Interview with Diamond Dallas Page

Interview with Diamond Dallas Page
19 Nov
2014
Not in Hall of Fame
As I looked up and down the roster of everyone who ever graced the ring in either the WWE and WCW and could not find anyone who ever came close to changing the narrative of what a professional wrestler was more often and on a more seismic shift than Diamond Dallas Page.  In fact, I will go a step further and say nobody even comes close.

A common thread in athletics is that once you hit your mid-30’s you have likely hit you peak in your field of endeavour.  This is not always the case, as some have postponed their decline a few years, but that is about it.   Athletes make their professional debut in their very early twenties on average, but to do that at the age of 35?  Not only does that seem unlikely, it seems impossible; or at least it did until Diamond Dallas Page decided that this was an unspoken rule that was made to be broken.

Prior to setting up the interview with Dallas, my head was spinning thinking about what this man accomplished, and did so when nobody thought he could.  By 1997, Page had become one of the most popular wrestlers and this was not because he was booked to be so.  Page, who was in his early 40’s, was recognized by the fans as someone who got to where he was because he outworked every one else and was legitimately one of best in ring workers in the business.

How can you not respect that?  You didn’t have to read an interview with Dallas to know that he was spending day after day in the WCW Power Plant honing his craft.  It was all there in the ring for fans to see.  His offense was more diverse, he was in better condition than his peers and this is in all due respect to the Rock, who billed himself as the “People’s Champion”, it was Diamond Dallas Page who celebrated wins with the people in the crowd.  It was Diamond Dallas Page who, without ever having to say it, showed the people that through determination and the belief of your own convictions that what you can accomplish is up to you.

Fast-forwarding to today, and Dallas is again changing perceptions.  Now 58, though not looking much different than he did from when he wrestled, Page is one of a handful of people who can legitimately say that they have revolutionized the fitness industry.  Prior to speaking with Dallas, I was aware of how successful it had become, but I had no idea what he had planned for it next.

In my conversation with Diamond Dallas Page, we discussed what he has on tap for DDP YOGA, talked about multiple Halls of Fame, and like many people who have had a chance to speak with Dallas left the conversation inspired and determined to keep my dreams going.





         On your website, you discuss the process behind developing your DDP YOGA program.  I am curious how you came up with the mindset to take this to another level after you retired from wrestling and make this your main focus?

         “Well, the transition came because I needed it out of necessity for me personally.  I had three doctors telling me that my wrestling career was over, my back was killing me and I lost all flexibility, and three months later, I’m back in the ring.  At 42 they said my career was over, at 43 I’m the World Champ.[i] 

         I knew I was going to be doing this for the rest of my life.  A lot of people do something to heal themselves and then they stop, and then they wonder why they get hurt again.  For me, it became part of my life and as I moved on, I turned different people on to it.  I did it when I was wrestling for a lot of years, and then I saw a lot of regular guys would do this. 

         I decided I would write a book about it and I did.[ii]   It all took about eight years for it to really catch on; it was actually easier for me to get my wrestling career to go than it was for DDP Yoga.  I started (wrestling) at 35 years old.”

         Actually, I am glad you mentioned that, and I hope I am not speaking out of turn, I use yourself as an example as a bit of an inspiration for myself.  As you mentioned, you became a champion at 43, a time when most careers are winding down.  You weren’t just a champion, but one who was still elevating their game.  I am 42, and as I push towards building up our websites and brand, it tells me that the best is still yet to come. 

         “I think that anybody who is inspired by what I have done, that’s the key you know?  A big line I use in DDP YOGA is that if I can do what I do at 58 years young, what could you do?  An example of that is the other day I broke my record for superhero push-ups.  Do you know what a superhero push-up is?”

         I don’t, no.

         “You lay on your stomach and you stretch out your arms in front of you, lay your hands off the ground, you don’t bend your elbows, you position your toes on the ground, you adjust the palms of your hand to the ground and raise up.[iii]  They are next to impossible for anybody in really good shape to do!

         I did fifty of them when I was 57 and I decided about a week ago that I was going to break my record.  I lost count as to where I was but I decided I was going to keep going and push myself and I did I got to fifty-nine.  If I could do that, what could you do?

         I looked at one of my top trainers who had done fifty-one prior to this, and I really put him on the spot and said if I could do this at 58, what could you do at 41?  Matt Hancock is in top shape, and he blew out 130 of those mothers…I was so proud of him.  It’s a really good example for yourself.”

