Interview: WWE's Ted DiBiase
ALONGSIDE wrestling partner Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase Jr stamped his name on WWE history by going toe to toe with the legendary D-Generation X team of Shawn Michaels and Triple H in the recent Hell in the Cell match. And though they were defeated, the son of the great "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, is still reeling from the experience.
"Shawn Michaels and Triple H are legends in this business and I think everyone would like to be as successful as they are," he enthuses.
"I was a big fan of Shawn growing up and it was a great opportunity for Cody and I to get the chance to prove to everyone that we can compete with DX."
It was the culmination of a whirlwind two years since the second-generation wrestler debuted on American television, introduced by none other than his father. After earning his stripes in sweaty, run-down gyms across the country, DiBiase Jr is realistic about the weight on his shoulders.
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"I have been under some more pressure because of how great my father was. Everyone has high expectations of me because of him and I'm going to do my best to live up to my family name."
He certainly hit the ground running; winning the WWE tag team championships with Rhodes in his very first televised match, and he predicts bigger things for the duo in the future.
"I think Cody and I are as good as any tag team. Chris Jericho and The Big Show are the current Unified Tag Team Champions; I think that would be a great match-up for us."
Having already toppled the heavyweight duo of Batista and John Cena for their second run with the titles, you wouldn't bet against them.
Apart from his dad, there's only one wrestler in WWE that DiBiase Jr wants to emulate – his mentor Randy Orton.
"Right now he's one of the best in the business, and he's someone who I look up to and respect."
It's no surprise since aligning with the multiple WWE Champion that DiBiase Jr has been almost ever-present in the main event.
Bucking the stereotype of oiled-up grapplers, DiBiase Jr reveals that, if he hadn't entered the ring, he could have been a high-flying executive, having graduated from university in Mississippi.
"Becoming a wrestler is something I always wanted to do and I made that dream come true. But my father did make sure that I graduated college before I pursued my wrestling career. So I do have that degree to fall back on."
DiBiase Jr appreciates British sport, but don't expect him to don the colours of Forest or County when he arrives in Nottingham.
"I'm more of an American football fan. But whenever I visit another country, I love flipping through the channels and seeing what kind of shows and sports are on."
With past world champions ranging from Hulk Hogan to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, there has never been a Brit at the top of the WWE pile – does DiBiase Jr believe that's a trend that can be broken?
"Of course," he says.
"William Regal has been a tremendous success in the WWE and he soon may become the ECW Champion. On SmackDown, Davey Boy Smith's son (David Hart Smith) is a young up and comer and the sky's the limit for him."
Time will tell whether a future champion will be waving the red, white and blue of a different nation. As for DiBiase Jr, he will continue to grapple with his father's shadow, and attempt to achieve what he never could in his career – capture the WWE Championship.
That's a prize money can't buy for a man who describes himself as "simply priceless".