Derek Burgan reviews
WrestleReunion Shoot Interview with Diamond Dallas Page
On the table between Page and Hudson were Page’s Positively Page book and a WCW World Title belt. Hudson asked Page how he got started in the wrestling business, and Page went way back to his
days of running a nightclub named Norma Jean’s. Page’s life at the time was one of complete hedonism and debauchery,
which he makes no apologizes for. One night while closing up the bar, Page saw the video for Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just
Want to have Fun.” That gives you an idea of how long ago this took place as MTV was still actually airing non-hip hop
music videos back then. Anyway, Page saw Captain Lou Albano in the video and felt that it should have been Page himself as
part of the Rock n’ Wrestling Connection. Page had been a lifelong wrestling fan who loved Superstar Billy Ghramn and
Dusty Rhodes while also tried becoming a wrestler when he was twenty years old.
Page had already given himself the
nickname “Dallas” and explained that diamond’s are his birthstone. I kinda got screwed on that one as an
amethyst nickname only works for gay wrestlers. Page talked to the guys in his circle of friends at the club and thought that
he’ll try out to be a manager. Page felt that the girls in wrestling weren’t that good looking and that he had
access to a slew of “hot bitches,” which would help his case as they would be his “Diamond Dolls.”
Page also noted that Jimmy Hart had the “Hart Foundation,” so Page would have his own group called “the
Diamond Exchange.” Page created his whole character while doing shots at the club. I’m sure that many, MANY decisions
in wrestling have been made under the influence of alcohol, including the entire run of Rob Black’s XPW.
|DDP and Scott Hudson|
A local TV station did a small
piece on Page because at the time he was semi-famous as the person who would host the club’s wet t-shirt contests and
other events of that nature. “Some one has to do it” said Page with a smirk. The TV spot was noticed by a local
radio personality named “Smitty,” who wanted Page on his show to joing, of all people, Captain Lou Albano. Smitty
ended up knowing Rob Russen in Verne Gagne’s AWA and told Page to send Russen a tape. Page ended up making a video with
him and all his friends and sent it to Russen. On the tape Page would cut his promos reading from cue cards because at the
time he didn’t believe that wrestlers could actually shoot a three to five minute promo just from memory. I got to get
a hold of this tape as one of the characters that Page created was for his friend, who happened to be a midget, and the gimmick
was Ted E. Bear. Page said that “the tape still holds up today.” I’m sure it does Diamond. I’m sure
Page got a call back from Russen telling Page to bring his friends up for a try out, with the catch they had
to pay their own way. Page admitted to Russen that many of the guys had no idea how to wrestle and Russen came back with the
“don’t call us, we’ll call you” reply. That’s never a good sign. A short while later, Paul Heyman
(yes, that Paul Heyman) left the AWA and the company needed a new manager. Greg Gagne called up Page and told him to
fly himself up, bring his own clothes and they would give him a try out. Page flew up to Minnesota and brought a girl with
him, who turned out to be nervous as hell. She’d be even more nervous if she had listened to the guys from Extreme Summit tell their ‘rat stories. Page met Greg Gagne while wearing cowboy boots, which caused Gagne to remark that Page was
the biggest manager he had ever seen. So of course Page was put with the much smaller Pat Tanaka and Paul Diamond as the tag
team Bad Company. This mistake has been repeated throughout the last decade, including bringing up Matt Morgan and immediately
putting him in a group with guys like Big Show and Nathan Jones to make sure not a single fan has any idea of how big Morgan
really is. Page ended up working 15 months for the AWA, but since they only did one TV taping a month it ended up to only
14 days total.
|Pat Tanaka, Paul Diamond and DDP. Bad Company|
that the AWA didn’t know what to do with him and around that time Mike Graham called up Page to work the Eddie Graham
Memorial Show in Florida. Page took his ’62 Cadillac with two hot blondes to the show and the car ended up breaking
down along the way. A couple of fans picked up Page and brought him to the show. Page established throughout the shoot that
he would do anything to make a date that he committed to. When the NWA became WCW, they wanted Dusty Rhodes to turn heel and
Big Dust packed his bags and went back to Florida. Mike Graham called up Page again and wanted Page to cut a promo on the
phone to Rhodes. Page cut the promo and, at first, Dusty didn’t reply. Rhodes finally asked “was that a recording
kid?” Page went down to Pro Wrestling Florida and met Dusty, Gordon Solie and Steve Keirn among others. It’s a
sad state of affairs when I know Keirn solely from his absurd run in the WWE as “Skinner” than anything else.
