DDP Speaks Out – RAW Return, Slater, Future Plans, More
Diamond Dallas Page recently spoke with Busted Open Radio about his RAW return and more. Check out the highlights:
On the reaction he received at Raw: “I’ll tell you, more than anything, it sort of made me say, ‘Wow.’ It set me back a second, you know? I always hear DDP chants when I do these independent things but that building, I don’t think I ever wrestled there. If I did, I don’t remember because it was just a blur at that point when we were going everywhere, but I don’t remember ever coming to Laredo. You’d think I grew up there with the way the people were chanting. I knew they didn’t have a big segment for me to come out there and do this, and just to hit someone with the Diamond Cutter again and to hear the explosion – those DDP chants were so loud, I had to look back like seriously? Wow. I must have done something right 10-plus years ago, because I haven’t been on TV in over 10 years.”
On Heath Slater: “He took an awesome Diamond Cutter. He’s a guy who grew up watching me and loving the business. He told me he loves what he’s doing right now, and it’s a great attention getter for him. People went from really hating him, to now you find people writing some really good comments about him too, and he’ll grow with his character. He’s got awesome time on primetime TV.”
On whether or not he was asked to wrestle at Raw: “No, and you know, people always bust the balls of the booking of WWE. Now, if they just booked me as another one, well then it’s just like Sid and Vader. But Johnny Ace called me up and said, ‘Hey, you want to hit someone with the Diamond Cutter on Monday night?’ I was like, ‘Sure, I’d love to.’ The whole week I was in Louisville for a horror festival because I do a lot of those because I was Billy Ray Snapper in The Devil’s Rejects. Wrestling and horror just sort of go together. So I’d been working all week, I had to use like 3:30 in the morning to catch the flight to get down there, or I would’ve missed it, but it was worth it. So Johnny asked me about that, and then he told me about the Doink thing and I was like, ‘Oh that’s awesome,’ because no one knew about the Doink thing except for me, so that was an awesome secret. The people popped. There was a little bit of, ‘Oh, I thought DDP was going to come out.’ That’s what fans have told me, and then that’s why I think that pop was even better.
On if he thinks he will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame: “No, you know, I never would hope for that because then you never get it. If something like that comes up, that would be awesome. The reaction I would get there would be insane. That’s my home area; I really did grow up there. When it happens, it happens. I’ve said a bunch of times, and some of these jerks on the Internet will take what I say and take what I say out of context so I’m going say this really clearly for anyone who’s listening: Until Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage is in there, until Jake Roberts is in there, I can wait. Because those two were two of the greatest of all time, and I consider myself to be pretty good within my era, but those are two guys that I was a mark for.”
On discussing David Arquette during a legends roundtable with JR: “First of all, I love J.R. He’s just like me, he can be very opinionated … J.R. went after the easy target because it pissed him off because he was WCW too. It pissed him off that David Arquette was the world champion like it pissed off a lot of people. But every guy on the Internet that has buried that situation, let me just reverse it: Now it’s you. And for some reason, they want to make you the world champion because it’s going to get whatever. There’s not one person who wouldn’t have done what Arquette did, not one. I mean, Vince McMahon made himself the world champion. Everybody wants to be the man, and that’s understandable. So getting that out of the way, when I told David, he started laughing. He was like, ‘Yeah, right.’ And I was like, ‘They really want to do it.’ He said, ‘We can’t do that. No, I can’t do that.’ And then I said, ‘They’re going to do it no matter what. You’re here, they want to do it. Unless you’re going to adamantly say no, they want to do it.’ So they talked him into it and he did it, and I wanted J.R. to know. But I thought it was the stupidest thing ever too; they didn’t have to preach to the choir to me about it because I felt the same way. But I said, ‘Did you know that David Arquette made like $10,000 for that spot or something, and he gave it to Melanie Pillman?’ When [Jim Ross] heard that, finally his demeanor changed. One of the things that J.R. said was that it’s all about what that celebrity brings to the company. Well if that’s the case, no one besides maybe Mike Tyson being involved in wrestling brought as much PR. Because at the time, we just got done with the ‘98 NBA Playoffs. The Bulls against the Jazz. Rodman against [Malone]. They were diving on the floor for balls against each other. Rodman didn’t show up on Monday night for practice because he went to Nitro to hit me with a chair. And when Rodman did it the first time, it got a lot of attention, but it’s Rodman. He’s a wild man. He’s a freak show. He’ll do anything for PR, that type of thing. But when Karl Malone did it, the world shook its head and went what? It was the biggest pay-per-view ever.
