The Million Dollar Sons Make Their Way to Eldon, MO And the WLW Training Center
by Brant Wilkins
While neither Ted Jr. (Teddy) nor Mike Dibiase expect or want any special treatment because of their father’s name, it’s just too good of a headline to pass up considering the history between their family and WLW founder, Harley Race. Tedddy says, “We came into this with our eyes wide open. We’ve seen firsthand through our father how tough this business can be. We both have a passion for this sport. We watched our father wrestling on TV when we were kids, and like most others, wanted to be just like dad.”
Most fans will recognize their father as The Million Dollar Man, Ted Dibiase. What not everyone knows is that their grandfather (“Iron” Mike Dibiase) and grandmother (Helen Hild) were wrestlers too! It seems as if wrestling is in their blood.
Ted Dibiase has a tremendous amount of respect for Harley Race both personally and professionally. It was Harley who tried to save his stepfather’s life by administering CPR to “Iron” Mike Dibiase at ringside that fateful day in July of 1969 when he suffered a heart attack while wrestling in the Amarillo Territory and it was Harley, who early the next morning, told the news to the Dibiase family.
It was only a few years later when their paths would cross again as Ted, following in his father’s footsteps arrived in the Central States Territory following a stint wrestling in Texas. It was here that Ted says he started “cutting his teeth in the wrestling business.” It was Ted’s passion and desire that quickly helped him become one of the best technical wrestlers and one of the sport’s greatest entertainers. Ted remembers fondly the one hour main event with then NWA World Champion, Harley Race in St. Louis as the match that “put me on the map”.
Ted DiBiase Sr faces off with Bruiser Bob Sweetan
Flash forward about 30 years and you’ll find it’s that same desire that has brought his two sons, Teddy and Mike to Eldon, MO where they will learn the ropes from one of wrestling’s greats, 8 Time World Champion Harley Race. Teddy and Mike both agree there isn’t a better place they could be training to follow in their father’s footsteps. Teddy is quick to point out the relationship and respect his father has for Harley. It is a respect that Harley says goes both ways. “Their father is a great friend. We share a mutual respect and I feel it’s an honor that Ted has entrusted me to train his boys.”
Ted DiBiase training to take bumps at the Harley Race Wrestling Academy
Both Teddy and Mike played football and soccer in high school and college. Teddy was a forward and Mike was a goal keeper in soccer. They both played quarterback in football. Teddy jokes that they were told what to expect but even so, “the mat is a lot harder than I imagined. After the first week of training I felt as if I had been kicked by a horse.” Since then, things have gotten a little easier as they are starting to learn their craft. Teddy kicks in that “things are becoming routine now. We arrive at the gym around 5 and leave about 9. I wasn’t sure if my body would get used to all the punishment but after a few weeks, I think I’m developing calluses all over my body.”
After getting to know them, it’s easy to expect great things from these two. Not because of their father’s name, but because of their determination and work ethic. They have settled into Eldon and are starting to experience some of the things Mid-Missouri has to offer. “Unfortunately we don’t have much free time but, I can’t wait until the fall hunting season and until then, you’ll find me fishing anywhere and any chance I get” Teddy says. His brother Mike is excited to get a chance to experience the “lake life”.
Mike DiBiase locks up with Harley Race during training
I for one look forward to their debuts in WLW and I think many of our fans will soon be cheering for the Dibiase boys.
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Photos provided by Bob Geigel and Harley Race.