         I really like how you have taken the philosophy of DDP YOGA and you have used that to help other wrestlers in need, namely Scott Hall and Jake Roberts in what could be classified as a different kind of rehab.  The WWE has been open about how they have spent a lot of money and resources on Scott Hall, but their sponsored rehab did not have the same success that you had.[iv]  Do you think that you had success because you are also a former wrestler and a friend of both of them, or was it because of the strength of the program you created?

         “We were all friends, but I think they were ready, you know?  I think that timing is everything, and the WWE was there when they needed him.  The WWE put them into the Hall of Fame, and that was a pivotal goal for both of them, and it allowed Jake to retire on their own terms.  That’s what I was looking at for him.”

         Do you think that it is something that can be transformed into rehab in general, or is it more of a lifestyle choice?

         “I think the whole thing.  The whole DDP YOGA Program it’s taking care of your body, healing your body, eating real food, and a mindset of not putting yourself down, focusing on Owning Your Life.  We all go through ups and downs, different depressions.  Obviously both of those guys had a lot of that.  I go through it too, everybody does.  It’s how you overcome that.  Everyone knows the line ‘it’s not how hard you fall, but how you get back up’, but sometimes you want to pull yourself down; I call it emotional gravity.  Sometimes you need your hand out and to have someone believe in you.”

         As I look at the progression of DDP YOGA, I am curious where you see it going in the next few years.  I ask this as I am fascinated when an athlete such as yourself can totally reinvent themselves to the point where their new career becomes what they are known for.  Personally, I use my business partner in the site as an example.  He is a very casual wrestling fan and when I told him that I would be interviewing you next his response was ‘that’s the guy that does yoga right?’  I think that is a testament to just how successful you have become at this, when this is the now the first thing that people think when the name of Diamond Dallas Page comes up. 

         “For the DDP YOGA!”

         Yes, for the DDP YOGA![v]

         “When he says DDP YOGA, then he knows that he’s totally paying attention!  I said to Bryan Alvarez[vi], about five years ago he asked me where do you see yourself in five years.  It (DDP YOGA) was called YRG at the time I said the DDP Yoga will eclipse what I did as a wrestler.[vii]  That’s a bold statement if you watched wrestling in the 90’s.  I was on top of the world, you know ’97, ’98 and ’99 and I said to him (Alvarez) that’s a bold statement, but I really believe it.  Now it’s happening. 

         Last year I was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and it was more for what I did outside of the ring than inside the ring.[viii]  This year I am being inducted into the Cauliflower Alley Club Circle of Honor.  It’s their 50th year, they’ve been around for a long time.  It’s the first time someone has received two honors in the same year.  They’re giving me a wrestling award and a humanitarian award.  So again, what I said five years ago is happening. 

         There’s a lot of people right now who only know me from DDP YOGA, and don’t know that I used to wrestle.  I think five years from now, DDP YOGA, the way I’m structuring it, and it’s going to be probably, if not the biggest or at least top two or three workouts on the planet. 

         The main reason that’s going to happen is because that everything I do, I just bet on myself.  What I am doing with the program, my lifestyle is what I believe in.  Right now I am building a two million dollar facility.  It will the home and headquarters for DDP YOGA which will have all our editing bays, because really we are a production company at this point.

         What I mean by that is that we film everything ourselves.  We produce everything ourselves.  This building will have three sound stages within the DDP YOGA Performance Center.  One is where we will do the workouts, which is one big room where we can film different things at any time so I can film my workouts.

         Think of Netflix.  Think of it like a network.  What we are building is the Netflix of fitness so all workouts that we have, DDP YOGA for kids, DDP YOGA for Seniors would not be available on DVD.  They would be on for lack of a better word would be on our network.  The network we are building would be on your phone, or your I-Pad, or to your TV.  We will be the first to do it.  We should be up and running by April.  I never do the same workout twice, and there will be all sorts of LIVE workouts scheduled that will be on the app where you can watch live.  You would have today’s live workout, or this week’s live workout that you would be able to watch and do.” 

         Backtracking a bit, you mentioned the two Halls of Fame that you are going into.  I have been an advocate, and so have others who have visited our site, that your body of work more than qualifies you for the WWE Hall of Fame.  Is that something that you would like to be part of, or are you the mindset that if it happens, great, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t take away from what has been a great career?

