Wrestler of the Day – April 5: Diamond Dallas Page

Yo it’s him it’s him it’s DDP.

 

Page got his start in the AWA as a manager after spending years in the nightclub business. After the company started to go under, he got a job in WCW and decided to become a wrestler in his mid 30s, which is unheard of. Somehow he made it and debuted in late 1991. Here’s one of his earlier matches as part of the Battlebowl competition at Starrcade 1991.

Bill Kazmaier/Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Mike Graham/Diamond Dallas Page

Kazmaier is a former winner of the World’s Strongest Man competition, Liger is a Japanese masked man and one of the best high fliers of all time, Graham is mainly known for training wrestlers, and Page is a glorified manager who would become MUCH better in about six years. Liger is also the brand new Light Heavyweight Champion, having won the title on Christmas night.

Graham and Liger start things off and they fight for arm control. Liger catches Graham with a headscissors to send Mike out to the floor as it’s clear that Graham is completely out of his league against Jushin. Off to Kazmaier who is just massive. Graham is literally thrown around and it’s off to Page who can’t do anything against the power of Kazmaier either. A gutwrench slam puts Page down but Kazmaier misses a middle rope splash.

Page comes in and chokes away a bit before Kaz easily sends him out to the floor. Tag off to Liger who takes Page down with a spinwheel kick and a slingshot splash gets two. Graham comes in to face Kazmaier with the power guy taking over again. Off to Liger to work on the arm as this match is starting to drag. Liger hooks his always awesome surfboard hold but Graham comes back with a Boston Crab, only to have Liger kick him forward into a rollup.

A backslide gets two for Graham but Liger takes him to the mat with a leg lock. Kazmaier gets the tag and Graham immediately rolls over to the corner to bring in Page again. Back to Graham vs. Liger after almost nothing of note from the other two. Liger fires off some rapid fire kicks to Graham’s chest and tags Kazmaier back in.

Page finally helps with some double teaming to take control but Kaz casually picks Graham up and walks him to the corner for the tag off to Liger. Graham misses a charge in the corner and falls to the floor where Liger hits a big flip dive. Back in and Liger hits a middle rope moonsault for two as everything breaks down. Kazmaier picks up Liger and throws him onto Page for the pin in a fairly smart ending.

Rating: D. This was REALLY dull with Graham being as generic of a wrestler as you can possibly imagine. Kazmaier’s strength was more than enough to get him through a match and Liger was his usual good self….when he had any help at all. Page and Graham were just worthless here and they really dragged things down. Not a good match at all.

Page would have a lame 1992, be fired for most of 1993, then come back in early 1994. Here’s one of his first matches back, from Spring Stampede 1994.

Johnny B. Badd vs. Diamond Dallas Page

He’s a sheriff in red tonight. Yep he looks like an idiot but he’s opening ANOTHER PPV. Is this a sick joke or something? The line of HE’S SO BAD always makes me laugh as I guarantee it’s not meant to sound the way I’m thinking about it. Page is still worthless as all goodness here but whatever. Kimberly always looked great though. Page has money now and is rich so he gives Heenan a thing with his initials in diamonds on it so now he’s loved.

Page is in an armbar and needs to have his mouth washed out with soap apparently. Heenan and Tony get into a stupid argument about stomachs as you can tell they’re not that interested in this either. These two would feud for what felt like ever and it just never would end. This hasn’t been bad but it certainly hasn’t been that good either. Badd more or less botches a headscissors and then dives over the top to make up for it. The top rope sunset flip ends this.

Rating: C+. Not bad but not great. The fans were into Badd so that’s a fine choice for the opener. This was a pair that kept going at it for months and before Page finally lost the final match, Badd went to WWF and got laughed at on WCW TV. The feud helped Page a lot though and was one of the first signs that he had potential.

We’ll jump ahead to Fall Brawl 1995 where Page is challenging Renegade for the TV Title. This is during a BIZARRE storyline for Page as he was a bum with nothing before winning $13 million on a Bingo ticket. He’s bought himself new gear and is getting confidence, all the way to the point where he’s got a title shot.

TV Title: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Renegade

So more or less, one of these guys was supposed to be a big deal and bombed and one was supposed to be a joke and became a big deal. You can figure out which. Page jumps Renegade to start. In a great line from Bobby: “This is a new DDP. This man has energy. This man has vision. This man is…flat out on the floor!” Dang he is cracking me up tonight. Kimberly is getting pissed off at having to do what DDP said.

She would get far hotter when she straightened her hair. Renegade just can’t do much and on top of that, no one liked him. It’s mostly DDP in control here as even though he’s green as goodness, he’s FAR better here. They point out that this is the longest Renegade match ever. That’s just not a good sign at all. To be fair though, Rob Terry is doing the same thing today and he seems to be a success.

