Diamond Dallas Page (DDP) is one of the most inspirational people today. He is a former professional wrestler for WCW, WWE, and TNA. He has revolutionized the workout world with DDP YOGA. If that wasn’t enough, he’s also an actor and a motivational speaker. And on top of that, he did something incredible, saving and change the lives of Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Scott Hall. I got an amazing opportunity to talk to DDP and ask him about DDP YOGA, wrestling memories, and much more!
Alex Obert: First of all, big news this past week, what was going through your head during Shark Tank while pitching DDP YOGA?
DDP: Well you know, there was parts where there was tension. I thought they did such an amazing job on the edit. I was just like, “Wow!” I was blown away. It was what it should be, an inspirational piece. It didn’t matter whether we got a deal or not, it was amazing all the way around. That’s the way I see it.
Alex Obert: What made you want to do it?
DDP: God, I love the show, for starters. (laughs) I think the show’s awesome. Everybody I’ve ever talked to said I should go on Shark Tank and I was like “Oh my God! I love that show!” I think Shark Tank’s one of the pure reality shows that’s really reality. Those guys don’t know what’s going to happen, there’s nothing predetermined or seeing who’s coming up next. They don’t really care, they’re making millions and millions of dollars. So this is just a side thing for these guys.
Alex Obert: Relating to your product, how did DDP YOGA begin?
DDP: The bottom line is that everyone should have some kind of yoga. Most people in our country are turned off by the word, whether it’s religious references or spiritual stuff that goes with it. I know I was a guy who wouldn’t be caught dead doing yoga in the first forty two years of my life until I threw my back out. (laughs) Three different specialists thought my career was over. I was like, “Okay, I just signed a multi million dollar three year deal, I’ll try anything.” And when I tried yoga, I was blown away by how much it really helped my body and literally changed my life. So I started doing it everyday to try and heal my body. I had done yoga before and tried it cause I’ll try anything, but I was just like, “Oh God, I can’t do that.” I didn’t like the whole “reach your arms to the heavens so the universe falls back on you” mindset. I wanted to get a workout in. When I threw my back out, I couldn’t do any of the moves so I was modifying my position and it was very frustrating. But I kept doing it, trying to figure it out. Over the next couple of weeks, I started to really get a little more flexible, a little stronger. I was still doing rehab too, the first thing a doctor does is put you in rehab. “This will help you get out of the pain, but it will never put you back in the ring cause you’re done.” But when I combined the rehab with the yoga and old school calisthenics (push ups, squats, crunches), a slow burn movement, that’s where it all came together for me.
When you bench press and put that weight on the bar and it starts comin’ into you, you realize you aren’t just using your chest. You’re using your back, your shoulders, your chest, your pecs, your triceps, you’re really using three quarters of your muscles. But you do a slow burn push up, and you go up and down, you use every muscle. And what I figured out is the more you engage muscles, the faster your heart rate goes up. Every time you flex or engage a muscle, your heart rate’s gotta go up to try and engage the muscle. That’s what really makes it different. It’s like boot camp, DDP YOGA’s tagline is “It ain’t your mama’s yoga!” And it’s minimal joint impact.
Alex Obert: What have you heard from wrestlers who have used DDP YOGA?
DDP: Well, the best example I can give you is the guy who really gave me the credibility, Chris Jericho. He had herniated his L4 when he was doing Dancing with the Stars. Even though the show was really physical, it wasn’t that. It was the twenty years of wrestling he had prior to that. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. I heard he was out and the doctor said he was done, the same thing happened to me at forty two, and now he’s forty. They’re saying he’s done, so I sent him the video of Arthur’s transformation, a disabled veteran (that was told that he would never be able to walk on his own ever again) who with DDP Yoga, lost one hundred and forty pounds in ten months and was able to walk and run on his own, gaining tremendous balance and flexibility along the way. The video has over ten million views.
