I recently purchased a few of WWE's WCW DVD releases: The Monday Night War, The Rise & Fall of WCW, and the two Best of Monday Nitro sets. As a die-hard wrestling fan, I'm somewhat ashamed to say that when I was a kid, I didn't start to watch World Championship Wrestling on a regular basis until the year 2000 when I was eight years old because I considered myself to be on WWE's side of the "Monday Night Wars". By 2000, WCW's best days were already behind them and as everybody knows, WCW was purchased by WWE in March of 2001, so I never truly appreciated WCW for what it was when I was a kid. But over the years I've become very familiar with WCW and I really enjoy going back and watching old WCW footage.
My recent DVD purchases were hardly my first samples of the old WCW. I have a bunch of wrestling DVDs and I also spend a fair amount of time watching wrestling videos on YouTube, Dailymotion, etc. But lately though, I've started to think about one WCW star in particular who I feel never truly got everything he could have out of the wrestling business. I remember seeing a lot of him when I was a kid. He was in all of the WCW video games, he was in all of the wrestling magazines I would get at the store, and when I would occasionally tune in to WCW, he always seemed to be on my television screen. He had a cool finisher that I always enjoyed, the Diamond Cutter. He also had a great entrance theme called "Self High Five" by Jimmy Hart, an homage to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana. Although I was never very familiar with WCW when I was a kid, I was familiar with the former three-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, Diamond Dallas Page.
I'll never forget back in 2001 when DDP made his WWE/WWF debut as the man who was stalking The Undertaker and Taker's now ex-wife Sara. DDP came out to the arena on a motorcycle much like The Undertaker was doing at the time and was wearing a ski mask. I couldn't wait to find out who the stalker was. When he stood in the middle of the ring and took off the ski mask, I remember going absolutely nuts and screaming my head off, "OH MY GOD! IT'S DDP! IT'S DDP! DDP CAME TO THE WWF! I CAN'T BELIEVE DDP CAME TO THE WWF!"
I'm sure that many longtime wrestling fans remember that moment just as well as I do.
Unfortunately though, DDP's career in the WWF/WWE wasn't anywhere near as memorable as his time in WCW. He ended up retiring in 2002 after suffering a neck injury, as well as various injuries he had suffered throughout his career. As far as his WWE career goes, I remember him being Undertaker and Sara's stalker, and I also remember when he turned babyface and had a decent run as the WWE European Champion. I wish he would have had more success in WWE though, but his age was definitely against him. He was about 46 years old when his WWE career came to an end.
I was pleasantly surprised in November of 2004 when I was watching an episode of NWA-TNA Impact on FOX Sports Network and Diamond Dallas Page made his debut in TNA by coming out through the crowd and delivering a Diamond Cutter to Raven. I was a huge fan of TNA and what they were doing back then and I loved the fact that they had DDP and other legends such as Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Roddy Piper on their roster at the time. I was disappointed when I heard that DDP had parted ways from TNA in March of 2005. I was hoping that maybe they'd give him a run with the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
DDP's short run in TNA was pretty much the end of his in-ring wrestling career, and what a career it was. Looking back, it really is amazing what DDP was able to accomplish in WCW considering how old he was. Page was born in 1956, meaning that he was 43 years old when he won his first WCW World Heavyweight Championship at the 1999 WCW Spring Stampede pay-per-view. Page wasn't just a three-time World Champion in WCW, he was a Triple Crown and Grand Slam Champion, having held the World Heavyweight Championship, the Tag Team Championship, the World Television Championship, and the United States Heavyweight Championship. Another amazing aspect of DDP's career was how well he moved around in the ring despite his age. He had a lot of great matches in WCW and was as good of a performer as any of the other WCW main event stars of the time.
When I think of WCW and 90's wrestling as a whole, one of the first people I think of is Diamond Dallas Page. If you go back and watch the footage, DDP was as popular of a star as anybody else in the business at the time and was one of a handful of WCW main eventers who did not previously come from the WWF. He worked hard for everything he accomplished in WCW and you could tell that he truly loved what he was doing and had a real passion for the business.
It really is a shame that a lot of WWE fans today may not remember DDP. He was one of the most recognizable wrestling stars of the 90's and early 2000's. He was good on the microphone, a solid in-ring performer, he had a legendary finishing move in the Diamond Cutter (now known as Randy Orton's RKO), a cool theme song, an incredible work ethic, all the traits of a top star. His meteoric rise through the ranks of WCW was nothing short of inspirational.
Today, DDP is well known for his revolutionary workout program simply known as DDP Yoga (I have the "MAX Pack" set and I love it!). As the tagline goes, "It Ain't Your Mama's Yoga!" I enjoy doing DDP Yoga and I just wish I had more time to do it. I often find myself waiting until the weekends to do my DDP Yoga if I don't have to work, and I find it to be a very good workout for me personally. I would recommend it to anybody.
As much as I enjoy DDP Yoga, that's not the first thing I think of when I think of Diamond Dallas Page. I personally will always remember DDP as a true inspiration for what he was able to achieve during his time in World Championship Wrestling. I'll remember the matches he had against guys like "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Bret "The Hitman" Hart, "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, Bill Goldberg, and many others. I'll remember seeing DDP team up with celebrities such as Jay Leno, Karl Malone, and David Arquette. I'll remember his Diamond Cutter hand gesture and how a lot of the fans in the arena would do it with him. I'll remember seeing him walk through the crowd after winning the World Heavyweight Championship.
I would say that the only negative about DDP's career was the fact that he was never able to have a good run in WWE. But he really doesn't have anything to be ashamed of. Anybody who watched WCW back in the 1990's and early 2000's will always remember Diamond Dallas Page as being one of WCW's elite competitors. The word "legend" gets thrown around a lot in the wrestling business, but DDP was, and still is, a true WCW legend.