Renegade makes his comeback with no one caring. Hart is freaking out on him as we hear again how WCW is number one. Page gets a sweet jumping DDT for a counter though which helps things out a lot. Maxx Muscle goes after Hart so Renegade jumps at him. He grabs Renegade’s foot to allow the Diamond Cutter for the pin and DDP’s first title.

Rating: D. This was the right decision about a million times over. Renegade just was not any good at all and DDP was rapidly getting better. They had to make the change to someone. This was one instance where they saw the writing on the wall and just pulled the plug on a terrible angle.

As mentioned, Page would feud with Johnny B. Badd for months, only to have it cut off by Badd jumping to the WWF before the big blowoff. Page had lost the TV Title as well as most of the money as it turned out his valet Kimberly had been playing the Bingo game and the money was rightfully hers. Page, with nothing left, put up his career against a shot at the Booty Man (Brutus Beefcake, a replacement for Badd) and the remaining money at Uncensored 1996.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Booty Man

Oh where do I even start here. Ok, Booty Man is Brutus Beefcake first of all, who is freshly face again, having been a heel in the Dungeon of Doom, only to be thrown into this match with the explanation that he was sent in by Hogan as a spy and was really a good guy all along. That….actually could work. I mean think about it: is that really such an insane plot idea?

I certainly wouldn’t think so. I mean it’s certainly not great or fleshed out or anything, but considering it was likely thrown together at the last minute it’s fine by me. Now, you might be wondering why we’re even having to talk about Brutus here. Well, this was supposed to be Johnny B. Badd fighting DDP for the 12th time in a week or something like that, as they had been feuding forever.

Why were they feuding? Well, DDP was this poor guy that got some money together and went to play Bingo with Kimberly. He bought her ticket and she won $12 million dollars at a freaking Bingo game. I want to play in that game! Anyway, they went to court over it and the judge gave it to her. The thing was, he had already spent a ton of it, and Johnny was the only guy that would defend her.

The TV Title got involved in there too but it wasn’t important. Anyway, this is money vs. career so there we are. Badd had jumped ship about two weeks before this to WWF as Marc Mero and debuted 7 days after this. So with no one at all to go to, they turned Brutus into the Booty Man of all things and we have this.

Think about that story for a bit: that’s pretty much the main midcard feud: a feud over a game of Bingo, and people wonder why this company sucked so much at this time. DDP is allegedly penniless here, but he has enough to get tights and boots. He’s doing some almost biker gimmick or something here too. Oh and Kimberly is called the Booty Girl now. Page looks like garbage here. Brutus is wearing the same tights he wore as the Barber but now he’s wearing a headband and has a REALLY bad song.

They bury Badd before the match, saying he decided he just couldn’t compete in WCW anymore. Ouch. It’s a shame he had about 5 times as big of a career in WWF than he ever would have in WCW where he would have been swallowed by the NWO in six months and gone to WWF for half the money later on. Yep, his life sucked. Sadly, we haven’t even started the match at this point.

We start with Page hiding and smoking a cigar as Brutus is apparently a Hulkamaniac. The way his tights are cut Brutus looks like he’s wearing a really big thong. They haven’t actually made contact yet. HE LOCKED UP WITH HIM! HE LOCKED UP WITH HIM!!! After that, we waste some more time. We’ve been going for almost three minutes before they actually do any real wrestling.

We get a great line of after the money came in, the Diamond Doll (Kimberly) got built up with Page. Think about that for a minute and you’ll get it. Anyway, they finally get going here and in a funny bit, Heenan starts talking about the angle and Dusty talks over him. Bobby starts getting upset and complaining, saying that he won’t talk anymore and it’s now the Tony and Dusty Show. BOBBY, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF THINGS GOOD AND MADE OF PORK TALK TO US!!! DON’T DO THIS TO US!

Thankfully he’s back a few seconds later. Dusty actually says Brutus is a skilled mat wrestler. Yep, that’s what he said. Anyone want to place a bet on him topping that one later on? As Dallas is on the floor, Kimberly comes out looking like a roller disco cheerleading French maid. Trust me, you would describe her the same way. This is just horrible. It’s more or less a dance recital with some arm work in there.

That was the absolute worst mistiming thing I’ve EVER seen. DDP reverses an Irish Whip and then I have zero clue what they were planning as Page lays down on his back and Brutus bent forward after running like he was going to back drop Page. I really don’t know what that was supposed to be but even the announcers can’t hide the fact that it was horrible looking.

I mean TONY FREAKING SCHIAVONE says “Oh what was that?” in a very sarcastic tone. They try to say it was a botched arm drag but that doesn’t work. OH! They repeated the spot (imbeciles) and it was supposed to be Brutus goes for a cross body and Page ducks. The problem was that the first time I think Brutus was thinking shoulder block or something. It was so obviously a repeat of the spot and it just looked awful.

