"Please Pass the Sugar"
Ted Dibiase - "Kay Fabe"
One of my early students, Ted Dibiase was on the Christian station last night. It brought back memories of Amarillo, Texas and the old Amarillo Territory.
The un-written law in professional wrestling was that you don't associate
with your opponents in public. Even though many wrestlers publicly feuded
with each other, they often were in fact good friends. One example is Gene Kiniski. I wrestled him in Amarillo, Vancouver, St. Louis, Calgary, and in
Tampa where I won the NWA world championship from him. Gene is the man who saved my career by caring for my injured knee in Canada. He was
a good friend of my father and is today, my best friend.
Another public enemy who was a friend of mine was Iron Mike Dibiase.
I had watched my father wrestle him in a famous three hour and ten minute
match in Amarillo, Texas. He was the man I defeated 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 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 on Goliad Street 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.
screamed, "Now get out of my house and don't ever come back here again." Saying nothing they exited the front door, got in their car and drove
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."
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
weather. It sure is windy today. (It is always windy in West Texas) My wife and Mother in law 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's
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 and his family drove away from my house for the second time, I sat down at the kitchen table and said, "Please Pass the Sugar"
Dory Funk Jr.
Coach of the Funking Conservatory
E-mail Dory Funk Jr.
Visit Dory Funk's Home Page