I sent it to Jericho about two and a half years ago. When he saw the video, he said, “Send me whatever he did and I will do whatever you want me to do.” And he followed the plan exactly the way I taught him. In five weeks, he was eighty five percent pain free. In three months, he was a hundred percent pain free. He headlined Wrestlemania two years ago in Miami, then he worked for a couple more months, then he took off and went touring with his band Fozzy for six months. And then he showed up at the Royal Rumble in January of 2013. If you’re not wrestling all the time, you fly out there in the first five minutes, you’ll be blown sky high. But because DDP YOGA is a kickass cardiovascular workout that dramatically increases your flexibility and strengthens your core with minimal joint impact, he was able to come back and wrestle a match because of my workout and the level that he does it. He was the number two spot in the Royal Rumble, he wrestled for forty seven minutes and fifty three seconds. He only does one workout, DDP YOGA. That’s the greatest testimony I can give to you.
There’s at least thirty guys who are doing it, whether it’s Dustin Rhodes or Ryback or Sandow, there’s a bunch of ’em that are doing the workout. All the young kids are doing it, the guys that are coming up trying to get their break in the WWE Performance Center down there. So it’s pretty much across the board right now.
Alex Obert: I understand you’re also a motivational speaker, how do you stay motivated daily?
DDP: Live life with attitude and gratitude. Focus on what I do have as opposed to what I don’t have. Focus on the positive as opposed to the negative. And when you get knocked down, you get back up. I’ve taken a few standing eight counts, but I keep answering the bell, man. It’s all mental attitude.
Alex Obert: What was your biggest source of self-motivation for overcoming ADD and dyslexia?
DDP: Wanting to be able to read. I never made it a priority in my life because I couldn’t do it. At thirty one years old, I made a decision I was going to learn how to read proficiently. I set a goal for myself that I was gonna read a book from cover to cover. I know that’s not a big deal to a guy who’s a writer, but to me, it was overwhelming. I broke it down to read one page a day. And that’s where it starts, put one foot in front of the other. Today, I’m a pretty decent reader, not great by any stretch, but pretty good. And I can write pretty decent too, considering I don’t have any of the tools for that meaning the punctuation, the paragraphs, the English. (laughs) The lessons of the proper punctuation. So there’s a lot of three dots, stream of consciousness type writing.
Alex Obert: Who do you look up to?
DDP: I look up to Tony Robbins. I think he’s an amazing speaker and an amazing force. I look up to guys like Jack LaLanne, who’s now gone. Guys who walk the talk, those type of people. A lot of people don’t. They preach, but they don’t live.
Alex Obert: Which of your wrestling peers do you feel has that attitude?
DDP: Chris Jericho, big time. Stone Cold Steve Austin, big time. That’s two off the top of my head.
Alex Obert: During your time in the WWE (then WWF), was the motivational speaker gimmick your idea and input?
DDP: Yeah because I knew that after the stupid stalker angle, I needed to do something that was dramatically different. Right towards the end of my run there at Wrestlemania time, I went out there with Christian, that character was about to flip back to my days in WCW, which were really fun. I’d still keep the positive stuff and the smile, the smile got people to pop big time. But then the wear and tear at forty six, I took a really bad bump on the top of my neck, almost broke my neck. Almost became a quadriplegic. It was time for me to get out of the ring. I took a first retirement and then I came back for TNA just because I wanted to prove that I could still do it because of what DDP YOGA had done to my body. I wanted people to see it. I wrestled until I was forty nine, another nine months. Once I felt good about the wrestling, I was done.
Alex Obert: I’d love to get into your time in the WWE. What was it like for you to work with Christian, both the promos and the matches?
DDP: I loved it. (laughs) He was one of my favorite people to work with in WWE. Overall, he’s in the top five guys that I love to wrestle against because I was back to a babyface and he would work stone cold heel. And when it came to promos, again, same thing. Canadian guys, for some reason, I don’t know why, when it came to being a heel, they’d be the heel. When I was a heel, I was a heel. I didn’t want you to cheer me. And I had a huge online following back then. I just put out in my Diamond Cutter e-mail saying, “Please stop cheering me! You’re making this way harder.” (laughs)
Alex Obert: Do you wish your on screen alliance with Christian lasted longer when you were coaching him?
