Former WWE superstar Ted DiBiase Jr with the Million Dollar Championship
Ted DiBiase Jr. was born into the wrestling world – but his proudest moment was the day he decided to quit WWE.
The former tag team champion – who held the gold twice with Legacy teammate Cody Rhodes – is the son of Hall of Famer Ted DiBiase, and while the pair have an incredible relationship, he was inspired by his own childhood when it came to taking a step back.
He exclusively told Metro.co.uk: ‘For me, I had experienced the dark side of it, the heartache. I knew the sweet moments – when my dad, several times throughout my life, would just grab me and hold me and start crying. It makes me cry.
‘Saying he was sorry he wasn’t there, he wished he could be there more. I’ve never once in my life doubted my dad’s love for me – there’s no but. I just knew I didn’t wanna have to tell my son that.’
DiBiase Jr. noted that that ‘perspective of time lost’ while the Million Dollar Man was on the road convinced him to step away from WWE in 2013 and spend more time with his family.
‘What I gave my son was the greatest gift I could ever give him. I gave up my dream to be a father,’ Ted – who now has nine-year-old Tate and three-year-old Ava with his wife – added.
‘It was a no-brainer for me. It doesn’t mean it was easy, it was one of the hardest decisions of my life. WWE was gracious, they had offered me another five-year deal. I just knew that it was more important for me to be here, you know?’
Ted and his brother Brett inducted their dad into the Hall of Fame (Photo: WWE)
His famous dad also inspired his new business venture 16Creative, which is focused on helping ‘execute strategic marketing and e-commerce campaigns for a growing list of iconic professional wrestlers, athletes, veterans, and military organisations’.
Naturally, the process started with DiBiase Sr., and seeing the lives many wrestlers of his generation are left with once they hang up their boots.
He explained: ‘What really drove this was my desire to serve like my father and many guys like him. They’ve wrestled all these years, they’ve given us these great moments and childhood memories – I happen to be the son of a wrestler but I get it, I love that part about it.
‘But then when they leave, “OK, thanks a lot”. They’re doing signings and still showing up at these independent shows – which is great, but there can be more. It’s like, how can I get my dad off the road?
‘Or, how can I make the end of his life easier? How can I help him work smarter, not harder and really maximise the brand and platform that he built over his time there?’
For Ted, what he saw in others regarding life after wrestling was what shook him and made him realise the right thing to do for him and his family was to make sure he had no regrets afterwards.
He candidly said: ‘[My dad] was on the road 300 days out of the year – and I don’t regret that. I love my dad, we have a great relationship – he’s my best friend and still my hero.
‘But do I wish he was at my birthdays and my football games and soccer games? Yeah! And that was a big reason why I left when I did, because I’d just had a child. I just wanted to be a dad more than I wanted to be a superstar.
DiBiase Jr has loved seeing his dad back on NXT with the likes of LA Knight (Photo: WWE)
‘I had seen the other side of that. I’d seen my dad heartbroken many times getting those calls about guys who have passed away who we’ve lost.’
He’s loved seeing his dad on NXT recently, and he admitted the return has given Ted Sr. a spring in his step.
‘It’s put a pep in his step. We have fun with it. You can tell, he’s really excited, he’s happy. Of course, he’s still got it,’ he beamed with obvious pride.
‘He looks great and he’s having so much fun and really, really digs Cameron Grimes.’
Asked about his proudest moment, Ted Jr. paused for a moment as he pondered the thought, reflected on his career and then seemed convinced as replied.
‘Man, I would say… the day I was willing to give it up to be a dad,’ he smiled. That was the hardest thing.
‘I’m proud of my work, always did my best, always did my best did give the fans – I’m proud of how I treated fans all the time.’
*Find out more about 16 Creative here.