When World Wrestling Entertainment inducts its latest star-studded crop of influential figures into its hall of fame next month, one name you won’t see among them is Diamond Dallas Page. Not yet, at least.
But a piece of the former wrestling great will be enshrined among the immortals when his friend Jake (The Snake) Roberts takes his rightful place among the legends.
With Page’s help, Roberts has escaped what can only be described as the claws of death to find himself not only in the best shape he’s been in decades, but poised to be recognized for his lifelong contributions to pro wrestling.
Roberts made a memorable and triumphant return home to the WWE a couple of months ago during WWE’s Raw Old School episode. It was a homecoming that just 18 or so short months ago, seemed unthinkable.
At that time, Roberts was battling a drug and alcohol addiction that was killing him. Roberts himself has admitted he was contemplating suicide. Enter DDP, a longtime friend and former protégé. Page asked Roberts to move to Atlanta to his home, and commit to getting better using Page’s DDPYoga.
In just 18 months, Roberts was transformed from a near cripple into to the man wrestling fans came to know and love during his illustrious career.
That transformation culminated, in a way, at Raw Old School, when Roberts shocked the wrestling world by walking down the ramp at the end of Raw in one of the most memorable comebacks in wrestling history.
It was a night, Page said, that won’t soon be forgotten.
“No one knew (Jake) was there,” Page said. “They stuck him in a bus and they brought him into the Gorilla position, his head and shoulders were covered with a bag, and you couldn’t see who it was. It was funny watching the reaction of the all the younger people, all of the WWE superstars today because their faces, they lit up, so it was really cool. It was a great moment.”
In many ways, Page said, it was like a mission accomplished moment.
“This whole journey, the movie — this documentary we’ve been filming for 18 months now , The Resurrection of Jake The Snake — and the Hall of Fame (induction was about) Jake being able to go out on his own terms. That’s what this whole journey’s been about. DDPYoga is a part of it, a lot of the messages I teach are a part of it.”
But Page refuses to take all of the credit.
“I’m just a guide,” he said. “Just like was just a guide for me when I was wrestling. He could tell me the things that would work and wouldn’t work, but I had to do them, figure out how to make them happen.”
That night on Raw, Page says, was one he’ll never forget.
“It was pretty cool man. I walked over to Vince McMahon, where he sits and does all of his stuff over the headsets and everything, and I reached across and I shook his hand and I said, ‘thank you so much, Vince, I really appreciate it.’ ”
Page himself was also featured in the Old School Raw show, in a funny segment that saw him promote his DDPYoga. The significance of that opportunity is not lost on Page.
“Vince McMahon did me a super solid, allowed me to do what I did, on his TV. And then for Jake to come out the same night, (it) couldn’t have been any better.”
In a day and age when keeping things under wraps is extremely difficult, Page said only a handful of people knew Jake was going to be on the show.
“The only people who knew that I know of were Triple H, of course Vince knew, Mark Carrano, who’s the head of talent relations, I think Johnny Ace knew and that was it, it was on a need to know basis. And I’m sure Kevin Dunn, the director, knew.”
Roberts has fast become the poster boy for Page’s DDPYoga, easily its most well-known success story. Page’s creation has quickly become a household name. Asked if he ever stops to think about how far he’s come with his program, he admitted “sometimes,” with a chuckle.
But so confident was Page that he had a hit on his hands, that even a few years ago, he could see success on the horizon.
“I said it about three years ago, and I started saying because I felt it was going to happen, that DDPYoga was going to overshadow everything I did in professional wrestling. That was a bold statement three years and I had a pretty fucking amazing career.”
Success stories like that of Roberts get a lot of attention, for obvious reasons, but sometimes even DDP himself is surprised by the power of his DDPYoga.
“I was in San Diego, and I was at a home show. My girl was with me and she wanted to meet one of her girlfriends there so we were just walking around, and we come across this guy who was selling (cooking) pans,” Page said. “I don’t know what you know about aluminum pans or Teflon pans or just how bad they are for you and your health. Teflon chips off and goes into the food. Long story short, these pans are ridiculously expensive, the best pans that there are, and I’m listening to the guy and I’m like fucking buying the whole batch. We’re talking and I said, ‘you don’t know who I am.’ I said ‘I was a professional wrestler who developed this workout, DDPYoga.’