Rhodes’ loved Page’s energy and told Page he was “gonna make you the Jesse Venture of the ‘90s.”
Page had never done color commentary before, but The Dean of Announcing, Gordon Solie, walked him through it.
|"My energy and enthusiasm made up for my lack of knowledge." - DDP on his announcing career|
worked for PWF for two and a half years and went from making 50 dollars a night to 150 dollars, while also being able to pick
Dusty Rhodes’ brain once a week while developing a friendship with Big Dust. Page learned that “the fake stuff
hurts like hell” when he took his first bumps in the ring while training with Steve Keirn. While in Florida, Page met
Scott Hall, who at the time had blonde hair and looked exactly like Magnum T.A. When PWF folded, Rhodes went to the WWE and
Page a tryout as an announcer. Not surprisingly, the WWE wanted Page to change everything about himself. First Page tried
out for a color commentary spot, then tried out for play-by-play. The late Alfred Hayes was impressed with Page’s play-by-play
and Page credited everything he knew to Gordon Solie. The WWE had zero interest in Page, and WCW ended up calling Page in
just to “force” Paul Heyman to sign his contract by making Heyman think they had a replacement already lined up.
Welcome to wrestling kids!
Page went back to the clubs for several months until Dusty Rhodes left the WWE and returned
to Atlanta. By this time Page was engage to Kimberly and she was going to school at Northwestern. Kimberly wanted Page to move to Chicago, but Rhodes’ implied that if Page
moved to Atlanta he would have a job with WCW. Page convinced Kimberly to spend a weekend with him in Atlanta and in a funny
story, Page’s high end car that he wanted to impress Kimberly with, broke down, forcing Page to drive around in a U-Haul
all weekend. Dusty’s deal with Page was 350 dollars a shot, with no guaranteed dates. Page was put as a manager with
the Fabulous Freebirds and immediately bonded with Michael P.S. Hayes. There were some great stories with Hayes, as Page said
Hayes would, among other things, blow smoke right into Jerry Jarrett’s face knowing that Jarrett hated second hand smoke.
Hall called up Page, as Hall was desperate for work, and reminded Page of the “Diamond Studd” gimmick that both
men created while in Florida. Page called up Magnum T.A. to pitch the idea. Magnum said Dusty Rhodes wasn’t interested.
Page said they would change Hall’s look (and added this story is fleshed out more in Page’s Positively Page
book.) Page told Hall to dye his hair “like Elvis blue-black.” Hall agreed. Page saw a George Michael video and
told Hall to copy the close-beard gimmick, although Page didn’t know at the time it was a “gay thing.” After
a lot of coercion, Hall agreed. Magnum got Hall a tryout and when Page and Hall walked into WCW’s Center Stage they
quickly ran into Dusty Rhodes. Big Dust took one look at Hall and said, “he’s in” while giving Hall a squash
match on TV that very day. Hall was freaked out that nobody recognized him, but used that his advantage when pulling a great
rib on Tommy “Wildfire” Rich.
It wasn’t long before Hall injured himself and was separated from Page.
Magnum T.A. also broke the news to Page that his managing duties were no longer needed because the office felt Page was overshadowing
the wrestlers. Magnum told Page he should have been a wrestler. That night Page convinced himself to give it a shot because
at the time he was just a fourth string announcer with Eric Bischoff. Page then went back to how he met Bischoff in the AWA.
Page was talking to Pat Tanaka when he was rudely interrupted by Bischoff. Page said, “listen asshole, we’re taking”
and Bischoff’s reply was “so?” The two men had a pull apart in the hotel bar. Later at the elevators, Page
ran into Bischoff again except this time there was AWA management around. Bischoff buried Page to the office. At 8 a.m. the
next morning, Page woke up with a hang over and was still pissed off. Bischoff showed up at his room and looked like shit
as well. Bischoff said, “I understand I was a real asshole last night.” Bischoff said there were two ways they
could settle it. The first was to shake Bischoff’s hand and accept his apology. The second was to let Page hit Bischoff
in the face. Bischoff earned Page’s respect and the two became friends.
