similar. So he opted for a sport that people said would be lighter contact,basketball, while harboring a secret desire to be involved in something veryhigh contact – pro wrestling.As he grew, he cultivated the look and attitude of a wrestling character. But itwould be decades before he'd get to live out that dream.Instead, he spent his 20s working in nightclubs, mostly as a bouncer andemcee. He was huge and dramatic and loud, and when he hosted ancientnightclub gimmicks like hot legs contests, partiers came in through the doors.Soon, he gained a nickname, POP, a.k.a. "Prince of Promo.""I looked like a rock star," he says. "I had a polished rap from being in front of a crowd."He was living in Ft. Meyers Beach Florida and running Norma Jeans DanceClub ("The hottest place from Sarasota to Cuba") when he had an opportunityto bring his particular skill set to the American Wrestling Association. Hisrole? He was the manager, a key player in any wrestling show.It was 1988, and, in those days, DDP was a full-time bad guy, or heel. Beforeeach match, he'd saunter into the ring and bark orders at his scantily cladfemale companions, (The Diamond Dolls) and generally talk trash. He wasuniversally loathed, which, in wrestling, is great.In 1990, he moved to Atlanta to break into the World ChampionshipWrestling, a production that has evolved into World Wrestling Entertainment,which dominates the market today.He started at WCW as a manager. But that changed, he says, when hispersonality began to overshadow the talent. His bosses suggested hebecome a color-commentator. But, with seven months left on his contract, hecountered:At 35, DDP said he'd wrestle."Everyone rolled their eyes," he says.Still, he did it."At 35 and half years old I made it to the show. I was the oldest man ever living the dream of an eight year old child."•••In the late 1990s, DDP was a big enough name in pro wrestling that'drecently been part of two huge pay-per-view tag team events.In one, DDP teamed up with then pro basketball star Karl Malone against HulkHogan and another NBA player, Dennis Rodman. In the other, DDP taggedwith Jay Leno against Hogan and former WCW executive producer EricBischoff.But, in early 1999, during a match with less famous partners, DDP threw hisback out.Though pro wrestling relies on soap opera-type scripting and pre-sketchedresults, DDP says there's one thing you can't fake – gravity.Doctors told the man who loves acronyms that his L4 and L5 discs weretapped out. His wrestling career, he was told, was done.His wife suggested yoga."I was, like, yoga? You're kidding, right?" he says. "I always thought (yoga)was a bunch of spiritual mumbo jumbo."But he was desperate, so he gave it a shot. And, learning to be bendy helpedDDP regain enough strength and flexibility to get back into the ring. He wenton to claim the championship title three times.Still, traditional yoga was a bit fey for DDP. So he made some tweaks,incorporating strength conditioning, Pilates and mixed martial arts moves intohis routine. And, when he wasn't in the ring, he spent time teaching hisparticular version of yoga to other pro wrestlers.In 2002, at 46, DDP ended his wrestling career. But he transitioned all thebending and balancing and strengthening techniques he had been developingover the years and started Yoga for Regular Guys – or, as he prefers it, YRG.It's like yoga on steroids (though, it should be noted, no steroids are actuallyinvolved), and it's available on DVD.In YRG, a traditional yoga position known as "child's pose" is re-christened"the safety zone," while "warrior lunges" become "road warriors." And "happybaby"
'happy porn star' until DDP struck a fitness video deal with Warner Bros. and he had to tone it down to its new, PG name: "dead bug."
31/03/2009Diamond Dallas Page returns to the (y…ocregister.com/…/ddp-yoga-wrestling-…2/3