Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Positively Unstoppable: Diamond Dallas Page Discusses DDPY, WWE, & Owning It

Diamond Dallas Page is an amazing human being who can be defined by one word: positivity. His positivity, along with DDP’s persistence and work ethic, is what catapulted him to becoming a three-time world champion in professional wrestling and a WWE Hall of Fame inductee in 2017. It’s also what enabled him to develop and grow DDPY, a fantastic health and wellness program that I, along with millions of other people around the world, use on a daily basis. On January 15, Dallas is releasing his third book entitled Positively Unstoppable: The Art of Owning It, where he provides the reader with a blueprint for how they can apply his approach to their lives. DDP was kind enough to speak with me for an hour about his amazing journey thus far. I hope you enjoy this lengthy and insightful discussion. Bang!

I’ve been following your DDPY program back since it was YRG (Yoga For Regular Guys) and you had the original book and DVD set available.

Wow! What do you think of it?

I think it’s terrific. My favorite position is standing cat arch because it really opens up my back and loosens up my muscles in the morning.

I developed standing cat lift and cat arch to treat an issue I was having. I was going into touchdown to lengthen the spine. DDPY isn’t just about stretching. It’s about movement and getting your muscles going and your spine is the most important part of your body. It really is because it controls everything. If your back is hurting you, then everything is going to hurt. Your hip, your knee, your shoulder – all of that can hurt because your back is injured and weak. I was in huddle up position and I went to do bent legged barback – and, as you know, you then fold forward – but I really couldn’t fold forward too much because I had knocked out my back by slipping or something like that. To compensate for that, I put my hands on my quads and pulled my chest forward, going into a cat lift. Then I turned my elbows out, dropped my head, arched my back, and tucked my tailbone. I realized, “I’m doing a standing cat lift and cat arch.” (laughs) I said to myself, “I’m adding that into my program when I’m really tight.” It’s a great movement.You have a new book coming out called Positively Unstoppable. For those that don’t know, what’s this book about?

It’s all about being positively unstoppable. It’s really about the art of owning it, which is the subtitle. What is it? Well, it is really whatever you want it to be. It could be your fitness level, it could be the way you eat, it could be your relationship with your significant other, it could be your work or business environment. Everything will come down to that little inner-voice and that’s what it really is. When you start to own that inner-voice, that story you tell yourself – and so many people talk bad about themselves, especially in their self-dialogue. They tend to say, “I can’t do this. I can’t do that. I’m not good enough to do this. That will never happen.” I don’t say any of that. (laughs)

In the first chapter of the book I ask you the question within the first sentence, “What would you do if you knew your success was a guarantee?” In other words, what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? I try to give people a blueprint for owning that inner-voice. The first time I heard about the concept of “the story you tell yourself” was from Tony Robbins. It’s a confidence level. This book, if you really read it and highlight things that I say in it, you’re going to start to bring them into your lifestyle. Once you bring these things into your everyday living, the next thing you know you start to develop this inner-confidence because you start to succeed in places where before you never would have tried. Repetition is the mother of learning. The more you hear something, the more you start to bring it into your everyday life and the more you own it.

Don’t just think it, ink it. Write it down. Burn it into your brain. If you see it, if you dream it, you can actually achieve it. It starts with an idea and then you’ve got to put the work in and not give up. It might not be exactly the goal you’re trying to get to but you’re right there. A lot of times, Michael, I’ve shot right past my goals – it’s ridiculous. Other people have the same stories and I share them. From health and fitness, to jobs and relationships. It’s all about owning it, which is whatever you want it to be.

Will you be doing any book signings for Positively Unstoppable?

Absolutely! We’re literally working that out right now. I don’t know where and when but for anyone who wants to know, keep your eyes on DiamondDallasPage.com for the info. We’ll post it there once everything is finalized. We also send out emails, maybe one or two a month. You’re not going to get flooded with email like some sites do. (laughs) We don’t do that. When we send something out, it’s something we want you to know.

As someone with dyslexia and ADD, how does it feel to know you’ve written multiple books? That’s a huge accomplishment.

