Fresh from his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame earlier this year, wrestling legend Diamond Dallas Page is coming to the United Kingdom next month for a jam-packed tour across six cities.
Commencing on 8 September, the three-time WCW world heavyweight champion will embark on a series of live, uncensored q and a's, as well giving fans in the UK the chance to have a stab at his game-changing DDP Yoga program through a number of workshops taking place across these shores.
Dallas' Hall of Fame induction speech in April was evidence of his impressive storytelling abilities in front of a crowd and the Q&A shows, which have proved immensely popular with wrestling fans in recent year, offer further opportunities for him to capture the imagination of those in attendance.
"The q and a, which I like to think more as a spoken word because I'll get up and talk for a little bit which will open up way more questions and that's really economically priced - I think it's like 22 pounds," Page said.
"Anybody can come and see that. If you saw my Hall of Fame induction speech, I'm a storyteller - I want to make you laugh, I want to maybe even make you get choked up at times and there were times during that speech [at the Hall of Fame] when I made people flat out cry.
"The bottom line is people are going to be entertained. My goal is that there are people who walk out of there believing they can do something like that because so many people don't believe in themselves, they don't have self-confidence - they tear themselves down. One of my goals is for people to walk out of there feeling completely the opposite. And of course if they do the meet and greet part, there's pictures, autographs and all that as well."
If you curious as to how DDP, a veteran of the wrestling business in two decades, approaches his live shows, it's pretty straightforward; there's no script whatsoever and there he will repeat several of his finest tales, merely looking at different people around the room will change the manner in which his show comes across.
"There's no script! I say a lot of the same things, a lot of the same scenarios because my life is not going to change from when I was a kid until now. And literally, I will be looking around the room and looking at different people that might, for some reason, take me into a different direction. It's sort of like my wrestling, when I wrestled I was probably the most prepared guy going into that ring, except for 'Macho Man' Randy Savage - he wanted to know everything we were going to do out there! I did too, but I mainly wanted to know you knew how to do one of my moves because a lot of the stuff I did nobody else did."
The talk about a script and working on the fly spawns a mightily interesting story about a match with Hulk Hogan in Toronto. Hogan, arguably the biggest star in professional wrestling at the time, was all about 'calling it in the ring', but respected DDP to the point where he was more than happy to give him his chance to shine in between the ropes.
"I'll never forget my first match with Hulk Hogan. It's the first time I'm going to be in the ring with him," he explained.
"We're about do our match in Toronto, and he respected me so much and I didn't even know it until he said this to me. Hulk was like 'we'll just call it in the ring' but there were certain things that I did, and I stole this from Mick Foley - you'd go to boot him in the gut, he'd catch the foot and then he'd spin the leg. And by the time he'd spun the leg I'd come through with a clothesline. If you spun me the wrong way, it didn't happen, it didn't work. So he said, 'when I catch the foot, which way do I spin you?'. I said, 'in'. He goes, 'ok, stand up, do it', so he actually did it with me. I'd never seen Hulk do that with anybody but he knew how hard I worked and he knew he was going to give me the rub. He was going to beat me up pretty good out there but bottom line is he's going to give me my spots too."
In addition to the q and a's, fans are able to take advantage of an extra bit of DDP goodness, as he will hold a special DDP Yoga workshop in all five UK cities he will visit. The session was not only see Dallas preach his positivity and inspire those in attendance, he will host a in-depth interactive workout so attendees can get a first-hand look at what DDP Yoga is all about, and how and why it is changing the game.
Giving a detailed run-through of the workshops, he said:
"The workshop, I've created something there that is like its own animal. It's literally inspiration meets perspiration and I treat it any way any inspirational speaker treats it, it's all about getting people to believe in themselves. What's really fascinating is, probably sixty to seventy per cent who come to my workshops come by themselves - which means they really had to want to be there, big-time. And they are hopefully looking to change their lives because they've seen it happen to so many people all around the world. The first forty minutes will be pure inspiration, I want to get to a point where they feel like they can run through a brick wall and then I start teaching people how to breathe because I always tell people if you can breathe, you can learn how to really own your breath and it's the beginning of really owning your life.
"Then I'm going to teach them how to do dynamic resistance, which I pretty much developed - I don't think anybody did it before me the way I do it. I teach people to engage and flex muscles so they can have a kick-ass cardiovascular workout standing still. And I show them exactly how to do that, and to a degree I could never show them on the DVDs.