You can tell that Page, who likes to map stuff out, has no clue what to do here. He liked to have his whole matches scripted beforehand, something Randy Savage was notorious for in his best days, but this was thrown together so there we are. Also, this is nowhere NEAR the DDP that you’re used to. Kimberly wants Brutus to be her boyfriend. That’s her exact line. Is she wanting to participate in a drug intervention or something?

In another jab at Badd, they say that Page signed to fight bad and the announcers unanimously agree Page would have won. They say a heel would beat a face, which sums everything up. Heenan says if she’s looking for a boyfriend to put an ad in the paper. Bobby says that in that outfit the only person she could get is a fellow acrobat. Page kisses Kimberly, leading to a high knee for the pin.

Brutus “keeps” Kimberly due to the stipulation. WCW: a slave trader’s paradise! Brutus kisses her. I’d recommend about a week in a dentist’s office along with a high dose of antibiotics. She’s the Booty Girl now. I’m out of jokes here so post amongst yourselves. Page would of course be back and somehow wrestle THREE MATCHES at the next PPV. Good to see they’re keeping their promises.

Rating: D. This went WAY too long. To be fair, Kimberly looked pretty good so it gets points for that. It also launched DDP’s career as he became this guy that despite being fired still was filmed by WCW cameras and shown on WCW TV. He would get some mystery benefactor that was never revealed due to the NWO. He would return and become the character we all know and at least like, launching him into the stratosphere in WCW.

Page’s absence lasted about a month as a benefactor (never revealed but planned to be Kimberly) got him back on his feet, allowing Page to come back and start racking up wins. One of these wins would be at Slamboree 1996 where Page won the competition and became Lord of the Ring. This was part of a four month winning streak which was broken in August by Eddie Guerrero. Page would go on another three month winning streak, eventually earning a spot in a tournament final for the vacant US Title, against none other than Eddie Guerrero. From Starrcade 1996.

US Title Tournament Final: Eddie Guerrero vs. Diamond Dallas Page

Ric Flair had been champion but had to vacate the title due to a shoulder injury. The idea of this feud (they had fought over the summer too) was to have Page get better by working with a guy as talented as Guerrero. This is after Page lost his $6 to the Diamond Doll (now named Kimberly) and the TV Title due to a bingo card that she won $13 million on which he bought for her. This era of WCW was weird if I didn’t mention that already.

The title is vacant coming in if that wasn’t clear, although the belt isn’t here. It was stolen by the Giant who claimed that he was champion because he wanted to be, so this is for just the name at this point. Feeling out process to start until Eddie takes him into the corner for some chops. Instead of following up Eddie backs off though and lets Page fire off some right hands. A dropkick puts Page on the floor and Eddie rams him into the barricade for good measure.

Like a good heel, Page goes to the eyes to take over and sends Eddie into the steps. Back in and Eddie takes him down with a drop toehold and into an armbar. Eddie stays on the arm with a wristlock as Tony implies that he was scalping tickets before the show. Page takes him down by the hair a few times but Eddie nips right back up. Guerrero low bridges Page to the floor and hits a good looking dive to take him down again. Back in and Eddie is dropped chin first on the top turnbuckle and Page takes over for the first time.

A Pancake (piledriver position but dropping forward instead of down) puts Guerrero down again and it’s off to a chinlock. A suplex gets two on Eddie and Page yells at the referee a bit. Off to an abdominal stretch by Page and he grabs the ropes for extra leverage. Eddie escapes, only to get caught in a swinging neckbreaker for two. Back to the abdominal stretch but Page finally gets caught and has his hold broken by the referee.

Eddie gets another two count off a small package but Page takes his head off with a discus lariat for no cover. Page misses a charge and goes shoulder first into the post, allowing Eddie to take him down with a leg trip. Eddie pounds away and hits a solid European uppercut before ramming Page into the buckle. A suplex gets two on DDP but Eddie’s frog splash (mostly) misses.

Page gets two of his own off a belly to belly suplex, only to go up and get crotched down by Guerrero. Eddie is shoved off the top but Page dives into an atomic drop for two. A pair of backslides gets two each for Eddie but Page’s helicopter bomb gets the same. Eddie is sent to the floor, allowing the NWO to come in and lay out DDP. Guerrero didn’t see a thing so he hits the frog splash for the pin and no belt.

Rating: C+. This took awhile to get going but it was clear that Page wasn’t ready to be a heel at this level yet. Thankfully he turned face soon after this and became the hottest thing in the company as he fought the NWO. Eddie would slip down to the cruiserweight division and dominate there for awhile, meaning that better days were ahead for both guys.

Page would soon make the move that would change his entire career. The NWO tried to recruit him, but Page would do something unthinkable: he turned them down. This immediately put him on the front lines of the war against the NWO and here’s one of his first major matches, from Spring Stampede 1997.

Randy Savage vs. Diamond Dallas Page

We get the long walk to the ring with Savage and Liz. Savage wants to make it a party. “SLIM JIMS FOR EVERYBODY!!!” This is the first main event for Page. He cuts a quick promo before the match about having to stand up for what he believes in. Savage did something to Kimberly so this is a revenge match. It’s not important enough to mention, but it’s worth revenge. Ok then. This is No DQ.

Savage stalls like he’s in Memphis (it’s close to it) but jumps Page to get us going. Page fights back and they go into the ring. He tries something like a suplex but I have no idea what it wound up being. A quick Cutter attempt is countered and Page is sent to the floor. They go into the crowd and the camera chasing after them is kind of cool. Page grabs a trashcan to blast Savage in the head. Savage is NWO in case that means anything to you.

They brawl back to the ring with some choking on the way. Savage hides behind Kimberly and Liz rakes Page’s back. There’s the ax handle to the floor and Page is sent into the floor. With Page down, Savage chases Kimberly but is stopped by an attractive chair. After a shot to the back he beats up Dave Penzer and brings in another chair. Coming back in Page manages something like a Van Daminator but with a shove instead of a spin kick.

Unfortunately for Page he can’t follow up so Savage chokes away in the corner. Page makes a quick comeback but is knocked right back don. Discus lariat out of nowhere puts Savage down but Page is spent. Savage slams him three times and goes to the floor to get the bell. Kimberly steals it from him but Savage jumps anyway, right into the feet instead of the elbow. I HATE that spot. Cutter is countered with a low blow for two.

Savage beats up the referee after the count and hits a good piledriver on him. He takes the belt off of Mark Curtis and whips him a little bit. The elbow hits but there’s no referee. Cue Nick Patrick in the sleeveless shirt of EVIL. Diamond Cutter out of NOWHERE hits and Patrick counts the pin because of the Nash stuff earlier.

Rating: B-. Good match here with Page pulling off a great upset win to pop the crowd and send them home happy. The brawling wasn’t great but they did it well enough for what the purpose here was. These two would feud over most of the summer and it brought Page up to the main event level that he would stay at for years.

The win would launch Page to the next level and lead him to matches like this, from October 27, 1997 on Nitro.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Hulk Hogan

Non-title of course and amazingly this isn’t the main event. Page of course has taped ribs as he always does. Hogan immediately shoves Page into the corner but Hogan takes him down with a hammerlock. Page is in jeans here. Hogan slugs him down as Tony plugs Assault on Devil’s Island some more. All Hollywood so far as he clotheslines Page down for two. A jumping knee to Page’s face puts him down again but DDP comes back with the driving shoulders.

Page tries for the Cutter but Hogan immediately bails to the floor. Back in and the discus lariat takes Hogan down and out to the floor again. Hogan gets back in and slams Page down before dropping some elbows and choking away. Page is sent to the floor and out into the barricade before suplexing Page down on the floor. Back in and Diamond grabs a quick neckbreaker for two but gets caught in an atomic drop for the same for Hogan.

Hollywood goes after the ribs and hits a BIG running clothesline in the corner. Hogan hits a suplex for three straight two counts before DDP comes with with a bunch of punches to send Hogan to the floor. That goes nowhere so it’s back inside for the big boot from Hogan to stop Page cold. The legdrop misses though but a fake Sting (might be Syxx) comes out and jumps into the Diamond Cutter as the bell rings for a DQ.

Rating: C-. Not the worst match in the world as Hogan actually went almost fifteen minutes for free on television. It was his usual heel stuff with really basic moves, but he had the crowd riled up which is what Hogan was a master at doing. Page hung in there and the run in finish was the only thing they could do here. Decent match though.

Earlier in the year, Page had brought in Curt Hennig as a mystery partner. Hennig eventually turned on WCW and Ric Flair in particular before taking the US Title over to the NWO. Page had a chance to win it back at Starrcade 1997.

US Title: Curt Hennig vs. Diamond Dallas Page

Hennig is defending and had been feuding with Flair for months, but Flair is hurt so Page is subbing for him. Curt is also NWO of course. Apparently Page stole the physical belt last night on Saturday Night….and then gave it back before the match tonight. That sounds like an idea they had and then dropped. Page has bad ribs which he had for months on end. Hennig gets elbowed in the face a lot and knocked out to the floor for a breather.