DDP: I think we were ready to go, Wrestlemania was sort of our kiss off. But I enjoyed the times. We did a lot of house shows together and they were so much fun. When you’re having fun out there, that’s why I do it. I don’t do it if I’m not having fun.
Alex Obert: What’s that feeling of Wrestlemania like to you?
DDP: Pretty amazing, man. (laughs) It’s the Super Bowl and when you got sixty eight thousand or seventy thousand or ninety thousand people out there, I don’t even know how to explain it. In our match, we had a great reaction from the crowd. That was very gratifying.
Alex Obert: Did the fan in you come out in Rock vs. Hogan that night?
DDP: Yes. I thought it was awesome.
Alex Obert: How did you watch the match?
DDP: I was in the SkyBooth. Watching the immortal Hulk come out there, and he’s always gonna be Hulk Hogan. He still lives today to the tee. That was probably one of my top ten matches as far as matches to go, “Wow, this is amazing psychology!”
Alex Obert: It’s a great example of how a crowd helps to truly make a match.
DDP: Always. For me, if the crowd’s not in it, then I did something wrong.
Alex Obert: What are your thoughts on WWE crowds recently speaking up and chanting for Daniel Bryan and CM Punk during matches and segments?
DDP: I love it. (laughs) In a very different way, that’s what happened for me. The bookers weren’t doing shit with me. If you look at 1996, I work with Eddy, we had amazing matches together. But I also worked enhancement matches because that was most of the shit they gave me. The crowd though, watch a video called Diamond Cutters on Everyone. Just watch that video. It’s about four minutes long. And watch the people pop when I hit the Diamond Cutter and they pop a little more, a little more, and then a lot more, then a really lot more, then a fuckin’ crazy lot more. Ten thousand people in the building would jump to their feet because of all the ways I did the move, it came out of nowhere. You watch that video all the way through, go back and watch it, watch and see who I hit that on. Sting or Hogan or Nash? No, none of ’em. It was all enhancement guys. So the crowd was with me crazy. WCW had to do something with me. And Daniel Bryan, a couple weeks back where he ended up on top of the cage doing the “Yes!”, holy shit. To me, that’s as over as I’ve ever seen anybody. It may be the most.
Alex Obert: It’s like the days of Stone Cold Steve Austin in the Attitude Era.
DDP: Yeah. Very, very, very reminiscent of the crowd effect that Steve had. This kid is the most humble, sweetest kid on the planet.
Alex Obert: Getting into recent times with WWE, what are your thoughts on working with Heath Slater for the buildup to and during RAW 1000?
DDP: I thought it was awesome. I love the kid. He was having the time of his life because he was a fan of all of us. So he couldn’t wait for the Vader Bomb or the Diamond Cutter. I mean he loved it. And he’s a good kid, he’s a damn good worker. I hope at some point he actually gets the push. He could back it up because he can talk and he can work.
Alex Obert: We were talking about WCW earlier, was Self High Five being based off of Smells Like Teen Spirit your idea?
DDP: A to Z. (laughs) Self High Five, we just put up a video for our DDP YOGA app. It’s gonna be a sequence of videos. It’s just funny shit and bad acting, but there’s one point where a guy goes to high five me and I self high five him. The whole Smells Like Teen Spirit thing to me, that was the song of the nineties. Jimmy Hart took that song and just reversed the chords. So it sounded exactly the same, but it wasn’t.
Alex Obert: What are some of your all-time favorite entrance themes?
