WWE News: Ted DiBiase reveals his reaction after being told he wouldn't win the WWE Championship at WrestleMania IV
Thanks to the help of Pat Patterson, there was a better alternative.
What's the story?
WrestlingInc.com reported on a recent edition of Jim Ross' podcast The Ross Report where WWE Hall of Famer Ted DiBiase was a guest. They talked about a range of topics encompassing the legendary career of DiBiase including the potential of him becoming the NWA World Heavyweight Champion before he came to WWE, but they went with a guy named Ric Flair instead.
They also talked about the time that DiBiase was potentially set up to be WWE Champion in 1988, and though DiBiase would never become the WWE Champion in his time there, the news wasn't actually bad.
In case you didn't know...
DiBiase got his start in professional wrestling in 1975 and made his mark in Mid-South Wrestling and the NWA territories.
Just before his time in the WWE, he would often tag with Dr. Death Steve Williams in the UWF (formerly Mid-South Wrestling) and on YouTube you can see a match they had with the Blade Runners (Sting and Ultimate Warrior):
The heart of the matter
Then WWF President Jack Tunney decided to vacate the WWF Championship after DiBiase paid a fake referee to give Andre The Giant the win over Hulk Hogan for the title. Tunney declared that there would be a 14-man single elimination tournament at WrestleMania IV to crown the new champion.
The finals of that tournament consisted of Ted DiBiase and the "Macho Man" Randy Savage. After a nine-minute match, Savage defeated DiBiase for his first of two reigns with the WWF Championship. The original plan was to put the belt on DiBiase, but Pat Patterson had a better idea.
Since DiBiase was the top heel, everyone was expecting a run with the championship, but Patterson had an idea that would put more heat on DiBiase and the Million Dollar Man liked the idea. That idea was to create the iconic Million Dollar Championship and have DiBiase lose the match to Savage and award himself that newly created belt.
DiBiase would explain his feelings on the situation below:
"It would have been nice to be the world champion, but in this business, the bottom line is titles are props and it's a business, so what was best for business and what was best for me at the time was to go that other way."
Parallels from history
The Million Dollar Championship was gold-plated with cubic zirconia and three small diamonds in the back. The belt cost $125k to make.
After holding on to the title for 922 days, DiBiase put it on the line against his former manager Virgil in a match at SummerSlam in 1991. Virgil would be victorious and become the only wrestler to win the championship in a match.
DiBiase would award it to two other wrestlers in history. First was in 1995 to "The Ringmaster" Steve Austin and then again in 2010 to his son, Ted DiBiase, Jr.
This is just another example of the genius of Pat Patterson. He has such a great acumen for the business of professional wrestling.
DiBiase didn't just play a smart businessman on television, he was one in real life. He realised in the era of Hogan, that a run with the title wouldn't last too long, and making the call to award himself a special championship was a great idea.