Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast
Release Date: November 9, 2017
Guest: Ted DiBiase
Recap by: Matthew Wilkinson
- Ted DiBiase couldn’t believe his documentary was put into a movie theatre.
- DiBiase wishes he could’ve worked with his son.
- DiBiase thinks he could have had a good run with Virgil, if he could’ve wrestled.
- Sam thinks WWE has made Survivor Series even stronger.
- Sam is looking forward to NXT WarGames.
- Sam doesn’t think Impact should focus on Alberto El Patron’s domestic violence situation.
Sam Roberts welcomed everyone to the podcast and said there is plenty to discuss this week, but first we have an exciting interview with Ted DiBiase ahead of his documentary release.
Ted Dibiase Interview
Sam welcomed Ted DiBiase to the show and mentioned how it’s a big week for him. The Million Dollar Man said that he never envisaged this happening.
Ted said he’s been telling this story for 17 years, he wrote a book about it, but said the director (Peter Ferriero) first got in contact with him seven years ago, for a shoot interview. His story resonated with the director, so much so he started to change things in his own life. He normally does wedding videos so this was a new project for him too.
Originally, DiBiase simply thought this documentary would be good to see on the tables at signings and he never expected it to wind up being released in the cinema. At the start, Ted DiBiase Jr. wasn’t so sure and wondered if Pete was trying to pull one on his dad, but he quickly came round to him and that’s how the idea of him telling the story of the Million Dollar Man came around.
The project had gone on for three years and Teddy used some of his movie contacts in Nashville, who do faith based movies, and they loved it and said it would be put out in Fathom Movie Theaters.
Sam asked about Ted’s journey with faith. He said his realization came after WrestleMania 8 when his wife confronted him about his adultery and kicked him out. It was a major eye opener for him and he felt like a fool, having probably lost the most precious thing in his life just to fill this void whilst being on the road, and his stupid ego.
Sam asked if drugs and drinking were never a problem for him and if it was just women. Ted said he had done his fair share of both, but never to the point where rehab was needed. The discovery of the adultery is what brought the whole thing to light for Ted.
Ted never felt like he had the pressure of living as the Million Dollar Man all the time. A major reason for that was because the company did everything to market the character, from flying first class to limousine service on a daily basis, it did go to his head. His wife said when he would come home off the road she could see him walking through the airport she would watch his shoulders drop and relax.
Because she believed he was sorry and gave him another chance, his journey to restoration began immediately. He remembered sitting watching the boys drinking, wondering what he thinking when he was doing that.Now, Ted believes he and his wife have never been closer and they pray every morning, over facetime if he is on the road, and every evening. That is one of the major things Ted wants people to takeaway from the documentary, if you are struggling and willing to work hard you can earn anything in life.
Ted said he is asked if he is really a millionaire and he says no, but he has the love and respect of his family and he gets to watch his grand kids grow up.
Sam asked if Ted was worried heading into WrestleMania IX, headlining with Hulk Hogan that he was going back into the lion’s den. Ted said, first, he took his wife with him, but he did worry. That is why by SummerSlam ’93 he had gone to Vince and said he needs to go for a while.
Sam noted that his decision to leave was nothing to do with physical reasons and Ted agreed. He said to quit drinking he had to get out of the bar. He went back to Japan, and even before, Japan was like going on a retreat. He did his job and went back to the hotel.
After two tours in Japan he herniated two discs and was told by a doctor that he should retire. Once the surgery was done, any major bumps could lead to him being paralyzed. As he was just about to turn 40, he said his family would come before his job, he called time on his career.
Despite that, he went back when Vince asked him to do the commentary for the Royal Rumble. He liked that and Ted said if he wanted him to come back for a commentator or a mangers position then he would.
Managers at that time were just on TV, they weren’t on the road and so he could do that and it was perfect as he spent lots of time at home. That changed as he got put on the road with Stone Cold to help elevate them, but for him, being on the road was the danger zone, so he left and ended up in WCW.
Sam noted how even when he was a manager in WWF, he was a main character on the show and wondered how he felt being in a smaller role in WCW. Ted said at that point he didn’t care. He had started going out and speaking. Seeing how his story changed people’s lives was a bigger thrill than wrestling in front of 80,000 people.
Sam mentioned how lots of guys have a hard time letting go at the end of their careers. Ted said he didn’t have any problem because of the talks. Sometimes he has a hard time when he sees someone have a really good match, and somebody that springs to mind is his son, who he wished he could’ve worked with.
The Million Dollar Man Gimmick
Sam said how before the gimmick, Ted was just a great wrestler and wondered how felt about the cartoon like characters. Ted said, at first, he had that old-school mentality that it was killing the industry. However, he quickly realized he needed to be with WWF because the business was moving forward and that’s where it was going, those who didn’t see it would have been left behind.
