Chris Jericho and AJ Styles are rivals, days away from WrestleMania 32.
Gearing up for the premiere WWE event they share a similar method of training and preparation. The two are firm believers in DDP Yoga, created by veteran superstar Diamond Dallas Page. The former world champion has changed the lives of many within pro wrestling and outside of it through his all-inclusive health and fitness system.
The DDP Yoga brand has grown exponentially in past years with diverse workouts, eating plans and a full line of products, as well as appearances on Shark Tank and The Doctors. The master of the Diamond Cutter recently even opened a DDP Yoga Performance Center in Smyrna, Georgia.
Page couldn’t be more proud of watching so many impacted by his endeavor.
“It’s amazing,” he said, gearing up for WrestleMania week.
“Shawn Michaels is the first guy I really helped in the business. He mentioned me helping Chris [Jericho] out. Then I got to Chris. I sent him this video of a disabled veteran. When he saw that success story, he called me up and said, ‘You tell me what to do and I’ll do it.’ Five weeks, he is completely pain-free. Three months later he is one of the headliners with CM Punk at WrestleMania. They even put DDP Yoga into that angle.
“And the only reason I found out about AJ being hurt was through Chris. He gave me his contact. AJ happens to live here, near Atlanta. I said, ‘AJ, get in your car and come and see me. I’ll give you the DVDs, the app. I want you to come here. I want to work with you and see where you are.’ He was hurting, and he could have wrestled with it. But he could have really hurt himself continuing. Once I helped him with the back and get rid of that pain, he could start healing. That’s why those two can go out there and rip the roof off at WrestleMania.”
Even after all he accomplished in WCW and WWE, DDP enjoys watching pro wrestling as a fan. He is looking forward to Shane McMahon’s return to action against The Undertaker in Hell in a Cell. Page is also anticipating another standout effort from WWE World champion Triple H against Roman Reigns.
“I was blown away when Shane McMahon came back,” he said.
“Shane comes from an era that dominated wrestling. He was going out there and every time he had a match, there wasn’t a time he didn’t rip the roof off. He puts his body on the line. The fans have really come to appreciate that. They get it. First of all, fans are happy he is back because, like his old man and sister, he is a super entertaining character. So I think the people love the fact he is back there. It’s all about getting the fans involved.
“Triple H is a face of the company,” Page continues. “He is just fine staying in the office, but when he is needed, he comes out. He is going to do his best to get that match over. I don’t remember the last match that wasn’t a great match that he was in. Again, there is a guy who tore his quads and kept wrestling. Still to this day I don’t know how. For all the injuries they’ve had, they’ve pieced this card together. WrestleMania is its own animal. It’s the Super Bowl. They have 84,000 tickets pre-sold. That was a week or two ago. They are going to break the record. It’s no question. That’s crazy, but it’s the Super Bowl. Just being on the card and being able to get any kind of an entrance out there is huge.”
Page appreciates Reigns drive and passion. With the main event superstar having some issues resonating with live crowds, DDP has some advice he would give WWE creative.
“I love the kid, as a person,” he said.
“He got over so fast. The people were really behind him in The Shield, like big time. Everybody saw that. He was the chosen one out of the three. That’s why the company went with him. Then they pushed him too hard, and the people turned on that. It reminds me of a guy named Rocky Maivia. The Rock was one of the most special characters ever. The biggest star in the world right now is one of us. He’ll be at WrestleMania to make the event special, no matter what he does. If I was booking, I would do the same thing they did with Rocky Maivia. I would turn his ass heel. I mean completely. That is what I would do.”
Another part of the WrestleMania festivities DDP is anticipating is the WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Page is happy to see the Fabulous Freebirds finally getting their moment. Before his wrestling career really got underway, the upstart served as manager for the team in WCW.
“The Birds and the Von Erich’s owned Dallas,” he said.
“They will be talking about that feud 50 years from now, because wrestling will still be here in some, shape or form. Those guys together lit it up. The Birds were over no matter where they went. They were as good as it got. My best feud ever was me and [Randy] Savage. That was as good as it got. Michael P.S. Hayes is one of my dearest friends. I’m glad Jimmy Jam [Garvin] gets to go in too, because he is one of the Birds. It’s about time. I’m very happy for Michael because it killed him when he didn’t get inducted in Atlanta. That was his spot. But Dallas is his spot, too. Stan Hansen going in is also, which is awesome. Another guy who should have been in a few years earlier, but it’s all great.”
