YOUNGSTOWN - On Jan. 23, WWE Superstars will continue a busy tour schedule with an appearance at the Covelli Centre.
The event will include some of the biggest names in the wrestling world, including John Cena, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Mark Henry, John Morrison, The Miz and Ted DiBiase Jr.
WWE Superstars spend most of their lives on the road, visiting countless towns and countries.
Valley24.com got a chance to speak with Superstar Ted DiBiase Jr. recently about the toll of touring, the strain of injuries and living life as the son of the The Million Dollar Man.
Valley24.com: Where are you calling from?
Ted DiBiase Jr.: I'm actually at home today. For once. It's a rare occasion. I'm in Madison, Miss. at the moment.
That brings me to my first question. How often are you on the road?
Oh my gosh. I think the correct answer is a minimum of 257 days a year and I believe it's actually really more than that. It's most of the time.
I've noticed that the WWE markets are starting to expand out into the international market and I just wondered what those audiences were like.
They are actually incredible. Anytime that we go to Mexico, Australia, anywhere in Europe. Because they don't get it every day or all the time - we only go there once or twice a year - the crowd response and the response from the fans of the WWE universe is just unreal. We have so many people showing up at our hotel you literally feel like you're in The Beatles, in a rock band, when you show up to a hotel. There will be a thousand people there, right? Waiting in the hotel lobby. It's nuts. Most of the time we're sold out. It's so much fun. It's grueling because of the schedule. When you go to Europe for two-and-a-half weeks and you wrestle every single night in a different city, in a different country, it's tough - but the fans definitely make it worth it.
When you get to these new towns, do you have a routine or schedule when you get there?
You try to actually get some sleep. You're either in a plane or on a bus and then you work the show, leave the show, maybe get on a charter plane. Get in at 2 a.m., sleep, wake up, catch the bus. There's really no time to do anything. It's go-go-go, work-work-work.
When you get a chance to relax, what is it you do?
I like to hunt, fish and play golf. Right now it's deer season, so I'm doing a lot of deer hunting.
Growing up to so much exposure to wrestling, what was it that ultimately made you decide to go into the industry?
That was part of it: growing up and being around these larger-than-life characters - people like Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan, Jake the Snake, the Ultimate Warrior, Macho Man Randy Savage - I was running around the locker room with these guys and they're chasing me and playing with me. That's how I grew up. These men were enormous. I just knew from such a young age that this is what I wanted to do.
My father was actually hesitant about me getting into the business because of the workload and the schedule and being gone from your family all the time, on the road. He actually got hired back, I think, in '05 and seeing how the company had changed so much and seeing what a great opportunity there was to be successful, provide a good life for your family. He gave me his blessing - Thank God.
It was my last year of college and I had no idea what what I was going to do if he wasn't going to let me wrestle. He said, "I tell you what. Finish college and you can try." And that's what I did and I never looked back.
So have you ever had a chance to think about what you'd be doing if you weren't wrestling?
It's crossed my mind a couple times but still nothing fills that void.
I actually got an opportunity to film a movie: "The Marine 2." I think if wrestling were ever to come to an end, I'd try to maybe continue to act, do movies or TV.
Are there any more films planned right now?
Nothing right now. So, so, so busy. We do a branch of WWE Studios and I think they just filmed several movies this year. Randy Orton and John Cena made movies, The Edge and Big Show - but none of those films were as good as my movie. [Laugh] Mine was far superior, especially to John Cena who filmed the first "Marine." Mine was far better. Make sure you get that in there. [Laugh.]
Exactly. I'm kidding. It was such a great experience.
How's “NXT” going?
It's a very fun show. You don't know really what's going to happen with these rookies. They're pretty unpredictable. They're all trying to make an impression. Everybody is trying to stand out. They end up either doing great things or really embarrassing themselves. It's very entertaining actually.
My rookie's name is Brodus Clay. He's got potential to win the whole thing. He's the biggest guy, most intimidating. Just this huge, monster powerhouse of a guy.
Is there any chance we could see your brother on “NXT” at some point? It's the right area, the right level. I thought maybe there's a chance we'd see your brother on there.
You know, there's a possibility. That's actually out of my control. It very well could happen. If you see him there, you'll see him on RAW or Smackdown but we'll definitely see him soon, eventually, I would predict.
He's a talented and he's dying to get up here. He's ready.
I do want to get into the industry as far as injuries. I just wonder how you keep up with injuries.
I have a personal trainer and the way he constructs my workouts are to help prevent injuries, but they do still happen. What we do is certainly well-known that it's entertainment, but it's not ballet. We always take the opportunity when we can to say, 'Kids, don't try this at home. We're trained professionals. We trained for a long time before we started doing this.'
But it happens. People get hurt. If it's bad enough, usually, if you need to have surgery, you're off. If it's something you can work through, you usually just grit your teeth, tape it up real tight and try to go 'cause the show must go on.
WWE does an excellent job especially in the area of head injuries, as far as concussions. I know I was actually slapped in the face one night and it knocked me out. I had a mild concussion and they would not let me wrestle for three weeks to a month. I did other things in the show, but they wouldn't let me perform in the ring. That's the thing, as a company, we take very serious now. We go through a lot of steps, a lot of tests and stuff and we have our doctors who are certified to handle us and make the call.
We're taken care of.
You mentioned the kids. I wondered if you had any advice for aspiring wrestlers. We do have a lot of people in this area, in lower forms of wrestling, who are really trying to make it. I wondered if you had any words of encouragement or advice or anything to tell them.
One, follow your dream. Two, you gotta be willing to sacrifice - a lot. You don't just jump into this business and get on TV the next day. Even me, and my last name was DiBiase. I started at Harley Race School in Elton, Missouri and I think it's an excellent place to begin. You will learn from some of the best. Great teachers.
Everybody's trying to get to FCW now - Florida Championship Wrestling. I think they hold tryouts once or twice a year, maybe. You can go on their website and find out when those are. That's a great place to get looked at.
You have to go to a quality place. You gotta be willing to give up a lot for very little money.
My final question is very much about the show. I wonder what you're doing to create your own legacy.
I'm excited about our show. It's Jan. 23 at the Covelli Centre. I think that night I'm booked in a triple threat match for the United States Championship between Daniel Bryan and John Morrison.
I just recently gave back the Million Dollar Title to my father. I told him I didn't want it and I really didn't. I want to make my own legacy. I want to win my own titles. Starting with the United States Championship and possibly the WWE Championship. I want to win them all and that's how I'm going to make my legacy because my father was never able to do that. I think he was a three-time World Tag Team Champion but that was as far as it went in the WWE. That's why he created the Million Dollar Championship.
I'm going to win them all and be a future hall-of-famer and be much more talented and better looking than my father.
The RAW World Tour will be held at the Covelli Centre on Sunday, Jan. 23, at 1 p.m. Tickets are available at the venue box office, ticketmaster.com or charge-by-phone at 800-745-3000. Ticket prices range from $15 to $60.