During the height of the Monday Night Wars, Diamond Dallas Page ruled the professional wrestling industry as one of its most charismatic and popular performers. Despite starting his in-ring career at 35 years old, an age when most performers begin contemplating retirement, DDP enjoyed a successful run that compares to some of wrestling's all-time greats.
However, serious back injuries pushed the "Master of the Diamond Cutter" to create the now-revered DDPYoga fitness program; saving lives and inspiring others along the way. Yet, weeks away from his 60th birthday, DDP still manages to draw inspiration from those who moved him.
"I recently read a quote a couple months back that Muhammad Ali said and it wasn't 'float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,'" Page said in a phone interview a few weeks ago. "The quote was: 'The repetitions of affirmations leads to belief and once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.'"
Some of DDP's closest friends – mainly Jake "The Snake" Roberts and Scott Hall – were the poster bearers for horrors of the pro wrestling industry. Both men suffered through drug addictions, run-ins with the law and personal demons that supersede any pain they suffered in the ring. That's when DDP held tight to his belief of giving back to the men who helped him.
lucky I got only one good arm! RT @ddpyoga: Oh yeah... and this old man too http://t.co/B4RHEYcj @JakeSnakeDDT pic.twitter.com/ivPXXftzStarting with Roberts, DDP offered his former mentor a helping hand, using his DDPYoga program to do so. In the beginning, things looked bleak as an overweight and usually intoxicated Roberts needed the assistance of a chair for rudimentary physical tasks. However, DDP and his crew took a risk, filming Roberts' progress through a series of YouTube videos for the world to see.
— JakeSnakeDDT (@JakeSnakeDDT) January 29, 2013
While the journey included its fair share of stumbles and doubts, Roberts managed to right a ship that many thought was one pill or one can of beer from sinking. Now, people can view the entire journey through the a documentary entitled The Resurrection of Jake The Snake. The documentary is available through video on demand and more information can be found here.
The emotion, the vulgar language, and the sheer authenticity of the film resonates through the screen and the response from the audience corroborates.
"If you go iTunes and you check the reviews and see what the people are saying, there's 280 reviews and 275 of them were five-star ratings," said Page. "There were also 200 written reviews about why they loved the movie, which is really powerful.
"Some of my favorites were the people who said 'I'm not a wrestling fan and I didn't know what to expect when I saw this.'Roberts' decision to turn his life around eventually brought Hall into the mix.
"The movie itself is dark but it's also funny at times and it'll make you cry. The most important thing to me is that it inspires people."
The days of "The Bad Guy" running roughshod through the wrestling world as "Razor Ramon" or the founder of the legendary nWo stable are done. Yet, both he and Roberts are now immortalized forever.
As their lives improved, Hall and Roberts found themselves back in the WWE Universe. Years of demons and bad press alienated them from their former homes. Now, they're WWE Hall of Famers, as both men were inducted as part of the class of 2014.
"At some point, I'm sure it's going to happen, I don't know how it couldn't but you never know," said Page. "It's not something I really focus on, I know that I should be in there but when it happens, it happens. It's not a big deal."
A HOF induction would cap off a career that has been rejuvenated without DDP stepping into the ring to wrestle. DDPYoga has become a popular workout regimen among numerous WWE superstars. In fact, the program has either prolonged or outright saved the in-ring careers of guys like AJ Styles, Chris Jericho, and Goldust.
The program has expanded with the launch of the DDP Yoga Now app, a subscription-based service that helps users keep track of their progress. The app makes it easier for people on-the-go to maintain their schedule while staying in shape.
DDP mentions former WWE superstars Edge and Beth Phoenix (who are married in real-life) that have benefited from the program. He also looks forward to meeting up with Paige, who is suffering from a spine issue to discuss her ailment during Wrestlemania 32 weekend.
In regard to his future, DDP is at peace with the possibility that his wrestling career is over. While he's made some in-ring appearances for WWE in recent years – including a brief cameo in the 2014 Royal Rumble – DDP has not wrestled a match since 2009.
There's one match that DDP still thinks about to this day but at this point, it's more fantasy than possibility.
"10 years ago, even eight years ago, I would've loved to have done RKO vs. Diamond Cutter because I think that would have blown the roof off," Page admits. "I've had my run, I had a great run...I was blessed."
DDP isn't the only WCW legend who infiltrated the WWE system. After decades of speculation and dreaming, "The Icon" Sting made his in-ring debut at Wrestlemania 31 last year, losing to Triple H. He went on to wrestle a couple more matches, notably losing to Seth Rollins at Night of Champions last year, suffering a potentially career-ending back injury.
"I was surprised he [Sting] didn't have that in his contract, to be honest. He was still pushed through the rafters up there but they're never gonna put him on the same level as the top guys there.
"I think he still got a hell of a push, I would have loved his push [laughs]."Aside from Sting, DDP's own WWE stint showed that the company will never put a WCW guy over their homegrown competitors. Also, after years of DDPYoga and retirement, DDP's body and mind are in a good place and do not need the rush of a match to be stimulated.
By the same token, the right pitch and the right offer could change his thinking.
"The last thing in the world I want is an invitation to do that [a match with Randy Orton] because I might be stupid enough to do it."
[Featured Image via WWE]