WWE Pushed to Punished, Edition 14: Ted DiBiase's Nightmare on Dream Street
For the first time in nearly a month, I return my column entitled WWE Pushed to Punished. Here, I analyze the controversial career of a past or present WWE Superstar on their rise to the top and eventual downfall.
In recent editions, I've focused on the likes of The Miz, Finlay, and Evan Bourne. Today, I look to take on the trending topic of the once-accelerating and currently injured Ted DiBiase.
In late May 2008, the Million Dollar Man introduced the WWE Universe to his son, Ted DiBiase. It was also around this time that I started watching wrestling, so DiBiase immediately caught my eye and became one of my favorites from the start.
After weeks of taunting then-World Tag Team Champions Hardcore Holly and Cody Rhodes and claiming that he would win gold upon his debut, the eventual reveal was made at the Night of Champions pay-per-view in June.
In a shocking turn of events, Rhodes betrayed Holly by delivering a Silver Spoon DDT and joined DiBiase as the new World Tag Team Champions.
It was there that marked the beginning of a formidable partnership.
For the rest of the summer, the newly formed tag team named Priceless joined forces with JBL for a brief while feuding with John Cena. Although they dropped the tag titles to Cena and Batista, they were able to regain the belts the following week on Raw.
In early September, Rhodes and DiBiase were threatened by the returning Randy Orton to make an impact or be forced to look like weak champions. The two second-generation stars took Orton's comment to heart and successfully retained the World Tag Team Championships at Unforgiven against Cryme Tyme.
Also that night, DiBiase and Rhodes aided Orton in dismantling then-World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk backstage, forcing him to relinquish his title. From there, Priceless became engaged in a rivalry with Punk and his ally Kofi Kingston, whom they dropped the titles to in late October.
The week after losing the championships, DiBiase's anger got the best of him when he interfered in Orton's match against Punk, thus giving the Second City Savior the disqualification victory. The Viper surely wasn't satisfied and retaliated by delivering a swift punt to the head of the priceless Superstar.
During his absence, fellow multi-generation wrestlers such as Manu and Sim Snuka joined Orton's growing stable as well, but were later removed after failing to win their matches. Once 2009 rolled around, Manu and Snuka recruited the returning DiBiase to rebel against their former leader.
However, the tables were turned on the dynamic duo when DiBiase joined Orton and Rhodes instead. This would be the official start of the Legacy, and DiBiase's biggest push in his young career.
Over the next few months, Ted DiBiase had the opportunity to main-event numerous editions of Monday Night Raw as well as pay-per-views while apart of the Legacy. He played a critical role during Orton's feud with Triple H leading into WrestleMania 25, giving him more exposure to the audience in the process.
The bond between all three sons of WWE Hall of Famers grew stronger each month, that was until June when dissension arose between DiBiase and Orton. After nearly costing Orton the title at The Bash, DiBiase was scolded by the Viper backstage on the following edition of Raw.
Once DiBiase's father The Million Dollar Man himself hosted Raw that July, he placed his son in a one-on-one match against Orton to settle their differences. Although the then-WWE Champion picked up the victory, many viewers saw this as the early beginnings of what could have been DiBiase's breakout face turn.
After failing to recapture the Unified Tag Team Championships from Jeri-Show at Night of Champions, Legacy shifted their focus to the reuniting D-Generation X heading into SummerSlam. At the event, the young up-and-comers came up short but proved they could hang with established veterans such as Triple H and Shawn Michaels.
Despite their loss, the rivalry didn't conclude there, as Legacy surprisingly went on to defeat DX in the first-ever Submission Count Anywhere match-up at Breaking Point. In the rubber match at Hell in a Cell two weeks later, DX was able to emerge victorious against all odds.
More tension came among the three members going into Bragging Rights, but evidently lead to nothing significant. DiBiase and Rhodes aided Orton his feud with Kofi Kingston for the remainder of 2009, which saw the Viper win the rivalry.
At the dawn of the new decade, confusion within Legacy erupted once again, where Orton believed that Rhodes and DiBiase were conspiring against him. At the Royal Rumble later that month, Orton delivered an RKO to Rhodes after they caused him to lose his WWE Championship match against Sheamus.
In subsequent weeks, the dissension among Orton, Rhodes, and DiBiase became more obvious. At the Elimination Chamber event, DiBiase received his first and only shot to date at the WWE Championship, where he shockingly eliminated his own mentor early on.
Shortly thereafter, Orton connected with an RKO on DiBiase to solidify his excommunication from the group. While DiBiase and Rhodes stayed a cohesive unit going into WrestleMania 26, the two went at it on the grandest stage of them all when they realized only one of them could pick up the victory.
Due to partaking in his first WrestleMania match, Ted DiBiase was granted access by his father to a trust fund as well as his classic Million Dollar Championship belt.
