The true history of WWE's most expensive title: the Million Dollar Championship

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February 12, 2013

“I gave the Million Dollar Title to [a WWE executive] and said, ‘Take this back to the office, because I’m not going to carry both of these titles on the road. It’s ridiculous,’ ” the WWE Hall of Famer recalled. “I later left the company and got a phone call one day from someone in accounting asking me to send the title back. I said I didn’t have the title and told him that I gave it back because I didn’t want to be responsible for it.”

Then things got serious.

“Two weeks goes by and Linda McMahon personally calls me and says, ‘Ted, look, we really need the title.’ I said, ‘Linda, do you think I would cut my nose off to spite my face? There’s no way I would try to pull one over on you, keep that title and alienate myself from the company. I swear to you, I don’t have it.’ Another week or two goes by and I got another call saying, ‘Ted, I just want you to know we found the title.’ I said, ‘Great where was it?’ And the person said, ‘It was in the safe.’ ” [laughs]

After a nearly four-year absence from television, the title returned around the most unlikely of waists. Not yet the “Stone Cold” beer-guzzler, Steve Austin arrived in WWE under DiBiase’s tutelage in late 1995 as The Ringmaster. (WATCH) Austin was handed the Million Dollar Championship, but the glitzy title didn’t fit The Texas Rattesnake’s emerging persona. Soon, “The Million Dollar Man” departed for WCW, Austin quoted a bible verse and the rest was history.

Once DiBiase was gone from WWE, so was the Million Dollar Championship. It wasn’t until his WWE Hall of Fame induction 15 years later that the title reappeared. Walking out onto the stage in Phoenix, DiBiase’s familiar decoration was draped over his shoulder. (WATCH)

“It was natural for ‘The Million Dollar Man’ to have the title,” he said. “It was part of who I was.”

Soon after, the title reappeared on WWE television with “The Million Dollar Man’s” son, Ted DiBiase. (WATCH) But the former Legacy member’s famous father admitted to that he wasn’t pleased with his son’s new accessory.

“My son is his own person,” the WWE Hall of Famer said. “[WWE] tried to make him an extension of me. I wanted him to be himself. His name is already Ted DiBiase, so he’s carrying my name. Teddy’s even said, ‘How can I top my dad?’ I didn’t think it was the best thing to do.”

To what must have been a relief for “The Million Dollar Man,” the title didn’t remain with his son for long. The expensive item fell into a bizarre triangle with Goldust and Aksana, but was finally returned to DiBiase himself. (WATCH)

But where is the title now? DiBiase insists it’s in WWE’s Stamford, Conn., headquarters, but we searched and simply cannot find it. Even WWE’s archivist combed the massive warehouse only to uncover a lowly replica. The answer to the Million Dollar Championship’s location remains unknown.

For all of the mysteries and facts surrounding the Greenwich-made relic, we wanted to know one question: Was the Million Dollar Championship a consolation for DiBiase never winning the big one?

“I don’t really look at it that way,” he said. “It would have been nice if I had been World Champion. If you have the title, you also have the respect of being a top performer. But I made more money with the Million Dollar Title than I would have as WWE Champion. Hands down.”

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