Former wrestler shares faith story

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 17, 2014

1017 spt-Ted DiBiase

Former wrestler Ted DiBiase shares his faith during the Old School Men’s Meeting Thursday night. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Ted “The Million Dollar Man” DiBiase’s catchphrase may include a hearty and maniacal laugh, followed by “everybody’s got a price.”

But theformer World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wrestler and Hall of Famer wasn’t in a laughing mood as he shared his journey of faith at the Old School Men’s Meeting on Thursday night.

The Clinton, Miss., resident, who wore black athletic pants and a WWE polo shirt, said it took him 38 years to grow up.

DiBiase challenged the hundreds of men gathered to step up and be men of God.

“You wrestle with your greatest tag team partner — Jesus Christ,” he said. “We’ve got to get out of the system every day. As ‘The Million Dollar Man,’ my character was the epitome of worldliness.

“God has a great sense of humor,” he said.

As a wrestler, DiBiase was the first World Wrestling Federation North American Heavyweight Champion, three-time tag team champion and the 1988 King of the Ring. He also created his own championship and was best known for his heel (bad guy) promos, which were often concluded with his trademark laugh. He was inducted into the WWE HOF in 2010.

DiBiase still makes appearances on wrestling shows every now and then, but the man who used to be recognized by all things money, turned his life around and is now a traveling evangelist. He founded the Heart of David ministry.

The former wrestler admitted to cheating on his wife and said as a result of admitting his faults to her, he turned his life around for the better.

DiBiase played college football at West Texas A&M and while in school, he said he put God on the shelf.

“By the time I was 26, I failed to complete college by one year,” he said.

By the time the WWF had expanded and gone global, so did DiBiase’s popularity.

Before he became “The Million Dollar Man,” DiBiase said he had recommitted his life to God and knew then that the devil would one day use his weakness against him.

Vince McMahon, the then WWF chairman and current WWE CEO, offered Ted his “biggest break” of his career.

“(McMahon) told me that I have an idea and I think you’re the right guy for it,” DiBiase said about the Million Dollar Man persona. “I took the job.”

From there, DiBiase embraced his new personality and the perks that came with it — leer jet rides, money and his main weakness, women.

After Wrestlemania VIII, DiBiase said he didn’t get a wink of sleep after putting on a good show for the massive crowd.

God, he said, then turned his life around when his wife called and said for him to not come home because of his infidelity.

“That was the day I got it,” he said. “I said, ‘Lord, take the helm. Point the ship where you want it to go.’ ”

For the past 14 years, DiBiase has traveled the states sharing his story of faith.

“The Million Dollar Man is a character on TV,” he said. “I’m not the Million Dollar Man. The toughest fight was my battle with God.

“I lost the fight not by pin fall, but by submission,” he said.

Thursday’s Old School Men’s Meeting at the old Stanley School was the first in a planned series of meetings targeting unchurched men. Sponsored by the Covington Baptist Association, the event, which included a free steak dinner, drew a crowd of about 200.