Sporting News published an exclusive interview this week with Ted Dibiase. The article is in promotion of Dibiase’s new documentary, The Price Of Fame, opening in select theaters on Nov. 7.
In the interview, Dibiase discussed the focus of the film – his battles with drinking, drugs, and infidelity, and the strain his lifestyle placed on his marriage.
Regarding the end of his in-ring wrestling career:
“The reason I left the WWF was not because I was unhappy with them. It was because Vince moved me, when I first went back to work for him, I was a manager and a commentator. At the time, that did not require me to be on the road. All I had to do was be at the TVs, which were once every three weeks and then I had to be in a studio one day a week to do voiceovers. That was it. But then, he decided he wanted me to help groom a couple guys. Sid Vicious, I think he wanted me to help Sid keep both his oars in the water. And then Steve Austin.
“Of course, hindsight is 20/20, at the time I didn’t think Vince would understand. He’s running a business. He’s going to put you where he needs you and he’s not interested in my personal problems. That’s when I realized I could go over to the other company and do what I had been doing. I could do the TVs once a week and then just do voiceovers and be there when needed, not on the road all the time because the road was the danger zone. If you’re going to quit drinking, stay out of the bar. For me, being on the road constantly was like being in the bar because I’m on the road with a bunch of guys, not any of who are interested in being accountable. That’s what I saw as the danger zone and that’s why I went to WCW.
“Back in ’92 when everything broke, it was right after WrestleMania, so that was March ’92. SummerSlam ’93 is when I left because I realized in that space of time my attitude about everything had changed but I realized the environment that I was in hadn’t changed at all. It became clear to me that I’ve got to get out of this or it’s going to suck me back in. Eventually, I went to Japan and that’s when the thing in my neck manifested itself. Nineteen years of taking bumps and herniated discs and the doctors say you have to retire.
“The way I got back working with Vince was he asked me to come and do color commentary with him, I think for the Royal Rumble, and I did it and he said you’re pretty good. I said now that I’m back, I wouldn’t mind coming back as a manager/commentator. He said, ‘We’ll see about that,’ and then at WrestleMania X, that night after the show back at the hotel, he called me and said, ‘OK, you want to do this?’ I said, ‘Sure,’ and he said, ‘OK.’ So I was working for him again.”
Ted also commented on his son, Ted Jr., who wrestled for WWE from 2008-2013:
“Ted could have been a big star. Ted was well on his way to being a big star and when his contract came back up, they wanted to re-sign him and he said, ‘I’m sorry. Thanks for the opportunity.’ He told me, ‘Dad, you were right.’ The only way to be in this business is to be one of the stars because that’s the only way it’s going to be financially profitable because you can’t do this until you’re 65.
“He said, ‘You don’t have a wife; the business is your wife.’ I went, ‘Exactly.’ When he figured that out, I was proud of him. He had a bit of an identity crisis for a while but he’s doing great now.”
To read the entire article, check out Sporting News.