Submitted by Joe Babinsack (
Diamond Dallas Page is a wrestler with a many layered, multi-faceted history in the industry, but his latest YouShoot DVD (available from Kayfabe Commentaries or through WWNLive OnDemand) provides a strangely sedate demeanor and a mostly laid-back conversation with Sean Oliver, the eminent emcee of the Kayfabe Commentaries universe.
DDP looks a little older, but his personality is nowhere near the New Jersey swagger of a man who traipsed along at the top of the WCW food chain oh so many years ago.
Sure, there are those who attribute that level to his friendship with Eric Bischoff, and others who ignore his tireless work ethic and overall love for the business in knocking him, but no matter what you think about his overly scripted matches and his chasing down of opponents the day of the event, he always did have a heart and mindset on making professional wrestling work.
Whether as a manager or a main eventer, a stalker or the enviable person married to Kimberly, Page knew how to make the most of his opportunities, and was always working to earn his place. While it is almost clichéd to talk about the honesty of the You Shoot feature talent as surprising, there’s a definite sense of Page’s demeanor, thoughtfulness and enjoyment under the spotlight. Oliver, as always is in command of the situation, respectful, acknowledging, encouraging and prodding in his own understated fashion.
DDP, even with his theatrical face, facial expressions and hand-talking, is decidedly laid back. Maybe it’s the Yoga? Maybe. As with the best of You Shoots, we get a lot of stories, a lot of funny stories and a lot of retelling of tales many of us already know, but then again, what don’t we know about most major wrestling figures of the past twenty years that they would have to spell out in detail? But the details are there, too, from wanting to get started and told where to go by Greg Valentine, to talking about the dangers of those tours in Iraq.
There’s not a lot of depth to the WCW years, but who wants to remember that crap? But then again, the high points are there, from the feud with Randy Savage to the potential to beat Goldberg to the storied history of DDP and Vinnie Vegas. Ok, Kevin Nash to the historically challenged. It’s fun, actually, to hear about the NWO and his refusals and battles and being a guy who took it to Hogan more than a few times. Yeah, nostalgia. Yeah, a lot of fun. Which is true about DDP. No matter what that layer of “he’s Bischoff’s buddy” suggests, this is a guy who had fun with being a professional wrestler, and a guy who took a buyout rather than sit at home and get paid to do nothing.
Not that going to the WWE at the time was all that great, and he was saddled with some situations and angles that didn’t really provide him with, well, let’s call it “upwards mobility”. Whether that was due to his insistence on planning out his matches with opponents or not is hard to determine for sure, but there’s a lot of references to that in a lot of other books, interviews and shoot interviews, and even the recent Bob Holly book references those situations.
DDP brings that up as a way to get a good match out of a wrestler he hadn’t wrestled before. But professional wrestling has been around for a lot more than a century, and scripting matches to the move is only a modern phenomenon, and one that is distancing the artform from the audience. Is DDP to blame for all of this? Depends on how much blame to put on one wrestler, but it is interesting to note that not everyone does this, appreciates it or condones it.
Another even more controversial subject is Chris Kanyon, and I find it fascinating that DDP sidesteps that subject by saying that he never knew about Kanyon’s lifestyle. Good thing Page doesn’t talk about Kanyon’s book.
But moving on to less problematic subjects, the talk about what was once called “Regular Guys Workout” and now DDP Yoga is an interesting discussion. DDP’s first successful student is Arthur Boorman, who’s story was chronicled by the always informative Mainstream Media. Boorman was disabled and a war vet and a man who was told he would never walk again. But after 10 months of Yoga he lost 140 pounds, and can not only walk, but run, and no longer wears braces on his back or legs. Page has been working with one of his original wrestling trainers – Jake Roberts, and most references suggest a positive result in the making (what else from Positively Page?).
His other, somewhat more infamous and somewhat more troubled name is Scott Hall. Whether its talk about his now ex-wife, his career, his acting, his yoga, his friends, his funny stories or anything, Dallas Page is a fascinating DVD subject and even more so with his approach to the You Shoot format.
I sensed a little bit of toned-down zaniness from the Kayfabe Commentaries crew, and a surprisingly low-key DDP, but in many ways, that made it all the more enjoyable. Well, that’s a wrap from this slightly more standardized and streamlined reviewer extraordinaire.