Exclusive: Diamond Dallas Page discusses Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, who the next top guy in WWE will be and dream opponents
Today, I had the pleasure of speaking with WWE Hall of Famer, three-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion WCW Triple Crown Champion, motivational speaker, actor and one of the most famous yoga instructors in the world - Diamond Dallas Page.
We spoke about a number of things, including his two-decade-spanning wrestling career, DDP Yoga, who he thinks is the next BIG thing as well as doing some pretty cool fantasy booking, too.
Dallas, one phrase that I think you epitomise is, "It's never too late." Whether it be through your wrestling career, starting wrestling in your mid-30s and joining WWE in your mid-40s - or whether it be preaching that message through how many lives you've changed or essentially saved through DDP Yoga. I think a lot of people go through a phase in life where they think, "Man, I'm too old, I've not accomplished what I wanted to." What advice would you have for them?
DDP: I just wrote a book that'll be out in January called Positively Unstoppable: The Art Of Owning It and it's pretty much based on your mindset. I get into nutrition and DDP Yoga and all that, too, but really everything's your mindset.
If you feel like, "Oh, God, I'm 40 years old," that sort of thing - do something. (HE LAUGHS) Pull your head out of your ass. That's really what it comes down to. Change the story you tell yourself. That's really what I focus on in Positively Unstoppable.
The "art of owning it" is owning whatever that is, whether it's your mindset, your fitness level, what you eat, what you do on a daily basis. You know, just like setting up yourself to win.
There's one thing you can't control - getting older. Unless you die. That's your choice. Bottom line is, I just turned 62 this month and I'm not preparing for 65 because that's going to be here tomorrow.
The other day, I was 42 years old. That's what it feels like. I'm preparing for 95 because I want to feel great.
You can't feel great all the time but I want to feel great as much as possible so again, it's all about mindset, and if anyone wants to know anything about my new book in January, I'm going to kick it off around the Royal Rumble, when I drop the book with Random House.
The reason I asked that was two-fold. I know you're big on Tony Robbins and I read your Letter To My Younger Self post, but with your wrestling career starting very late, it brings to mind another man who started out slightly younger than yourself but is on top of the game at an age where many would consider slowing down.
A man you know very well, AJ Styles, seems to me like he still has plenty of gas left in the tank, he's arguably THE best wrestler in the world. How much of his agility, ease of movement and conditioning is down to DDP Yoga, and how much longer do you think he has at the top?
DDP: Well, I think one of your very own... (I should mention I'm Scottish) ..Drew McIntyre drove seven hours from Tampa, Florida up to Atlanta, Georgia to work out with me. You've seen what's happening with Jericho, he's 47 and still going strong.
AJ is 40 right now, it's all about the preventative maintenance he does. He's doing DDP Yoga five days a week and that's the kind of thing that's going to keep him in the ring.
Who knows? He performs at such a high level, it'll be interesting to watch. All I know is, right now, he looks the same as he did at 24 - except for he's better.
So, I grew up in the glory days of WCW and at the perfect age to have mutual love for both WCW and WWE. One match I always dreamed of seeing was People's Champion vs People's Champion and I think you've previously said a match or feud with The Rock was on your wishlist. Do you think WWE missed the mark by debuting you as the "stalker" gimmick? Could you have had a lengthy feud, or even maybe teamed with, The Rock?
DDP: I think that the WWE at the time did exactly what they wanted to do. (HE CHUCKLES) They wanted to beat down WCW, and I get it. That is what it is. When it's all said and done, they still picked me up and put a Hall of Fame ring on my finger.
When it's all said and done, I'd have loved to have done People's Champion vs People's Champion, mainly because The Rock is the biggest star in the world. He's amazing.
But I had a great run. I was very blessed, so I focus on that rather than what could have been - because you can't change what could have been.
The run I had was amazing and it was a different time (in WWE) when we came in there. You can see what they just recently did with Goldberg.
When you look at the WWE Network, kids who are eight years old are huge fans of mine today because of the Network. When my wife and I were at Wales Comic Con, we had an amazing turnout.
Now we're doing the States and actually we'll get back over to the UK next April and do a bunch more, and DDP Yoga workshops, and people get to see us face to face, it's a lot of fun.
A quick bit of fantasy booking - if things were different and you went to WWE today, or any other promotion, who would be your dream opponent?
DDP: I would have always liked to have worked with Randy Orton because of the Diamond Cutter and the RKO.
I think if Randy was a heel. Randy's not at the top of his game anymore. He's still great in the ring, he looks great - he's just not featured.
He was featured for 15 years, he had a hell of a run, but I'd still love to work with him, even if it was today. I'm past that now, but if I could go back in time ten years, it would have been amazing.
Personally, I think a Daniel Bryan vs DDP feud would have been absolute money. How did you react when it was announced that he'd be returning to the ring?
DDP: Oh, man. I love Daniel Bryan, and we had a very similar career where they (WWE) didn't really believe in either one of us, and we both rose to a whole different level of stardom.
He's still going. I love watching him out there because he's the underdog who works harder than anybody out there so I have a really fond spot in my heart for that kid.