|"I was the first to come in and the last to leave." - DDP on his days at the WCW Power Plant|
in WCW, Dusty Rhodes told the booking committee that Jim Herd was bringing in Eric Bischoff to replace Lance Russell. Rhodes
told Page, who was Russell’s partner, “If you like ‘em (Bischoff), help him out. If he’s an asshole,
bury him. I don’t care.” When Bischoff heard he would be trying out with Page he figured he was screwed, and at
the time Bischoff desperately needed a job as his wife had become pregnant. Bischoff showed up with a different look than
his AWA days (the jet black hair, which is now gone) and he and Page quickly did a taping. Page realized that Bischoff didn’t
know many of the wrestling moves, so Page stopped the taping and explained all of the calls to Bischoff. This was quite a
shock to Bischoff, who had to ask Page if he remembered Bischoff from the AWA. Bischoff eventually got the play-by-play job
and Page said when Bischoff came back he “knew all the moves.” Bischoff must have forgot a lot of them because
I remember on Nitro he would incorrectly call a ton of moves. In a weird coincidence, both Bischoff and Page bought homes
on the same day from Dusty Rhodes’ wife. To make it stranger, the houses were on the same street and were right next
to each other. On a trip to get Christmas lights, Bischoff talked about Bill Watts, who at that time was running WCW. Bischoff
hated Watts and told Page he would have Watts’ job one day. Bischoff told Page some of his ideas and Page was greatly
impressed and we all know how that story turned out.
Back to Page considering becoming a wrestler. Page started training
with Jody Hamilton at the Power Plant and Hamilton loved Page’s work ethic. There was a time when Page was the only
person training at the Plant, but Erik Watts and Bryan “Wrath” Clark were two of the guys that came in afterward.
Page said that Watts, who is normally buried by everyone, was a good guy and not a single wrestler would have turned down
the push that Watts got from his dad. That’s a good point and reminds me of wrestlers who take it out of the WWE Diva
Search girls or the Tough Enough winners as if it is their fault the company signed them to such huge deals. As if Bob F----ing
Holly would turn down a guaranteed 250,000 dollars a year. Please.
Page’s first match as a wrestler was a tag
team match with partner Scott Hall. This pissed of Hall and it was a while before Page understood why. Apparently getting
tagged with a manager was the “kiss of death” for a wrestler. After the match Tony Schiavone put over Page by
saying, “for you first match, that was great. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re that good in six months, you
suck.” Speaking of which, where’s my Tony Schiavone shoot?!!! Okay, back to wrestling, Hall hurt his elbow not
long after and finished up his WCW contract on the shelf before going up to the WWE as Razor Ramon. When Hall left WCW, Page
took Hall’s matches, which was the only way Page was getting booked at the time. Even though he was on TV, Page was
still going back to the Power Plant at every opportunity, something no one at the time was doing.
Page was then teamed
with Kevin Nash, who was now in the Vinnie Vegas gimmick. In a match in front of 250 people, Page blew out his shoulder. After
the match Cactus Jack asked Page, “does it feel like someone stabbed a knife in your shoulder?” When Page said
yes, Cactus knew that Page tore his rotator cuff. Who needs Quincy M.D. when we got MICK FOLEY! Page went to talk to Bill
Watts. Page was let go after Watts’ said he saw nothing in him. Ouch. Back in Florida, Page got a call from Jake “the Snake” Roberts, who had just separated from his wife Cheryl. Page let Jake stay in his house and learned from the Snake. I would have loved
to hear Page convince Kimberly to let Roberts move in. Jake told Page that he already knew all the wrestling holds he would
ever need to know and that Page needed to work on the psychology of a wrestling match if he was ever to become a star. Jake
helped Page work on his character and also got Page booked on all the indie shows that booked Jake. “If you’re
gonna be a top guy, you gotta learn how to handle the heat,” said Roberts, explaining that when Page became a top guy
his friends would become jealous.
Page explained the meaning behind all the tattoos on his body and said that, back
then, no one had them so it helped Page stand out. Page had supplemented himself up to 280 pounds, but Kimberly was convinced
being a wrestler was not in the cards for Page and told him to get a real job. Page told Kimberly to hit the bricks if she
didn’t believe in him. That’s amazing, because if Kimberly Page was my girlfriend I think I would work the night
shift at Burger King if she asked me to. Fortunately for Page, Bill Watts was fired and Eric Bischoff was given Watts’
job. Bischoff brought Page back in and Page asked for 150,000 a year contract. Bischoff said he couldn’t do that and
countered with 85,000, which was what Page was making when he got let go. Page said that after food and travel, 85,000 isn’t
much money at all and I can certainly believe that. Page claimed that Bischoff used “reverse nepotism” and made
it tougher on Page than he would other wrestlers. Bischoff wanted Page to sign a two year contract, but Page refused and instead
went back the Power Plant to train. Page laid out three months of storylines to WCW booker Dusty Rhodes, and once Rhodes saw
Page in the ring he said, “you got it.”