Back in and Hennig wisely goes after the bad ribs before putting on a chinlock. Thankfully it doesn’t last long as Page counters into the much more interesting headlock. Curt fights up and is put right back into the hold as the match continues to go slowly. Back up and they head to the floor where Hennig snaps Page’s throat across the top rope to take over. Page also goes ribs first into the steps as Hennig is thinking with his attack here. They go back into the ring where Curt pounds on the ribs even more.

Page tries to fight back but charges into a boot in the corner and a clothesline takes him down. Off to a chinlock which must be left over from the Bagwell match. The fans start chanting boring as this hold drags on for over a minute. Page finally fights up and hits a jawbreaker to escape before punching Hennig out to the floor. A dive over the top puts Hennig down again and Page throws him into the crowd to continue the beating.

They head back inside where Hennig gets to do his reverse crotch against the post spot. The Diamond Cutter is blocked by a grab of the ropes though and Hennig gets two. A rollup gets two for Page but Hennig clotheslines him down for two. Hennig loads up his Hennigplex but Page counters into a Diamond Cutter. He totally botched the move though and it looks like an armbar. They both get back up and Page hits the Diamond Cutter out of nowhere for the US Title and the first win by a good guy of the night.

Rating: C-. This wasn’t great and the botched ending hurt it a bit. Still though, it’s nice to see the fans have something to cheer for, even though it took them nearly two hours to get there. To say the Diamond Cutter was a popular move is the understatement of the year, as the fans went nuts when he hit it. This was a pretty dull match until the Cutter hit.

Now the US Champion, Page would enter a feud with Chris Benoit and Raven, setting up this match against Benoit SuperBrawl VIII.

US Title: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Chris Benoit

Benoit is challenging in a rematch here after the Flock cost him his first title shot. Page starts with his driving shoulders but Benoit cartwheels out of the wristlock. A quick armdrag takes Page down and the champion isn’t sure what to do. Page comes back with a gutbuster but Benoit drapes him bad ribs first over the ropes. A quick Crossface attempt doesn’t work (nor is it acknowledged by the announcers) and they try a test of strength. Benoit is taken down but counters into a quick pinfall reversal sequence for a few near falls.

The Diamond Cutter attempt is escaped and Benoit takes a breather on the floor. Back in and it’s time to fight with Benoit hitting a hard right hand to the face. Another pinfall reversal sequence ends with a wheelbarrow suplex from Page for two but Benoit comes back with a dropkick to the knee. We hit the chinlock but Page fights up with a jawbreaker, only for Benoit to kick him in the bad ribs to take over again.

A snap suplex gets two and it’s back to a chinlock with an arm trap. Benoit switches to a sleeper but Page backdrops him to the apron and crotches him on the top to escape. Page superplexes him down but neither guy can follow up. A discus lariat gets two for the champion and a top rope clothesline gets the same. Benoit hooks a quick Crossface but Page is in the rope. Page counters a German suplex into a belly to belly for two but Benoit is like boy I do the suplexes around here and rolls some Germans for a near fall. A jumping DDT gets two on Chris but a backslide is countered into the Diamond Cutter to retain the title.

Rating: B+. Great match here and one of Page’s best ever. This is a rare occasion where both guys came out looking great because Benoit got caught, not defeated. Both guys were working hard out there and it became a chess match of who could get their big move first. Very good match here and both guys looked great.

Page’s war against the NWO continued as he would team with Jay Leno of all people against Hogan and Bischoff at Road Wild 1998.

Jay Leno/Diamond Dallas Page vs. Eric Bischoff/Hollywood Hogan

Thank goodness they don’t have another video package to set this up. The one good thing about this: Liz ROCKING some jeans and chaps. Leno is apparently here to defend his title as King of Late Night. Kevin Eubanks is at ringside. Leno throws water at Hogan and Bischoff on the floor to show how serious he is. Hogan and Page start (thank goodness) and we get the usual non-action headlined by a wristlock.

Page drives in the shoulders and hits a big right hand, knocking Hogan into a left hand from Leno. Hogan is sent to the floor and the ripped Kevin Eubanks sends him into the post. Leno leads a chant against Hogan and is at least into the match. Bischoff comes in and Jay tries to go after him but gets held back. Page shrugs off some kicks to the chest and it’s off to Leno. Bischoff runs away to Hogan and Jay stays in. He points at his chin and makes fun of Hogan’s baldness which is about what you would expect. Leno avoids a pair of right hands and tags in Page.

Hogan clotheslines Page down and it’s back to the driving shoulders. Leno comes back in to grab the wrist and in one of the most painful things I can remember seeing as a wrestling fan, Hogan sells it. He wouldn’t sell for Sting at Starrcade but he’s selling for Jay Leno. Hogan shoves him into the corner and drives in a knee but Leno grabs the wrist again. A double clothesline puts Hogan down and Leno gets two before nearly collapsing into a tag to Page. Ok to be fair to Leno, he did his job and was actually trying. Points for that.

