– Ring Rust Radio interviewed 2017 WWE Hall of Famer Diamond Dallas Page on the show this week, they sent us this transcription:
It was recently announced that you would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame during WrestleMania 33 weekend. How did you find out about the honor and what were your initial thoughts?
“It was really awesome the way they called me. I was filming the bio part of ‘Diamond Dallas Page: Positively Living.’ I was on my last day of shooting and right before they were about to start, they said, ‘The boss wants to talk to you.’ I got on and it was Triple H. I was like, ‘Hey buddy,’ because I figured he was calling me back after I called him three times and he never got back to me. So I figured this is my call back, and while he’s talking to me about small talk, I’m thinking, why the hell did I call him? I couldn’t remember the reason, so I’m waiting for him to say, ‘What did you call for?’ I’m trying to think about it and I can’t remember.
“At some point, he starts talking about my career and he starts really putting me over, then I’m like wait a minute. It’s October; nobody I’ve ever known has got inducted and found out before January. So, I wasn’t even thinking about that. I’m thinking is this that call? At some point man, I realized it is. For me, the guy who grew up in the Jersey shore watching World Wide Wrestling Federation, to be getting that call, I don’t think anybody’s call could’ve been more special. My career in general, from trying to start wrestling at 22 and it not working out, showing up at WrestleMania VI driving in the pink Cadillac convertible, ending up being one of the top guys in the world that started wrestling at 35, and with my career taking off at 40. To go through the story in general and now to be sitting here in my hometown doing the story about myself for WWE at 60 years young and getting that call from my buddy. You have to understand that Triple H was Terra Ryzing in WCW and he broke into the big time when I did as a wrestler. He is saying to me, you know I’m 22 and I’m looking at this 35-year-old guy like, what is he thinking? How does he think he could ever do this? He just went into putting me over and it took my breath away. I couldn’t talk; the tears were building up and running down my face by the time we got to the end of it. All I could say was, ‘Thank you, bro, I love you, man.’ To get the call from him was super special for me. Before he hung up, I said I wish Dusty was here because Dusty was my man. Without Dusty Rhodes, there is no Diamond Dallas Page and the same thing with Triple H. Triple H said that’s who gave him his big break as Terra Ryzing in WCW. He had an unbelievable relationship with Dusty as well. So, when I said I wish Dusty was here, he knew exactly what I meant. Dusty would’ve inducted me and I probably never would’ve been able to follow him. It would’ve been amazing.
“I get done and I hand the producer Mike the phone and Mike asks what did I think? I said, ‘What do I think? I think that I wish you guys were filming him because he said some really awesome stuff!’ Then he says we were filming him and I said get out. He said they have wanted to catch this moment and they talked about it, but they had never been in the spot to do it. But filming the documentary, Triple H said today’s the day he finds out, so let’s film it. So, it’s on the end of my DVD of ‘Positively Living.’ If you are a wrestling fan, you watch it and you are going to get choked up. Just thinking about it I get choked up. It was awesome man, just awesome.”
Fans always have their opinions when it comes to who should induct wrestlers into the Hall of Fame, and two names that have come up a lot regarding you are Jake Roberts and Scott Hall. What’s your preference in terms of your presenter, and how much say do you expect to have in the matter?
“It’s so funny because I have experience with this because I inducted Jake. It’s like who else was going to induct him besides me? Of course, they are going to ask me. So, I just think it’s done. Then about a month later, I get the call from Mark Carano and he tells me he has great news and they want me to induct Jake. It hit me like a slap in the face. I thought, oh that’s right, it’s their TV. No one gets up and gets 10-plus minutes to talk on their TV unless they really want you on their TV. I realized Jake really didn’t have a choice here. Jake did the same thing I did, I gave them a short list. There are four guys that are on that list and they are going to pick who they want. Again, it’s their TV and anyone of those four guys as far as I’m concerned could be in that spot. Two of them were the names you just mentioned.
“It was just such a honor to induct Jake. It was on my 58th birthday and I got to induct Jake. People used to say to us before we got that spot, “Dude when is Jake’s movie coming out?” I would say I don’t know, when is Jake going to be in the Hall of Fame? There was no other way for the movie to end. It was awesome being in the CAC, Cauliflower Alley Club, and I’m in there too so it was awesome. There’s the WWE, there are 147 guys in there, and think about how many wrestlers there have been? There have been thousands and thousands of wrestlers and 147 of them are in there. There are still guys that I know that should be in there and hopefully they’ll get that opportunity too.”
After watching men you’ve helped with DDP Yoga like Jake Roberts and Scott Hall enter the WWE Hall of Fame in recent years, does it mean more to you now that you’re the man being inducted?
“I feel exactly the same way. It’s a huge honor. Once I got done with my career, I knew in my soul that I don’t have any negative thoughts about myself. I just don’t because I know you say you can and you say can’t, you are right. I try to keep my mind full of really positive stuff. In my mind, I always felt like I was worthy. I really felt like with my career and just the way I did it, it was Hall of Fame worthy. It doesn’t make me feel any less humble. I’m super honored to be a part of this crew, and the first one to call me was Booker T when he heard. Booker T and I have been up and down the road together, and it was really awesome to hear it from him and he said welcome to the club brother.”
