Ted DiBiase Steals the WWF Title from Hulk Hogan. Everyone has a price for the Million Dollar Man. This was Ted DiBiase’s motto in 1988. The Million Dollar Man claimed to have everything except the WWF Championship. On February 5th, 1988, in Indianapolis, Indiana, on a special WWF Friday Nights Main Event, DiBiase made a giant purchase.
He bought the services of the legendary Andre the Giant. The Eighth Wonder of the World, along with a crooked referee, helped The Million Dollar Man embezzle the WWF Championship from Hulk Hogan.
Money, Money, Money
Hot off their clash at last year’s WrestleMania III, WWF Champion Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant were about to meet again. Last time the Hulkster slammed Andre to the mat with the bodyslam heard around the world. Since then, both Andre and his manager Bobby The Brain Heenan wanted revenge. So in the fall of 1987, The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase quickly became the most hated man in wrestling.
Even before he stepped through the ropes, DiBiase had heat like no other. Every week he would choose a fan and bring them up on stage to do a stunt. If they were successful, he promised them a payday. Most of the time, DiBiase would embarrass and humiliate the fan. One of the most infamous of those moments is when Ted told a fan if he kissed his foot, he would give them the cash.
It’s now known that a very young Rob Van Dam accepted that challenge. Another time he dared a fan to do 100 pushups, and on the 99th one, he would kick the arms of the guy out from underneath. Eventually, DiBiase felt Hulk Hogan had a price and offered to buy the WWF title. The Hulkster turned him down, claiming no amount of money can buy Hulkamania. Ironically enough, years later, another “billionaire Ted” proved us wrong.
Ted DiBiase Steals the WWF Title – A “Giant” purchase.
Ted Dibiase was also a brilliant ring technician. However, no matter how good he was in the ring, he failed to capture the WWF Championship from Hulk Hogan. This was 1988, and Hulkamania was at an all-time high. Hogan seemed unbeatable. He took the business to the next level. Like him or not, it is a fact wrestling would never have been as popular as it was without him. DiBiase knew that Andre was seething after his loss at Wrestlemania, and being a good businessman, took advantage of the Legend.
Hulk Hogan is robbed of WWF Title.
On February 5th, 1988, Hulk Hogan defended the WWF Championship against Andre the Giant. As “Real American” blasted through the arena, the champion made his way to the ring. No doubt about it, Hogan’s entrances were legendary. Just hearing that song brings back memories. Andre stood unfazed by Hogan. He knew with DiBiase in his corner, Hulkamania would die in Indianapolis.
As the two Legends stood nose to nose, you could feel the electricity in the air. Hogan looked as if he rocked Andre enough to set him up for the bodyslam. When Hogan picked up Andre. All of the 500-pound behemoth fell on Hogan. The ref made a fast count. Andre The Giant was the new WWF Champion. The arena was completely confused. Hogan was confused. It was undoubtedly a fast count. Hogan was robbed.
Andre grabbed the belt and gave it to The Million Dollar Man. As Dibiase put the belt on his waist, he laughed that infamous greedy laugh. The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase had bought the WWF Championship.
Will the Real Dave Hebner Please Stand Up?
After the match, a referee ran from the locker room to the ring. He confronted the referee in the ring. Both referees looked exactly alike. Everyone thought they were seeing double. Actually, the referee in the match was Earl Hebner, not Dave Hebner, who was originally assigned to the match. They were twins. The Million Dollar Man had “kidnapped” Dave Hebner and paid off his brother Earl.
Interestingly enough, it is also Earl Hebner who was involved in the real-life Montreal Screwjob years later. Hogan took his rage out on both refs with a few punches and a leg drop.
Ted DiBiase Steals the WWF Title from Hulk Hogan
Recognize Ted DiBiase’s WWF Title Run
It should be noted that The Million Dollar Man did indeed defend the WWF Championship at a few house shows against Bam Bam Bigelow. Shortly after, WWF President Jack Tunney stripped DiBiase of the WWF title. The champion was decided at a tournament at WrestleMania VI, which was won by Macho Man Randy Savage. The WWE does not officially recognize Ted DiBiase’s reign.
However, a case can be made that since he did defend at a few house shows, Ted Dibiase was a WWF Champion. Even today, fans of the Million Dollar Man believe that his reign should be recognized. What better way for a heel to win a title than purchase it. Arguably both Hogan and Savage’s popularity skyrocketed because of the fans’ hate for DiBiases’ championship win. That you can take to the bank as Ted DiBiase Steals the WWF Title. HAHAHAHA.