Who led the group that eliminated Shaquille O’Neal in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal during WrestleMania 32?
Diamond Dallas Page.
Remarkable, considering he was almost 60-years-old..
“If you go back to WrestleMania 6 , I drive my pink Cadillac to the ring with Jimmy Hart, Honky Tonk Man and Greg The Hammer Valentine, when they were Rhythm & Blues. On that card, the main event was Hogan vs. [Ultimate] Warrior,” DDP recalled. “Then eight years later, Warrior comes into WCW and is going to do another program with Hogan, and I’m sharing the main event with Goldberg. That Halloween Havoc was almost like a ‘Mania to me.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
WWE beat rival WCW, purchasing the company on the cheap. When that occurred, instead of sitting at home collecting money on his WCW contract, DDP opted to sign with WWE. The move paid off.
“Then getting back to [WWE] to go to WrestleMania 18 where I have a great match with Christian.”
Would that be it? Well, never say never when you’re talking WWE or DDP.
“If you ever would have told me, 14 years later, that I’m going to be at Wrestlemania 32 in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal and help throw big Shaquille O’Neal...When I saw Shaq backstage, he gave me the biggest hug, [saying] ‘DDP!’ and then he actually said to me, ‘I was a huge fan of yours.’ I’m thinking, ‘You’re a huge fan of mine? You’re one of my favorite players of all-time.’ It was just great seeing him and helping throw him over the top rope...On the way down, I’m saying, ‘Protect yourself Shaq.’”
DDP shares an athletic bond with Shaq -- pro wrestling and basketball. DDP grew up in Point Pleasant and Toms River, N.J., becoming a star basketball player on the Point Pleasant Boro High School Panthers. FYI: That county also produced Bam Bam Bigelow, Danny Devito, Jon Bon Jovi, Jack Nicholson and Bruce Springsteen. Good water.
“In football and hockey as a youth, I was about as good as you could get for my age,” he said, “but then when I was 12, I got hit by a car, and the doctors took it away. At that time, there was no such thing as rehab. So all I could play was baseball and basketball, and I sucked at both. I was so bad that I didn’t make the basketball team in seventh grade, and I’d never not made a team in my life. Eighth grade, I made the team, but I sat the bench.”
Quit is not found in the dictionary of Diamond Dallas Page.
DDP continued: “That summer I was like, ‘That’s never gonna happen to me again.’ So that summer I played five hours a day every single day, and that next year I started. Then the year after that I started on varsity as a sophomore, and I realized that if I work my ass off, I can do it. I can do whatever.”
With his positive approach and never-say-die attitude, DDP is someone who constantly defies the odds.
Whether it’s becoming a pro wrestler at age 35, winning the world title at age 41, dealing with dyslexia at an advanced age, developing his own successful brand of yoga at age 43, and competing at WrestleMania at age 60, DDP is a role model to people of all ages.
These days DDP not only inspires but also saves lives. Scott Hall and Jake The Snake Roberts are living proof thanks to DDP and DDP Yoga.
“Without Dusty Rhodes, there’s no Diamond Dallas Page. Without Jake The Snake Roberts, there’s no three-time world champion. It just never happens,” DDP said. “Jake knows how grateful I was to him throughout my career. So I helped him out here. I’d help him out there. I just feel you give a person a fish; you give a person a fish; you give a person a fish, and at some point, you go, ‘Let me show you this new fishing poll I got. Let me show you how you could use it and start to fish for yourself.’”
DDP is all about second and third chances.
“First of all, Jake didn’t believe anybody believed in him,” DDP noted. “Well, we go though this journey where I’m the first person that he really says, ‘Holy [bleep]. Someone actually does believe in me and gives a [bleep].’”
The DDP way is positive.
“We are the story that we tell ourselves, and Jake has such a dark history,” DDP said. “When him and Scott [Hall] got to my house, which I call the Accountability Crib, they had such baggage, an incredible amount. All they had was their past, and everybody was interviewing them – Deadspin, HBO Real Sports, Yahoo Sports.
“I’ll never forget. Yahoo Sports was interviewing us, and at some point Jake went into this negative place that he grew up in, and I looked at the reporter, and I said, ‘Can you give me a few seconds? I just want to talk to Jake.’ I pulled Jake aside, and I said, ‘Dude, why are you telling that [bleeping] story again? He’s like, ‘Well, there asking me would I go..’ I go, ‘No, no, no. I get that, but you’ve told that story over and over and over again. What about the new [bleep] that’s happening? What about three of your kids are actually calling you again. They want to talk to their dad again for the first time in years. How cool is that. And when you’re getting booked on shows, you’re not making the bottom money. You’re making top guy money again. How about all the good things, all the people you’re inspiring. What about that story?’
“That was the beginning of him starting to change his inner-voice. It still screws with him, of course, from time to time, but it screws with all of us.
“We have to own our inner-voice, the story we tell ourselves. There’s been a study. Seventy-two percent of the things we worry about never happen. So why focus on that? Why not focus on what is happening. Today Jake Roberts has been sober over 2 ½ years.”
DDP strongly recommends the movie “The Resurrection of Jake the Snake – The Incredible True Story” on Netflix.
DDP said: “The movie is dark, but it gets like a light from the sun at some point, and it’s one of the most inspiring movies you’ll ever watch.”
