Q&A with Diamond Dallas Page
Diamond Dallas Page is a three-time WCW world heavyweight champion and was one of the biggest stars of the wrestling boom from a decade ago. Since his wrestling career ended a few years ago, he has become an actor and a motivational speaker. And now he has added “fitness guru” to his resume.
Page is the architect of YRG (Yoga For Regular Guys), and his hybrid of traditional yoga, calisthenics and isometric exercises has resulted in some amazing transformations. YRG’s most dramatic success story is Arthur Boorman of Brooklyn (Md.), who went from 340 pounds to 156 pounds by doing YRG and following an eating plan designed by Page.
I spoke to DDP over the phone recently about YRG and, of course, wrestling.
It’s been well documented that Kimberly, who was your wife at the time, got you into yoga, and that helped you in your wrestling career …
I wouldn’t say helped. I had three doctors tell me my career was over.
OK, maybe helped is understating it.
Yeah (laughs). My three-year multi-million dollar deal was going to go away. I started doing yoga, which I quickly started to change and adapt. Within the first month, I was already modifying a lot of the workout and doing it on my own. That’s when I threw in old-school calisthenics – pushups, squats, crunches – doing a slow-burn movement. And then you add in isometrics. That’s what jacks your heart rate up and gets you in a fat-burning zone.
The most amazing success story of YRG is Arthur Boorman. What goes through your mind when you see something that dramatic occurring because of YRG?
Two words: Anything’s possible. Anybody that buys the [YRG] DVDs gets an e-mail from me. Arthur was one of the people who really needed some help, so I wanted to know more about him. And that’s when I found out that he was a disabled veteran, he has three kids and he works 70 hours a week as a special educator teaching kids and adults how to read. I grew up with ADD [Attention Deficit Disorder] and dyslexia. I was reading at a third-grade level until the age of 30 before I made the decision that I was going to learn how to read. Now I’m helping a guy that could have helped me learn how to read. How weird is that?
When he sent me his first two pictures, I was like, “Oh, my God. How do I help him?” I’m looking at a picture of him right now wearing his size 48-inch pants, and now he has a 30-inch waist. I sent him the eating plan, and I knew it was going to take a lot of discipline. He sent me back four powerful words. He didn’t say “I’ll give it a try.” He didn’t say “I think I can do it. He said “I can do this.” That’s all he sent me. I sent him back an e-mail saying, “Send me your phone number.” And what I ended up doing is calling him up and basically telling him, “Dude, at this rate, going the way you’re going, you ain’t going to live that much longer.” And he knew it.
He had gone to a yoga studio and said, “Is there a class you have that I can taker?” You know what they told him? They said, “We can’t. We’re not geared to help someone like you.” Now he teaches YRG in a yoga studio – at the hardcore level, too. This guy works 70 hours a week. So when people tell me “I can’t,” “I don’t have time,” “I’m too beat up,” I just go, “Oh, really?” (laughs) I do a little YRG segment at my speaking [engagements] where I show where my flexibility is today and I pull my foot over my head while I’m standing there talking to them. I say, “And I’m 52 years old, so you can’t tell me that you’re too beat up or you’re too old.” Then I show Arthur, who is the hero of my inspirational speaking talk.
Tell me about the mental aspect of YRG.
I had to help Arthur reprogram the way he thinks. With every DVD comes the Own Your Life audio book. The concept is that 10 percent of life is what happens to you, and 90 percent is how you react to it. These are all things that I applied when I became a wrestler at 35; tore my rotator cuff at 36. Everyone told me I would never get my job back and that I was never going to make it. I came back at 37. At 40 I went through the roof. It’s that tenacity not to take no for an answer. It’s a belief that all that hard work is going to pay off. Most people stumble and fall and they go, “Oh God, I can’t do this.” You’re right, you can’t. Unless you get the [heck] back up and do it again.
