Ted DiBiase Considered Opening His Own Wrestling School, Explains The Art Of In-Ring Improv
Ted DiBiase takes pride in being an “old school” guy.
DiBiase recently spoke with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard ahead of his Virtual Signing Series appearance for ’80s Wrestling Con. The “Million Dollar Man” spoke about what The Undertaker has given to the wrestling business before revealing that he also has had aspirations to open a wrestling school himself.
“And I have thought about that [being a trainer]. This is the first time I’m saying it publicly, but I’ve thought about starting my own wrestling school. I have my son, who, had he not decided to hang it up when he did,” DiBiase said, “he would’ve gone on to be a big star in the company, Ted Jr. And, in wanting to do that, it’s like ‘old school’ and for me, teaching young wrestlers how to wrestle is that you wrestle with them.”
DiBiase went on to explain how he wanted to become a wrestler because his father, ‘Iron’ Mike DiBiase, was a wrestler. Ted started out in the business under the tutelage of Bill Watts, who he called one of the greatest wrestlers in terms of his understanding of the psychology of the business. Watts learned from Eddie Graham, who learned from Dory Funk Sr., a very good friend of Ted’s father, and he [Ted] learned the ins and outs of the business through that way of teaching.
“Where I really learned my trade was doing it in front of a live crowd because you learn to react to the people and ‘read’ a crowd, if you will. I remember even Vince McMahon, one day Vince looked at me and said, ‘Ted, you remind me of Ray Stevens.’ I said ‘How is that?’ and he said, ‘Like Ray Stevens, you’re one of the best workers we’ve ever had, but if you ever asked Ray why he ever did anything at any particular point in a match, he couldn’t really explain it.’ I said that I totally agree because the art of what we do, of course with the old school way, is improv. I never sat down and mapped out a match from bell to bell with anybody,” DiBiase explained, “except maybe Randy Savage. And even with Randy, because of our relationship, I said ‘just give me the freedom if I feel something in there, I’ll call it, and then we’ll always get back to the gameplan. Randy might have wanted to map everything out as a way of protecting himself, I don’t know, but that’s old school.”
DiBiase noted that his current schedule prevents him from watching too much of today’s wrestling, but feels like people want to see storytelling in the ring instead of the more dramatic elements elsewhere.
“What the wrestling fan wants is for the story to be in the match. I wish there was more of it today.”