Posted By James Walsh on 03/25/17
With the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony looming, and a Hall of Fame class that is almost all made up of worthy members, I thought it would be cool to do a few editorials of the best or most memorable moments of the honored inductees. You see, often we are so critical of the WWE for who goes in the Hall of Fame or, more directly, who does not. As they got it mostly right this year, we should celebrate the guys going in.
So, for our first inductee, I give you Diamond Dallas Page!
First, a few Honorable Mentions before we make our list.
HONORABLE MENTION: Manager of Badd Company - AWA 1988
The cool thing about DDP in the AWA is he was one of the few guys left in the promotion that oculd cut a promo. And, there were always babes around when DDP and Badd Company were around. So, that made a product that had long since lost its luster a lot more enjoyable to watch.
HONORABLE MENTION: Diamond Dallas Page hosts with Gordon Solie
So, why did this make the list? Well, it is about history. DDP is one of the few guys who can claim a lot of history in professional wrestling even if some was under the radar. This clip is Page in the classic Florida territory, or at least a later attempt to recreate it under the banner of the Pro Wrestling Federation. Page, who had just come from the AWA, hosted the show with the Dean of professional wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie. How many people can you say wrestled Hulk Hogan, hosted a show with Gordon Solie, and was married to the head of the Nitro Girls? Not many, my friend... In fact, nobody but DDP!
HONORABLE MENTION: DDP's Feud with Johnny B Badd - 1995
Johnny B Badd was a fantastic athlete who had one major flaw, he had a wife who wanted to be a bigger star than him. But, the DDP feud with Johnny B Badd involved the Diamond Doll (Kimberly) and Max Muscle. My favorite angle in the bunch was when Badd missed a match and Page's flunky Muscle said something about having too many flat tires. "I said I had A Flat Tire!". Genius. Great matches. The link above is to a Nitro one.
HONORABLE MENTION: DDP versus Raven versus Chris Benoit (Who?) - WCW Uncensored 1998
This video quality isn't great and the music is even worse. But, the match itself is wonderful. DDP was a utility player. A guy who could be placed in almost any situation and make it work. A few months before this, DDP was having epic matches with wrestling legend Curt Hennig in what were psychology driven technical matches with run ins. Here, Page embarked on a feud with Raven and, to some extent, Chris Benoit working hardcore style. Just a few months after this, Page was feuding with "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan again working Hogan's theatrical style. Page could be put in any situation and make it work. That is what made him great.
HONORABLE MENTION: DDP versus Kanyon - WCW 2000-201
In 2000, DDP's friend Kanyon started wearing a blond wig and mocking Page's book "Positively page". "Positively Kanyon" took time to get going, and WCW creative changes saw the feud blow hot and cold. But, every time they locked up, they delivered Gold. They even delivered Gold when they faced off in a 2006 PPV called 6:05 the Reunion for World Wrestling Legends. In fact, Lance Russell, the voice of Memphis Wrestling, was hysterical as he was calling action far more off the wall than anything he had seen in the Memphis Coliseum. And, that is saying something!
HONORABLE MENTION: DDP Returns - WWE Royal Rumble 2015
Who did not pop for DDP to come out and hit a Diamond Cutter in 2015? I sure did. It wasn't epic enough to make the list. But, it deserves a mention!
And now, the list!
#5: DDP Wins His 1st WCW World Title: Spring Stampede 1999
Pardon the video quality. As this is YouTube and not the WWE Network, the clip is in another language. But, Page faced off in a 4 way match against Sting, Ric Flair, and Hulk Hogan. Flair was coming in as champion after getting the title in a "First Blood" match with Hogan the prior month at Uncensored. WCW was starting to do a lot of "star power" main events throwing guys in 3 was, 4 ways, and even 5 way matches at the top of the card to pop buy rates and TV ratings. Page commented online that he felt he got about 60% of the crowd cheering for him that night. But, in one match, Page took out Hogan with a Figure 4 around the post (likely something he learned in his earlier feud with Bret Hart), and beat Ric Flair with a Diamond Cutter while long time enemy "Macho Man" Randy Savage counted the fall as special referee. You only have 1 "First Time". And, this was DDP's first time on top of the mountain. And, people knew it was deserved. If it happened today, you'd imagine a "You Deserve It" chant. The fans did not run the show like they do now back then, though.