I know you are usually involved in several projects at once. What’s going on with your acting career and the motivational speaking?
I spoke recently in Tucson, Ariz., to a corporation called Click Automotive, which owns 15 car dealerships. I not only spoke to them about my concept of living life at 90 percent, but on top of that I took them through my breakout YRG presentation, where I’ll talk about the YRG benefits for about 20 minutes to a half an hour, and then take them through a workout. Within that same month, I did an independent movie in Detroit called Red and Blue Marbles. I filmed four episodes for John Schneider of Dukes of Hazzard and Smallville fame – he has his own show called Twentysixmiles. I play a recurring character in the show.
How much, if at all, are you involved with wrestling at this point? Are you doing any independent shows?
No. They call me all the time. I really can’t take the chance of getting hurt. I’m in too good of shape. I don’t want the chance of anything stupid happening. I mean, you see John Cena going to armdrag somebody and he tears his biceps. You know, I’m 52 years old; he’s 26, or whatever he is [laughs].
I think he’s 30 [actually 31].
He’s 22 years younger than me. I don’t need to prove anything in that ring anymore. I’ve done all that.
Are you still watching wrestling at all?
I watch it occasionally.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the business?
I think it’s going through a transition. Everybody wants to say it’s not what it was, blah, blah, blah. Well right now a lot of these new fans that come on, they don’t really know who these new guys are because there are so many new guys. But there are a lot of talented kids out there. I think Edge has come into his own; he’s a phenomenal performer. The thing that I love the most about Edge is that he was that kid at WrestleMania who wanted to be a wrestler more than anything. I love that he’s rising to the top. I was the first top name that he ever went over on. Of course, Vince [McMahon] wanted it like that. To me, I was like, “Hey dude. I’m happy to do you the favor. Plenty of guys did it for me.” I like Batista because he’s very charismatic and he doesn’t have to raise his voice. He’s got that smile and he’s got that swagger, and he’s all jacked up. I like Randy Orton a lot, too.
I remember a conversation I had with you about five years ago when you mentioned that you had a tryout with WWE in 1990 to be a color commentator, and that you might be interested in returning to wrestling at some point to do color. I thought about that about nine months ago or so when JBL vacated his seat at the announce table on Smackdown. I thought you were one of the guys who could have filled that role. Do you still have interest in doing that?
Not today. At some point? Absolutely. [WWE executive producer] Kevin Dunn said I was the next Jesse Ventura. Kevin Dunn is great at what he does. I really consider it an honor coming from him because he has seen them all. When I did do color [in WCW], I know what the [heck] I’m talking about. And I’m not going to get overly excited about something that’s not exciting. But if it is, I’m going to make you feel it through the TV. Back when I didn’t know what the [heck] I was saying, I was [somewhat] interesting to listen to, without having the pedigree of being a three-time world champion. Bradshaw came be as annoying as [anything] to listen to, but he’s a really good heel. His character is not a real stretch for him [laughs]. He’s a guy that I actually really like to watch now. He’s a heel in an old-school way.
I don’t think I’ll ever be out of wrestling, because I was that kid at 8 years old that dreamed of being a world champion. At some point I see myself doing something; I just don’t know when. And I’ve thought about doing color. Right now it’s not in my sights because of all the [stuff] I’ve got going. If YRG turns into what I believe it’s going to, it’s going to dwarf what I did in wrestling.
Any final thoughts?
If you want to see where Diamond Dallas Page is today, just go to my Web site, diamonddallaspage.com. It [ticks] me off how the media says, “After these guys get done wrestling, look at this death, and this death, and this guy lost everything.” That’s not the way it is all the way around. There are a lot of guys that are very successful. Go to diamonddallaspage.com and look at my Web site. What you see is what you get with me. There’s no smoke and mirrors on any of my [stuff].
Editor's note: To read Kevin Eck's story on Diamond Dallas Page's "Yoga For Regular Guys" workout program, click here.