Wednesday, 5 March 2014

BANG! An Audience With Diamond Dallas Page (02/03/14)

Can you feel the BANG!?
AYO! What's popping everyone? I've just gotten back from 'BANG! An Audience With Diamond Dallas Page' and let me tell you something brother, we definitely felt the ~BANG~ tonight! What a great evening, full of stories, inspiration, comedy and positive energy!

"At a time when the professional wrestling business was red hot Diamond Dallas Page was one of the hottest stars in the business. During television's infamous Monday Night War between the WWF and WCW he was at the forefront every single week for WCW. Fiery and impassioned on the microphone, dynamic and energetic in the ring, DDP tore the house down night in and night out with some of the biggest names to ever set foot in the squared circle. Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Randy  Savage and many more fell to Diamond Dallas Page, more often than not thanks to his insanely popular 'Diamond Cutter' finishing manoeuvre. Since his retirement from the squared circle he's been changing lives every day with his incredible DDP Yoga." - Leicester Square Theatre

So first thing is first, Anuj and I thought we would print out this awesome DDP card that Anuj had designed, not too different from the nWo ones from late last year - but to no avail! Our local printing devices were out of commission, but no matter - We still had; the WWE Encylopedia, Monday Night War DVD (previously signed by Nash, Hall and X-Pac) and his replica World Title still available to be signed.

Anuj's custom designed DDP Card
The meet and greet with Diamond Dallas Page was scheduled at 5:30 p.m. - and we were doing good for time as we approached the queue we bumped into our friend Jeeban, who was already in the queue and probably one of the first 20 odd people lined up. Rihan had sent me a text saying he'd be there at about 6:10, so I left his ticket with the guys at the desk.

I met a fellow WCW enthusiast, Perry who re-created his own version of Bash at the Beach, but we'll get to that.

One of the things, Anuj, Perry and I had talked about was whether or not it would have been cool to get our pictures taken with DDP's WCW World Heavyweight Championship belt? Well ofcourse it would be cool! What I meant to say was, would it be alright with DDP? I mean surely he wouldn't mind?

One thing I've learnt from meet and greets, especially TNA's ones, is that you have to be prepared! Make sure anything you want to get signed is ready and out, and good to go! Being prepared is key when it comes to situations like these where small windows of opportunities present themselves! I'm sure you remember my advice about avoiding camera botches and telling yourself that you have all the time in the world, during my TNA Maximum Impact Tour VI post. We didn't so much have to worry about 'mark out' syndrome affecting our friends, resulting in them taking botched camera pictures because they had someone up there tonight with their own camera, taking professional pictures! One less thing to worry about... so long as their uploads are reliable!

So finally, we're up on stage and mere moments away from meeting the man behind the Diamond Cutter. Perry was up first, and to his credit, he was the first guy to actually ask whether he could have his picture taken with the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. And the answer was yes. YES! YES! YES! But judging from what happened next, I have a feeling that 'it might not have been his time yet' as a water bottle went and spilled all over the table! They were nice enough to replace Perry's poster with a new one but Perry's push to World Champion status may have been premature, and the next thing you know, another water bottle went flying in another direction! I was almost certain Perry was trying to do a Bash on the Beach style signing /-D All jokes aside, I was next up, and I was about about to mark just as much as he was right now.

I managed to hold it down, but I could feel it - 'the mark out' syndrome was in affect in the presence of this icon of WCW. I remember telling him that I'd just been watching the Best of Nitro DVD that he was hosting the night before, and how awesome it was to see him in that match against Sting which he considered one of his best. I completely forgot to mention that we were Nola bound, but Rihan managed to get that in there when he was up. I told him that I'd been WCW through and though and I can't remember what else I'd said and I might have been slurring a few words as the 'mark out' syndrome took a fuller effect. I asked if I could hold the WCW World Heavyweight Championship while in the picture and he said, "Sure Kid, through it over your shoulder there.." - I will never forget that line as long as I live. What an honour.

Mau with the WCW World Championship & Diamond Dallas Page
After I had the picture taken, rather than putting the belt away he asked for me to pass it to the next guy. Who happened to be Anuj. I can actually now die, saying that in my lifetime, I dropped the WCW World Championship to Anuj. I put Anuj over. I put him on the map, and did what was right for business! Haha, truly living the dream for the moment. He got to hold on to the belt for quite a while as DDP signed the Monday Night WAR DVD and his page in the WWE Encyclopedia. Signature number 6.

Anuj told me that as he approached Diamond Dallas Page he said something along the lines of, "Wow this belt is heavy" and Page replied with, "That's why I need you to hold it for me!" Anuj got his replica world title signed as well as 2 8x10s with a gloss finish that look priceless.

Anuj with the WCW World Championship & Diamond Dallas Page
Rihan had told him that he was a long time fan, and would rank DDP's book, Positively Page up there in the Top 5 along with Mick Foley, Chris Jericho and Bret 'HitMan' Hart. Considering that Rihan's read about 40 odd autobiographies - that's a very good compliment, wouldn't you say? Now out of the 3 of us, Rihan probably had the longest conversation with Page, and mentioned something that I'd completely forgotten, that we were heading to Nola! From my understanding, he's invited us to a workshop that he'll be having there, as well as invited us to have breakfast with him! Now that sounds Legend - wait for it... Dary!

Rihan with the WCW World Championship & Diamond Dallas Page
We all agreed on a few things. Diamond Dallas Page was awesome! A very warm welcoming individual, friendly and definitely has a very positive aura about him. Also we all marked out pretty bad for this guy. But how could you not? After all, he just Made Us Famous!

The Evening

Now I'm going to try and recall everything to the best of my abilities, because there were a lot of great things discussed and I will try my hardest to share my experiences.. mainly with myself, so I can look back on here some day and remember what Dallas Page was on about that night! - Hello future self, I see you're reading this page to rediscover what happened all those years ago when you finally met Diamond Dallas Page!

I'm gonna cover all the memorable things I remember and how Diamond Dallas Page impacted our lives on this night, in no particular order. Aside from the first 45 minutes, where it was mainly Page talking about addressing the people who always ask him why he went and helped Jake 'The Snake' Roberts and Scott Hall. This opening portion of the spoken word tour had the recurring theme of, "It's not who you know, but it's who's willing to say they know you." So first Page would go on to say that he owed all of his success to Dusty Rhodes, and had Dusty Rhodes never helped him in the ways that he did, Dallas Page wouldn't have been the success that he did in Professional Wrestling.

Another early story was that of him, bringing Scott Hall into WCW for the 3rd time. Hall had already appeared with them twice and wasn't getting over for some reason. Dallas was up late one night watching MTV at about 2 a.m. and he sees George Michael on TV, which gives him the idea to have Scott Hall look more like him. I remember Page saying that, "you can either be more than, you can either be less than, or you can be different than.." and he needed Scott Hall to be 'different than' the rest of the roster at the time, so he pitched the idea that Scott Hall should lose the mustache he's had since he was 16 years old. Page eventually brings him into WCW with dyed black hair as the Diamond Stud, and no one recognizes him, until Dusty eventually does - at which point he signs him to a deal. This was a something that Page had done for Hall at a time when Hall's wife was pregnant and no one else was returning his phone calls from up north, or down south for work.

DDP told a story about Jake 'The Snake' Roberts which I had actually heard before (I think it was on the Steve Austin show podcast) about Jake leaving the snake in bathroom of Page's house. Apparently Jake says to Dallas Page, "He's not going to come out now! I'll come and get him in the morning!" Jake disappeared for 3 days. At the time DDP had no idea that Jake was on crack, and just assumed that he was working! Kimberly Page was furious when she found out and went to stay at a hotel, and said that Jake could pick up her bill. Eventually Page calls 'Pet Wranglers' who come over and ask if the snake is devenomised, to which Page says, "I don't fucking know!" - Eventually they manage to get the snake, and put it in a box.

In return for this situation, Jake Roberts sat down with DDP on the couch and watched his matches with him and critiqued what he saw. He told DDP that he would learn more about the psychology about professional wrestling sitting on the couch with him, than he could ever teach page in the ring. He also said that DDP had all the moves, he just needed to learn when to use them. Ring Psychology 101 from Jake 'The Snake' Roberts.