"Then I break down the diamond dozen, which is the twelve moves I use the most and though I'll throw some intermediate stuff in there for people who are coming and are in really good shape because we get those too, it will mostly be for people who aren't in that great shape and they're hoping he [DDP] is going to show us how to modify, which means this can be the easiest thing you've ever done or it can be the most challenging.
"My wife Brenda, she's there with me and she really leads a lot of the modifications because a lot of people are going to come in there and they aren't going to be in great shape. I have to find that happy medium and I always find it, for people of all shapes and sizes, all ages can do this and have fun doing it, which is the key.
"And after that we do the workout and I tell people if you're finished right now because of that tutorial, the diamond dozen, just chill out and wait for the end. But what happens is some of them do and they see what we're doing so they go for a while and then they might sit down, but they get up and they do it again. It's really amazing to see people push themselves in a spot that makes them change their own destiny."
Image: Diamond Dallas Page
The United Kingdom is a particularly special place for Page. Not only does he have a lot of fond memories of various trips to the UK as a performer, it's on these shores where he received the ultimate seal of approval from the great Hulk Hogan. He doesn't remember the exact city where it took place, but he does have a clear recollection of the Hulkster giving him his props.
"Hulk had just come into the company [WCW]. I really don't remember what city we were in but I finished my match and I walked through the curtain. He grabbed me by the arm and pulled me over, and said, 'how you doing it?' I said, 'doing what, Hulk? what am I doing wrong?' and he goes, 'no, you're not doing anything wrong - how are you getting so much better?' and I was shocked. This is like 94', maybe 95 and he said, 'I've been watching you and this is what they're doing with you - putting you on the road like this and it's helping you learn your craft''. And I was like 'no, this is my first road show in three or four months'. He's like, 'how are you getting so much better then?' and I told him I went down to the powerplant, started training the young guys because they weren't doing anything with me.
I figured out the more you teach someone, the more you learn and the better you get. He [Hogan] didn't really get that because he grew up going from one federation to another; you might go from Georgia to Kansas City, to New York. He said, 'whatever you're doing, you need to keep doing it because if it's not this year or next year, or the year after, somewhere down the line you have the ability to draw huge money with me' and he walked away. If you look four years later, he's sitting on 'The Tonight Show' with Jay Leno and Dennis Rodman, and me and [Karl] Malone come out from the wings, throw the chairs on the ground, throw the Diamond Cutter sign and shoot our angle not in a wrestling studio, on the world stage on 'The Tonight Show'. You talk about manifesting a dream into a reality. And it all started in England, somewhere!
While the 61-year old is extremely busy, he is well aware of the incredible boom period in British wrestling at the moment, having been told first-hand by comedian and FutureShock wrestling promoter Chris Brooker, as well as his close friend and former opponent Scott Hall, who regularly heads over to the UK for shows.
He heaps praise on NXT champion Drew McIntyre, who he says was responsible for him wanting to know about the wrestling going on over here.
"What I really think is amazing, and shows how amazing the fans are, is the independent wrestling that has come out with these great promotions and these great wrestlers that are able to be seen," he said.
"Now it really is becoming 'World Wrestling Entertainment' - it's the world because you're getting guys from all over. Drew McIntyre, when I saw him in WWE, as handsome as he is, as big as he is, he was just too young at the time to have that all dropped on him. But now, to me, he's one of the best. I would say you've got to have the look, the wrap - he could talk, and you've got to have the work and he was amazing. Him coming in there, and again coming out of the UK, he was the first one that made me go 'wow, what are those guys doing over there [in the UK]'.
"It made me want to know more about this thing over there and to see what's been happening, with guys like Neville and others - these are all products of the UK. Then when I saw they were doing the UK tournament and some of these kids they are bringing in, the UK fans have got to be pretty proud right now because they are seeing a lot of great guys who are cutting their teeth right there and it blows my mind. I love it, man. It gives some of the guys from our country, too, a place to go. I know Cody Hall's gone over there a couple of times and that's how you get good - wrestling with guys who can can actually wrestle."
For more details on DDP's UK tour and the nearest events DDP is holding near you, visit DDPukTour.com.
Featured Image Credit: WWE