On how he developed as a wrestler: “I’m in Germany [in 1994] and I’m getting done with a match with Jim Duggan. I’m the curtain jerker. I’m the first guy out. I come back through the curtain; it’s like our sixth day on the road. Hogan grabs me and pulls me over. He goes, ‘How you doing it?’ I go, ‘Doing it? Doing what?’ He said, ‘Getting so much better.’ I was like, ‘Well Hulk, thanks.’ He said, ‘No seriously, how are you doing it?’ Now Hulk had just come in; this was his big first tour he was doing that wasn’t TV. He said, ‘They got you on the road like this where you’re learning your craft right?’ I said, ‘No, Hulk, no.’ He goes, ‘What do you mean?’ I said, ‘The only reason I’m on this tour is because we’re in Germany, and my last real name is Falkenberg. And, I got a smoking hot wife who walks me to the ring. That’s the only reason I’m here.’ He goes, ‘Well, how are you getting so much better?’ and I tried to explain to him that I went back to the Power Plant and started training guys. Because what I found out was the more I taught guys, the more I learned. It applies to everything, I don’t care what it is. If you teach someone your craft, while you’re teaching them, you’re going to learn because you’re going to get better at teaching, which is going to make you better at whatever you’re doing. In my case, it made me a better worker. And he didn’t understand that because he had territories when he came up, and Hulk is only about two and a half years older than I am, you have to remember that. Hulk had said to me, ‘Whatever you’re doing, you need to keep doing it. Because it’s not today, or next year, or the year after but somewhere down the line, because of your character and how you make people believe, you have the ability to draw huge money with me.’ So four years later, I walk out on that stage with Karl Malone, and Rodman and Hogan are there. It was the biggest press conference I’d ever seen that morning. It was crazy.”
On The Very Best of WCW Nitro DVD: “The Very Best of Nitro, from what I know right now, is the second-best selling DVD in the last 3 years. So what does that tell you? The new people are getting to see it, the new WWE nation that had never seen that stuff, because it’s timeless. When I first got the script for The Very Best of Nitro, I didn’t call them back and Michael Calabrese, the producer, what a great guy he is. They sent me that script and he called me up and he goes, ‘Hey D, did you get the script? What did you think?’ I said, ‘I don’t think you want me to do this,’ and he goes, ‘What do you mean?’ I go, ‘I wouldn’t say a lot of the things in here,’ and he said, ‘Well, what do you mean?’ I said, ‘Michael, I understand that history is written by the winners and I get that you guys won the war, so you can say what you want to say but we kicked your ass for almost two years. I was there. It was David and Goliath and we killed you in the ratings, so I’m not going to backhand compliment WCW ever. Did we make mistakes? Hell yeah, and I’ll talk about that, but I’m not going to act like it never happened. I’m just not going to do that; you should get someone else to do that.’ He said, ‘Well, what are the things you’re talking about?’ I went, ‘Boom, boom, boom’ and he went, ‘No problem, change it.’ I was like, ‘Really?’ He said, ‘Yeah man, we want this to be good.’ I was like, ‘OK, cool.’
On his rising popularity in WCW: “I remember wrestling on Monday night in Panama City, and that was the first time those kids were chanting DDP so loud and I had just started my feud with Scott and Kevin. It was just starting to take off and when I walked back through the curtain again, Hulk’s there. He goes, ‘Do you know how hard that is? It’s starting to happen.’ Hulk Hogan over periods of time would tell me different things, and that was one of them. He said, ‘It’s so hard to get them to chant your name like that, but once you got that, you got something big. It was an awesome ride.”
On whether he was ever contacted by McMahon about jumping to the WWE during the Monday Night Wars: “No, he would never do that. Anybody who said he did, I would really tend not to believe that because Vince was not going to get in that potential lawsuit. Vince is way too smart for that on so many levels. But Steve Austin had called me once after a match I had with I can’t remember who; I want to say it was Hogan. He said, ‘How the hell did you bring that match out of him?’ Because there’s never been any love lost with Hulk and Steve. But they got respect of course, how could they not? But Austin had said, ‘If you ever want to come on up here, it’d be a pretty easy trip for you.’ It was like that. Maybe they thought because of my affiliation with Bischoff and all that stuff, I never would’ve left.”
On his WWE run: “I always saw myself working a WrestleMania. There was no question. The run that I had, which really was like four months in the WWE; it wasn’t great. But my opening day was great. My opening day was humongous. And then WrestleMania was pretty much my closing card. I did one Raw after that, but that WrestleMania 18 match that I had with Christian, that was a hell of a match. And then being able to show up now and getting that reaction; hitting that Cutter and getting that pop, I literally can fade off into the sunset very easily. Bottom line is, it was what it was and it was a great ride.”