Little known fact about Jake Roberts is that he actually is terrified of snakes, but it's his commitment to the role he portrays that allows him to work with the fear. That's pretty amazing! I would have never guessed..

At the moment, Diamond Dallas Page is working on a documentary entitled, "The Ressurrection of Jake 'The Snake' Roberts' which will show the viewers everything. Literally everything about the journey that Jake is on. DDP said he would have been pissed at himself if they didn't have all the footage they do at the moment
because there are times when Jake has fallen and he just has to pick himself back up again, because he is accountable for himself. DDP told a story about how he had bumped into Triple H and asked for 2 tickets to the Hall of Fame, but Triple H wasn't so sure at the time, as he had to be clean for a full year before he could be involved with the company in any shape or form. Eventually, the situation was as follows: If Jake Roberts could be clean for a year, they would allow him to come back on RAW. As we all know, he did - but during the journey Jake may have experienced his demons resurfacing under all the pressure.

In what was a really emotional moment, Diamond Dallas Page pulled out his phone on stage and read out a long text that he had written to Jake Roberts, should he ever find himself tempted by his demons. A text that would remind Jake to try and stay in the straight and narrow, because he was a good man, and he deserved a good life, and deserved to be in the Hall of Fame. It took a while to get through and there were tears rolling down Page's face and you could just tell how hard it was for him to read it, as he had to pause a few times and get those deep breathes in and he was pretty choked up, as was everyone else in the Leicester Square theatre listening to him. The end of the text was met by applause, because we had just witnessed some real emotions right there. That couldn't have been easy to do by any stretch.
To move things along the next question right after that, some guy decided to ask was along the lines of, "What was it like breaking up with Kimberly?" ... Talk about tact. He got booed a little bit (mainly by me) but DDP took the timing in good humour and went on to say that he was still friends with Kimberly, and she is in fact the head of marketing for DDP Yoga. He said that she was someone that he had loved at one point in his life so he couldn't just tell her to fuck off! They had however reached a place in their relationship where they both wanted different things and they outgrew each other. Till this day they are still very good friends.

The Undertaker 'Stalker' angle was a question that was bound to come up, and DDP gave us his take on things. He said that originally, the way he had envisioned coming into the WWF at the time (just after signing a 3 year deal with WCW) would have been against The Rock, who he had previously met in the WWF locker room. The angle would have been 'People's Champion vs. People's Champion' to see who the real people's champion was. Now if you guys remember way back when - Page was actually the first of the two that had been nicknamed 'The People's Champion.' He'd said he always knew that he wanted to have his career end up in WWF because he was such a mark for Vince McMahon. When Vince originally pitched the 'stalker' idea to Page, he didn't really assert himself and say that this is not exactly what he had in mind, and instead offered some alternatives. In the end the stalker gimmick went ahead as we all know, and the actual unmasking of Page as the stalker on RAW got a huge pop! Although it's not featured as a top RAW moment, despite having one of the loudest reactions. Page says that if he were offered the same thing now, he would have turned around and said, "That sounds like a great idea, but it's just not for me."

Diamond Dallas Page talked about times in WCW where he wasn't getting the push he felt he should have been in his earlier days and it was thanks to Scott Hall that they went ahead with the Diamond Dallas Page taking on the nWo storyline, who none of the booking committee thought would work. Hall was the one who put his name on the line for Page, and Page had written 12 weeks of television for this angle. DDP also mentioned that you have to let your goals be in clear sight and allow them to manifest and not be blurred. He said that getting to your goals isn't a simple case of getting from one point to another. Like getting from A to B. It's more of getting from A-Z because every other letter in the way is a little something towards that goal, and the jist of what he was saying was that, there may be times where you have to take a few steps back, in order to move forward. He said that sometimes, in the path of our goals, walls will come up. Sometimes it's not enough to just hit the wall, and keep hitting it because it may not break. So you have to find another way around this, maybe from the side. Maybe go over the wall or sometimes you might have to dig under the wall to get past it which may take more time but it allows you to progress. In the same way, he had felt that he had gotten past this obstacle of people seeing him as just another enhancement guy, not believing him and Scott Hall at the time was (going along with the recurring theme) willing to SAY he knew Diamond Dallas Page. Scott Hall would eventually take the Diamond Cutter - and had that never happened, 'Macho Man' Randy Savage may never had wanted to work with Page, which means that PWI Feud of the year in 1997 might have gone to someone else!