When you think about writing your speech for the Hall of Fame, are there any specific people or moments from the business that immediately jump to mind that you’re excited to share with fans?
“I have to finish that because I always say without Dusty Rhodes there is no Diamond Dallas Page. Certainly, without Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, there is no three-time world champion. There is no WWE Hall of Famer. It just never happens. There are little things that have happened. Man, if you knew how hard I worked on this. I finally got it, I don’t want to be too long, but I just can’t be too short. I have a story to tell and I want to thank a lot of people. It goes right down to my first break. I’m so happy that when I got the call in October, I’ve had four months and I literally just finished it. It’s not done, but the outline is done. You can tell I am a long storyteller. You can’t be a long storyteller and get all your stuff in. I’m not sitting in Kurt Angle’s spot where I have an hour to get all my stuff in because I am the main event.
“Kurt deserves that spot as far as I’m concerned. He was unbelievable and I’m super honored to be in the same class as him. Guys like Teddy Long. I know Teddy’s whole career. Teddy was a trailblazer in a big way. So, to have him and the Rock ‘n Roll express. Beth Phoenix too who I love. I texted her and said the first family of Hall of Fame. I put that out there and that was the biggest retweets I ever got. I just thought like wow, they are the first two who are husband and wife and are Hall of Famer’s. Those two people Adam and Beth, are the two nicest people you have ever met. I was super happy that she’s in there. The outer rumblings, I haven’t heard for sure, but I’m surely hoping that Rick Rude is on that list. I spent some time with Rude and he was an awesome man. When would people say, DDP how do you feel that you not in the Hall of Fame?
“I used to say well let me see, Jake Roberts isn’t in there, Randy Macho Man Savage isn’t in there, Michael PS Hayes isn’t in there, to be perfectly honest bro, until those boys are in whom I to say anything? When those guys are in then hopefully it’ll be my turn and then boom. There some the people never heard and they’re going to be out there. That’s why it’s so important the way I structure this. The people that gave me just a little bit more like Dusty. Dusty was so pivotal to me. He had a way of making me believe in me and nobody believes in me more than me. It wasn’t when I was wrestling, it’s when I was the character Diamond Dallas Page. When he passed, and I know this cause he said it to my face, but he also said it to Cody. “I’ve got five friends in this world that I really can call my friends and I can count them on my hand, Dallas is one of them.” I knew it because he said it to me, but for Cody to say it at his memorial was strong. That’s going to be really tough for me to talk about that. I hopefully in some way get semi-numb to it, but I don’t think that’s possible. I remember inducting Jake to the CAC, but I remember you get hit with that like boom, in the middle of your heart. I wasn’t expecting this and I’ll tell you who I really saw get hit by it was maybe one of her biggest talkers in the business was Larry Zbyszko. Larry went up there halfheartedly like thanks for this, thanks for that, because Larry is maybe the best talker ever, top 10 in the business. For guys who can just turn it on and kill it, Larry was as good as it gets as far as I’m concerned. He got overwhelmed up there and I’m expecting to. I have spoken in front of 20,000 people and I know before I walk up on that stage I will be saying over and over again that this is can be the best thing I’ve ever done, this is going to be amazing. I’m going to move people to action and I’m going to inspire somebody out there to believe in themselves. That’s the kind of s–t that can be going through my head.”
You’re remembered by fans for so many things from the Diamond Cutter to your catchphrases and everything in between, but as you get ready to go into the Hall of Fame, what’s the one lasting legacy you hope you’ve left in the wrestling business?
“Anything’s possible. I am the proof. I’ll give you what I wrote on the inside of my ring. I didn’t know you put an inscription in there. When Sue asked me what I wanted to be in there, I said let me think about it. Then it just hit me. I put “Work ethic = dreams! DDP.” That to me is that no one gets a free ride. You have to work for it and it doesn’t get handed to you. It may seem like it did because people see you getting this big push at that time, but they don’t really know how hard it took you to get there.
“Even someone like Goldberg who came in and got this huge push. Goldberg worked for eons on the football gridiron. This son of a gun, he worked his ass off and then he worked his ass off to be as good as he could be in the ring and he had that something special. Now everyone’s given the chance to see it again at 49 and they are not exposing him in any way. He’s going to have to deliver at WrestleMania and I believe he will. I believe he will go out there at 49 years old and be out there with The Beast. I wouldn’t want to be out there with him. Brock thinks this is real, you know? I wouldn’t want to be out there with The Beast, but if anybody can go with him and just the way Brock does business, I’m so proud of him. He gets it because it’s a business, it is entertainment. He is going out there to deliver those promos and it’s nice for the WCW fan this is a little bit of payback. Like, push one of our guys right now, really push him. Goldberg came in and as far as I’m concerned, he got what he deserved, hell of a push.”