If there was ever a wrestling tale ready made for a Hollywood adaptation, the journey of Diamond Dallas Page would certainly be a prime candidate. A true rags-to-riches story of positivity, determination and dreams coming true, Page’s transformation from nightclub owner to wrestling manager to WCW World Heavyweight Champion is one that many people never believed could happen. With DDP’s upcoming induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, there is no better time to learn about the "Master of the Diamond Cutter" and DDPYoga. WWE’s newest documentary Positively Living serves as a great overview for all things DDP, whether you’ve been a fan since his AWA and WCW days or when he jumped ship by stalking The Undertaker’s wife.
Page takes us right back to the beginning as we see that his family life wasn't the easiest when he was growing up, yet those signs of a positive and driven attitude were showing even from a young age. The club business was where the prototype for the Diamond Dallas Page character was actually formed. With a live mic in the club Page was unstoppable presenting shows and competitions. The brash, loud and flashy man with eccentric clothing and gorgeous women caught the eye of some wrestlers and the rest was history.
Of course no story is ever that easy. Page's promos may have been off the chart but this meant that he was seen more as an on screen character than a wrestler. While working on radio he caught the ears of a few important people and eventually got a wrestling manager role for AWA. This was living the life for DDP, or so he thought. He was successful but it never quite fulfilled his true goal - to be a professional wrestler. The DDP character was almost too good, taking away the spotlight from the talent he was meant to be promoting, and once he made the move to WCW it wasn't long until the call was made to drop him.
The talking heads in this documentary are really important for giving context to the rise and fall of DDP to this point. Scott Hall, Jake Roberts, Eric Bischoff and Terry Taylor to name but a few. All of these guys speak so highly of Page and his work ethic and fortitude to get where he wanted to be. Any other man at his age would have walked away once being dropped as a manager. He'd worked for some of the biggest wrestling companies in the world, managing some of the best talent, and he had nothing left to prove. It's clear that DDP is not a man that settles, and that taste of the big time at Wrestlemania VI with a guest spot during Rhythm and Blues’ entrance left him wanting more. So instead of packing his bags and leaving the wrestling business, he told everyone he was going to be a wrestler and made the WCW Power Plant development school his second home.
To see DDP’s in-ring work improve over the years to the point where he was eventually given the World Heavyweight Championship was seen as nothing short of a miracle by some people, but it was the grit and determination that got him to the top of the mountain. He stripped down the wilder side of the DDP character, instead focusing on the underdog that the crowds loved to get behind. During his high profile feud with the NWO his work with Randy Savage cemented him as a top guy. He then got to work a celebrity angle with basketball player Karl Malone against Hulk Hogan and Dennis Rodman, and his title match with Goldberg won WCW Magazine’s ‘Match of the Year’ in 1998. All that was left was that final step which came in April of 1999 when he beat Sting, Hogan and Ric Flair to become champion. As a wrestler, you could hardly ask for three bigger names to go over.
As we all know, the demise of WCW lead to WWE taking numerous talents on board, and DDP was seen as one of the ones with the most potential by fans worldwide. The Stalker angle is covered but not in any great depth. DDP seems happy with his position in wrestling history and doesn’t appear to hold any grudges. Even when he got to WWE he was willing to work with what he was given, and his transformation from stalker to Positively Page worked wonders for getting a whole new audience behind him. A European Championship and a match at Wrestlemania X8 gave Page something to enjoy and appreciate from his WWE run, and numerous random appearances over the years since have kept DDP in the minds of wrestling fans old and new.
This Blu-ray shows a full circle journey for Page and the final scenes talking to HHH really show genuine emotion from a man who could have easily given up but never did. You can’t help but feel happy for the man and the successes that he has had over the years. It’s one of the better home releases WWE have produced recently because of the story it tells and the honesty from all involved. Page’s matches, especially from the late 90s, are definitely worth watching because the crowds are so into him. It does leave you a little disappointed that his jump to WWE wasn’t quite what it could have been, but for a man that had already overachieved in every way possible DDP has very little to be sour about. Now he’s happy to spend his time giving back through DDP Yoga and similar, and his story will no doubt inspire many to chase their own dreams. This release comes highly recommended to any wrestling fan with a great documentary portion and some interesting stories from someone who’s done it all over the years.
EXTRAS: A number of big matches from Page's career are present, including his bouts along side celebrities Jay Leno and Karl Malone in 1998, a couple of corking matches during his US title run against Bret "The Hitman" Hart and Bill Goldberg. There is also a few excellent additions from his 1999 World title run, including a fantastic bout against Sting, a blistering four corners match from the much-beloved Spring Stampede 1999 show, and I'm glad to say a match from his time in the Jersey Triad alongside Kanyon & Bam Bam Bigelow against Saturn & Raven is included, given it was one of the few highlights from WCW in the summer of 1999. Thankfully we are treated to just the one match from his WWE tenure, his match with Christian from Wrestlemania 18, which was decent if unspectacular. A decent selection, although I would have liked to see more from his early WCW career and his matches with members of the NWO in 1997.