Wrestling

History of the WWE Million Dollar Championship



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The Million Dollar Championship is a "non-sanctioned" title belt in the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) universe. It was first created by wrestler Ted Dibiase (aka the "Million Dollar Man") in the late 1980s, and recently revived by his son, Ted DiBiase, Jr. Like other professional wrestling titles, the Million Dollar Championship is integrated into a wrestling storyline in which matches are semi-scripted and the outcomes determined in advance, rather than being won and lost through genuine athletic competition. In the case of the Million Dollar Championship, its role in the storyline has always been as an unsanctioned "award" created by the wealthy and arrogant DiBiase.

At Wrestlemania IV, in 1988, wrestler Ted DiBiase lost the headline match to Randy Savage, the Macho Man. In doing so, he lost his shot at the World Wrestling Federation's (as it then was, before its name change) most prestigious title belt, the World Championship. DiBiase's gimmick, as the Million Dollar Man, was a wealthy, arrogant athlete ready to buy through bribes what he could not earn through competition. (This gimmick is somewhat similar to the one adopted in recent years by John Bradshaw Layfield, aka "JBL.") After losing to the Macho Man, DiBiase decided that if he could not win the World Championship he would create his own championship. Thus the Million Dollar Championship was born. DiBiase's belt was allegedly gold-plated, encrusted with cubic zirconia (synthetic diamonds) as well as three genuine diamonds.

During its first active period, the Million Dollar Championship was held predominantly by DiBiase. He lost it once to his former valet and bodyguard, Virgil, who turned on him at Summer Slam in 1991, and then abandoned it in 1992 after teaming with Irwin R. Schyster ("IRS") to win the Tag Team Championship. In 1995, DiBiase bestowed it on young wrestler Steve Austin, then being mentored by DiBiase and wrestling under the name "the Ringmaster" (his "Stone Cold" gimmick came a little while later). In 1996, Austin lost a key Monday Night Raw match to Savio Vega, DiBiase retired from the WWF, and the unsanctioned Million Dollar Championship belt was abandoned.

The Million Dollar Championship was finally revived, in its present form, on an episode of Raw in April 2010. On that occasion, Ted DiBiase awarded the belt to his son, professional wrestler Ted DiBiase, Jr. DiBiase, Jr., had previously been competing as a tag team partner with Cody Rhodes, Randy Orton, and at times Manu and Sim Snuka, known collectively as the Legacy. In DiBiase's new gimmick, he has attempted to revive the arrogant style of his father, to the point of briefly employing Virgil as his personal assistant. Virgil has since been fired and replaced with female wrestler Maryse.

 

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