Onto DDP Yoga. My absolute favourite thing about it is how inclusive it is. DDP Yoga truly is for everyone - no matter age, gender or health condition. It breaks boundaries as a "fitness" programme and one of the most beautiful things about it is how diverse it is. You mentioned Drew McIntyre before. We have one thing in common - we're both Scottish - but I'm a not-very-tall, slightly unfit guy who spends his working day in a chair in front of a computer while Drew McIntyre is being a giant, mega-athletic WWE Superstar, it can help anyone - even people in their 60s, 70s or 80s. How did you manage to make it so diverse that it works for everyone?
DDP: It started when I was injured. I developed DDP Yoga for myself. My workouts are branded DDPY because I want people to stop calling it "yoga" period, because it's yoga for people who wouldn't be caught dead doing yoga.
I just created a whole series called DDPY: Rebuild, so if someone is so disabled that they can't get out of bed... "Oh, I can't do your workouts, I wish I could but I'm stuck in bed." Well, guess what? Now we've got three workouts in bed.
They're called Bed Flex. If you actually do the workouts, it'll build you. Now there's Chair Force Max where you don't need to get out of a chair, but they're going to strengthen your body to the point where you're able to get out of the chair and balance for our Stand Strong workouts.
So, it goes all the way from that all the way to beginner, intermediate, advanced, extreme workouts. Most top athletes can't do those. Not when they first start, cause they're not conditioned - so the biggest thing for someone like Drew McIntyre, who is a stud... When people say, "Who is your guy? Who do you think's going to be the next big star to come out of the new guys coming up?" There's no question. If Drew stays healthy, and that's why he drove up to Atlanta to work out with me, because he didn't want to know just from the DVDs or the app.
People say the DVDs aren't expensive, but the shipping and the customs. Don't even get the DVD! Get the DDP Yoga Now app. It costs nothing for shipping, nothing for customs plus you get seven days to try it.
If you don't like it, cancel it. If you like it, you keep moving forward. I tell everybody, DDP Yoga works if you work. If you're not going to put the time in, don't get it. Don't waste your money.
Everything's at DDPYoga.com whether you want the DVDs or the app. If you want the DVDs, you get three months on the app.
In five years, everything will be an app, there will be no more DVDs. You either learn now or later. It's like your music - it was a Walkman, then everyone had CDs, then it's the iPod, then it's your phone.
That's the way we set DDP Yoga up. DDP Yoga Now - any time, anywhere, and it's 20% off right now, so now's the time to get it.
Another great thing about DDPY is that it's, well, not easy - it's very grueling - but it's done in incremental steps, making it at least easy to start making it the perfect rehabilitation programme. I know you personally got into yoga to rehab a pretty severe injury. Was the focus always on having DDP Yoga be somewhat of a "rehabilitation" programme?
DDP: You know, I never thought about that. I knew when I healed, because I'm the first one I healed. I started wrestling when I was 35, my career took off when I was 40.
That was in 1996-1998 and I was on top of the world - then I blew my back out. I had three spine specialists tell me I was never going to wrestle again, so I'm a guinea pig. I don't tell anyone to do anything that I don't already do.
I knew once I healed myself that there was something there, then I knew at some point down the line that I would develop a system. It went from workouts to workouts and eating, to workouts, eating and inspiration.
Today, I am Tony Robbins meets Jack LaLanne, meets straight Richard Simmons. I help a lot of big people and help turn their lives around - but only if they're willing to put the work in.
One final, tough question and I'm sorry to ask it, but if someone said, "Dallas, you have to choose. You're being sent back in time and you can only choose one. What would you want your legacy to be - wrestling or yoga?
DDP: I don't think one exists without the other. 60% of the people who get our programme are wrestling fans because they trust me and they see what it can do. After they've seen Arthur's video, the disabled veteran after they've seen the Resurrection of Jake The Snake...
We've got a new movie coming out called Relentless and it's all about how I actually created this and how many adversities I had all the way through it.
All of a sudden, we were an eight-year overnight success. There were many years where it was never going to happen and I had hundreds of thousands of dollars of my own money in it, and it didn't look like it was going to happen.
I always say to people, "You only fail when you finally quit." If you never give up, then you never really fail because you're constantly working.
Sometimes it takes more than a week or a year, or five years or ten years, but I don't think there is a DDP Yoga without a Diamond Dallas Page wrestler.
What I did back then was super, super cool and on a whole different level, but what I'm doing today is life-changing.
It's the way I stay positive all the time. Not 100% of the time but maybe 90% and it's because we have Motivational Mondays every Monday on DDP Yoga.
I had to film a couple of them in a row because I'm going to be on the road and, long story short, I got this letter that I'm going to read at the end of this month that a woman wrote me and it is super emotional.
I get those letters like that all the time. I tell people, "Don't listen to a word I say about DDP Yoga. Listen to everyone else."
You've no idea how hard it is for people to chant "DDP," or "Stone Cold," or "Rocky," or "Hogan," or "Goldberg." To get people to chant your name. It's the same thing as online. You can't get people to write amazing things about you unless they are emotionally pulled in.
When they're emotionally pulled in, it's because you made them feel special by doing something for someone else.
There are so many sites. There's one members' site that has 23,000 people on it, all helping each other. Read what they write.
A huge thanks to Diamond Dallas Page for taking the time to speak to me. It was a true honour to speak to one of wrestling's greatest, and perhaps most unlikely, success stories and find out that he's just as great in person as he was on my television screen as a kid.