Someone in the audience had asked also about Lex Luger, and what his current situation was and how DDP was helping him recover. I remember him saying that Lex Luger would bench 400lbs + about 25 times, and if you've ever done squats you immediately understand the literal weight of that sentence. Page had said that he had seen Lex the day he had the stinger in his shoulder, which left him a paraplegic with only the ability to move his pinky finger. After DDP got him doing the DDP Yoga, he was able to walk again, with a crutch and then he must have gotten over confident and fallen and that made things worse. Lex was paralysed in a seated position for over a year and is a proud guy so he didn't ask for the help. He is however slowly making a recovery and hopefully will be able to stand straight once again. Hearing stories such as these, my heart goes out to Luger and I hope personally he sees better days.

 Diamond Dallas Page explained his tattoos at one point during the night. He claimed that back in '93, not many people had the big one piece on their arms and that after he and Dennis Rodman got theirs, everyone else started doing the same! He explained the one piece tattoo on his left arm which I thought was pretty cool. He had four cards on his tat, the dead man's hand. This was 20 years before Aces and Eights was even a thing in wrestling! He also has 'lucky' number 13 next to the cards and his black cat spooks. The two main reasons he said he'd got it done was because when he was a lot younger he used to gamble quite a lot and considered himself lucky. This tattoo represents a re-branding of himself as well as when he stopped gambling. The tattoo on his right arm is an 8-ball, and that represented him always being behind the 8-ball. I always really enjoyed the storytelling behind tattoos and this was no different.
Another interesting question he was asked was about his entrance music and how they were able to get away with it. DDP answered by saying that Nirvana was really (to use the wrestling term) 'over' at the time and he really liked the sound of it and he had Jimmy Hart listen to it, who was then able to tweak it just enough to avoid it being the same, but sounding pretty much identical with the additions of "Self-High-Five" and some other quotes from Diamond Dallas Page.

Side-story: Page actually explained where the Self-High-Five thing came from too. While he had his run as a heel he would go up to kids in the audience and offer them a high five, and then slap his own hand and say, "Self-High-Five!" A fine wrestling heel troll maneuver indeed.

Diamond Dallas Page expressed his opinions on Chris Benoit, saying that the man who killed his family was not the Chris Benoit that he knew. Aside from that he said that he was unhappy that on the "Best of" DVD none of his matches with Benoit were featured, as he sees some of his greatest work in the ring to be with Chris Benoit.

The demise of WCW - and this bit is pretty satisfying for a WCW guy like myself hearing it from Diamond Dallas Page. For years we've had to put up with WWE tooting their own horn and going on about how bad it was, but have you guys been watching the WWE recently? On top of that they make it out as though they were single handedly responsible from putting WCW under. Page would tell us that it was in fact one of the higher ups in the TBS super station that would cut the deal with WCW, because they didn't want to sign a 10 year deal with them and become the 'Wrasslin' station. WCW was supposedly sold for 5 million. I'm trying to remember the name of the 2 TBS representatives with the full story but their names aren't coming to mind. Point being, WWE take way more credit than is truly theirs. Anyone who's reading this and was at the show, feel free to elaborate on this by leaving a comment because I can't remember the exact story for this one, but it was a good one that explored the real business side of wrestling at the time. Help me out people.
YES! YES! YES! He got us to do the chant and expressed how good Daniel Bryan was in the steel cage against Bray Wyatt when he got rid of the Wyatt attire and hit Bray with the running knee. Page said that when Daniel Bryan was on top of the cage and he did what they call in the business a 'beauty spot' - he didn't just throw his arms into the air, but he paced his motions and had that crowd in the palm of his hands. DDP was loving it!

