo, for crying out loud! Barney in How I Met Your Mother spent an exorbitant amount of money on a custom suit with diamond encrusted pin-stripes called "The DiBiase". You can't take that to just any dry cleaners.
- Marshmallow Hell: Happened while he was selling a bump, after DiBiase made fun of Sherri's tits once too often.
- Money to Throw Away: Yes, the Man is so rich he can afford to stuff wads of cash in his opponents' mouths. Also, his entrances. (See below)
- No-Sell: Amazingly, he once did this after the Fabulous Freebirds gave him a spike piledriver on the floor.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse:
- He once attempted to purchase the WWF Championship off of Hulk Hogan. One "Rewriting the Book" article on WrestleCrap explores What Could Have Been if Hogan had taken the deal.
- Ironically, he actually inverted this earlier in his career. While competing for "Cowboy" Bill Watts' Universal Wrestling Federation in 1986, DiBiase competed in, and was eliminated from, the UWF World Heavyweight Title Tournament on May 30. (DiBiase d. Blade Runner Rock (The Ultimate Warrior) in the First Round and Terry Gordy d. him in a Quarter-Final Match.) DiBiase's former manager, General Skandor Akbar of Devastation Inc., offered him $25,000 to interfere and cost his friend "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan his semi-final match against Akbar's charge Kamala the Ugandan Giant. DiBiase said, "Make it $50,000." Akbar agreed, DiBiase put on his infamous black glove... and nailed KAMALA, giving Duggan the win and sending him into the finals against Gordy. (Duggan lost, but that's another story.)
- Photo Op with the Dog: DiBiase is remembered for producing a money roll and tossing bills at crowds to buy their support.
- Power Stable:
- He was the manager of The Million Dollar Corporation: Irwin R. Schyster, King Kong Bundy, Nikolai Volkoff, Bam Bam Bigelow, "The Undertaker"note , Tatanka, Kamanote , Sycho Sid,The 1-2-3 Kid, Xanta Klaus (Jonathan Rechner, aka SMW's Boo Bradley/ECW's Balls Mahoney), and The Ringmaster ("Stone Cold" Steve Austin).
- (In Mid-South/UWF): Devastation Inc.
- (In WCW): The nWo
- Power Trio: (in "Cowboy" Bill Watts' Mid-South/UWF): The Rat Pack, with "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan and "Maniac" Matt Borne.
- Rags to Riches: Early on in his career as the Million Dollar Man, the idea was that DiBiase built his fortune using the insurance money he gained after his adoptive father Mike DiBiase died from a heart attack in the ring, as a way to explain the gimmick to the fans who remembered him as a top face in Mid-South and an early WWE stint.
- Red Baron:
- "The Million Dollar Man"!
- In Mid-South, while working as a heel, he was called "The Big Cheese".
- Rich Bastard
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Do we really have to explain this one?
- Creating his own championship, for a start.
- Averted in 1988. DiBiase paid André the Giant to win the WWF Championship from Hulk Hogan for him, and detained referee Dave Hebner backstage while Dave's Evil Twin brother Earl impersonated him to help Andre win the title; Andre tried to surrender the belt to DiBiase, but the WWF refused to acknowledge Ted as the champion, and the title was declared vacant. (Andre's brief reign is still the shortest recognized WWE Championship reign in history.)
- Also backfired on him when he bought Hercules Hernandez's contract from Bobby Heenan, and outright stated he saw it as literally buying him as a person. Hercules, whose gimmick in the WWF was that he either thought himself to be or literally was the actual legendary Hercules, became understandably furious at being treated like property, promptly turned Face, and beat the hell out of him.
- Spiritual Successor:
- Make way for John "Bradshaw" Layfield, who is absolutely this trope for the new millennium. Alberto Del Rio has credited the MDM as well. As JBL himself said, three generations of one stolen gimmick.
- Vince McMahon has gradually turned into a Million Dollar Man, turning heel following the Montreal Screwjob, acknowledging and abusing his status as the chairman of the WWE and becoming the Big Bad we know today.
- Start My Own:
- Since Ted literally couldn't buy a WWF Championship reign, he went out and had the "Million Dollar Championship" - a custom belt made of gold and diamonds - created just to prove he was the best. He awarded the belt to Steve Austin in 1996, and eventually to Ted Jr. in 2010. The belt subsequently disappeared not long after that, only to resurface in NXT in 2021.
- In January 2000, he started his own promotion, the short-lived WXO.
- Tag Team: Money Inc., with IRS.
- Take That!: Following victories, DiBiase would stuff $100 bills into his opponents' mouths. This is the kayfabe distinction between the Cobra Clutch and the Million Dollar Dream (they're the same hold, otherwise).
- Threw My Bike on the Roof:
- One skit had him purchasing a public pool just so he could kick all the kids out.
- The Million Dollar Man would usually offer rewards to audience members for doing some task, but they could never pull them off. He once offered $500 to a very small child to dribble a basketball 15 times without missing. The boy did surprisingly well... only for Ted to kick the ball out from under him at the fourteenth bounce. The boy was later invited backstage, however, where he was given the $500 and got to meet the wrestlers.
- In 2019, this is almost $1,100.
- Trickster Mentor: To his son, maybe.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: One of the more common elements of Randy Savage's storylines during his face run was the villains either trash-talking or outright physically harming his valet, Miss Elizabeth. DiBiase completely averted this; his focus was plain and simple: Win the title, don't worry about the girl.
- Wrestling Family: Ted's mother Helen Nevins-DiBiase was a wrestler (as Helen Hilde), as was his adoptive father "Iron" Mike DiBiase, and his sons Mike, Ted Jr., and Brett have all become wrestlers. Ted Jr. was signed to WWE but has since left as of the end of August 2013.
Some might cost a lot
But I'm the Million Dollar Man
And you will be bought! DYAHAHAHAHAHAHA!