The first book, Positively Page, I wrote in pieces. The words are all mine but my buddy Smokey helped me put it together. The next book, which was Yoga For Regular Guys, me and the Yoga Doc went back and forth on that one. For this book, I had to bring in someone who could technically put it all together because I tend to be all over the place and it had to have a structure. So, I brought in a guy to help me with the structure. I also bounced a lot of stuff off of my business partner, Steve Yu, who is a genius.

You have a documentary in the works called Relentless. What’s it about?

It’s, literally, the story of when Kevin Nash powerbombed me and I broke my back all the way up until today and my journey along the way, including all of the highs and lows of DDPY. I never had surgery. I had to heal myself, which is what I did through DDPY. I started this business back in 2004 and at one point I had invested $448,000 of my own money into it, trying to make it work. There were some low lows and the documentary gets into that. In the beginning, we’d sell DVDs but we didn’t make any money. At my lowest low, I’d get emails from people telling me about their transformations. Today, I get them all day long but back then they’d be less frequent. My goal was to just make a living doing this. Now it’s to make it a household name, which is a whole different goal.

How did Arthur Boorman, who is DDPY’s most famous and inspirational transformation story, find you?

Before you could buy keywords, it was just the internet and Arthur typed in the words “broken back” and “yoga” into a search engine and I was the number one result that came up so he went to my site. My buddy Robert, who’s been with me since the beginning, it was just me and him running the site then. He said to me, “Hey, D, I found a way we can put pieces of your videos up on the site.” I go, “What’s that going to cost us?” He said, “Nothing. It’s called YouTube.” This was back in 2005 and no one had heard of YouTube yet. He put up short clips of the workouts and Arthur looked at them and said to himself, “I could do that.”

Speaking of DDPY, you typically do a workshop around WrestleMania, right?

Yes, and we’ve got our yoga workshop scheduled for WrestleCon in New York City in 2019. The last one I did around a wrestling event, we had 169 people show up to work out with me. The energy was unbelievable. At WrestleMania this coming year, we’re going to do it on a Friday (April 5) from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and everybody gets a picture with me. But the only thing I’ll be signing are my books. If you want other items autographed, I’ve got signing sessions scheduled at WrestleCon and with WWE. We’ll probably have some books for sale there too.

The Resurrection of Jake the Snake shows how you saved the lives of both Jake Roberts and Scott Hall. How did that all come together?

For anyone who hasn’t seen it that hates wrestling – because it’s about three wrestlers – I challenge you to watch the first 30 minutes. If you get past the first 30 minutes and want to stop watching it, go for it but you’re not going to wanna. It’s so compelling because it deals with addiction. Every single person in this world has someone close to them that – their mother, their father, their uncle, their best friend, their sister’s husband – they have someone that’s addicted somewhere close to them. This documentary will give you a broader look at addiction. It will also make you laugh and cry, that I guarantee. Most of all, it will inspire you. When I was working with Jake, when he moved in, he was an addict that was addicted to coke, crack, pills, booze, you name it, he was addicted to everything. I moved him in and then two months later I moved Scott Hall in, a.k.a. Razor Ramon. These were the two guys that everybody had at the top of their list for guys that were going to die during any given year. That was six-and-a-half years ago. I brought them both into my home. It was about the art of owning it. It was about getting them to own that inner-voice. That’s really what it was about. For Jake, we were interviewed by HBO, Yahoo! Sports, we were everywhere because everybody wanted to know what was happening here. They had seen bits and pieces of Jake on our YouTube channel. Jake was up to 307 pounds and literally waiting to die when I got with him and wanting to die. If one of the other wrestler died during this period, which one of them did, Jake would be mad that he wasn’t the one that died. He didn’t want to kill himself because he didn’t want to put that on his family too. He had already embarrassed his family enough. When Jake would do these interviews he’d say, “The program really gives me confidence.” One day after an interview I said to him, “Jake, what do you mean the program gives you confidence?” He goes, “Well, D, you’ve been telling me over and over again to change the story I’m telling myself. When I weighed 307 pounds and I lost those first 10 pounds, that was a huge win for me. Then I lost another 10 and another 10! And you’ve gotta understand, I haven’t had a win in over 20 years because I’ve been so destructive in my life and ruined everything.” He talked about that in his Hall of Fame induction speech, that he wasted so much of his life. It’s all about that inner-confidence. Today, Jake, who has been sober for five years, is now talking and helping people with their addictions. He does a show in comedy clubs all over the United States and Canada where he gets up and does 45 minutes of telling stories and selling out everywhere.