Page isn’t in the WWE Hall of Fame just yet, but his contributions to the industry truly make him more than worthy of the honor. However, a highlight for him was witnessing Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Scott Hall’s inductions two years ago. It’s a story of triumph for Page, who helped take them from the depths of despair and on the verge of succumbing to their demons to being able to get their life back.
Their journey is chronicled in The Resurrection of Jake the Snake, an acclaimed documentary screened at film festivals and screened across the country. The project is now available on iTunes and through other digital outlets. Page’s favorite reviews come from the non-wrestling fans. These are the ones who have come away with a newfound respect for professional wrestling and the sacrifices made by everyone involved.
“Jake Roberts has really come full circle, which I didn’t know if he ever would,” Page said.
“After he got a complete year sober, the fog started to lift for Jake. Within a year-and-a-half to two years in, and I don’t know this Jake Roberts. I do, but I don’t. This is the Jake Roberts he always wanted to be. Aurelian Smith wanted to be this guy who was confident, loved himself and gave back to people. One of the first things I did with Jake and Scott Hall when they were in this depressed mode was to get them to help somebody. If you want to feel better about yourself, help somebody. You just do. If you’re a good person, you’re going to feel good about yourself.
“People always put me over for what I did for him, but I helped my buddy. He did all the work. Scott did all the work. I was just their guide. Both of those guys helped me a lot in my career. Scott Hall, if he didn’t take that Diamond Cutter in WCW after I refused to join the NWO, my career would be completely different. I know that. I’m one of those guys who don’t forget. I never forget people who helped me. We help each other. To help Jake and Scott was helping me.”
Given the way Page looks and moves these days, it’s hard to believe he is approaching his 60th birthday. He says the DDP Yoga program has never been about weight loss. DDP calls that a side effect. For him, it’s more about healing and strengthening your body.
“If every single one of the boys were doing DDP Yoga four days a week, probably only 20 percent of them on the shelf right now would be hurt, as opposed to the number of guys that are hurt. That’s another thing you have to put in your toolbox and have to do, but I tell them to not do cardio and do this. Jericho only does my workouts and look at him. It’s amazing. You have never seen Dustin Rhodes (Goldust) move the way he has moved in the last four years. It’s amazing.
“I know what 60 looked like to me when I was 30. I thought that was old. I’m writing a book now called Own Your Life. It’s all about owning it. I’m talking about it from what you put in your body to how you move around to the story you tell yourself. I can pretty much do what I want to do. I can show up at WrestleMania and have a match at 60. It would be a match that would tear the house down if I was given the time and right opponent. Now, would I want to do that every day? Hell no, I’d be crippled. But I’m saying I can do it.”
- Meet DDP 6-8 p.m. Thursday, March 31 and 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturday, April 3 during WWE Axxess at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas.
- DDP Yoga is also hosting a special WrestleMania Workshop 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sunday, April 3. Visit www.DDPYogaWorkshops.com for more details.
- WrestleMania week is filled with a slew of programming on USA Network. For the first time ever, USA announced expanded access to WrestleMania between March 31 and April 7. This includes a special SmackDown episode with live segments, as well as a live, one-hour broadcast of the official live WrestleMania kickoff 6 p.m. ET Sunday, April 3. There is also a movie marathon featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. A one-hour broadcast of the WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony will air 10 p.m. ET Thursday, April 7 after SmackDown.
- WWE Network will be offering enough content to keep you on the couch leading into WrestleMania. There is “Thank You Daniel,” spotlighting Daniel Bryan as part of its WWE 24 documentary series, Legends with JBL with incoming Hall of Famer Michael Hayes, NXT, WWE Ride Along and Stone Cold Podcast Live! With Mick Foley. NXT TakeOver: Dallas is set for 10 p.m. ET Friday, April 1. The WWE Hall of Fame coverage begins with a red carpet special and then the ceremony an hour later 8 p.m. Saturday, April. 2. The WWE Network kickoff for WrestleMania begins 5 p.m. Sunday, April 3. Then its WrestleMania 32 live 7 p.m. from AT&T Stadium.
- For full listings and more details on everything WrestleMania, visit WrestleMania.com.
- Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN.