Known the world over from his three reigns as the WCW (World Championship Wrestling) World Heavyweight Champion and his roles in the movies “Ready To Rumble” and “The Devils Rejects” Diamond Dallas Page has captured the world’s attention in and out of the ring with a positive attitude and an unbreakable drive to succeed in any facet of life.
Already making a name for himself in the literary world in 2000 with his autobiography “Positively Page,” Page has written another book, “Yoga For Regular Guys,” in an attempt to educate the world about yoga, the form of exercise that saved his career after a devastating injury.
Chatting with Review Fix, Page discusses how he got involved with Yoga in addition to some of best moments of his wrestling career.
Review Fix: How has yoga changed your life?
Diamond Dallas Page: Yoga changed my life in a way that, at 42 years old I ruptured my L4 and L5 so badly in the lower part of my back that three separate doctors told me my wrestling career was over. Just so you understand, your discs are like jelly donuts and when you keep banging the hell out of them, it’s like stepping on that jelly donut. Now what comes out of that jelly donut runs down around your nerve areas. Simple things like sitting down are excruciating.
RF: Who got you into Yoga?
DDP: My wife at the time, Kimberly, was trying to get me to do yoga, to help heal my body. I was like, ‘Yoga? That crap is for sissies,’ I was wrong. I learned probably the most valuable lesson when it came to adaptation; I had to become pliable; I had to become flexible, so to speak. Not just in my body, but in my mind, to the thought of doing yoga. Once I did become flexible in the mind to the thought of doing yoga, I realized what a great workout it was. I was back in the ring in three months. The doctors told me three months before this, my career was done.
RF: How hard was it for you o break into the wrestling industry?
DDP: My career didn’t break until I was 39-years-old. I didn’t blow to the roof until I was 40. I was just on the ride, 40, 41, 42; I was in one main event after another. I had just finished doing the stuff with Karl Malone and Dennis Rodman, where we shot the angles on The Tonight Show with Hogan. We followed that with the Jay Leno stuff. I was doing Hollywood Squares; I was doing everything. That’s what you work so hard for- to get those accolades and be able to increase your brand and they told me it was over. I didn’t start wrestling until I was 35 years old. I tore my rotator cuff at 36 and they (WCW) fired me. They hired me back at 37 because I set a good example and because I had a great workout, but no one ever thought I’d be shit. It all comes down to believing in yourself and work ethic. I just kept working my ass off and eventually it came through.
RF: So you attribute your work ethic to your success?
DDP: What people don’t know is every time I’d come off the road, for almost my entire career, I’d be in that power plant (WCW’s training facility) practicing new stuff and that’s how I got noticed. It wasn’t by anyone else but Hulk Hogan. He’s the one that came up to me when they weren’t doing shit with me and said, ‘How do you keep getting so much better? Every time you go out there, you do something different. ‘Someday, it’s going to be me and you; keep doing what you’re doing.’ This was what he said to me when I was 38-years-old. Four years later, I was the World Champion. When I walked through the door, after the match, I saw him (Hogan) sitting there, like the gladiator he is, with both knee braces on and he tells me, ‘That’s the way it should be. To have someone who has worked as hard as you have, that no one ever thought would be, or should be world champion. You earned it, man.’ You can say what you want about my career, but when someone like Hulk says something, it means a lot. Without the yoga, I would have never been able to come back. It saved my career. I knew at 43- years-old that when I turned 50, that everything was going to rocket for me, because I was finding ways of turning back the hands of time.”
RF: How did things change for you once WCW was bought by the WWE?
DDP: It was one of those things where I lost sight of my goals for someone else. I thought, ‘They know what they’re doing with me. They’re spending a shitload of money to bring me in here,’ so I went with what they gave me, I did the stalker thing. (A story angle that was much different than what Page was accustomed to as “The People’s Champion” in WCW, having him stalk the wife of The Undertaker.) People have come over to me and asked me how it felt to have Vince [McMahon] screw my career. Vince didn’t screw me; I screwed myself. I have nothing but respect for Vince, because without Vince and Hogan, we would have never had this business.
RF: Soon after you started to get recognition in the WWE, you were injured and you didn’t come back to the company. If you wouldn’t have gotten injured, what do you think would have happened?
DDP: I would have still kept wrestling. I was about to turn what Vince (McMahon) was trying to do with me around. There’s nothing I love more than proving somebody wrong. Vince really didn’t think I had it. Obviously, he had never watched any of my shit. I had just had that great match with Christian at Wrestlemania and my body felt really good. I then had a match with Bob Holly. I gave him a suplex off the top rope and landed on the top of my neck. It was mainly because he kicked me in the head before that, knocking me silly. Then he clotheslined me and literally knocked me out on TV. I wasn’t out cold, but I was like ‘Bobby you got me, I have no idea where I am.’ So then he slammed me and I kicked out and then he goes, ‘I’m going to the top rope, stop me,’ and I dove on the top rope remembering, ‘Ok, I’m going to suplex him off the top, fuck, I don’t wanna do that.’ I should have rolled him down, but being a trooper, going with the flow, I went with it. I was more concerned with laying him flat than myself, which is really your obligation, not hurting the other guy. I was very fortunate there were very few guys that I really hurt in the ring. I mean I busted a few with chairs, but that’s cool. It’s not checkers.
RF: After that, you were a part of TNA for a while. Why did you decide to come back, especially after a near three-year absence?
DDP: It was about finishing more like Diamond Dallas Page than the characters that I was portraying and getting them their spot on Spike TV. It was nothing negative on Vince (McMahon), because to me, Coke needs Pepsi. I don’t know if they ever will, but hopefully, at one point, TNA will break through.
RF: With your wrestling days behind you, you’ve focused heavily on yoga and exercise. You’ve mentioned before how much it has changed your life, but how confident are you that it could help someone else?
DDP: You can do this workout anywhere. You just have to kick your ego out the door. When people say that something can’t be done, that really lights a fire under my ass. They’ve been saying that my whole life. Now I’m recreating a 5,000-year-old workout. I don’t call it yoga because I figure the easiest way to get regular guys and gals to do it is to call it something else. It’s like fried chicken and KFC. A lot of people don’t want to eat fried chicken, but they’ll eat KFC. That’s what this is. This is something totally different.
RF: You’ve also spent time as a motivational speaker. Why is that?
DDP: I’ve been doing what I’ve wanted to do my whole life, since I was a little kid. I really get inspired to help other people live their dreams.
The content for this article was originally published in Feb. 2006.
You can read the full article here.