Steve Yu is the guy who directed the Jake The Snake documentary. He took over 500 hours of footage and turned it into a 93-minute film. I think it’s one of the top 10 documentaries of all time. If we had been three golfers or three rock stars, we would have won the Academy Award that year. We really would’ve. But because it’s three wrestlers and a lot of people turn their nose up at wrestling, we didn’t get the recognition we deserved. We made it through the first round of the Oscars but we didn’t make it past the second round. I just felt it had such substance because it was real. It had nothing to do with wrestling; we just happened to be three wrestlers.  

Yeah, I just saw Jake’s one-man here in Philadelphia a few weeks ago.

What did you think?

It was great! I told Jake that it was a phenomenal show.

Absolutely! During the filming of the documentary, Jake and I went to see a Mick Foley stand up show here in Atlanta and Jake turns to me during Mick’s performance and says, “You know, D, I could do that.” I said, “Of course you can do that.” That’s the first step – saying I CAN DO THAT! But Jake’s first three shows sucked because he didn’t put the work in. He thought he’d just get up there and tell stories but it’s not that easy. You really gotta have a blueprint. Now Jake has six different shows. He’s one of the best storytellers alive so it just makes sense.

In 2017 you were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. What was that night like for you?

I was backstage and I was the first one to go on. When you’re the first or the last person up there, you better deliver, and I’ve got a 27-minute thank-you speech to all my buddies that helped me get there. That for me, that’s what it was all about. I wanted to be super humble, genuinely thank everybody, and of course try to make it entertaining.

The main message in my new book Positively Unstoppable is to Own the story you tell yourself. I just don’t talk it I live IT! One story can be “Oh my god. What if I go out there and I fail? What if I forget what I’m going to say? What if I bomb?”, that’s one story (laughs). The other story is, “This is going to be the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m going to blow people away. I’m going to make them laugh. I’m going to make them cry. Most of all I’m going to inspire them.” The repetitions of affirmations are everything…Positively Affirmations.

You were on Shark Tank in 2014 seeking $200,000 to invest in DDPY and you offered them 5% of your business yet they turned you down. Since then you’ve launched the DDP Yoga Now app, built the DDPY Performance Center, released DDPY Rebuild, and generated millions of dollars in revenue along the way. Is it safe to say they made the wrong decision?

(laughs) Well, I call the DDP Yoga Performance Center the house that Shark Tank built. I didn’t go there for a deal. They told me, “Dallas, if you go on and only offer 5% you’ll never get a deal.” I’m like, “All right, no problem. To tell you the truth, I don’t want to ask for any money. I just want to offer them up 5% and it won’t cost them nothin.” They said, “Well, that’s not what our show is about.” I said, “I don’t really need their money. It took me 10 years to be an overnight success. Right now, we’re making money and we’re building our company. I don’t really want them to have to tell me what to do. I’d love to have their expertise and give them a percentage for it.” They said, “Dallas, if you don’t need the money then we can’t have you on the show.” I said, “Well, I could use the money.” That’s the only reason I asked for any money. The whole 5% thing was a sticking point for them. I had a great time on the show. It literally blew our company up and took us to a whole different level, especially with credibility and that was the main reason I was on there – for people to see what we were doing. Like I said, we have a 6,700 square foot building that I, pretty much, built completely from scratch on an acre of land in a town called Smyrna, Georgia, in a real high-volume area. We owe nothing on the building and Shark Tank gave us the means to do that. I’m constantly putting all the money back into the company because I want DDPY to be a household name.

How would you describe DDPY to someone that knows nothing about it?

