Ted DiBiase Jr. talks about the depression and anxiety that led to him leaving WWE.
In Summer 2008, Ted DiBiase Jr appeared on Monday Night Raw and within weeks of his appearance, he was one half of the WWE World Tag Team Champions alongside Cody Rhodes.
One year later, as a member of Legacy, Ted DiBiase stood across the ring from Shawn Michaels and Triple H at three straight pay-per-views. Following the split of Legacy, DiBiase would try to carry on his father's Million Dollar Legacy with the Million Dollar Championship. Once that gimmick fizzled, Ted DiBiase faded into the undercard of WWE before being released.
Now, in a new interview with Chris Van Vliet, Ted DiBiase explains why he left WWE and says that while he does consider himself retired, he does leave the door open for the right scenario to come along.
“I’ll say yeah. As of today, I’ll say yes [that he’s retired], but if somebody called me, I’d be totally lying if I said there wasn’t an itch. I can still go, I just like to keep doors open and don’t burn bridges. If you’re going to burn one then blow it up. My connection to that world, at times it’s like being married. Sometimes it’s this love-hate relationship. No, it’s hard, but it’s such a deep-rooted piece of who I am and what I come from being a 3rd generation wrestler. My grandfather and grandmother were wrestlers, then my father so you know. I leave that door open, but it would have to be the right scenario for me to get in the ring again.”
When asked why he left WWE, Ted DiBiase opens up about the depression and anxiety that he felt during the end of his time with the company.
“I was offered another 5-year deal. It was generous, but when it came down to it, I was battling some things internally. There were some mental health issues. I was going through depression and anxiety, and also being a new father. I just knew... What I didn’t have growing up, although I had this iconic father I love dearly, he wasn’t at my birthdays. He also wasn’t there for my football or soccer games. I believe the greatest asset we have in our world is time. You’re not guaranteed more and you can’t get it back. That was one of the greatest gifts I could give my son. With no plan, I left and we are doing good. I thought I was going to wrestle and have a long career, but I really believe it’s not what we do that defines us but who we become along the way. I spent a lot of time while I was there trying to climb the ladder. But I realized that’s not who I am. My core values are faith, family, love, wisdom, service, in that order. I was dying internally and losing sight of who I was. I love helping and serving people, and also entertaining people. To be able to walk into a hospital or a base and bring a smile onto the face of a family or a veteran, that was such a blessing.”
He added, “There really wasn’t a lot of back and forth. I think at that time in my career it was kind of part of me thinking I was just going to come back. I was going to figure this out, but that wasn’t the case. It wasn’t the usual best of luck in your future endeavors. I quit on YouTube or Twitter, I did a video and announced [I was leaving]. I just wanted to be me, I wanted to let people know how grateful I was and let WWE know how grateful I was. Also, I was walking out on my own accord for personal reasons. There wasn’t any back and forth. There’s tons of guys sitting in the wings waiting to take that spot. That’s what makes this industry hard to get into and even harder to hang onto.”
When discussing what he learned from his time in WWE, Ted DiBiase said his biggest takeaway was to never stop learning.
“Never stop growing and never stop learning. I think [during] my time with Legacy, I can look back at how focused I was. It wasn’t that I stopped, but I got comfortable. What it took to get to the WWE was this insane focus and mental grind. Then you get there and for 2 years I show up and I’m in 3 segments. All night long we are opening and closing the show. We were main eventing all of the overseas tours and I was having the time of my life. The second we had that match at WrestleMania 26, Michael Hayes asked me what do I want to do next? I’m like that’s your job. We had all of these promos and storylines, but there was nothing planned for after that day. You can always live out a mission. If I can’t serve someone who is needy, I can serve my wife or my son. If I’m constantly serving myself, it is easy to get distracted from what really matters. When they said what do you want to do next, I should have had a book of ideas. I got dependent on the system.”
Cody Rhodes likes to tell a fun story from his days working with Ted DiBiase where Ted DiBiase accused a referee of screwing up a match by counting to three too early and trying to “fuck on him.” All these years later, Ted denies ever using that phrase. Learn more here.
Thanks to Chris Van Vliet for sending the above quotes, you can check out the full interview embedded in the video above.