Sam asked if he had heard the story from Bruce Prichard about the ‘everybody’s got a price’ line. The story goes that Vince asked someone on a plane to put out a cigarette and he ended up paying them $500, proving that everyone has a price. Ted said he had never heard it and said that Pat Patterson told him that if Vince was a character then it would have been the Million Dollar Man. He also mentioned that he did the famous laugh one time, Vince heard it and made sure it happened in every interview he did. That is how he is best remembered by fans.
Sam asked how Ted felt for unleashing Virgil onto the world, but he said he can’t claim him because he didn’t know Virgil until he was introduced in the office. Ted said he had the look, and that’s all he can say about that. He isn’t a bad guy. He was on time, he didn’t drink or smoke or do drugs, but he also wasn’t the smartest book on the shelf. If he had some decent wrestling skills we could have had a heck of a run but that wasn’t in the cards.
Sam mentioned that a lot of his great moments did involve Virgil, bringing the kids out of the crowds and screwing up their days and stuff. Ted agreed and said he knew that what he did with Virgil would be short lived. He stressed he has no animosity towards him and wished he could still make appearances with him, however, if he did he would look like an idiot.
Sam wondered how Ted felt when his son was paired with Virgil. hHe seemed to understand why it was done, but said that Teddy rang him asking how he put up with this idiot.
Ted was proud of him when he decided to leave WWE because he had done the right thing by his family and not made his mistakes.
State of Wrestling – 30 for 30
Sam started with the Ric Flair 30 For 30 that was on ESPN this week, one of the things he previously mentioned was that there were moments that were incredible, specifically, people involved. Specifically, The Undertaker. To have him in the 30 For 30 was one of the coolest things you could do, The Undertaker out of character talking about how great the man was and that was the point of the 30 For 30. It was to celebrate Ric Flair as the man, to explain why. It got into his personal life and how he is very insecure and doesn’t have good self-esteem, but how the Nature Boy is what everyone wants to be.
It didn’t just relate to wrestling fans, you understood why anyone would think that he is cool and how it didn’t come easy to him, but Ric chooses not to focus on the struggles. It was terrific and if you haven’t seen it, make sure you do.
Survivor Series Changes
A.J. Styles is the WWE Champion after something like a 5-month reign by Jinder Mahal, a completely unexpected reign that nobody saw coming, there was a lot of criticism for it.
But, A.J. Styles, for anyone who has anything bad to say about him, is just looking to criticize people because A.J. Styles is the best wrestler in the WWE right now. He is the guy who should have that WWE Championship. Some people were actually looking forward to Jinder Mahal vs. Brock Lesnar and Sam thinks Jinder vs. Brock and A.J. vs Brock has two different sets of appeal.
The reason that people were pumped for the Jinder match was that you didn’t know what was going to happen because you’ve spent months and months setting up that Jinder doesn’t get crushed. You know going in that you can’t have Brock Lesnar crush him, but all logic would tell you that’s what should happen.
It would appear that we are not going to see that, but we still could, if Jinder beats Styles next week for the WWE Championship, but it would be a real tease for WWE fans.
A lot came together at the last minute for Survivor Series, but there were a couple of rumors that did not come true. Roman Reigns was going to be on the Raw Team and John Cena was going to be the referee for the Jinder vs. Brock Lesnar match. The landscape has completely changed because Styles vs. Rusev became Randy Orton vs. Rusev.
Sam thinks at some point Styles was expected to be on the Smackdown team. Stuff got juggled around and things change, because Rusev ended up losing and we left Smackdown not knowing who would be the fifth man.
At the same time, in kind of an unexpected loss, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose lose the Tag Team Championships to The Bar. At first, you go ‘what’s that’ but then when New Day come out it’s pretty clear we are going to see a three-on-three New Day vs Shield match, which is great. It adds an element that wasn’t quite there with the champion vs. champion matches, because you are now dealing with every champion vs. champion match is a bad guy vs bad guy.
It wasn’t announced when the card was laid out, but no championships are on the line at Survivor Series, it doesn’t add to the matches. If you’re going to do champion vs. champion, it’s tough to get super excited when there are no titles on the line, so Shield vs New Day helps a lot.
The announcement of who was Smackdown’s fifth man will add a lot to the show. Shane McMahon is captaining the Smackdown of Bobby Roode, Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura and John Cena. That is an awesome team.
You never thought they would work together. You have Shinsuke from New Japan, Shane McMahon from the Attitude Era, Randy Orton from the Ruthless Aggression era, Bobby Roode from TNA, and John Cena, the biggest wrestler around. That’s the team, that’s the wrestling team.
Styles vs. Brock Lesnar is one of the biggest matches in WWE right now, just for notoriety. WWE has made Survivor Series on paper, immensely more news-worthy.
Lesnar will probably beat Styles, which is a shame, especially since the title isn’t on the line. If Brock beats Styles we will expect it, but if Styles beats Brock Lesnar, then you have a scenario where he doesn’t take the title off Brock so you can still tell the same story.
Survivor Series is the one time of year that Smackdown and Raw go head-to-head. So if A.J. does win, it can be ignored until later, and whenever Brock and Roman is done, you have built this story that Styles is on this tiny list of people in the modern era that have beaten Brock Lesnar.