DDPY isn’t just yoga. It’s a wellness program. Workouts start off in bed. If you can’t get out of bed, I’ve got three workouts for you. We’ll get you into a chair. Then we’ll use a chair to help you get up and down and then you won’t need the chair. The DDP Yoga Now app has cooking shows that show you how to eat real food and there are Motivational Mondays videos. There’s so much inspirational stuff on there.

Is this why you changed the branding from YRG to DDP Yoga to, now, DDPY?

Yes. DDP Yoga works but it’s more than just yoga; it’s a wellness program. People come up to me constantly saying things like, “DDP, man, I’ve been using your yoga program. I love it!” I say, “What did you call it?” They say, “Your yoga program. I love it!” I’m normally wearing a DDPY shirt and I say, “What did you call it?,” busting their chops. (laughs) Not many people can get away with that. Half the people who do my program are pro wrestling fans that have been following me for years. The other 50% are people who came to me because they saw the video highlighting Arthur Boorman’s amazing transformation, or because of Jake or Scott. People see my inspirational videos and then they find me. The next thing you know, they get to know me. If they’re putting the work in, I want to get to know them.

For the DDPY Rebuild series of workouts, what made you want to focus on those over 55 or those with limited mobility?

If you can’t get out of bed, guess what? I’ve got three workouts for you that aren’t over 12 minutes that’ll help you strengthen your body to get out of bed and then sit in a chair. The bed workouts are called Bed Flex. The chair workouts are called Chair Force, where you sit in a chair and I work you out in the chair to get you strong enough to stand up and build strength holding on to a chair, using a chair for balance, and using the chair to get you up and down. Before you know it, a lot of people don’t need the chair anymore.

I found so many people that are beat up. I wanted to make it so anyone at any level could do it. I was already working with a lot of people in a chair. A lot of disabled veterans. It’s great for your parents or grandparents. It works amazingly well for disabled veterans so that’s where the idea came from.

Veterans mean a lot to you don’t they?

They do. As a matter of fact, every day at DDPYoga.com is now Veterans Day. As of November 11, 2018, any active or former members of the military are given a 50% discount on everything – our DVDs, our app – it’s now always 50% off for anyone who was ever or is currently a member of any branch of the U.S. military. I’m not a veteran myself but I’ve been to Iraq three times and to Afghanistan once. I’ve done a lot of stuff with the troops over my life and I’ve got a ton of respect for them. They’re one of the reasons why I developed DDPY in the first place.

Tell me about the Accountability Crib that you now rent out as an Airbnb. Is that the home you used to live in and you just decided to now use it as a rental property?

I bought my wife a new home for Valentine’s Day and she had no idea. When we decided to move out of the Accountability Crib, I decided to keep the home so people can come and stay there through Airbnb. The home has three suites. There’s the Jake The Snake Roberts En Suite, the Scott Hall En Suite, and the Diamond Dallas Page En Suite. It’s less than a mile from the DDP Yoga Performance Center, where everybody’s first workout is free. The home has been full a lot because it’s more than just a house. It’s kind of like a museum to a certain degree. There are about 800 pictures throughout the place that have to do with everything from living at the Crib to my career, Jake’s career, Scott’s career, our WWE Hall of Fame inductions. It’s pretty amazing. And my mother-in-law, Kay, she’s the house mom and she’s amazing. She’s like Mrs. Claus (laughs). She’s a treat to be around plus nobody is going to give her any shit. (laughs)

You do a DDPY retreat every year. What does that entail?

Yes, I do. In 2019 it’s going to be at the end of June at a five-star resort down in Mexico. It’s an amazing time. If you go to DDPYogaRetreat.com you can see what it’s all about. We train and there are people there of all different levels. I make it so everybody can do it. We eat really good, healthy food but we also party. We have pool parties and make it fun. Everybody has a great time.

How did you get involved in wrestling in the first place?