#4: DDP Wins the Battle Bowl Ring - WCW Slamboree 1996
DDP Vignette + Battlebowl Battle Royal (Finish... by megasting1981--
If any event cemented the Diamond Cutter as a legitimate finisher, it had to be Slamboree when Page hit it on SEVERAL opponents and won the Battle Bowl Ring. The Dmaind Cutter had been around for a good year by this point but this night is when Page really kicked it into high gear and established it as the new DDT, a finishing move you do not get up from.
#3: DDP versus Hollywood Hulk Hogan - WCW Monday Nitro 1999
So, why do I consider this one of DDP's shinning moments? After all, he actually loses the match! Well, I view it as an example of a man who gets this business better than most. While Hollywood Hogan was starting to fight the good fight, he had been the #1 heel in the promotion for close to 3 years. Page, who was not really turning quite heel yet though was showing some signs, was one of the companies top baby faces. The event took place in Canada where the audience reacts however the hell they want with no real reason for it. On March 29th, 1999, we saw an early version of what we later saw at WrestleMania X8 with Hulk Hogan and The Rock. You had an audience that went for Hogan over the presumed face and two talented performers adapt the match accordingly. This match is not widely regarded or talked about. But, I think it really showed just how good DDP was. He had several matches with Hogan including the famed Bash at the Beach match with Malone as his partner against Hogan and Rodman and, of course, the infamous match at Road Wild where Page teamed with Tonight Show host Jay Leno against Hogan and Bischoff. Those matches were clearly more widely regarded and made mainstream press. But, this match? It just has it all. And, it destroyed the classic Nitro set. So, there's that too!
#2: DDP versus Goldberg - WCW Halloween Havoc 1998
In one corner, you had Goldberg. At the time, he was the WCW Champion and he eclipsed Sting, Luger, and DDP as the top babyface in the promotion. In the other corner, you had DDP. If you think about it, while very much alike, the match was between two of the most different people in the industry. Goldberg had the athletic background coming from the NFL, was believed to be an incredible talent, and pretty much immediately got to the top of the wrestling ladder. On the other hand, you had DDP! Quite the opposite. He was called "just a manager", perhaps even "too old" to get in the ring and learn the ropes. He had to fight and earn credibility along the way. The result? Well, anyone who tells you this is not Goldberg's best match is telling you a lie. The move where Page turns the Jackhammer into the Diamond Cutter is exactly why the Diamond Cutter is considered the best finisher in wrestling history by many. You can hit it out of anywhere! Page loses this match also. But, did anyone walk away saying he didn't rock it?
#1: Diamond Dallas Page versus "Macho Man" Randy Savage - WCW Spring Stampede 1997
Really, it was the whole feud that makes the list and is the thing that set DDP up as a top guy. Sure, Slamboree 1996 established the Diamond Cutter above all else. But, Page got to defeat and be in the same league with one of the greatest wrestlers of all time on anyone and everyone's list. And, belonged there. Plus, the story of the feud took WCW into that next level of wrestling. While ECW was more raunchy and pushing every button possible, the WWF was still very cartoonish and WCW was pushing the envelope a little bit further and not insulting the fans' intelligence. If you strip it down, the nWo was a corporate takeover initially by the WWE in angle and later as just a takeover by renegades who were to be the heels. But, this feud had sex too. And, sex was not really something WCW did much of at the time. At least, not on camera.
Savage and Elizabeth exposed DDP's wife Kimberly as being in a Playboy magazine at Uncensored 1997. This spawned the feud and started it all. At Spring Stampede, Savage took the Diamond Cutter and was pinned, 1-2-3 right in the middle. If Page was a rising star before this match, he left it a star.
The Savage - Page feud continued all the way until Halloween Havoc 1997. It saw tag title matches, cat fights between the girls, and even Page dressed up as Mexican superstar La Parka to shock Savage with a Diamond Cutter. But, none of it, none of it would have been as legitimate if he did not get that first win over Savage at Spring Stampede. It was truly awesome.