The wrestlers head to the floor and Eubanks steals a chair from Hogan to keep Page in control. Back in and Bischoff gets in a kick to the back of Page’s head to change momentum. Bischoff gets in his shots to make himself feel important before Hogan gets in a shot with a foreign object to give Eric a two count. There’s the big boot but Page gets up before the legdrop and takes Hogan down with the discus lariat.

Leno gets the hot tag and we get the showdown with Bischoff…..who drops Leno with a poke to the eye. Jay comes back with a low blow and some right hands before sending Bischoff into some buckles. Leno is totally gassed and everything breaks down. Hogan hits Bischoff by mistake and Eubanks hits a very good looking Diamond Cutter on Bischoff to give Leno the pin.

Rating: D. Of course that’s on an adjusted scale. This match wasn’t horrible but it was incredibly stupid. Again I’d like to reiterate that Leno did his job to the best of his ability. He did his comedy stuff, took a few shots from Hogan and got the pin on Bischoff. He was bad, but you knew that was going to happen as soon as this was announced. As for the booking, there were a bunch of other ideas they could have gone with here and this was probably the worst possible outcome.

You could have gone with the Battle of the Billionaires idea with Leno backing Page against Hogan in a singles match and done the showdown with Bischoff that way. You could have swapped in Goldberg for Page and done Goldberg vs. Hogan II with the same Leno vs. Bischoff outside stuff. Do that and put Page in the battle royal to get Goldberg’s next challenger. You could have done any of those things and gotten a better result, but it wouldn’t be WCW if they had gone that way.

Soona fter this he would win WarGames and a World Title shot at Halloween Havoc 1998 against the undefeated Goldberg.

WCW World Title: Goldberg vs. Diamond Dallas Page

Let’s stop it here for a second because this is where it all fell apart. See, WCW decided that this show should be extra long and asked the PPV companies to give them an extra thirty minutes. Unfortunately this was 1998 and not that simple, so a lot of feeds went off somewhere between the end of the Warrior vs. Hogan match and the start of the title match. Yeah WCW gave them some advance notice, but that doesn’t put WCW in the clear. If you look at this show, they EASILY could have cut nearly an hour out but WCW just couldn’t let that happen.

Overall the show ran roughly three hours and twenty minutes, so cutting out say 25 minutes would have made this fit the time slot. As I mentioned, we had over 22 minutes of segments that weren’t needed or Nitro Girls (certainly not worthless but not necessary). On top of that there was the Juvy vs. Disco match, Wrath vs. Meng, Finlay vs. Wright, Saturn vs. Lodi and the Tag Title match which all could have been on free TV instead of here. WCW never advertised the show as running longer than usual as far as I know so it’s not like the fans would feel ripped off.

It comes off as a combination of stupidity and somewhat arrogance as the company just figured their plan would work and they just HAD to be bigger than WWF. What did most of the stuff they added here help? What does a Saturn vs. Lodi comedy match (probably six minutes with entrances and a post match replay) do to help the card? It ticked off the fans and cost them a lot of money, but at least they got the Buff Bagwell swerve and a Konnan music video on PPV.

And now, the match. Page’s music is edited on the Network. Page charges right at him a few times and is easily shoved away. An armdrag frustrates Goldberg and they lock up before falling to the floor without breaking it up. Back in and Page tries a legsweep but Goldberg does a standing backflip to avoid it. Men his size should not be able to do that. A bad looking cross armbreaker has Page in trouble and Goldberg shoves him out of the ring to block the Diamond Cutter.

Back in and Page takes him down into a hammerlock but a hard shoulder block puts him on the floor. Page is able to snap Goldberg’s throat across the top rope and he follows up with a swinging neckbreaker. A Russian legsweep gets two and we hit a front facelock. Goldberg knees his way out of it and hits a spinning neckbreaker to put Page down. A hard hiptoss puts Page down and a side slam gets two for the champion. Back to the cross armbreaker but Page makes the rope.

A superkick sends Page flying but he sidesteps the spear, sending Goldberg hard into the post. Page gets two off a flying clothesline and the running DDT puts the champion down as well. He calls for the Diamond Cutter but Goldberg nails him with the spear. It injures his arm though and Goldberg can’t get the Jackhammer. Page slips behind him and grabs the Diamond Cutter but both guys are down. The fans are suddenly WAY into this as Page gets a very close two. Page tries a suplex of his own but Goldberg counters into the Jackhammer to retain the title.

Rating: B. It’s not a masterpiece but it’s definitely Goldberg’s best match ever. The fans were buying into Page as a threat at the end of the match and that’s more than can be said about the vast majority of Goldberg’s opponents. To put it simply, this was a good wrestling match. You can’t often say that about a WCW main event but that’s what you had here.

After feuding with Bret Hart over the US Title, Page would be launched into the World Title scene, earning a spot in a fatal fourway at Spring Stampede 1999 for the belt.

WCW World Title: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Sting vs. Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan

No Michael Buffer for the intros. No tags here and it’s one fall to a finish. This is one of the final matches under the People’s Champion era for Page. Flair is champion and comes out first for some reason. He and Sting pair off as Page fights Hogan. Those two never had a big PPV title match that I remember. Sting almost gets the Deathlock on Page inside a minute but DDP makes the rope.

Hogan and Flair fight up the ramp as Page tries a Diamond Cutter. Everyone back in now and it’s getting hard to call all of this. Sting slams Flair off the top which makes things feel right. Hogan takes the weight belt off and whips at the champ as STING ACTUALLY HITS THE STINGER SPLASH AGAINST THE RAILING!!! I’ve been watching him over twenty years and I’ve never seen him hit that.

The weight belt goes back on as it’s just Hogan vs. Flair in the ring at the moment. Hulk no sells the chops and hits the boot and leg. Sting hooked the Scorpion just before that and has to let it go to break up the pin. Flair gets in a shot at Hogan’s knee, because that’s gone so well before right? The Figure Four goes on and Sting misses his second attempt at a splash.

Hogan turns the hold over and Page has to break it up. Page knocks Flair to the floor and we get the Figure Four around the post on Hogan. The trainer runs out to check on Hogan and he has to leave. Even Bischoff comes out to check on him. So it’s a triple threat now and they’re all in the ring. Sting beats up Flair while Page just chills. Flair, after eleven years, still doesn’t get that chops don’t work on Sting. Flair Flip in the corner and he gets clotheslined to the floor.

Page works on Sting’s ribs but Flair is back in now. Discus lariat gets two. Savage is counting slow and hasn’t meant a thing yet. Stinger Splash hits Page and he slams DDP’s face into the mat. Page tombstones Sting for two as Flair breaks it up. Sting superplexes Flair for two. Page puts a sleeper on Flair who has a sleeper on Sting. Sting hits a jawbreaker on both and they’re all up at 9.

Sting gets double teamed and THAT STILL DOESN’T WORK ON HIM. He hits a double clothesline and beats them both down. Splashes for both guys but Page breaks up the Deathlock on Flair. Death Drop takes Page down but Sting can’t cover. Flair puts the Figure Four on Sting and Sting makes the ropes. Flair won’t break it so Savage drags them to the middle of the ring and drops the elbow (Sky Elbow according to Tony) to break it up. A Diamond Cutter to Flair gives Page his first world title.

Rating: C-. Not the worst match ever but I really don’t get what Savage was needed in there for other than a single move. A lot of this dragged really badly but they at least did something. It may not have been interesting but they were doing something. Page turned heel soon after this and it bombed HORRIBLY because people had gotten behind him for being the scrappy underdog that kept pushing until he reached the top. As in like Hardy whose heel turn also bombed. Funny how that works isn’t it?

Page would lose the title to Sting before winning it back later in the night a few weeks later before losing it to Kevin Nash for good about a month and a half later. He would then join the Jersey Triad along with Kanyon and Bam Bam Bigelow, who would dominate the tag team scene over the summer of 1999. However we’ll jump ahead to spring of 2000 when Page started feuding with Jeff Jarrett over the World Title. Through reasons that made my head hurt, actor David Arquette become champion and defended it against Page and Jarrett in a triple cage match at Slamboree 2000.

WCW World Title: David Arquette vs. Jeff Jarrett vs. Diamond Dallas Page

It’s a triple cage match where the bottom is like the Cell and there’s a hardcore cage on top of that, which has a bunch of weapons on it. On top of that there’s a cage with a bunch of guitars around it with a cage a single person can fit into. The belt is hanging from the ceiling above that cage which has to be climbed to pull the belt down. It really is an impressive looking structure.

While the introductions are going on, a few things should be noted about Arquette: he didn’t want to do this but Russo insisted it was a brilliant idea. Second, every dollar he made from this he donanted to the families of Owen Hart, Brian Pillman and Darren Drozdov (recently paralyzed in a match). Before I forget you have to use a ladder to get to the second cage through I’m guessing a trapdoor.

The bell rings and Arquette runs. Well at least he’s thinking. Basically you’ll get Page vs. Jarrett for the majority of the match which means it’ll be decent enough. Page gets a clothesline in the ring and calls for Arquette to go up to the top where he misses a splash. Page tries to get a ladder but Jarrett hits a baseball slide to send Page into the cage again. And down goes David as Page sends Jarrett into Arquette into the cage.