Page was back on TV with an angle where he would pick an opponent’s
name out of a fishbowl, and the person would always be a jobber. Four weeks into the angle, Dusty Rhodes was let go, Ric Flair
was brought in as booker and the angle was dropped cold. At this point Page does the hard sell for an upcoming audio book
he is doing called “Living Life at 90%” and promised he would use that forum to talk about the times in his life
where he felt he was held down. “A crummy commercial?” - Ralphie Parker, A Christmas Story
WCW hit it big, Page was there to ride the wave. Page gave credit to his Power Plant training. Page wanted to be able to wrestler
guys as diverse as Rey Mysterio and the Big Show. Hulk Hogan ended up putting Page over to Bischoff strong, but Bischoff didn’t
see it happening and offered Page his release. Page said he would talk about this in that damn audio book. Page does admit
that Bischoff did help him in not getting screwed with by the wrestlers or outright fired by the company. The Monday Night War started and Page stayed in WCW. Ron Reis, who you may remember as the big goof from Raven’s Flock in WCW, gave Page
the idea for the Diamond Sign, which Page had trademarked. Page said he was growing on the WCW fans while adding they were
chanting “D-D-P” in the same way they used to chant “D-D-T” for Jake Roberts. Page would tell the
fans to “shut up” while playing the heel, but Scott Hall, who was now back in WCW as part of the New World Order,
told Page to never do that again and just let the crowd react naturally.
Page went from being a heel to the fans to being a heel to the NWO, which made him a defacto
babyface. Hall and Nash, who both felt they owed Page, lined up the angle where Page would be the first person to turn down
the NWO in New Orleans, in front of “33,000” people. Page tore up the NWO shirt, gave Scott Hall a Diamond Cutter,
and backdropped Nash out of the ring. That was also the first night that Page left through the crowd, which would become his
trademark. Randy Savage said that he wanted to work with Page. Savage wanted to take the Diamond Cutter and Page said the
fans blew the roof off when he nailed Randy with the move, first at a house show to test it out, than at the Spring Stampede
PPV. Page said that many people credit Bischoff for putting the WCW world title on Page, but Scott Hall and Nash were the
ones that pushed for that. Page eventually won the strap three times, but the first time was the biggest honor. It was part
of a four way match and had Page giving Ric Flair a Diamond Cutter in the middle of the ring while also making Hogan submit
to a figure four. After the match Hogan told Page, “kid, that’s the way it should be.” This was wrestling’s
version of Rudy, as a guy who was constantly told he couldn’t do something finally worked his way to the top.
InVasion - Page talked about his run in the WWE and that his angle with Sara Undertaker wasn’t booked to go the
way it did. I should hope not. Page takes responsibility for the angle flopping and said it would have worked with anyone
else but Page was too much of a babyface to play the stalking heel gimmick. Page also didn’t see the angle through all
the way when it started or he would have realized it had to culminate with Undertaker squashing him. Page wanted to do a People’s
Champion versus People’s Chamption against the Rock. Page mentioned being introduced to the Rock at a show in Canada,
before Rock hit it HUGE. Big Show introduced Page to Rock as “a huge mark who wants to meet you.” That’s
classic. Page put over Rock and said that when DDP was leaving, Rock called out, “hey Diamond!” The Rock was completely
in character by this point and added, “you know there is only one people’s champion.” Page replied,
“you’re right. And you’re looking at him.” Page regrets that he never followed through with that angle
and is convinced it was “money.”
Overall Thoughts: I can certainly see why Diamond Dallas Page was
considering a career in motivational speaking as Page can really tell a story. While Hudson doesn’t really try to get
much dirt out of Page, I think it would have been a fruitless exercise anyway as Page seems to be the type of guy who could
find something good to say about Saddam Hussein or Adolph Hitler. Like Abdullah the Butcher told Mick Foley in Mick’s
book Have a Nice Day, “he lives his gimmick brother, he lives his gimmick.” DDP fans are going to like
this DVD but it’s under two hours run time is going to be a big drawback to others. The stories about Page in AWA, WCW
and his short time in the WWE are good to listen to though and the interview flies by. Kudos to the Clear Channel staff for
having such great production values. If you’d like to purchase this DVD you can head on over to Highspots or RF Video.
For more information on WrestleReunion 2, to be held August 26-28 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, Click HERE
Special thanks to Keith Lipinski for his help with this review.
SATIRE: DISCONTINUED WWE XMAS PRODUCTS!
With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).