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 - Bob Jinkerson

When wrestling fans discuss wrestlers of the 70s and 80s, one name that should be hard to ignore is that of Ted DiBiase. Although he is best known for his "Million Dollar Man" character in the WWF from the late 80s into the early 90s, Ted had long been known as one of the best workers in the business and had a great career in the ring prior to his entry into the World Wrestling Federation. Those who have followed DiBiase’s career have been treated not only to some of the best wrestling they will ever see, but to an interesting life as well.

Ted DiBiase was born January 18, 1954 in Omaha, Nebraska. His mother was wrestler Helen Hild. Ted got his surname and eventually career choice, from his stepfather, the legendary grappler "Iron Mike" DiBiase. "Iron Mike", while never a world titleholder, was widely known in the Midwest and Texas circuits as one of the toughest and most durable men in the ring. His feuds with Dan "Bulldog" Plechas and Dory Funk, Sr. are legendary and his 4 hour plus Texas Death Match against Funk in Amarillo still holds the record for that type of match.

When Ted was just fifteen years old, "Iron Mike" died in the ring. Because of the emotional scars left with his mother, Ted was sent to live with his grandparents in Arizona. After graduating high school, Ted attended West Texas State University-— the same school that produced many great stars of the ring including Dory Funk, Jr. and Terry Funk.

At the age of 21, while still a junior in college, Ted made his professional debut in Amarillo in June of 1975. He soon began working in the old Mid-South circuit (later to become the UWF) which covered Louisiana and Oklahoma and other parts of the South and quickly developed a reputation in the business as a "supreme worker". No less a personage than the great Lou Thesz coined that phrase in a well-publicized interview in which he named DiBiase one of the best in the business.  

Less than a year after his pro debut, on April 28, 1976, Ted DiBiase captured a portion of his first title: co-holder with veteran Dick Murdoch of the Mid South version of the U.S. Tag Team Championship. They held the belts for nearly a month. In December of that same year, DiBiase captured the North American Heavyweight Championship, one of the most prestigious regional titles of the day. He held that title into the Spring of 1977.  More...

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