WWE Hall of Famer Diamond Dallas Page recently spoke to Inside the Ropes to talk all things pro-wrestling. Highlights can be found below.
On Drew McIntyre’s success as WWE champion:
I’m surprised it didn’t come earlier. I was really shocked when he went back because they’d push him – but not really. I remember telling people, “I think he’s going to be the biggest star in the world.” A year, year and a half later, it hadn’t happened yet. I remember people saying to me, “So, do you think Drew is still going to be the top guy?” I said, “Yeah, when they start letting him be himself.” He’s not a f***ing psychopath. First of all, he’s got a huge heart and the best work ethic – outside of me – that I’ve ever seen. When you drive seven and half hours to work with someone for four hours, and drive seven and a half hours back the other way, you’ve got a good work ethic. If you look at Stone cold Steve Austin, the Rock, Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Kevin Nash, DDP – it’s all us amped up. Unless you have to play a character, like Scott Hall. A lot of guys don’t want to do, outside of the ring, something they are not getting paid for, which is all the promotional stuff. Like, when you’ve got the mantle, when you’ve got the belt, and you carry the company, John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, they did non-stop PR. Drew is like, “Bring it.” Some guys complain about it. Drew is like, “No, give it to me. I WANT to do it. I WANT to be the face of the company. It’s really interesting because Drew is getting such an amazing reaction…when everybody left. I remember talking to him right before ‘Mania, and here’s his big main event moment. A lot of people are talking to him going, “Oh, dude. What a drag. You finally get your spot and no-one’s going to be there. That’s the sh**s.” Like, everybody was reacting like that. I reacted like, “Do you want to know why I think it’s amazing? Because this could be the only time this ever happens. Tell me who won the world title at WrestleMania 27, or 25, or 4, or 11. I’ll bet you 99% of the hardcore fans can’t tell you, but if you ask anybody five years from now, 2020, no-one will forget it was Covid. And if you say “Who won at WrestleMania?” 95% of the people watch wrestling will go, “Drew McIntyre won that title.” It made him special. That’s what I told him. I said, “Dude, this makes you unique, this makes you special and everything that happens moving forward is what makes you who you are.” and he’s doing this at a time where you go back to WrestleMania… Let’s take 29. Yeah, Netflix was out there and they were making a little bit of an impact. But there was no Amazon Prime or Hulu. Now there’s 40,000 different streaming services to watch. When I hear that, “Oh, wrestling is not doing the same numbers.” No-one is doing the same numbers. I think Drew is doing killer.
On the differences between the RKO and the Diamond Cutter and how the move has evolved over time:
I think Randy made it his own. Just like when Johnny Ace gave me the Ace Crusher and no-one had ever seen it. I made it my own. He used to take it with one arm and he would make the peace sign and kick out. I use the cravat because Steven Regal taught me that. And then, out of nowhere, that just came from watching Jake Roberts. I have a picture of Drew when he’s 15 at a workshop with Jake Roberts. Jake pointed at him and said, “That kid’s got potential to be a star.” He pointed him out. For me, starting at 35 and to finally get my positioning to where my career took off, and I was almost 41 at the time. In my 40s, I appreciated it so much and then to finally get that world title. I was in the ring with Flair and Hogan, and Sting. Three of the biggest names ever. I appreciated that at a different level. That’s what Drew’s going through right now. That’s why his work ethic is second to none. The really positive side is he’s not wrestling 24 days a month, he’s wrestling four. And for the wear and tear on his body, this is a really big deal. He’ll find other ways to stay unstoppable. I’m just glad when I see something in somebody. I saw it in Goldberg before. I met him in a strip joint six years before he ever did it. I just saw that guy as money. Kevin Nash, when he went in the Hall of Fame, he literally thanked me because he said, “Probably the reason I own my beachfront condo is DDP.” Because he was frustrated, he wanted to quit and I was like, “Dude, do not let these people, these bookers, these riders, don’t let them pull you down. Don’t let them beat you. You’re going to be one of the biggest names in the business.” there’s not many names that are bigger than Kevin Nash, and what he did. Then you add the business in, Kevin is in the top 1% of 1%. Probably the smartest businessman in the business. Period.
