Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Diamond Dallas Page: Positively Living

Earlier this year three-time WCW World Champion, master of the Diamond Cutter and yoga sensei, Diamond Dallas Page received his long overdue home video biography from WWE with the release of Diamond Dallas Page: Positively Living (trailer). The biography is only a little over an hour, but it surprisingly hits almost all the notable points of his life and career, and the collection receives the standard extra feature treatment with several hours of bonus matches spanning his entire career.

The brief time spent on Page’s childhood years growing up is an inspirational watch as he explains how he had to overcome hurdles such as ADD, Dyslexia and a car wreck at age 12 that wrecked his knee. Page explains how the car wreck left only sport left for him to play was basketball and stated how he was awful at it initially but over many years of practice made the high school’s starting squad. From personal life to professional life it goes to show the theme here is hard work pays off.

I recall reading how DDP was in the night club business, and Page goes into how he spent most of his 20s running night clubs and experimented with wrestling briefly before an injury in his second match got him to exit the business for the time and go back to the club scene. Even though they are now divorced, many fans remember DDP’s ex-wife Kimberly being a big part of his career as his on-TV manager, and WWE interviewed her for the video and she goes on to state how they met at one of Page’s bars and how their relationship evolved.

I read Page’s autobiography, Positively Page, that came out all the way back when he was still in WCW in 2000 so I am a little familiar with his early life and how he broke into the business, but that was 17 years ago so this BluRay is a handy refresher and I gleamed many new things throughout. If you are unfamiliar with Page’s journey you may be surprised to learn he broke into the wrestling scene late, and did not make a TV debut until some connections from the night club scene landed him a manager gig in the AWA in 1987 when he was 30. They have clips of his manager tryout video which are awesomely-cheesy, and they are included in their entirety in the extras. WWE interviewed Scott Hall, Eric Bishoff, Terry Taylor and Goldust about meeting DDP in the clubs and helping him land his first job in the AWA.

DDP spent his first five years in the business as a manager in AWA, FCW and WCW, and even had a Wrestlemania VI cameo that DDP reveals on how it came to be. Hearing Page’s story on why he took up wrestling at age 35 and making his proper in-ring debut at the end of 1991 is one of the highlights of the documentary. It seems like an impossible task to start training at that age, but over the years Page kept plugging away and kept putting in the time to get better and the results are easily apparent over the years on how he became a top player in WCW. The documentary spends a little time with him progressing over this time, but the extra features are where it is more noticeable where they include a couple matches from each year of Page’s career.

Page’s memories and respect for Dusty Rhodes are among my favorite parts of the bio. Page loves him, and I was all ears for the few big Dusty stories Page peppers out throughout the biography on how Dusty helped him out and motivated him throughout his career. A lot of time is spent on Page emerging as a breakout main event star in WCW in 1997 by feuding with the nWo and his intense rivalry with Randy Savage that lead to a classic series of matches with him. Hearing Page relive his success with Macho Man had me nostalgic for that era and that rivalry was one of the few things WCW did right among their ‘Monday Night War’ success. Ditto with Page recounting his super-successful run teaming with Karl Malone to take on Dennis Rodman and Hulk Hogan at Bash at the Beach ‘98. I had no idea until hearing Page state here that it was WCW’s highest grossing PPV of all time.

The documentary moves along to DDP winning his first WCW World Title at Spring Stampede ‘99 and Page has a good tale on how he met his goal to reach that milestone. I was not so surprised Positively Living skips the final two years of his WCW career since that was when WCW was in a downward spiral to its demise, but there were still a few interesting DDP moments from that era I would have liked to hear Page comment officially on such as his other celebrity team-ups with Jay Leno and David Arquette and DDP’s time teaming with his friends Bam Bam Bigelow and Chris Kanyon in the Jersey Triad faction. Additionally, the Ready to Rumble film is a guilty pleasure of mine and I would have loved to hear DDP’s memories of being the primary WCW wrestler used in the movie. This clip from a shoot video interview will have to suffice instead.

His final year in his full time career where he jumped to WWE following the WCW buyout is briefly touched on, and Page tongue-in-cheek admits he was not too big on how the whole ‘stalker’ character was handled but stated he tried his best to make it work. I am a big fan of his ‘positive’ character he introduced later on in 2001 and DDP said he was too and how it was an amped up version of himself. Kimberly has a nice memory of Page walking in and out as a champion at Wrestlemania X8 was a good bookend to his career.

