The friends you make in the wrestling business are few and far between. As a booker and promoter, your phone is blowing up around the clock working on creative, travel, marketing, and everything in between. Once you’ve stepped away from the business, the calls stop, and you’re quickly forgotten because you no longer have anything to offer. You’re no longer hiring talent for bookings; you’re not offering paydays; and you literally no longer have a reason to communicate in general. It’s truly a disturbingly selfish business.
There are very few people who I consider friends in this business. I’ve worked with hundreds of acquaintances, but only walked away with a handful of friends. I define a friend as someone who stays in touch with you from time to time to discuss family and life. The contact between friends shouldn’t consist of inquiries of when you plan on running another show or if I know how to get them booked elsewhere. In my opinion, those are favors – and I only do favors for friends.
One guy who has been a friend for nearly twenty years is Diamond Dallas Page. Sure, he seems like he’s friends with anyone and everyone, but time never plays a factor in our relationship, because it started before anyone else ever gave a s*** about him. Let me give you a little history.
At the end of 1997, I was contacted by WCW and offered a job to be a part of their online team. I had already established the FIRST EVER pro wrestling internet radio show, …And Justice For Brawl, from the Pseudo Programs studios in New York City. The company was waaaaay ahead of its time AND technology. Everything you see online now – from Podcasts to YouTube, to live interactive online programming – we did FIRST!
As a pioneer to the internet revolution, I was proud to be recognized as one of the few authoritative online voices in pro wrestling. WCW eventually launched their own online radio show and had the balls to try and declare it the FIRST ever. So, DieHard took them to task and put them on BLAST! I didn’t care how big they were, I absolutely REFUSED to let them take credit for everything I had busted my ass building for over a year. I didn’t just call them out, but I would call their offices LIVE on the show to confront them on the air.
Eventually, I came home one day to a message from Mike Webber at WCW. I thought I was being sued. Instead, he got me in touch with Tom Hunt and Dave Pava, and I was recruited as the Tuesday voice on the n.W.o. hotline, and a featured correspondent on their internet broadcasts. I actually flew into Washington, D.C. and signed my contract backstage at Starrcade.
WCW allowed me to cross promote my show at Pseudo Programs, and we developed a great working relationship. The money was great, and more than was ever offered by the WWE when Vince Russo tried to recruit me as an intern (…that’s a story for another time).
Because I was part of the WCW team, they’d feed me guests for my show in New York. Rather than give me top shelf guests that would draw, they gave me names they had no idea what to do with, and asked me to use my gift of gab to help get them over. They gave me The Nitro Girls, Chris Jericho, Goldberg and Diamond Dallas Page – as if those names needed my help to get over!
I developed a really good friendship with Dallas. We’d talk about life, family, projects outside the business…basically, anything and everything. We spent time together with friends and family; we consoled each other while going through our divorces; and we celebrated our successes together. I was one of the first to call and congratulate him when he won his first world title; I was one of the first people he told about his business plan for, Yoga For Regular Guys (now known as DDP Yoga); I was one of the first to know about his idea for a secret project that was being pitched in Los Angeles featuring him and Stone Cold Steve Austin; and I was honored to get a shout-out in his book, Positively Page.
We still remain in contact, but our lives have accelerated in different directions. Dallas now has his DDP Yoga Performance Center in Atlanta, and I have my hands full with everything. The last time we saw each other was a few years ago at an MMA Expo in Atlantic City. He had just re-named his program to DDP Yoga and was hosting seminars at the expo. We discussed his new venture and talked wrestling, shortly after the passing of his friend Chris Kanyon.
I don’t like hitting my friends up for favors, but a new interview is long overdue. Until I find the time to lock it down, enjoy this throwback from 2010.
Part 1 – The Inspiration and Philosophy Behind DDP Yoga
Part 2 – Wrestling Topics with Kanyon, Orton, Rhodes and more
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