On his main event WCW title match with Goldberg at Halloween Havoc:
The first part of the memories, you have to understand that I was at WrestleMania 6 and I was Diamond Dallas Chauffeur. I literally drove the ’62 pink Cadillac with Peggy Sue, who was Sherri Martel, with Honky Tonk Man, Jimmy Hart and Greg Valentine. The main event was Warrior vs Hogan. Eight years later, Warrior comes into the company and he asks to speak to me and Goldberg. We hopped in one of those golf carts – because it’s an arena, so it was huge – we drove over to where his locker room was and, when we walked through the door, he gave us both a big hug and he said, “You guys are the reason I’m back because you’re having so much fun out there that it made me remember why I used to love the business.” That was pretty cool. I don’t think anybody could follow us that night. So, for me to go from driving the pink Cadillac to the ring, eight years later, to be sharing a main event spot that nobody wanted to follow, you know? That match with Goldberg, Goldie’s had some good matches since then but he ain’t ever had one that good. That’s one of my top four matches. And that night, I never knew it until later, But Dusty Rhodes went to Eric and said… [Impersonating Dusty] “You know, E, this night tonight could be Dallas’ night.” And Eric didn’t drop the strap on me that night because Goldie was going to be on Entertainment Weekly, big magazine in our country, and TV Guide, when that meant something, wearing the title the next day. What would have been great as if I’d have heard that. Oh, my God, I would have… Because it made sense for me to beat him. And it would have just bumped me up to that Austin level. It would have, really. Especially to beat him clean. It would have taken me to a different spot. Not that I’m not super happy with everything that happened in my life. The career I had was unbelievable and I’m super thankful for it, but if that would have happened, Goldie wouldn’t have had to get hit with a Taser and then the finish… That mortified him. It would have been a lot for him to swallow, me beating him, but the Diamond Cutter was so over at that time, you know, it would have really made sense – but that is what it is. To go back in time, it would have been fun but the match was still great. I always say, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you win or lose, on both sides.
How his one AEW match came about and whether he’ll wrestle again in the future:
God, I hope not. Cody is like my nephew. When Cody won both his state championships in wrestling, in shoot wrestling, I flew back from Los Angeles for both of them. We just interviewed Cody for a documentary we have coming out in about a month called Relentless. He talks in it about showing up, and when he first taught me about All In, I said, I know I told you I wasn’t doing any more Diamond Cutters but if you need me to do it, if it comes up, if there was a spot, I’ll do it. He just let that simmer, and about three days before All In, He said, “You still want to do that Diamond Cutter?” I said, “If you want me to.” He said, “I’ve got a spot.” I was like, “All right.” And then later on, we talked about me doing a match when they became AEW. I was kind of for it, then I started thinking about it, I called them back and I was like, “Hey, bro, I might have bitten off more than I can chew. I don’t know if I really want to do it. I feel really good right now, so maybe I won’t do it.” I said, “Let’s just call it off.” He said, “Yes, we’ll take it aside. Don’t worry about it. We’ll talk about it again.” Then he asked me again at Christmas. We were talking about doing something, because I wanted to do that, if you told me, that interview, 19 years ago, that DDP would be back on TNT with a company called AEW, I’d have to say you’re smoking crack. Why would I think that? “The company’s been disbanded? Who the hell is AEW?” 19 years ago, if you’d have told me that… I wanted to do that interview and that segment because I love the AEW crowd. Not having them, and still to be doing as good as they are doing is a lot to say. Cody… Is one of the EVPs, but he is the Dusty Rhodes version – meaning he is the main guy with the ideas, the follow-through, the storytelling. The Bucks have a lot to do with it and so does Kenny – but they’ve never been involved, not until now, in the laying out of the show, and of course Cody has been around it since he was a kid. It gave him a big leg-up. When I first saw him do All In, and I was backstage, watching everything, and he was just having fun, and telling everybody, “Have fun.” I’ll tell you what, I wouldn’t have done it with no crowd. I wouldn’t have done it. My hat’s off to every one of the boys and girls that are doing it without people, because now it’s all on you. It’s kind of like, we’ve got NFL football, and these guys are talking s***. There’s no people in the stands, so you can really hear them now. It’s not a completely different game but it’s a different game and, in wrestling, it’s different. My hat is off to them, and the first people, the first company to bring the boys out and create that energy was AEW. Later on, WWE would do it but AEW did it first. That was brilliant. And risky in the middle of, “Ooh, Covid.” It’s pretty amazing. But there were people there. I really thought, “Wait a minute, my first match…” I wrestled when I was 23, three times. I was the sh**s. I hurt my knee, needed to take some time out. I got my first really small rock ‘n’ roll club to be the manager of, and I got swept away in the booze, broads and the partying – but I had three matches in 1979. Then I was managing and doing colour commentating for Dusty and Florida Championship Wrestling. And my wrestler, Big Steel Man, who would also be Tugboat, or Shockmaster. Fred Ottman, great guy. Fred had a match with Dicky Slater, and if Slater won the match, he got five minutes with the manager. Which was me. I got out there. I’d never trained, But there’s moments where I kind of look like I know what I’m doing. And other moments it’s just ridiculous. But I had a match in ’89. So, ’70s, ’80s, My big runs in the ’90s. 2000. Then 2010, I was done, But 2010 came around and I got asked to do a tag team match in Rome, Georgia, and I was already in Atlanta, which is literally 15 minutes from there. I thought, “God, I’ll have wrestled in five decades. ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, Millennium, 2010.” Then when Cody asked me to do it in January, I thought, “Wow, I’ll have wrestled in six decades.” There’s a handful, a very small handful of people who can say that. And I plan on doing it on the seventh decade, too. I plan on it. I will do something there. If it comes around. And if I’m in the same shape – which I think I’ll be in better shape.