DDP Yoga also helped Josh Barnett, Christopher Daniels, Goldust, Zach Gowen, Shane Helms, Gabriel Iglesias, Chris Jericho, Marc Mero, The Miz, Titus O’Neil, William Regal, Stevie Richards, Charles Robinson, Darius Rucker, Pery Saturn, Mark Schlereth, Jessy Sorensen and of course disabled veteran Arthur Boorman.
If Arthur doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will.
DDP developed a yoga fitness program initially called Yoga for Regular Guys Workout or YRG after recovering from ruptures to his L4/L5 discs in 1998. Once again overcoming obstacles, DDP’s new-found fitness routine sparked his return to the ring. Discovering the health benefits of yoga through his former wife, Kimberly, who is his friend, DDP put his own stamp on it with a power yoga format.
It’s not your momma’s yoga. It’s DDP Yoga.
5 More Minutes with DDP
DDP always had a gift for gab, parlaying his mic skills into success as a pro wrestling manager. In the AWA, he led the Diamond Exchange featuring Badd Company (Paul Diamond and Pat Tanaka), Col. DeBeers, Curt Hennig, and Madusa Miceli. In WCW, he guided the Diamond Mine with The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes, Jimmy Garvin and Badstreet Brad Armstrong), Scotty Flamingo, Diamond Studd (Scott Hall), and Vinnie Vegas (Kevin Nash).
“I got to induct Jake [the Snake Roberts] into the WWE Hall of Fame,” he said. “I got to be in the Royal Rumble a year and a half ago, and then...”
Two days before his 60th birthday, DDP found himself in front of a record breaking WWE crowd in April at AT&T Stadium in Arlington/Dallas for WrestleMania 32. A surprise entrant in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, he joined another jaw-dropping participant -- NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal.
In the Andre Battle Royal, DDP took the lead to help eliminate Shaq.
DDP didn’t need any help later to eliminate Viktor of the Ascension.
“The kid I hit the Diamond Cutter on, I was like, ‘Don’t go for the Diamond Cutter. Just throw me over the top.’ I was just happy to be there, and Viktor’s like, ‘No. D. I have to take the Diamond Cutter.’ How about that. They want to take it. They were kids growing up with it.”
But then Konnor of the Ascension avenged his partner’s demise by tossing out DDP.
“Two days from 60, all my concern was as I was heading over [the top rope] was, ‘Please God. Please God. Please God. Just don’t let me hurt myself.’ It’s a long way down for 60-year-old me, but with DDP Yoga, I was OK.”
In the wrestling business, DDP is Hall of Fame material.
To accomplish what he did in the ring is great. To do that after starting the process at that age/stage of his life...just amazing.
You can meet DDP at Florida Supercon from July 1-4 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
“[Florida Supercon] in Miami is huge,” he said.
And Florida, especially South Florida, is very familiar territory for the multi-talented star.
“I had my own nightclub in Fort Myers, Florida [before wrestling],” he said. “Then I was a color commentator for Championship Wrestling from Florida with Gordon Solie. Anytime I wrestled for WCW -- whether it was Tampa, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando -- the fans were ravenous; they very crazy. It was a really great place for me. Sort of like Chicago was that same way for me and so was Atlanta.”
He continued: “It’s like coming back home, coming to Florida and getting to hang out in Miami a couple of days, especially on the holiday time. It’s going to be awesome.”
DDP is also excited when he hears from his sports entertainment family.
“I have one more ring appearance to do for WWE, and I’m sure someone’s going to get hit with a Diamond Cutter,” he said. “That will be the last one I think I’ll ever do, but if WWE needs me to come in and hit someone with a Diamond Cutter, I don’t care if I’m 70, I’m gonna do it.”
Florida Supercon will be a Homecoming for DDP in more ways than one.
“I get to come back to Miami which I love. I get to bring my beautiful wife [Brenda] with me. I’ll see my dad while I’m down there.”
DDP’s dad is a long-time resident of West Palm Beach.
“I have two daughters of my own, but now I have two more with my wife, and one of our daughters, Lexi, is actually gonna be down there with us, too. She’s in LA now, but she’s coming into Miami to work that weekend, helping out the manager who’s bringing us in there. So I get to see here, too. I love seeing her.”
About Florida Supercon
Florida Supercon is the largest Comic Con in South Florida, and pro wrestling will be well represented.
Florida Supercon is July 1-4 at the Miami Beach Convention Center and Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater, 1901 Convention Center Dr., 33139. Call 305-673-7311.
Pro wrestling guests include Road Warrior Animal, Demolition (Ax and Smash), Mick Foley, The Godfather, Mickie James, Michael Kingston, and Diamond Dallas Page. Jerry The King Lawler will not be appearing.
Find the best in Comic Books, Media Guests, Anime, Animation, Video Games, Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Pop Culture in South Florida. Florida Supercon is 4 days of fun featuring celebrity guests, comic book creators, voice actors, industry guests, cosplayers, artists, writers, panels, Q&A’s, films & shorts, costume & cosplay contests, vendors, parties, anime, workshops, video gaming and more.
Calll Supercon at 954-399-1330.
- Pro Wrestling On The Web
YouTube jim varsallone (jimmyv3 channel)