Let me tell you how Diamond Dallas Page was born. I was in a nightclub in Fort Myers, Florida. I was about 31. I owned a piece of this club, after years of working in other clubs and bars. It’s a big place with 12 bartenders and it holds 800 people on a busy weekend but we’d fit in 1,200 people because we were a hot spot. I’m picking up all of the cash drawers from the bartenders so they can come to the back and count the money with me. It’s after-hours, which is the only time we can drink together and my buddy Smokey comes up to me and says, “Page J!” Everybody knew me as Page J back then because my birth name is Page Joseph Falkinburg. But I always knew the name Page Joseph Falkinburg wasn’t going to draw anything in the world of professional wrestling. (laughs) So, I’m at the bar getting the drawers and my DJ, Johnny M, is playing the music video for “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Do you remember that video?

Yeah, Cyndi Lauper.

Right, and who’s in that video?

Captain Lou Albano.

Captain Lou Albano! Also, Nikolai Volkoff is in there and I can’t remember who else but there’s a couple of guys in there with them. But Captain Lou is the star of the video with Cindy. And I love Captain Lou. He was probably one of my favorite people to watch growing up as a kid. So, I’m watching the video with Captain Lou in it and I’m not talking to anybody. I’m getting the drawers from Smokey and I look at the screen and go, “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling, I should’ve been a part of that.” Now, I’m not talking to anybody but myself. I grab the drawers and I go in my office. Smokey comes in and he goes, “Page J, what do you mean Rock ‘n’ Wrestling, you should’ve been a part of that?” I go, “Huh, did I say that out loud?” He says, “Yeah, what did you mean?” I go, “Well, I tried it out when I was a kid. I was 22 and it didn’t work out for me.” He goes, “Really, what was your name?” I said, “Handsome Dallas Page.” He said, “Ooph, you can forget about using that gimmick anymore” and everybody started laughing. Now we’re drinking and the money is all counted and we’re sitting around after hours because that’s what you do in the bar business. You’re not getting drunk and stuff during the night because you’re working so after hours is when we got to hang out. I can’t get the Cyndi Lauper and Lou Albano thing out of my head so while sitting at my desk, I start writing down “Diamond Dallas Page.” I said to everyone, “Yo, guys. I’m too old to be a wrestler but what if I was a manager? What if I was Diamond Dallas Page?” Everyone started saying, “Ooh, yeah, yeah!” and shots are going and people are high-fiving each other. I’m in the zone so I say, “Jimmy Hart has the Hart Foundation. I could have The Diamond Exchange!” They all responded, “Yeah!” so I wrote that down. I said, “You know, there’s not that many beautiful women in wrestling but Elizabeth is beautiful. She’s girl-next-door beautiful. What if I had a whole stable of ladies and I called them Diamond Dolls and they were stripper hot?” Smokey said, “That’ll be a stretch!” and everybody started laughing. Shot, shot, bang, bang. The night ends and we leave.

A week later I’m being interviewed for a show in Southwest Florida called The Party News Network. They’d talk about a new restaurant that would open up or a party on the beach. Well, this episode was about the voice – because I did all my own radio commercials for the club. Doing those commercials was a great education because in the nightclub I would be the guy up on stage. I would do the contests. I’d get in the DJ booth and I’d play a little rock mix because I wanted some rock and roll mixed in with all the dance music so we’d have something for everybody. So, The Party News Network calls me and says they want to do a show about the guy behind the voice of the commercials for the club. I was using synthesizers and reverb for my voice in those ads and back in 1987 no one was doing that. I’d also do voices like, “Oooh yeah. Dig it! Thursday, Thursday, Thursday!” And no one knew it was me doing those voices so wrestlers started showing up. I remember Jake showing up, which is the first time I met him, and then Ted DiBiase showed up. Then The Bushwhackers were there. These guys didn’t know if it was wrestlers or me doing the voices in the ads. At one point during The Party News Network piece, they interview me and I’m wearing my three-piece suit in my pink Cadillac and they’ve got b-roll of me in a WrestleMania t-shirt doing the voice-overs for these ads. At some point, they interview me in my office and I’m sitting behind my desk and they say, “Where does the voice come from?” Michael, I look down and sitting next to the notepad where I wrote Diamond Dallas Page a week earlier is a pair of white sunglasses. I grab them and I put them on and I say, “The voice comes from Diamond Dallas Page, daddy! I was born to be a professional wrestling manager.”

