#6 – Ted DiBiase
I have a feeling that, even if you were around and following the company back in the day, it’d be easy to forget that Ted DiBiase didn’t make his first WWF appearance as the Million Dollar Man. He actually had a run several years earlier in 1979, back when Vince Sr. was still running the show. He became the WWF North American Champion, eventually losing it to the supposed South American Champion Pat Patterson in a unification match that ultimately spawned the Intercontinental title that we still know to this day.
Ted DiBiase also ended up being the first person Hulk Hogan ever headlined Madison Square Garden with later that same year! And mind you, he did all this as a babyface. Given what a significant part of WWE’s history this all is, it’s wild to think they’d pretend he was a totally different person a decade later, especially without even altering his ring name. But it just goes to show how much these things have changed since then.
Either way, we’re all better off for it going down like this. The Million Dollar Man is one of those gimmicks that helped define the WWF’s golden age. With his flashy suits, trademark laughter and propensity for buying his way out of any scrape, he was a perfect villain for the times. He was influential as well, as the Million Dollar Championship concept – that of an unofficial title created purely for the vanity of it’s holder – is one that’s become a pro wrestling staple.