“He goes ‘DDPYoga … my mother-in-law does that.’ His mother-in-law is in her 60s. He goes ‘Oh my God, I’ve got an autograph from you.’
“And I think he’s still bullshitting me, right.’ He’s already made the sale. I said ‘let’s call her right now.’
“He goes ‘you’d do that? Oh my God.’ He picks up the phone and he calls her. He goes ‘I’ve got someone who wants to talk to you.’
“I went ‘hey mom, it’s DDP.’ And she started laughing and she goes ‘I just spent 30 minutes with you.’ That was crazy man.”
Another former wrestler who Page helped, even having him move into his so-called Accountability Crib with Page and Roberts is Scott Hall, who is also being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame alongside Roberts. While Hall no longer lives with Page, he’s still succeeding at conquering his demons, according to Page.
“Scott’s still got a positive attitude. He hits some downs like everybody does. He’s doing way better than he was a year ago,” Page said.
“He’s down the street, he didn’t go too far. He’ll still come in for workouts. He’s a loner, you know. So is Jake, too, but Scotty a little moreso. He’s spending a lot of time with his son, overall still doing good.”
Coincidentally, Page predicted Hall would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame during this interview, which was conducted last month.
And no DDPYoga success story discussion is complete with a chat about Dustin (Goldust) Runnels, who has also used the program to get back into shape and resume his storied career. Even DDP himself was stunned by how great Runnels looks.
“Pretty amazing,” Page said. “When I saw him wrestling, with Cody, I thought they were a very explosive tag team. You can tell they’re brothers. I watched him in the ring, I was blown away by the way he was moving at 44. I was moving like that when I was 44, but I had this workout too. Not many guys can move around like that at 44.”
The next step for Page will be a big one, as he’s planning to launch his own web-based network.
“We are in the developmental stages for developing what I’m going to call the Netflix of fitness,” he said. “It’s going to be a subscription-based program that, for $7.99 or $9.99 a month, you’ll get all of my workouts, plus another probably 25 workouts I have in the can. Workouts I developed strictly for Chris Jericho. Workouts I developed for MMA (fighter) Josh Barnett. Workouts that will be for people who are coming back from injuries … broken down moves where I really explain how to do this move so you know you have yourself aligned in the right position. And we’re going to have cooking,” he said, adding that there will be a downloadable app available that will also feature a number of live workouts each month.
While no one knows what the future holds, Page is just short of certain it won’t hold one more match for him. Ask if he thought he had one left in him, the soon to be 58-year-old admitted the odds were slim to none.
“Not really,” he said. “Only because I know it would really wear me out. My knees are rough. My back’s really strong, but it wouldn’t take much to blow that out, taking a couple of those crazy bumps. So I’m hoping that they never ask me,” he said with a laugh. “I really am.”
While Page all but closed the door on another match, he didn’t lock it and throw away the key.
“If I did, it would only be one guy, that would be Randy Orton, for all the obvious reasons,” adding that given Orton’s current status as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, it’s even more unlikely.
“Randy’s the man now. When he was down the card like he was a year ago, for whatever reason, it would’ve been perfect. But now, he’s the man again.”
Page also praised Orton.
To me, from the look, the rap, the believability, the way he sells, the way he works, I think he’s the best,” he said, adding that if he did work Orton, his preference would be to do so as a babyface.
Quickly, he again played down the possibility.
“I would put way too much into it,” he said. “Hopefully it will never be an opportunity.”
The subject again turns to Roberts’ looming Hall of Fame induction and whether he could be the one to induct his friend.
“It would be pretty cool,” Page confessed, “just because of our relationship. That’s on Jake, whatever Jake decides because it’s his moment. This is the pie-in-the-sky dream that Jake would be inducted into the hall of fame this year. When we started, my business partner Steve Yu, he’s the one who really manifested it, not knowing all the negative shit that Jake had done, we (knew) we would have a serious roller coaster ride with Jake over this, but that’s what makes it believable.”
And what about his own place among the immortals? Does DDP think he has a place in the hall of fame?
“I think at some point that’ll happen, somewhere down the line,” he said. “It’s not really important to me this year.
“You’re right, to a certain point,” he said. “A piece of me got inducted with Jake going in.”