Good read about Ted DiBiase Jr... June 19, 2008 [FONT=Arial,Helvetica][SIZE=+1]Son makes name as WWE heel[/SIZE][/FONT] [FONT=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica][SIZE=-2]By Nash Nunnery[/SIZE][/FONT] [FONT=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica][SIZE=-2]Special to The Clinton News[/SIZE][/FONT] [FONT=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica][SIZE=-2]And Susan O'Bryan[/SIZE][/FONT] [FONT=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica][SIZE=-2][email protected][/SIZE][/FONT] World Wrestling Entertainment Ted DiBiase, known to wrestling fans as The Million Dollar Man, and son Ted Jr. share a love of the sport. Ted Jr. will make his World Wrestling Entertainment debut June 29 in a pay-per-view match. The MC graduate's catch phrase, "I am priceless," plays off his dad's wrestling moniker. A Clinton father is watching from the wings as his namesake follows him into the square ring. Teddy DiBiase, son of Ted DiBiase, wrestler-turned-minister, is throwing out challenges on the World Wrestling Federation's Monday Night Raw, leading up to the June 29 pay-per-view Night of Champions. The 25-year-old is the focus of a World Wrestling Entertainment storyline pitching him as a heel, a term for an aggressive, menacing bad guy. Ted Jr. made his Raw debut May 26 by declaring his intent to become a champion like his father. While he doesn't wear a diamond-studded Million Dollar belt or have a flashy persona like his dad's yet, DiBiase's stage character is taking shape. "My mantra is 'I am priceless,' and we'll just have to see where it goes," said DiBiase, keeping mum on what's in store, including who will be his tag-teammate on the Night of Champions. The wrestler spoke by phone after his red-eye flight Tuesday to his home base in Tampa, Fla., returning from Monday's night show in Salt Lake City, Utah. "Just like I say that I'm priceless, I've found out that sleep is priceless," he joked. "I'm learning how to take care of my body while being on the road so much," he said, due at training as soon as he unpacked. "I get paid to wrestle, so I've got to keep my body in shape." The Clinton High and Mississippi College grad, a football/soccer standout, signed a developmental contract with the WWE last summer after taking to the sport in March 2006, starting at the bottom with a training camp in Missouri. "WWE offered me a contract before I even started wrestling, but I turned it down," said DiBiase. "I wanted to do it on my own, not on my dad's shirttails. I've worked hard, and now I've been blessed with this opportunity." The Million Dollar Man gives his blessings. "Teddy is a great kid, and I think he will do well in professional wrestling," said Ted Sr. "To have your child tell you that you are his hero and wants to be just like you ... It's very gratifying." "To me, one of the biggest moments was having my dad on the stage with me, introducing me on worldwide TV," said Ted Jr. "Not many people get to have an experience like that." Not unlike the Flying Wallendas trapeze family, the stable of wrestling DiBiases is growing. Brett DiBiase, 20, is training in Tampa, and Michael, 30, will have his prowess in the ring evaluated this weekend in Texas. The brothers are the third generation of wrestlers with the DiBiase name. "My understanding is that Brett is becoming a standout student. All my wrestling friends tell me, 'The kid's got it!' " the senior DiBiase said. "This is what I've always, always, always wanted to do," said the youngest DiBiase, who's been going to wrestling school for seven weeks. "I don't want to just be good, or even above average. I want to be a wrestling superstar. "My brother lets me sleep on the living room couch," he said. "That shows you I'll do anything to be here." "Mike will be with me in San Antonio, Texas, this weekend," said Ted Jr. "We were wrestling and getting ready to go to Japan for two months, when Mike got hurt. He was out six months with a hurt knee." Melanie DiBiase supports her sons' dreams. "I know my husband is proud and excited that the boys are following their hearts," she said. "Teddy's engaged, and I'd tell (fiance) Kristen to just go with the flow and always adjust to the circumstances presented." Kristen Tynes of Clinton says she's ready to marry her high school sweetheart hopefully in December, a slow time in the wrestling industry. "We've been apart for two years," she said about her long-distance romance with Ted Jr. He flies out to a different wrestling site each week, returning home for only a few days before heading out again. "The first few weeks were great because I was using my dad's frequent flier miles and got bumped up to first class," said DiBiase. "Now that I've signed up for my own miles, I've been moved to the back of the bus!" Once they're married, Ted Jr. and Kristen will live in the Clinton area. "I'm a huge momma's boy," he said. "I miss my grandma's and mom's cooking. "I want to come home and start giving back to the community," said Ted Jr. "I thank Clinton so much. They've always supported me - in high school and MC football, soccer and now wrestling." The WWE wrestler, however, will go wherever the job calls him, including a trip next month to South America. Meanwhile, Tynes, a nurse with Children's Medical Group in Madison, visits as often as possible. "Melanie told me to get involved with the wrestlers' families after we get married," said Tynes, a 2002 CHS grad. "She said that was something she wished she'd done." Has Ted Sr. offered Ted Jr. any advice? "I've encouraged him to be a light in a dark place and live out his faith in front of people." Pro wrestling is big business, says the senior Ted. "The industry is much more corporate than when I started in '75," he said. "It's a business driven by TV ratings and is a reflection of society today." Dad doesn't always approve of what the reflection reveals. "The last few years, the story lines have been blurred between good guys and bad guys," he said. "And I certainly don't like the sexual innuendo on the broadcasts. "But I do think the business is getting back to the days of good vs. evil, and the good will always triumph in the end." Being a heel doesn't bother Ted Jr. "It's show biz," he said. "It's a lot of fun being someone else, because I'm not the cocky, arrogant guy you see on TV. "I'm still the same as always. I'm blessed, I'm focused and I'm keeping God first." Being on the road and surrounded 2 4/7 by people who may not share the same foundation in faith can be trying, Ted Jr. admits. He got a wake-up call with a DUI ticket in February in south Tampa. "I thank God for that experience," he said. "I remember being in jail and thanking God for not forgetting me. I needed to be reminded about the priorities in life, how blessed I am to have been giving a wonderful life and not to throw it away by doing something stupid." Pro wrestling is definitely not as glamorous as it appears on television, senior Ted adds. Although the matches are obviously scripted, no one can fake falling eight feet off the top rope onto a concrete floor. "If people only knew how hard these guys work to be conditioned. Wrestling is 52 weeks a year and is every bit as physical as pro football," he said. Seeing her man as threat-making, chest-pounding challenger doesn't fool Tynes, though. "On the inside, he's still the same sweet Teddy," she said.