RKO vs. The Diamond Cutter - Page said that he had recently gone to see Randy Orton in St. Louis, Missouri and while speaking with him he said that he'd been watching his matches on TV and he didn't need to take some of the bumps he was taking. He said that no one had to know, and he would keep it strictly between the two of them - he would try and pass off DDP Yoga to Orton. DDP went and said, "You want painkillers, that's your painkiller right there." Orton said he was doing his own flexibility training, and he was alright for the moment but as Page walked away, Orton said, "See you out there." To which Page replied, "No you wont." Orton said, "Yeah you will." Page re-iterated, "No you won't." So Orton continued, "You really don't think that somewhere down the line..." and Page finished off by saying, "No. I don't really, that ship has sorta sailed." But he went on to tell us in the audience that if the right opportunity came about he would probably make a decision like a retard and agree to do it anyway! /-D

Chris Jericho was racked with injuries prior to his match against CM Punk at WrestleMania XVIII and he told DDP to make him a programme, and he would follow everything that Page set up for him and Jericho was able to use DDP Yoga to work through the match with the injuries, feeling a lot less pain than he would have. Page went on to tell us that on the current WWE roster there are over 40 guys who are using DDP Yoga from Santino Marella to Damien Sandow. He's also worked at the WWE's Performance Center and claims that all the rookies down there are doing it! Might have to attend a session in New Orleans myself...

DDP also went on to say that no one can sell you on an idea, unless you sell yourself on it completely. Unless you convince yourself, no one can make you do anything. Random piece of information I recall.

He also introduced his partner to the stage, and Page informed us that she had just recently, 3 or 4 months ago found out she had breast cancer and has set up a Facebook page (which I will try get the link for and post here) for it. He went on to say, you can't let things get you down, and that he could easily sit there and wallow in self pity saying Cancer has the better of them, or you can be positive, and say "Fuck Cancer you little bitch get out of here!" and get on with your life.

I can't describe how much more respect I have for DDP after this night. The guy is what everyone says he is, he is positively Page. He made a good point right after this saying that you need to change your physiology if you want to feel better, things such as putting your shoulders back and sitting straight - simple things can make all the difference, and I've heard this before in other places - and it's true.

Another random quote that he said that really stuck out for me, among all the other nuggets of wisdom that he shared with us throughout the night was, "Your history, doesn't define your Destiny." Think about that for a minute. I know I did. Felt the BANG of that quote.


How can I describe "BANG! An Audience With Diamond Dallas Page" other than Legendary? It was like going to a Tony Robbins seminar, but with everything being explained in wrestling terms. Just the way you want it! On top of that we were able to meet him before the show and get some merchandise signed - and he was really friendly with everyone. Very few people can say that they briefly held the WCW World Heavyweight Championship either XD What more could you ask for? Plus an invite to breakfast!

I hope I've done his stories some justice by re-telling them as accurately as I can, because a lot of them were really inspiring. It's one thing to read about it, and it's something completely different hearing them being delivered by the man himself. Especially with us sitting in 2nd row, it felt like we spent some really good quality time with DDP. I remember at one point, he'd forgotten the story he was telling and he said, "You guys gotta help me out here.." and I shouted, "nightclub.." he followed up with, "Nightclub... No still nothing.." and laughed. Probably up there with one of the best storytellers, his voice had you hooked listening to him. When the evening began he told us that he would affect our lives before the night was over, and he did. So many uplifting stories, following recurring themes of positive thinking & improving the quality of your life - There should be more people in the world like Diamond Dallas Page. Did I mention that he said that he's looking to make DDPYoga a household name in 3-5 years?

Diamond Dallas Page - a shining beacon of legendary positivity, can't say enough good things about this man, and if you ever get a chance to attend one of his spoken word tours or anything similar, make sure you go and feel the BANG! First hand. Possibly one of my favourite stops on the Road to WrestleMania XXX, and most probably this isn't the last we've heard of DDP on our journey...

The @RoadtoWM30 Post Show Vlog:
Just wanted to leave you guys with a little video blog we did right after the show was over - As always, We #Hope2EntertainU /-)

Thanks for taking the time to read,
There's plenty more to come! /-) #Hope2EntertainU
Mau (06/03/14) 00:30

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