This was where DiBiase's overdue push finally came to fruition, as he was able to pick up victories in following weeks and even win the annual battle royal at the 2010 WWE Draft.
Since R-Truth wouldn't play the role as DiBiase's "Virgil", the priceless Superstar brought back the original Virgil instead during his feud with Truth. However, the returning of Virgil did him no favors, as he came up short against Truth at Over the Limit.
With Virgil not bringing DiBiase to success, he was eventually replaced by the lovely Maryse as DiBiase's manager and valet, who was clearly only in it for the money herself. During his bout with Truth, DiBiase suffered a minor concussion, which rendered him inactive for a few weeks.
Heading into the summer season, DiBiase was named a participant in the Raw Money in the Bank Ladder Match, but was unsuccessful. He also entered a brief feud with John Morrison in early August, but lead no where.
That September, DiBiase debuted his entrance music "I Come From Money", a tune he still enters to today. He then feuded with Goldust that fall after it was revealed that the bizarre veteran was the one behind the love letters originally intended for Maryse.
Instead, it turned out that Goldust was actually after DiBiase's Million Dollar title belt, which he stole for a number of weeks. In their first match at Bragging Rights in October, DiBiase was able to defeat Goldust, but not able to reclaim the belt after Goldust's NXT rookie Aksana took possession of it.
The following month, Ted DiBiase finally regained possession of the belt, but told his father he no longer needed it. Later that evening, DiBiase initiated an attack on then-United States Champion Daniel Bryan, igniting a feud between the two.
At Survivor Series six days later, DiBiase came up short of capturing the star-spangled prize. In early December, he was announced as one of the Pros for NXT Season Four, being named the mentor for Brodus Clay.
Although the pairing seemed to get along at first, Clay had the chance to swap Pros with Connor O'Brian, who was being mentored by Alberto Del Rio. Since O'Brian was later eliminated, DiBiase no longer made appearances on the Tuesday night program.
As 2011 came about, DiBiase's string of bad luck continued, as he would soon be embarrassed by the likes of Triple H and Jerry "The King" Lawler on episodes of Raw on the road to WrestleMania 27. Despite competing in a major match the year prior, DiBiase was left off the WrestleMania card.
In April, DiBiase was luckily moved over to SmackDown via the 2011 WWE Supplemental Draft. Upon his debut on the blue brand, DiBiase reconnected with Cody Rhodes and became his lackey for the next few months.
Throughout the summer, he aided Rhodes in his feud against then-Intercontinental Champion Ezekiel Jackson, where DiBiase himself even received a shot at the strap at one point.
After DiBiase lost to former mentor Randy Orton on an episode of SmackDown last August, Rhodes subsequently turned on his former tag team partner before bagging him in the middle of the ring.
Two weeks later, DiBiase revealed emerged from the audience and laid waste to Cody Rhodes, turning face in the process. Two nights later at Night of Champions, DiBiase contended against Rhodes for the Intercontinental title, but was ultimately defeated.
From there, the former World Tag Team Champion began the "DiBiase Posse" concept, where he hosts parties with members of the WWE Universe before every show. Similar to Zack Ryder, it came along with its own YouTube show that he still updates to this day.
For the remainder of 2011, DiBiase picked up numerous victories, even if they were over enhancement talent such as Tyson Kidd, Heath Slater, and Derrick Bateman. Toward the end of the year, he began feuding with Jinder Mahal, which concluded with Mahal defeating DiBiase in late December.
At the start of 2012, DiBiase's stock fell even further as he started losing to Hunico more often. Due to a wrist injury suffered in late January, DiBiase was not included in the annual Royal Rumble match for the first time since his WWE debut.
During a match with Jinder Mahal taped for WWE Superstars in early March, DiBiase broke his ankle and has been sidelined ever since. He's still recovering from the injury and is still healing other injuries sustained recently as well.
How did Ted DiBiase go from headlining pay-per-views to WWE Superstars?
As far as I know, WWE officials saw true potential in mid-2009 and were determined to push him towards the World Heavyweight Championship fairly quickly. Despite filming the Marine 2 later that year, his eventual face turn came much than originally expected, which would hurt his character in the long run.
While I am glad he is a part of the SmackDown brand where he can receive more focus, I believe he should have been pushed to feud with Rhodes rather than Show seeing how they have chemistry as well as history. DiBiase has shown much promise over the last four years, but it baffles me as to why he's been treated in a mediocre fashion in recent months.
Could his injury turn out to be a blessing in disguise and allow DiBiase to return better and stronger than ever before? I certainly hope so, as I still see money (no pun intended) in the third-generation star if he can be repackaged correctly.
Thanks for reading, Bleachers, and be sure to drop a comment below with your thoughts on the career of Ted DiBiase and how he can avoid being further "punished" by the powers that be.
If there's anyone else you'd like to see me analyze for the final pending edition of WWE Pushed to Punished for the foreseeable future, please include that as well.
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