Something I always tell people is, “You never know who’s watching.” In this case it was a guy named Smitty who ran a sports talk radio show. He called me up the night after this show aired and he knew who I was so he called my club and he said he wanted to put me on the radio with him. He wanted me to be Diamond Dallas Page. I told him, “Smitty, I don’t really do it. It’s just something in my head.” He said, “Page, who cares? It’s radio. You can be whoever you want to be. It’s radio.” I said, “I don’t know.” He said, “Well, I’m going to have Captain Lou Albano on the show.” What are the odds of that? I said, “You’re going to have Captain Lou on your show?” He said, “Yes.” I asked, “Can I talk to him?” He said, “Dude, I want you to be my expert!” I do the show and it’s a lot of fun. I do another one with Sgt. Slaughter who is a wonderful human being. I’ve gotten to know him over the years and he’s a great guy. He was super sweet to me. Both guys made me sound like I knew everything about wrestling. (laughs) They really put me over. That night, after I’m done with the Sgt. Slaughter thing Smitty says to me, “You know, you really have to do something with this Diamond Dallas Page thing.” I said, “Do what, Smitty? It’s not like I’m working anywhere. I wouldn’t know how to get in anyway. How does anyone get in? Wrestling is like a secret society. I tried it when I was a kid but it didn’t work out.” He said, “I got a friend, Rob Russen. He used to be a boxing promoter but now he’s promoting the AWA in the Midwest. You should make up a videotape and send it to him! I’ll give you his address.” I sat down and I thought about it. I don’t do anything half-ass. If I’m going to do something, then I do it right. I created three characters – these are all friends of mine that want to be wrestlers. One is Rock Hard Rick, the other one is Big Bad John, and the third one is Ted E. Bear and he’s a midget. I grabbed three girls that worked with me at the club and called them the Diamond Dolls, and I make these videos that are interviews about the people. Then I sent the videotape to the AWA. Two weeks later I get a call from the AWA. Rob Russen says, “We want to bring you and your boys in for a tryout but we’ve got one question. Where are you guys working now?” I said, “Well, uh, those guys can’t wrestle, Rob, but they want to learn.” He said, “What? Why would you send the tape?” I said, “It’s like a secret society. Nobody knows how to get in!” He replied, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Two weeks later, Paul E. Dangerously, better known as Paul Heyman, one of the best talkers and managers in our business, left the AWA and went to the NWA with The Midnight Express and that left a huge void in the AWA for a young guy that could talk. Two weeks later I’m on AWA on ESPN on Saturday as Diamond Dallas Page the manager.

I became a wrestler at 35-and-a-half and my career didn’t take off until I was almost 41. Around October of 1996 my career started to take off. In 1997 I was on a rocket and in 1998 I was on top of the world. Then I broke my back. I ruptured my L4 and L5 and they said my wrestling career was over. I had just signed a multimillion dollar three-year deal. I finally got paid and they were telling me my career was over. That’s where the whole DDPY program comes from. I’m the original poster boy. Believe me when I tell you, I went to three different spine specialists. One here in Atlanta, one in New York City, and one in Houston. They were the best and they all told me that my career was over. I was carrying some serious emotional gravity. Everyone goes down. Trump goes down, Oprah goes down, Obama, The Rock, Tom Brady, LeBron James – they all go down. The key is to not wallow in it and you’ll bounce right out. For me, I know this. When I first blew my back out, I stayed positive. That’s why my first book is called Positively Page. Everyone asks me, “How do you stay so positive?” The answer is I work at it. (laughs) I work at it every day. I surround myself with positivity. You become the five people you hang out with the most.

Any other projects on the horizon?

I’ve got a Netflix original in the works. If you like superhero fanboy stuff, you’ll definitely want to keep an eye out for it because it’s going to be really cool.

What mountains have you yet to climb? I’m sure there are numerous things you’d still like to accomplish. What are they?

Really making DDPY a household name. I’d also like to get back to acting. This Netflix show I mentioned is really something special and I’m liking how it’s turning out. There’s some of my stuff – interviews and matches – that I can go back and watch and there’s some of it that you couldn’t pay me to watch. (laughs) I’m very picky when I’m watching myself.

 

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