The level of expectation that comes with having a world-class wrestler for a parent has been enough to neuter the careers of many a second-generation competitor, but in just a few short years since his debut, Ted DiBiase Jr. -- actually a third-generation star due to his wrestler grandmother, Helen Hild, and grandfather, Mike DiBiase -- has made it clear that heís got what it takes to replicate his fatherís success.
Bearing a striking resemblance to his father, Ted "The Million Dollar Man" DiBiase, in his clean-shaven days, Ted and older brother Mike began training under the most old-school of all wrestling trainers, Harley Race, in 2006. He made his debut for Raceís promotion, World League of Wrestling (WLW) in July of that year, and by the start of 2007, was already a champion (albeit at independent level) as he and Mike defeated Raheem Rashaad and Juntsi to win the Fusion Pro Tag Team titles. Using Raceís links to Pro Wrestling NOAH in Japan, DiBiase also embarked in a tour of the Orient in early 2007, often finding himself in six-man tag-team action, across the ring from arguably the greatest Jnr. Heavyweight in the world today, KENTA.
In July 2007, the then 24-year-old signed a developmental deal with WWE, which saw him transfer to Florida Championship Wrestling. In October, he began teaming with various members of the Hart clan, forming the "Next Generation Hart Foundation" with Harry Smith, Teddy Hart, T.J. Wilson, and Nattie Neidhart, but the alliance didnít last long, as DiBiase struck out on his own, defeating Wilson for the Southern Heavyweight Championship in December.
Following a return from a long list of injuries -- and a worrying DUI arrest -- DiBiase was called up to the main WWE roster, and made his debut on the May 26, 2008 edition of Raw. Cutting a heel promo on Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes and Bob Holly, he looked assured and ready for his place on the big stage, less than two years after his debut. The promo and angle was eventually shown to be a ruse at the Night of Champions pay-per-view, as Rhodes turned on Holly and became DiBiaseís regular tag team partner, taking the Tag Team Titles with him. In his first match for the company, therefore, DiBiase had become a champion.
DiBiase and Rhodes lost the titles in August to John Cena and Batista, who were engaged in a feud at the time. That led to DiBiase and Rhodes winning the titles back one week later.
In the midst of a forgettable feud with Cryme Tyme, the pair became linked on television with Randy Orton, who applied some stern mentorship while he recovered from injury. The advice did not immediately seem to work, however, as DiBiase and Rhodes dropped the belts again in October, to CM Punk and Kofi Kingston. One week later, DiBiase interfered in a match between Orton and Punk, causing the formerís disqualification, and for his efforts, was on the receiving end of the so-called "concussion kick."
This injury angle served two purposes. The first was to allow DiBiase to film The Marine 2, a WWE production that was scheduled to go straight to DVD. Secondly, it reaffirmed Ortonís heel tough-love approach to DiBiase and Rhodes, who sided with Orton in January 2009 in a brawl with Sim Snuka and Manu, to form the Legacy group.
Prior to Wrestlemania 25, at which Orton challenged Triple H for the WWE Championship, DiBiase and Rhodes continued to back up the more experienced leader of Legacy, including helping him RKO Stephanie McMahon, who had recently been revealed, for the first time in several years, as Triple Hís spouse.
January 16, 2010: DiBiase in on action even if it hurts
January 9, 2010: Hart-felt for DiBiase
January 7, 2010: Ted DiBiase's Marine invades Toronto: Video and photos
December 29, 2009: DiBiase a Million Dollar Marine
August 15, 2009: DiBiase Jr. proves bad can be good
Of the DiBiase-Rhodes team, fans appear to believe that DiBiase will be a breakout star down the road, with Ted Jr. getting 81% of a vote, versus 19% for Rhodes.
- Brian Elliott
TED DIBIASE JR. STORIES
TED DIBIASE JR. PHOTO GALLERIES
Ted DiBiase Jr. Photo Gallery
Ted "The Million Dollar Man" DiBiase bio and story archive
June 5, 2009: The struggle of the oldest DiBiase son -- Mike