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Where Are They Now? Diamond Dallas Page
Gulf War veteran Arthur Boorman was told he would never walk without assistance after injuring his knees and gaining weight upon returning from Iraq. Years of para-jumping took its toll and Boorman struggled for 15 years until he discovered DDPYoga. Following 10 months of the intense routine, the former paratrooper lost 140 pounds and can now walk and run on his own power.
Boorman's inspirational story draws strong parallels to DDP's career and his motivations for creating DDPYoga. When WWE.com spoke to the three-time WCW Champion in 2009, he detailed the reasons for developing the program, then still in its infancy as YRG Fitness.
Even now, after leaving the squared circle, Page is still proving that he can succeed in every element of his life as a founder of DDPYoga, an inspirational speaker and an actor.
After originally attempting to enter the squared circle in 1978, Page's dreams of becoming an in-ring warrior were quickly thwarted by a knee injury.
"I hurt my knee after three matches [ in '78]," said Page. "I knew nothing. I knew less than nothing. And then I started running nightclubs, and that became my life."
It would be another 10 years - 1988 - when Page entered the ring again, this time as a manager.
"That's when Diamond Dallas Page was just a figment of my imagination," recalled the three-time WCW Champion. "I was in the AWA and they brought me in to be a manager. Then in Florida Championship Wrestling, Dusty [Rhodes] brought me in to be a manager and color commentator. Mind you, I did not know a wristlock from a wristwatch, but he put me with the great Gordon Solie, and I learned so much."
Perhaps foreshadowing a great career ahead, the WWE Hall of Famer got Page his first interview with WWE for a color commentator position. Acknowledging him as his mentor, Page says that without the "American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, there would be no DDP.
"I will never forget Lord Alfred Hayes pushing himself away from the table, looking at me and going, ‘Dallas, that was excellent. Where did you ever learn to do play-by-play like that?' And I told him, ‘I've been sitting next to Gordon Solie for the last two years; you're bound to learn something.'"
Unfortunately for the Point Pleasant, N.J., native, a position at the announce booth was not in the cards for him. Yet even though he was not hired, his journey was far from over.
"That's when Dusty Rhodes, who I had built a relationship with in at Florida Championship Wrestling, came back in," Page stated. "In WCW, Dream brought me in as a manager of The Freebirds. Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin, two of the best talkers of the '70's and '80s, Michael and I were friends, and he knew I could talk, so he said, ‘You talk for us.' What a compliment, right?"
Soon enough, Page would lead The Freebirds to tag team gold while establishing a stable that would include The Freebirds, Big Daddy Dink, The Diamond Dolls and The Diamond Studd, Scott Hall. But that wasn't enough for DDP, as his love for the business had made him set his aspirations much higher.
"In living life at 90 percent, the formula is life is 10 percent of what happens to you and 90 percent of how you react to it," explained the DDPYoga founder. "In our personal and professional lives, we are constantly hit with one adversity after the other, most of which we have no control over. But the four things we have total control over is how we react, how we adapt, how we breathe and how we take action."
"All of my career, from this point on, I'm applying this concept of living life at 90 percent. No matter how bad or negative it gets, I somehow try to find the silver lining. I would continue to learn how to adapt to adversity."
Knowing he had his work cut out for him, DDP didn't back down from the challenge and took the opportunity to improve himself by training at WCW's Power Plant. Unfortunately, his hard work would be briefly halted due to a shoulder injury and subsequently being let go after his contract expired. Thankfully, thanks to Eric Bischoff rehiring him, Page had a second chance and would not take it for granted.
"[Bischoff] gave me the job as I was a good example of work ethic, passion and someone that cares about the business. Since they wouldn't really book me, I went down to the Power Plant every day I wasn't working. That's how you adapt to adversity."
"Even when I started to make it, I still kept going back," Page continued. "Until I was on the road 260 days a year-plus, I was still going to that Power Plant. For five years I went there, because that's how long it took me to get to the top."
Not only was it DDP's work ethic that led to him eventually making it to the top, but also an uncanny ability to market himself and his versatile crowd-pleasing finisher, the Diamond Cutter.