DDP: I really don’t have any. As far as who pops the crowd, I love Steve Austin’s because that’s got such fuckin’ energy. As stupid as it sounds, I really like the Heartbreak Kid’s. (laughs) That is funny! He would just play it to the max. And Goldberg’s I thought was awesome. And of course, Ric Flair’s. Hulk will always be immortal. Real American I thought was the best. The nWo theme was amazing too.
Alex Obert: While we’re talking about music, what’s on your iPod?
DDP: A lotta shit. (laughs) Old shit from old school rock n’ roll like AC/DC and Motley Crue, that kinda stuff, to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, I love that. I’m a big country fan. Justin Moore, Jason Aldean, I listen to them a lot. When I’m working out, I’ll listen to music and sometimes throw in some Eminem. The main thing I love isn’t really the music on my iPod anymore, it’s Pandora. Whenever anybody hears me play Eminem as the first thing for a workout, everybody goes “Oh no.” cause they know I’m gonna kill ’em. That means we’re bringing our A-game today. If I’m bringing country, it’s gonna be a good workout, some nice ups and downs. If I’m playing rock n’ roll, it’s a crapshoot. I’ll throw AC/DC into the mix and go from there.
Alex Obert: Which concerts have you attended?
DDP: Bruce Springsteen cause I grew up on the Jersey Shore. My big brother who’s my adopted big brother used to be Bruce’s right hand man. I’d seen Bruce out a hundred times. I’m a big country fan. I’ve been wanting to see Aldean, waiting for him to come through here. Him and Florida Georgia Line. But I love it all, man. I’m the most eclectic music listener you’ve ever heard.
Alex Obert: Though you’re known for WCW, what were your thoughts at the time on ECW?
DDP: I loved it. I wish I woulda done it. Dusty Rhodes said to me, “D, you missed that. That woulda been so you.” I would have loved to come out of that crowd, slide in the ring, throw up the Diamond Cutters. That place woulda went batshit.
Alex Obert: And to think with their history of entrance themes, they likely would have been able to get you Smells Like Teen Spirit.
DDP: (laughs) Right! I like my song though because it reminds you of that, but it’s it’s own trip.
Alex Obert: In the style of ECW One Night Stand, if WWE ever produced a WCW reunion event, which matches would you want to see on it?
DDP: Everybody’s too old. Most of the guys are either dead or too beat up. They aren’t there anymore. Randy Savage, that was one of my favorite matches ever. He was just crazy physical, so was I. So it was good, it was a lot of fun. I wouldn’t know how to build a card like that. It would take me a while. I don’t just do things off the top of my head. (laughs)
Alex Obert: The only match to book that I thought of would be Chris Jericho vs. Chavo Guerrero.
DDP: Oh yeah. That would be really good!
Alex Obert: There was the whole movement with the cruiserweights and those two are a great example of it.
DDP: To me, I’ll never forget when I was a rookie, I thought I was gonna be Rookie of the Year. Bill Watts, who ran the territory, brought his son Erik in and gave him a huge push that lasted three months. And I was edged out in the PWI for Rookie of the Year. Then I went, “Well fuck, I’m gonna get on Meltzer’s sheet for sure.” I see number two again. “Who the fuck is Rey Misterio, Jr?” Rey was fourteen when he debuted and eighteen when he won the award in 1992. And when he showed up at WCW four years, five years later and I saw that fucker work, I was like, “Oh…I guess I was number two.” (laughs)
Alex Obert: In closing, aside from your official website, do you have any other sites to plug?
DDP: DDPYOGA.com, that’s gonna be the mega icon store for us. @RealDDP and @DDPYOGA on Twitter. And of course Facebook, Facebook.com/DDPYOGA.
Alex Obert: We’ll leave with one last question, what is the meaning of life?
DDP: Change. Constant change. Adapting to change. Living life with a positive attitude as you adapt to change. You have to because you have no choice. You can fight it, but it’s kinda stupid. You change and need to adapt to it. That’s the only way to do it.
Alex Obert: I’d like to thank you so much for your time.
DDP: Awesome, brother! I appreciate it, man!