“I put on the inside of my ring, ’cause they said they wanted an inscription — I never really thought that they did that, you know? — ‘Work ethic equals dreams,’ exclamation point, DDP.” We sat down with exclamation point DDP in a hotel courtyard the day before his WWE Hall of Fame induction. True to character, Page gave most of the love to the people who came before him. “I would say without Dusty Rhodes there is no Diamond Dallas Page, but without Jake the Snake Roberts, there’s no three time world champion. Without the both of them, there’s no Hall of Famer.”
In 1990, Diamond Dallas Page was an extra, driving Rhythm and Blues to the ring in a pink Cadillac at WrestleMania VI. By the end of the decade, Page was a multiple-time World Heavyweight Champion. In 2017, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He was the longshot that shot his shot.
“This has been like I think the most cathartic thing I’ve ever put myself through, because there’s just so many things when you’re thinking about how you got, I mean the guy who drove the ’62 pink Cadillac to the ring, that wasn’t my gig. The car got the gig. I just happened to be the driver and the owner. So to come back 27 years later, WrestleMania 33, and be going to the Hall of Fame?”
Back in 1998, Page’s then-wife Kimberly introduced him to yoga to help him recover from ruptures to his L4/L5 discs. Like his wrestling career, a late start didn’t keep him from greatness in his passions. The cycle started again, and by 2005, Page had penned the book Yoga for Regular Guys. Soon, that brand transformed into DDP Yoga, a full-on yoga program that helped save the lives of WWE Hall of Famers like Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and Scott Hall.
Still, Page doesn’t want to be called a “guru.”
“I would never let anybody call me like a yoga guru, because I’m not, you know? I’m like the anti-yogi yogi, you know? I love what they do, and before, in the beginning I was like, ‘I aint doing any of that crap.’ But once I realized what yoga did, I mean everybody needs some piece of yoga in their life. So I didn’t develop this for yogis. I developed this for people like you, you, you, you, who wouldn’t be caught dead doing yoga, ’cause that’s a huge part of our civilization, and everybody, especially as you get into your 40s and on up, you need some kind of yoga.”
Some of those “yous” include current WWE Superstars, from stars of the Attitude Era like Goldust and Chris Jericho who are still able to actively compete today, to younger stars like The Miz.
“I was with Miz yesterday, and whenever he’s hurt, boy, he’s on it. I go, ‘You doing the program?’ He’s like, ‘I’m feeling really good right now.’ I go, ‘Yeah, you want to stay feeling really good right now?’ I go, ‘How old are you now?’ He goes, ’36.’ I go, ‘Yeah, you’ve been wrestling since you were 22.’ I go, ‘A lot of years, bro … I’m going to be 61! You know, dude, I’m just telling you.’ ‘I’m gonna, I’m gonna.’ I go, ‘You’re so full of shit.’ But when he gets hurt, I will guarantee you the first thing he’ll do is get on the mat.
“It boggles my mind when you can look at Chris Jericho and see this cat’s 46, hanging and banging like he’s 23. He does so many high impact moves, if he wasn’t doing DDP Yoga, there’s no way. I mean, look at Dustin Rhodes. The way he’s moving, he hasn’t wrestled in the last year or so a lot, but he’s on all the house shows. Cat’s moving like a cat. He’s 47! But you know, a lot of guys they have to get like hurt before they really get it.”
“You know, I really honestly believe I can get whatever I want, as long as I help enough people get what they want.”
After wrestling, yoga has transformed Page’s legacy from a taped-ribs man of the people to a man who actually gets in the trenches and helps them. But to really be saved, the men and women Page works with have to want it.
“I don’t just go and help people who won’t help themselves, like people say, ‘Oh God, could you please help my uncle!’ I say, ‘What does he want to do? What’s he at? Where’s he at’ ‘Well you know, he doesn’t want to do anything.’ I said, ‘No, I can’t help him … he really wants to help himself, then I got a program.'”
With that transformation of legacy comes a different, broader fanbase. Page never passes up the opportunity to change a fan’s life for the better, however they found him.
“If you ever saw me at an autograph session, and I do ’em from Comic Cons to wrestling stuff to wherever I am. But the Comic Cons has the biggest crossover of everything, because now people just don’t come to me for wrestling. They come to me ’cause of some of my movies I’ve done. They come to be because of DDP Yoga. A lot of big people who are really beat up and really hurting.
“I bet you in Lexington, Kentucky, I gave my email to 11 different people. Nobody was under 380. A lot of them were over 450. I said to ’em I said, they go, ‘I really need your help,’ like, ‘I’m going to send you the list. Here’s my email. Send a picture of me and you together, I’ll know exactly who I’m talking to, I will send you the list. The list is extensive. It’s what Arthur Boorman did.’ He wanted to walk again, and he wanted to lose 140 pounds, but more importantly he wanted to walk again without the aid of knee braces, back braces, and wraparound canes. What will you do for that? Well if you put the work in, if you watch the movies, and it’s more education. When I get you to watch Food, Inc. or Genetic Roulette, or whatever the thing I have up there, Living Life at 90 Percent, a lecture I did. It’s all geared to change your mindset.
“Now I don’t have to tell you, you know, you really shouldn’t eat that, because you just watched a movie and you saw how it’s fucking poisoning you. So if you can still eat it, I don’t give a fuck. That’s on you. I don’t have time to help people who won’t help themselves. Too many people do want to help themselves, and it’s a lot. It gets a lot, little overwhelming at times, because sometimes I’m answering so many people, and that’s why I needed Twitter and Facebook and all that shit to even give me more people. So it’s awesome, but at the same time, ’cause I’m doing that, I’m just not just talking to ’em, I’m like giving them my energy. ‘Cause that’s all we are. Sometimes I’m just fucking zapped, you know?”
We watched Diamond Dallas Page go into the WWE Hall of Fame the next night, years after watching Hall and Roberts get inducted. While his contributions to sports-entertainment are unforgettable, a simple question might have changed everything.
“You know it’s so funny,” Page told us, “because I told Bryan Alvarez like eight years ago, he was like, ‘Who is DDP going to be in five years?’ This is like eight years ago.”
So, who did he become? A Superstar? A guru? Something in-between?
“Now I help a lot of big people, and I mean big. I’m talking three, four, five, 600 pounds. This was never a weight loss program. Man I get … it’s as an emotional a ride for me, sometimes even more, than my wrestling career. Because we’re not talking about just helping somebody change their lifestyle. We go so far it ends up changing their life completely, and a lot of people, they write me all the time, ‘You saved my life. I was in so much pain.’
“Because that’s what really DDP Yoga was about. Trying to get me out of pain so I could still live the dream. The doctors said I was never going to wrestle again. I mean that’s where DDP Yoga comes from. I’m the guy who wouldn’t be caught dead doing yoga the first 42 years of my life, you know? But when you start wrestling at 35 and your career takes off at 40, and you go on this roller coaster, man, of one of my matches from ’96 on, main event almost all the time, middle of ’96 on, it’d be like having five or six car accidents. I mean like car crashes every night. So a lot of wear and tear on your body, you know, so man, DDP Yoga and where it is today, I knew it was going to get here. I actually told Bryan in the same interview, I said I honestly believe that at some point, my program is going to dwarf my wrestling career.”