Fans of DDP knows Page has had a ton of success post-wrestling with his yoga business. DDP & Kimberly go into detail about forming the yoga business after yoga helped DDP recover from injuries and after a couple rough early years their hard work turned DDP Yoga into a big success. I am glad they do not gloss over this part of DDP’s life as it has been tremendous for him and the countless others he has helped in the proceeding years. I vividly recall hearing how DDP was starting his yoga business and immediately scoffed at it and all the clich├ęs that go with yoga. Then I heard and saw the success stories (DDP helping Jake Roberts in this Netflix doc is must-see!) of it with wrestlers like Scott Hall and Jake Roberts. Finally, after hearing Chris Jericho vouch for it on how it helped him recover from a back injury last year I took the plunge and ordered the DDP Yoga DVDs when I was dealing with some shoulder issues. After a few weeks I was surprised at how much better the shoulder and my general well being improved. Now, a year later I still routinely do DDP Yoga three times a week.

The documentary has a nice final chapter where DDP and his current wife Brenda are interviewed about how they met and how DDP is a proud stepfather. The WWE production crew also capture DDP’s genuine raw reaction to Triple H calling him and informing him that he would be inducted into the 2016 Hall of Fame class in a emotional scene that once again proves that DDP’s mantra of hard work does indeed pay off. I went into a lot of detail than I anticipated for an hour long documentary, but DDP was one of my ‘Monday Night War’ favorites and for the most part I like how this biography was handled.

There are 22 matches to indulge in the extras, or 27 if you go the BluRay route. Again, I really like how the first several matches feature Page in his early part of his career teaming with other before-they-were-stars talent such as Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Raven, Cactus Jack and Buff Bagwell in the early 90s. DDP is very green, but the matches just go to show for far he improved over the years. He has some breakout matches from 1997 in here that established him as a main event player with bouts against Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan and Curt Hennig.

His standout PPV headlining encounter with Bill Goldberg from Halloween Havoc ‘98 is here in all its glory, and to this day I still think DDP got the most out of Goldberg in the ring. Both of DDP’s celebrity tag matches from 1998 are in here where he tags with Malone and Jay Leno. The match with Malone actually has some surprisingly decent action, and Jay Leno is wisely only used for comedy spots (minus his armbar of doom). Not-so-surprisingly his tag match with David Arquette is not included. A couple of excellent US Title matches with Bret Hart are however, as well as both matches that saw him lose and regain the title from Sting on the same night (I will never forget being there live for those two matches and going nuts for that first match against Sting!). The extras close with DDP’s successful European title defense against Christian at Wrestlemania X8.

I give Positively Living the highest of recommendations. Minus a few nitpicks mentioned above, I was really happy with the biography since it covers almost all the major parts of his personal and professional life thoroughly and it has nearly most of his major matches included as well as a few hidden gems. Whether you were an avid fan of DDP or not, his unorthodox journey and inspiring message is one that should be witnessed by all fans.

Past Wrestling Blogs

Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 2
Best of Monday Nitro Volume 3
Biggest Knuckleheads
Bobby The Brain Heenan
Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes Yes Yes
Dusty Rhodes WWE Network Specials
ECW Unreleased: Vol 1
ECW Unreleased: Vol 2
ECW Unreleased: Vol 3
For All Mankind
Goldberg: The Ultimate Collection
Its Good to Be the King: The Jerry Lawler Story
Ladies and Gentlemen My Name is Paul Heyman
Legends of Mid South Wrestling
Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story
Memphis Heat
OMG Vol 2: Top 50 Incidents in WCW History
OMG Vol 3: Top 50 Incidents in ECW History
Owen: Hart of Gold
RoH Supercard of Honor V
RoH Supercard of Honor VI
RoH Supercard of Honor VII
RoH Supercard of Honor VIII
RoH Supercard of Honor IX
RoH Supercard of Honor X
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
Sting: Into the Light
Superstar Collection: Zach Ryder
Top 50 Superstars of All Time
Tough Enough: Million Dollar Season
True Giants
Ultimate Fan Pack: Roman Reigns
Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe
Warrior Week on WWE Network
Wrestlemania 3: Championship Edition
Wrestlemania 28
Wrestlemania 29
Wrestlemania 30
Wrestlemania 31
Wrestlemania 32
The Wrestler (2008)
Wrestling Road Diaries Too
Wrestling Road Diaries Three: Funny Equals Money
Wrestlings Greatest Factions
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials Second Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2016
WWE Network Original Specials Second Half 2016

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