Right now, zero people, he has avenged all his losses, that was the story with Goldberg, he was never able to get back the WrestleMania 20 loss until 33 in Orlando. You can give A.J. the victory, which makes him seem like an even bigger star. It won’t take much away from Brock and you’ve built a story for the future, there is so much upside and very little downside.
Then you have Raw win the elimination match. You want to make Braun Strowman look strong. What if you have Braun Strowman pin John Cena? It’s not a one-on-one so it doesn’t destroy John, but now you’ve managed to give the rub to him.
The Raw vs. SmackDown match is going to be great. In 2017, not only can we revisit the classic Shane and Kurt, but we can revisit John Cena and Kurt Angle, they will be on opposite sides.
Alicia Fox has been the MVP of Raw lately. She gets ignored a lot because she isn’t part of the women’s revolution. She’s part of the Divas generation, but as far as the women go, who is more entertaining than Alicia Fox with the captain speaking? She is doing it perfectly, all praise be to Alicia Fox. More people should be talking about her, she’s great to watch.
Now, classic WarGames is not Hell in a Cell style cage, it’s a traditional cage that hugs the ring and you can’t go outside. There is also a roof on it. The idea is that you go in, it used to be 5 on 5 ,and two guys would start and then there would be a flip of the coin and every 5 minutes someone else would enter the team and whoever won the coin toss, now you deal with the numbers advantage.
Traditionally, you could only win by submission. When one member of the team submits then the whole team loses. This year, it starts as a triple threat and then each faction comes in. A buzzer goes off and the rest of a group gets to go in.
There will still be a numbers advantage, it’s not going to be six buzzers, it will be three. It also said that you can win via pin fall or submission, so it’s being fought under standard triple threat rules, everyone is in the ring at once, meaning first pin or submission wins.
Sam is really excited about the amount of talent in those two rings. WWE has always focused on production values more than WCW so it will be interesting to see how they handle it. Production wise at some point it will become awkward.
We also found out, and it says it isn’t happening at the PPV, Pete Dunne is defending the WWE UK Championship against Johnny Gargano. Now if anyone is watching NXT, it can be assumed that he will not beat Dunne.
Sam likes the idea of the UK Championship being defended outside of that box, the European Championship could be defended against anybody. The United States Championship is defended against anyone and whoever wins it, wins it. Based on 205 Live, you have to wonder if we will see a UK division vs. 205 Live division at Survivor Series.
Bound For Glory
Sam said that Bound For Glory really tried and he respects the hustle, but it’s the little things. They are saying they are not Global Force Wrestling but for someone who doesn’t follow it religiously, if you are TNA right now, you have to be focused on finding the casual fans and making it not confusing.
Why does TNA’s aprons say GWN all over it as opposed to the Impact Wrestling Network? Why do you think in WWE there are no wrestlers, only superstars? It’s because they hammer it home, brand familiarity. Right now, Sam is still not 100% sure what the name of the company is, and he doesn’t care what it is, but there has to be a name.
Having Sami Callihan come in was a great choice, Sam is happy to see him in TNA, but his problem was the big stories coming out of it weren’t Sami and Jimmy Jacobs. For whatever reason, TNA is convinced that Alberto Del Rio is the horse to get on, yet we all know that because of his personal issues, WWE would never hire him right now, so the idea he is in TNA is not a big get for them, it’s almost like where else would he go?
You want to feel when you are watching a superstar making an impact, you want to feel like the company has pulled something off, if that guy is here, that guy is cool. That’s what ROH does, when Bully Ray shows up, or Bullet Club shows up, it makes ROH feel cool. That’s not the feeling you get with Del Rio. Don’t make him the headline.
It is uncomfortable when you have a guy who was accused on domestic violence, to then be physically threatening to a defenseless commentator, regardless of guilty or innocent, you are acknowledging the news story. If you are going to do that, you put it in the heads of fans.
Getting Jimmy Jacobs to show up is a get, that guy in 2017 is cool. Sam went on social media and saw a couple of people tweeted that he was on the PPV, but there are no posts from Impact, it’s not a news story, look at their social media while the show is on. Josh Mathews made a comment, acknowledge the fact that he is here in TNA, but it wasn’t reported on the company social media.
That was a brilliant episode this week. Both the interview and State of Wrestling segments were really strong and interesting. The conversation with Ted DiBiase flowed very well ,and Sam did a great job mixing Ted’s personal life with his actual career. Because there was so much news to cover, the State of Wrestling was jam packed and really enjoyable to listen to.
Subject’s Covered With Timestamps
09:00-Ted Dibiase Interview (Movie Release)
14:20- His Realization
28:28-The Million Dollar Man Gimmick
51:20-State of Wrestling (30 For 30)
53:47-Survivor Series Changes
About the author
Matthew Wilkinson is from Bradford, England. He’s been a fan since the late 90’s with the Attitude Era and was then heavily invested again through the rise of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. He can be found on Twitter at @MC_Wilkinson1