"What changed everything was when I came up with the Diamond Cutter, which was godfathered to me by Johnny Ace who was doing the Ace Crusher," he explained. "I made it Ace Crusher meets the DDT. I put a hold on you that Stephen Regal taught me called the Cravat. When I put that hold on you, unless you were Big Show, you weren't getting out of it, and I would take it from 50 different directions so you never knew where it was coming from. The fans love to be surprised."
With himself marketed and his finisher being popular with the fans, it was only a matter of time before Page would be on top of the mountain. When and where that moment would come, however, wasn't known. Thankfully, a couple of relationships that DDP had developed over the years would soon help put him over the top.
"Relationships are everything; a lot of people say it's who you know and who knows you. I believe it's all about who is willing to step up and say they know you. Who's willing to put their name on the line for you. I did that for Scott Hall and Kevin Nash at various times, and later on, they would do it for me, when I needed it the most."
These very relationships ended up being critical in putting DDP on the map, as it was the combination of those two men and an idea that Page had conjured up himself that would lead to one of the biggest moments in his career, as well as in WCW at that time. After weeks of Nash & Hall trying to recruit him into the New World Order, it all came to a head at the Superdome in New Orleans.
"It was my two buddies. They came in and gave me the [n.W.o.] shirt. People looked at me, and when I put the shirt on, it was like the air came out of the building," Page remembered. "I hug Kev, he hugged me and turns back to me. I grab Scotty's hand and hug him, and he tries to pull away. I pull him back in and Bang! The Diamond Cutter. The roof exploded. Kev came back at me, and I threw him over the top rope and took off through the people for the first time. That was the beginning of my ride, and it just got hotter and hotter."
That began some bad blood with the n.W.o., and ultimately "Macho Man" Randy Savage, which helped cement DDP's spot on top. With his rivalry with Savage putting Page at the top of his game, the years of hard work and determination were finally paying off for the 41-year-old wrestler.
"At the end of '98, I ruptured my L4 and L5 discs so badly that three different doctors told me my wrestling career was over," explained DDP. "I'm all about adapting to the situation, but I didn't know what to do to be honest. Around that time my wife said to me ‘Why don't you do to yoga to heal your body?'"
Though skeptical, the former World Champion had no choice but to give it a chance, as he'd just signed a top deal with WCW before he was sidelined.
"Out of necessity, I started to do some yoga DVD's by Bryan Kest," said Page. "I was blown away by how much my body started to change. Within three weeks, I was starting to get some flexibility back. I started to get some strength back. I was literally amazed."
And soon, he would take the yoga DVDs, change the workouts and really make them his own.
"The reality was, yoga wasn't giving me the intensity I needed, so I started adding in slow motion movements with what I would later call Dynamic Resistance - the engaging of muscles as you move from one position to another. It jacks your heart rate up, putting you in the fat burn zone while standing still. Within three months, because of this, I was back in the ring."
Over the next three years, Page continued to develop this system and still does today as well, always looking to make it better.
Without this system, DDP's career could have very well been over, but thanks to YRG, he was able to not only continue his rise in WCW, but successfully transfer over to WWE after Vince McMahon purchased the company.
Now, Page uses his notability and prominence to promote the system he's developed. Page has heard numerous success stories, some featured on DDPYoga.com Of these testimonials, one of the more amazing ones include that of Arthur Boorman, a disable war veteran, who lost 140 pounds in 10 months. More on Boorman can be seen at DDPYoga.com.
"It's changing lives all around," stated the creator. "It was never about weight loss, but because of the Dynamic Resistance and being able to get in the fat burning zone standing still, it is helping people lose weight ridiculously."
Available from DDPYoga.com, the workout regimen is available in three packages, beginner to intermediate, intermediate to advanced and a combo pack. There is also an "extreme" progran designed for professional athletes that has been used by football players, MMA competitors and WWE Superstars.
Being once dubbed the "hardest working man in professional wrestling," DDP is now continuing to use that same work ethic outside of the ring while making people's lives better. No matter what adversity he faced in the past, he used his positive attitude and determination to overcome it, and with a thriving acting and motivational speaking career alongside DDPYoga's success, DDP has successfully transitioned to life after retirement.