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'Diamond Dallas Page: Positively Living' charts a remarkable career

The Big Takeaway: "Diamond Dallas Page: Positively Living" has some excellent stories to tell and includes a range of matches that vary in terms of their quality. This is a must-have for devoted DDP fans and certainly worth your money even if you’re not.

*****

“If you keep a positive attitude, anything is possible” - Diamond Dallas Page

Strolling around Point Pleasant, New Jersey where he grew up, Diamond Dallas Page hardly cuts the figure of a modern day hero. His now lean, wiry frame, covered loosely by a T-shirt and jeans, is just that of any other 60-year-old guy who has stayed in shape.

But DDP is far from ordinary. His reach as a motivational speaker and his development of a yoga fitness program have allowed him to not just help, but change the lives of countless people around the world. His optimism is infectious without seeming insincere or self-aggrandizing.

With the documentary running at just over an hour, together with a range of matches from across his active years as a wrestler, the latest in-depth WWE DVD release, "Diamond Dallas Page: Positively Living," charts a remarkable storied career.

One of the many extraordinary traits that DDP possesses is his ability to make pretty much everything seem positive. The title for this DVD could not have said it better. So often in their documentaries, wrestlers embrace the catharsis that being able to lament what they saw as unfair or unjust in their careers allows them. Refreshingly, DDP remembers any missed opportunities as learning experiences, without it translating as him being pious or saccharine.

He freely admits that his route into wrestling was completely unorthodox, but he was so well liked and supported by his wrestling fraternity that no one ever particularly begrudged him for it. His former bar customers who became “drinking buddies” knew he could talk, but never thought of him as a worker.

Talking heads in the form of Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff (who will of course be inducting DDP into the WWE Hall of Fame this year), and Mick Foley add just the right amount of light and shade in amongst the archive footage here.

By the time his stint as a manager had come to an end, there was a genuine feeling that he would never make it. He was too old. And his training really only consisted of a few weeks at the infamous Power Plant. Triple H notes how DDP really looked incongruous at that time, but said he worked harder than anyone in training -- he was a first in, last out kind of athlete. It was, of course, exactly that drive and heart that allowed him to connect with the fans during his WCW run.

It’s clear that in order to endear himself to the late '90s audience that Page saw Dusty Rhodes as being a significant mentor and influence. Just as much as there are countless times where he refers to the advice that Rhodes gave him, he equally tells us of the times Rhodes told it to him straight.

Page feels very lucky to have been afforded the opportunities that he had, especially in finally winning the WCW World Heavyweight Championship in April 1999 at Spring Stampede.

Page had cemented himself as a key player at a time when WCW was battling WWE, but his best in-ring performances were behind him. Of the matches that accompany the documentary, the strongest are his match against Randy Savage (who DDP really praises here) at Spring Stampede '97 and his match at the same PPV the following year against Raven.

From his WWE run, only his WrestleMania X8 win over Christian is included, but there is some content from Nitro against the likes of Chris Jericho and Bret Hart that is worth your time.

This collection certainly makes a perfect prequel and shelf partner to the wonderful 2015 documentary, "The Resurrection of Jake the Snake." In that film, we really got to see just how important DDP has become in some people’s lives since he left wrestling and developed a yoga fitness program designed to be accessible to all. But even this definition of DDP as a "developer" of a program undersells the work of the man.

The 2015 piece paints the picture of the man as a motivator, life coach, dietician, guidance councilor, and even a healer. The last third of this new documentary feature pays some tribute to this, but not in as satisfying depth as fans would like. However, the moment where he takes the call telling him he is going into the Hall of Fame is very special indeed.

Some said he would never make it, but he did. “If you keep a positive attitude, anything is possible,” Page tells us. Not many men could make a successful career in the wrestling industry if they started at the age of 35, but he did, and the mantra didn’t just stop with what he did in the ring.

It’s a philosophy for life, and when you look at just how significant a change the likes of Jake Roberts, Scott Hall, and Mick Foley have undergone under his tutelage, you’d be a fool to think otherwise.

WWE’s "Diamond Dallas Page: Positively Living" is available on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK March 27th and April 4th in the US.