Funk's Corner - "Please Pass the Sugar" Breakfast with the "Million Dollar Man, Ted Dibiase and Family
Last night on Raw, one of my early students, "The Million Dollar Man" Ted Dibiase was announced as the first inductee to the WrestleMania 26 Hall of Fame.
After the loss of his father, Iron Mike Dibiase of a heart attack in the ring in Lubbock, Texas, Ted Dibiase said to me, "If this business was good enough for my mom and dad, It is good enough for me. This is what I want to do." (Ted's mother was one of the most beautiful Ladies in the wrestling business, Helen Hilde. Iron Mike Dibiase, Amateur wrestler from University of Nebraska, was one of the toughest men in the business)
Now as a member of the WWE Hall of Fame, The Million Dollar Man, Ted Dibiase earns recognition as one of professional wrestling's all time great wrestlers and box office attractions.
Now on !BANG! TV at http://www.dory-funk.com, Four WWE Hall of Famers and an NWA World Champion in one match. (Dory and Terry Funk vs Ted Dibiase and Harley Race.
Watching the special on Ted Dibiase brought back memories of Amarillo, Texas and the Amarillo Territory.
A wrestling enemy who was a friend of mine was Ted's Father, Iron Mike Dibiase. I had watched my father Dory Funk Sr. wrestle Mike in a famous three hour and ten minute match in Amarillo, Texas. Iron Mike was the man I worked with in the finals of a tournament in Amarillo to earn the right to wrestle Lou Thesz early in my career. At the time Iron Mike was my best friend, even though publicly we were never seen together.
Breaking the Kay Fabe Rules
It was 8:00 am, early for wrestlers who worked late and usually were in bed at this time. Breakfast was scrambled eggs, sausage, grits, biscuits, gravy and hot coffee. The guests in my home were Iron Mike Dibiase, his beautiful wife and former lady wrestler, Helen (Hilde) Dibiase, and their young children, Teddy and little John Dibiase. The conversation was warm and friendly and we were enjoying the comradeship.
We were, "breaking kay-fabe," and enjoying ourselves immensely, especially young Teddy who was only 11 years old at the time.
The kitchen door opened and in walked my mother and father in law. They had entered the house without knocking and we were all caught, "fraternizing." I had only been wrestling for one year and took everything very seriously. For an instant I was in panic, then to save the situation, I jumped out of my seat, pounded the table and yelled, "&*#@ you Iron Mike, If you want a return match don't come over here and bother me at my house. I would appreciate it if you get out of my house right now. Next time you have a problem with me we will settle it in the ring."
As I continued my tirade, Iron Mike just stood up from the table and said nothing. His wife Helen did the same. Teddy Dibiase was awe struck at my outburst. I screamed, "Now get out of my house and don't ever come back here again." Saying nothing Mike, Helen and Teddy exited the front door, got in their car and drove away.
I returned to the kitchen table and made some comment like, "I guess that has taken care of the problem, I never want them in my house again." My wife, Mother in law, and father in law said nothing. We all ignored the fact that my wife was gathering the plates of uneaten scrambled eggs, sausage, grits, biscuits and gravy.
Minutes past. In an inept attempt to turn everyone's thoughts from the scene that had just occurred at the kitchen table, I made a comment about the weather. It sure is windy today. (It is always windy in West Texas) My wife and Mother inlaw picked up the conversation about the weather. I was trying to think of an explanation as to why Iron Mike Dibiase would bring his whole family to my house at 8:00 am to challenge me to a return match. I could think of none, but nobody asked. I began to relax. There was much more silence.
I heard a knock on the front door. Wanting to escape the silence, I said, "I'll get the door." I opened the front door and it was Iron Mike Dibiase's wife, Helen. She whispered to me, "May I get my child?" She walked past me through the kitchen in front of everyone and out to the back yard where 5 year old little John Dibiase and my son, 5 year old little Dink were playing together. In the excitement they left and had forgotten their son. Helen walked back through the kitchen with little John and out the front door. Nobody asked why John and Dink were playing in the back yard.
As Iron Mike, 11 year old Teddy Dibiase, the future Million Dollar Man and their family drove away from my house for the second time, I sat down at the kitchen table and said, "Please Pass the Sugar"