Ex-champ Page turns regular guys on to yoga : rockymountainnews.com http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/may/01/ex-champ- page-... 1 of 2 05/05/2008 8:55 PM Ex-champ Page turns regular guys on to yoga By By Alex Marvez, Scripps Howard News Service Originally published 07:00 p.m., May 1, 2008 Updated 07:13 p.m., May 1, 2008 Diamond Dallas Page's acclaimed yoga program is aimed for what he calls "regular guys." But even by pro wrestling's loose standards, "DDP" was anything but normal when breaking into the business 20 years ago. About the only things Page had in common with his fellow American Wrestling Association performers: A love of the industry and the mullet hairstyle most were sporting at the time.
Page had no previous experience before he was hired, having captured an AWA promoter's attention through a homemade video. He was already 32 years old, which is ancient for a grappling neophyte. And at 6-feet-5, DDP stood much taller than the tag-team - Badd Company (Paul Diamond and Pat Tanaka) - he was assigned to manage.
"I'll never forget Shawn Michaels being in the Las Vegas hotel room where (AWA owner) Verne Gagne told me I was managing Tanaka and Diamond," Page recalled in a Tuesday telephone interview. "Shawn said, 'Wait ... more. less.
a second - shouldn't Tanaka and Diamond be managing Dallas?' " Ultimately, Page would learn how to grapple and enjoy three heavyweight title reigns in World Championship Wrestling. But the days when legends like DDP, Michaels and Mick "Cactus Jack" Foley were cutting their teeth are being relived on ESPN Classic.<br><br> The sports network is replaying vintage AWA episodes at 11 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The AWA was on its last legs in 1988 after repeated talent raids by World Wrestling Entertainment crippled the promotion.<br><br> The product itself bears little resemblance to today's wrestling. Matches unfolded at a slower pace without many high-risk maneuvers. AWA wrestler physiques weren't nearly as jacked as their WWE peers who were using anabolic steroids.<br><br> The fan base also was different compared with the young demographic that WWE targets. Crowds were older and many spectators still believed the action was "real." While running away from an in-ring melee at an AWA television taping, Page said he was punched in the face by a fan who got carried away. "Today, fans are part of the show and they know it," said Page, whose big break came because manager Paul E.<br><br> Dangerously (real name Paul Heyman) had left the AWA for WCW. "Back then, they didn't know it. It was like we were performing a magic act." Now retired from wrestling, Page is helping others make pounds disappear through his "Yoga for Regular Guys" training.<br><br> Page's Web site (yrgworkout.com) features testimonials from participants who have lost weight and gotten healthier following his program. Ex-champ Page turns regular guys on to yoga : rockymountainnews.com http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/may/01/ex-champ- page-... 2 of 2 05/05/2008 8:55 PM At the urging of his now-ex- wife Kim, Page began practicing yoga in 1998 in hopes of mending a career-threatening back injury.<br><br> Page recovered to win the WCW title the following year. "A guy like me wouldn't be caught dead doing yoga, but I quickly found that this could heal me," said Page, who wrestled as late as 2005 for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. "I was reluctant going in, but on my first day I realized this was a serious workout." An aspiring motivational speaker, Page describes his YRG teachings as "inspirational and perspirational." He is also a walking billboard for what he preaches.<br><br> Page currently weighs 230 pounds - which is considerably less than during his grappling heyday - and can still execute sophisticated yoga positions at age 52. Page describes YRG as "the aggressive engaging of muscles where yoga meets old-school calisthenics done in slow- motion movements." "If yoga were a bicycle, YRG would be the Harley Davidson," said Page, whose real name is Page Falkinburg. "Both have two wheels.<br><br> That's where the similarities end." Page said he gets a kick out of watching the AWA footage on ESPN Classic. But for DDP, YRG has replaced wrestling as his main focus. "My goal right now is to make a difference and inspire people," he said.<br><br> For more information on the Classic AWA television schedule, visit espntv.com. Alex Marvez writes a syndicated pro wrestling column for Scripps Howard News Service. © Rocky Mountain News<br><br>