If you watched professional wrestling in the 1980s and 1990s, then surely you remember “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. And if you remember DiBiase, then surely you remember his sidekick, Virgil. Together, they formed one of the great duos in wrestling history.
Virgil didn’t talk much back in the day, but he did a bunch of talking Wednesday during an in-studio appearance on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney.
“I’m very cool,” Virgil explained. “I had to learn the wrestling game. No one teaches the game better than ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase. He knows that game, bro. He knows that game.”
Virgil said that Vince McMahon matched him with DiBiase. Virgil was quiet and serious, while DiBiase was loud and loquacious.
That’s how McMahon wanted it.
“He said, ‘Virgil, you don’t even smile,’” Virgil recalled. “‘Everything is a smirk (or a scowl). You don’t give a damn. You look at someone, and they don’t mean nothing, man. Because everyone got a price. Everyone.’”
Virgil, who was an accomplished amateur wrestler in high school and college, would often hold the rope for DiBiase and shine his shoes. Brandon Tierney, who was a diehard wrestling fan in his youth, thought Virgil’s role could have been even bigger than it was – in part because he probably could have beaten DiBiase in a real fight.
Virgil, 53, didn’t see it that way.
“He’s one of the best wrestlers – professional-wise – I’ve ever seen,” he said of DiBiase. “It’s totally different collegiate and pro wrestling. Collegiate, you’re not getting paid. Pro, you’re getting paid. You come to MSG right down the street – Madison Square Garden – you got to pack that house in, baby. You got to pack it in. And the only way you can pack it in is you got to have the people believing in you.”
Virgil was asked which wrestlers could have done some damage in a real fight.
“Barbarian,” Virgil said. “He’ll bring it to you. How about Meng? Meng was about 6-6, hard. How about Hawk, the Road Warrior? How about Animal, the Road Warrior?”
Virgil added that Terry Bollea – Hulk Hogan – was also a tough guy, not to mention a cool one, and that Vince McMahon was a great boss to work for.
Not every former professional wrestler, however, would say that.
“Vince did not take your arm and put a needle in it,” Virgil said, dismissing the notion that McMahon forced wrestlers to use steroids. “He would never do nothing like that. He didn’t take no pills and throw them in your mouth. He said ‘Get bigger.’ The only way to get bigger, you got to train. The only way to train is to train – eat proper and train and lift weighs properly. “
Virgil and Tierney agreed that the biggest stars and most captivating wrestlers were the ones who interviewed well and just sucked in viewers. Guys like Roddy Piper and Jake Roberts.
“They make your eyes get this big,” Virgil said. “(They) make you want to come into (famous arenas likes) Madison Square Garden. They make you want to tear them doors down to get in.”