         “I think at some point it will happen.  Steve Austin said to me the other day ‘No one ever did it the way you did it at such a success level’.  He said to me that he was waiting for me to go in, and when it happens it happens.  I’m honoured that the CAC and National Wrestling Hall of Fame inducted me, and I would be honoured if the WWE put me in their Hall of Fame. 

         I’m focused on what’s happening right now with DDP YOGA and last year to get to induct Jake and with Scott being inducted in the same year, and they both came out of my house, you know DDP’s accountability crib.[ix]

         Wouldn’t having them inducted almost mean more to you than getting in yourself?

         “Yeah, and it happened on my birthday!”

         “Oh wow!”

         “When I gave Jake’s induction speech.  It was a great night”

         Could I ask you a historical wrestling related question about your career if I could?

         “Sure.”

         In 1996, you won the Battlebowl where by the winner was supposed to receive a WCW World Heavyweight Title shot.[x]  That never materialized.  I have been curious for years as to why that was?

         “The bookers never saw me as a top guy.  They never believed in me, not until I got over without their help.  They gave a dog a bone and took it away, which if you look at my career from that Battlebowl, which was in 1996, where was I seven months later?”

         Having the feud of the year with Randy Savage.[xi]

         “Right!  So, they (the bookers) were wrong.  If you go back and look, and you can do that as a lot of the WCW stuff is all over YouTube and Nitro, which is part of the WWE Network you can see what I have done.  If anybody has a question about my career, or what happened in my career, it’s all there, and I’m having the run of a lifetime!  No one ever did it like that.

         No one ever went from a manager to a color commentator to a wrestler at 35 and got over at 40, and then got crazy over at 41!  It never happened!  You know, and I had a hell of a run on top!”

         You definitely did.  I remember watching you on the main event of a Nitro in Toronto against Hulk Hogan.[xii]    

          “I remember Steve Austin calling me the next day and saying ‘How did you pull that match out of him?’ (Laughs)

         (Laughs) Really?

         “Yeah, he called me the next night.  Me and him have always been tight.  In 1997 and 1998 the number one pro wrestler in the world from Pro Wrestling Illustrated was Steve Austin.  The number four wrestlers in both years was Diamond Dallas Page.[xiii]  So, surely, I was in the top ten.  From nowhere to top ten.  Obviously, the people who didn’t believe in me or were trying to hold me down were wrong.

When I first became a wrestler at 35 people laughed.  Michael P.S. Hayes fell down laughing.  He also called me up in 1996 after a match up with Sting and said he was never happier to eat crow in his entire life.”

I want to thank you so much for your time it has been an honor to talk with you. 

“Thank you.”



[i]Page won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship in a four-way match on April 11, 1999 at the Spring Stampede Pay per View in Tacoma, Washington.



[ii]That was released in 2005 entitled “Yoga for Regular Guys, the Best Damn Workout on the Planet!”



[iii]Here is an example of DDP doing this on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOufcaCotQg 



[iv]This was the Scott Hall E60 piece where the WWE mentions the resources spent on Hall.  This was roughly two years before Hall took up DDP Yoga. 



[v]Before we went to our conversation, Dallas corrected me, as what he does is not Yoga.  His product is DDP Yoga, a specific brand and product all on its own!



[vi]Bryan Alvarez is a respected sports writer and wrestling journalist. 



[vii]YRG stood for Yoga for Regular Guys. 



[viii]His inductor was Mick Foley.



[ix]DDP’s Accountability Crib was just that.  Page had Scott Hall and Jake Roberts in his home and the journey was documented by DDP here:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLR8R1GKZsazOBW35JJ6Jnrfx2QMdlB1V



[x]That win was at the Slamboree PPV on May 19th, 1996.  The Title shot was to have taken place on the next Pay Per View.  On the next night’s Nitro the title shot was revoked when “WCW Officials” decreed that based on how we won the match (the finals were an eight-man Battle Royale) that his Battlebowl win would stand, but his title shot, would be granted to Lex Luger.



[xi]The fans of Pro Wrestling Illustrated voted the Savage/Page Rivalry of 1997 the “Feud of the Year”. 



[xii]That was at the Air Canada Center on March 29, 1999. 



[xiii]Page also had other accolades from Pro Wrestling Illustrated.  In addition to the 1997 Feud of the Year with Savage, he was named the Most Improved Wrestler in 1995 and Most Hated in 1999.  The latter award, a testament to how he was able to transfer his persona into a heel character.



Last modified on Thursday, 22 March 2018 16:02
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