Page posts Jeff and goes for the ladder and ultimately the second cage. Jarrett is busted open but manages to suplex Page off the ladder. The ladder is in the corner and not set up so both guys are sent into it as is the ladder match custom. Jeff brings in a second ladder and they both start climbing. Page knocks him off and is in the second cage first. Jeff follows quickly and instead of just going through the door he grabs a weapon and gets caught.

The floor of the cage they’re in is made of the top of the other cage and has wide spaces, making it easy to slip in. Page is busted also and Jarrett tries to climb the wall, only to get caught. They ram each other into the cage wall and it falls down. Keep in mind they’re on top of something the size of Hell in a Cell. This isn’t exactly on the mat and almost falling to the floor.

Hey, I have a great idea! LET’S SET UP A TABLE ON TOP OF A CAGE WITH BIG HOLES IN THE FLOOR! Page gets something like a powerslam through it and both guys are down. The floor is pretty weak but it’s not as bad as a scaffold match. Arquette hasn’t been seen in about five minutes. There he is and here he comes. Arquette goes to the top of the hardcore cage and is totally alone, meaning he could easily retain the title. Since he doesn’t, you might as well hold up a big sign saying SHOCK HEEL TURN.

Page sets for a Diamond Cutter on Jarrett on top of the Cell (they’re outside the hardcore cage so it’s almost like the moat of a castle if that makes sense) but Mike Awesome pops in to break it up. There’s a Diamond Cutter for him and Arquette is on top of the third cage. Page and Jarrett go up and head into the guitar room. Jarrett misses a shot as does Page. He hands one to Arquette to play defense with and as both wrestlers climb, say it with me, ARQUETTE TURNS ON PAGE. Jarrett wins the title.

Rating: B. Above all else, this match shows the fundamental flaw in Vince Russo’s style: this was a good match and there was zero reason for Arquette to be involved at all. As explained during the match, Jarrett was mad at Page because Page was in Ready to Rumble and he wasn’t. They met in a tournament final at the previous PPV for the title with Jarrett winning and then Page got the belt, making this the blowoff match.

DDP vs. Jarrett in a big gimmick cage match (from the movie so it makes even more sense) is more than ok for a PPV main event. They have chemistry together too so the match was going to be pretty good at least. But for Russo that’s not enough so he adds in David Arquette, making it look like any guy off the street (which for Arquette is true from a physical standpoint) can win the title. The title looks bad and instead of WCW having a match that looks like it’s even more crazy and awesome than Hell in a Cell, this match is remembered for David Arquette coming in as world champion. Just let the wrestlers wrestle.

We’ll skip over the dying days of WCW, Page stalking Undertaker’s wife Sara in the WWF and the horrible Tag Team Title runs against the Brothers of Destruction. Instead we’ll wrap it up with Page, now European Champion, defending against Christian at Wrestlemania 18.

European Title: Christian vs. Diamond Dallas Page

Christian is challenging and he cranks up the heel levels here by saying that he’s now from Tampa instead of Toronto. Page is very POSITIVE at this point but he never worked in WWF. At the end of the day, Page grew up in front of the WCW cameras instead of the WWF ones, so there was no connection to the fans. He was just an old guy with a good finisher and not much else.

Christian jumps Page to start but Page comes back with a nice over the shoulder gutbuster before clotheslining Christian out to the floor. Back in and Page pounds away in the corner, only to be dropped face first onto the buckle. We hear about Page being the Cadillac driver at Wrestlemania 6 in this same building which is indeed a pretty cool story. They trade slugs in the corner but Christian rams Page into the post to take over.

Back inside and Christian puts on an abdominal stretch followed by a backbreaker for two. Christian goes up top but gets slammed from the bottom rope (that’s a new one) as Page takes over. The discus lariat and helicopter bomb get two each for the champion but the Cutter is blocked. Another attempt out of the corner is countered into the reverse DDT for two. Christian keeps himself calm though, only to walk into the Diamond Cutter to retain the title.

Rating: C. Not quite as good as the first match but it certainly wasn’t bad. The problem here was the same one I mentioned earlier: there’s really no reason to care about Page. He’s not terrible but there’s nothing about him that makes WWF fans interested in him. Christian was still several months (and a big haircut) away from meaning anything as a singles guy. Page would lose the title to Regal in two days and it would be retired in July.

Diamond Dallas Page is a great example of someone who didn’t have the greatest skills but made the most of what he had. He went from a manager who started wrestling as he was approaching middle age and became World Champion seven years later. That’s quite the accomplishment when you think about it and Page got over huge. It goes to show you what hard work, an awesome finisher and a hot wife can do for you. He got over in the NWO period and that was almost impossible to do.

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