In the UK for a series of dates promoting his DDP Yoga program (tickets available here!), and while sitting down with him to discuss his history and current goals with DDP Yoga, we were lucky enough to ask the three-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion some questions about his glittering and wildly popular career in the ring.
RealSport: Let’s go right back to sort of the beginning. You started off as a manager rather than a wrestler, how did you get into the industry in the first place?
Diamond Dallas Page: Well, I have a really funny story about that if you can imagine. And you will hear it at the Q&As. I almost opened up with it and like WHAT?! I almost opened up with it through my speaking. It is an eight-minute story and it is hysterical because you cannot believe what actually happened. But the bottom line is, the cliff notes are I sent in a videotape in the NWA and they brought me in to be a manager because they liked the way I talked. And there was a lot of variables that happened to make that happen, that were like God was playing in some way with that. Like the rest of my career, it never should have happened.
RS: You mentioned before that it was Jake ‘the Snake’ Roberts who encouraged you to make the switch from a manager to a wrestler. How hard was that transition for you?
DDP: Well it wasn’t really Jake who did that. He was the first one, besides Jody Hamilton, to believe in me and actually take me under his wing. I worked with Dusty Rhodes in Florida Championship Wrestling for a year and a half as a manager and a color commentator. When he left, he went to WWE, I kept doing that. Over to the NWA I was a manager for about two years, but I’m still doing my night club job at the time because I wasn’t making any money. I mean, back then it cost me money to be Diamond Dallas Page. But when Dusty finally came to WCW, he brought me in to manage the [Fabulous] Freebirds. He wanted to give them a facelift, to give them something special. And Michael PS Hayes was a good buddy of mine, and I met him and rode with him a couple of times in the NWA and he liked me.
He sort of gave me that spot and let me talk when him and Jimmy [Garvin], two Hall of Famers, but these guys are also Hall of Fame talkers, but who the hell can talk better than Michael P.S. Hayes or Jimmy Garvin? Not many. They let me do all the talking. After I met Scott Hall and created Scott Hall’s new gimmick, black hair, fresh cut mustache, black dyed beard, I created all that. He will be the first to tell you. Once that got moving, they were like “we want you to be a wrestler. With the hair, the bling, the girls, the rock” and at that point I was like, “what?” They weren’t going to let me be a manager and I had seven months left on my contract. I wanna go where I can wrestle. And Michael P.S. Hayes, I said it at my induction speech, he fell down laughing.
Like he really did. Fell. Down. Laughing. Because he was like "are you out of your mind?! You're never going to make it, and by the time you do make it, you will be too old." Nobody believed it. So long story short, I believed in me. That is a big part of my DDP Yoga workshops. Inspiration meets perspiration. What I am talking about, what the message is, if I want to help people, they need to believe in themselves. That’s what I am really good [at] and probably better than anything I do is helping people believe "wow, if they can do that, so can I." That is why you see so many success stories. But back to the wrestling part, I can’t tell you how many times my 35-and-a-half-year-old body hit that mat and I said to myself "man, this fake stuff hurts like hell" and "do I really wanna do it?" It was a chore, man, it was a chore, but I loved it.
RS: One of your really great and memorable feuds was with Randy Savage. What was it like working with him, being a legend for so long, and how does that feud rank among your personal career highlights?
DDP: Other than being a world champion, getting my first world title and Ric Flair taking the Diamond Cutter, it ranks right there in the middle. God bless Ric Flair. I love him to death. We have had our ups and downs. We have had our spits and spats, but in the big picture we are really good friends today. I love the guy and just pray for him every day now.
I stepped in the ring with Sting, Hulk Hogan, and Flair, three of maybe, the greatest of all time. There are maybe ten guys who can say they were the greatest of all time and I always put Flair at the top of that list. But you walk in there with Sting or Hogan, and one way or another, they have to be on that list too. For me to walk out as world champion with Ric Flair do the favors and Randy “Macho Man” Savage to be the guest referee, it was a helluva night.
However, it was my first match with Randy, my first pay-per-view, Spring Stampede 1997 and nobody thought that I was going to walk out a victor that night. Randy Savage made all that happen. Just like Flair put me over for the world title, Randy started it all.