There have been many layers to the career of retired wrestling icon Diamond Dallas Page, and the amalgamation of everything he has achieved has come together to build his growing legacy.
Page, 60, who was announced Monday as the fourth member of the 2017 class of the WWE Hall of Fame, has an underdog backstory unlike many others in his transformation from nightclub owner to professional wrestling manager who, at the advanced age of 35, decided to become a wrestler.
The WCW veteran, who held the world heavyweight championship on three occasions, went on to a successful run as a main eventer, eventually transitioning to WWE in 2001 for a brief run after the fallout from the "Monday Night Wars."
But the most satisfying stretches of Page's career just might be the impact he has made outside of the ring, as a friend and creative mentor to so many people in the wrestling business. When you consider how many of the bodies (and lives) of wrestling stars past and present that Page has helped transform through the creation of his DDP Yoga workout system, his impact is staggering.
"If I could have had the opportunity coming into [WWE] in 2001 doing what I did and maybe doing a people's champion versus people's champion angle [against The Rock] or choose what has happened to me over the last six years, I would take this run every single time," Page told ESPN.com. "Every single time. It's like being reborn at 60."
Making dramatic changes for the better is nothing new for Page, who will be featured as part of WWE 2K17's new Hall of Fame Showcase, which was announced Tuesday. Players of the WWE's annual video game can use him in a tag team match alongside Cactus Jack against Fabulous Freebird members Michael "P.S." Hayes and Jimmy "Jam" Garvin, in a re-enactment of their WCW match from 1992. The downloadable content, available for PlayStation and Xbox systems, also includes the likes of Ric Flair, Sting, The Von Erichs, Bret Hart and The Big Boss Man.
With no shortage of humorous stories about life on the road from his WCW days, when he originally managed a repackaged version of The Freebirds, it's that same time frame when Page first transitioned to becoming a wrestler. In 1991, WCW road agent and announcer Magnum TA approached Page backstage and told him his 6-foot-3 size and outsized personality were overshadowing the wrestlers he was managing and encouraged him to try his hand in the ring. Out of desperation, with seven months left in his WCW deal, Page took the advice. Moments before walking through the curtain for his final appearance as a manager, Page stopped The Freebirds to tell them the news.
"[Michael] and Jimmy started laughing so hard, 'P.S.' fell down on his back belly laughing," Page said. "So I gave him a 'you're No. 1' salute and walked out to the ring."
Page soon went to the WCW's Power Plant in Atlanta to begin training. But his eventual happy ending wasn't without its steep hurdles, the biggest of which was a period where he was cut by WCW in 1996 after tearing his rotator cuff. All in all, Page embraces the underdog label he ultimately acquired in almost everything he does.
"How could I not be the underdog, starting at 35 and a half and going from a manager and a fourth-string color commentator to being a wrestler?" Page said. "I got my ass kicked. A lot. But I learned from all of the mistakes that I made."
It was during the his time away from WCW that Page enjoyed the turning point of his career. With Jake "The Snake" Roberts out of wrestling at the same time and going through a divorce, Page opened up his house to the wrestler he first met in 1986 when Roberts was a customer in Page's Florida nightclub.
"I always say that without Dusty Rhodes, there is no Diamond Dallas Page," he said. "But without Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, there's no three-time world champion, and there's no Hall of Fame."
Page used the time living with Roberts to soak up the wisdom, experience and unmatched in-ring psychology from Roberts. Years later, he would repay the favor to Roberts by using his overbearing positivity and fitness program to help break Roberts, and eventually Scott Hall, from years of substance abuse by inviting them to live in his house (now dubbed "The Accountability Crib") and document their turnaround.
For as much as Page gives credit to the late Rhodes for his career taking off, joining so many of today's current WWE superstars who also got to work with the legendary "American Dream" in NXT, Page is humbled by the idea that he is building a similar legacy as someone who so selflessly gives back to the business.
"Wow, I never really thought about it like that," Page said. "I know I helped guys and helped like 30 people get jobs [in WCW]. I was sort of like a scout for Eric Bischoff if I saw people who had the talent. Sometimes I wouldn't bring people to him until they had the gimmick, like Raven.
"I'm grateful on a lot of levels. But when you compare me to Dusty in helping out, that's a new job because I know I helped [in WWE] with what I'm doing today with DDP Yoga. It's a whole new genre."
Not only has Page invested personal time helping old friends Roberts, Hall and, most recently, Mick Foley substantially alter their quality of life, there is a growing number of current superstars who have extended their active careers thanks to his program too, from Chris Jericho, to Goldust and even AJ Styles.
"When I saw Chris jump off the top of the cage [against Dean Ambrose at Extreme Rules last May], I'm thinking, 'No Chris! No. You're 45. No!'" Page said. "Then he jumps off the top and I'm like, 'Yes! He did it! He's not hurt! Awesome.' If that doesn't give DDP Yoga the biggest props ever, I don't know what."
Jericho began using the product in 2012 after a back injury put his career in jeopardy. According to Page, three months after starting the program, Jericho was 100 percent pain free and wrestling CM Punk for the WWE championship at WrestleMania XXVIII.
From that point forward, Jericho began to spread the word, eventually calling Page to tell him about Styles, who had one more match on his contract in Japan before coming over to WWE in January 2016 and was experiencing significant pain of his own.
"I called AJ and said, 'Get your ass down here,'" Page said, referencing his DDP Yoga workout studio at his home outside Atlanta in Smyrna, Georgia. "I did a whole video on it. I don't know how much he's using it now, but I know [DDP Yoga] was the catalyst as far as him getting back into the ring. I don't think there is anybody, including Jeff Hardy, who puts their body through as much abuse as AJ Styles."
Page's new passion as a teacher and motivator began during his first days as a wrestler with WCW.
"People don't understand that, when I was at WCW, if I wasn't wrestling that night I was down at the Power Plant teaching," Page said. "I was teaching people how to do stuff, but every time you teach someone you learn more. The more you learn, the more you teach. The more you teach, the better you get."
Page said he was completely caught off guard in the manner in which he received the news about the Hall of Fame. While filming an upcoming WWE DVD on his life, "Diamond Dallas Page: Positively Living," Page was finishing up a long day of sit-down interviews when a phone rang on set.
"They hand me the phone and say, 'The boss wants to talk with you,'" Page said. "I realized it's Triple H [WWE executive Paul Levesque] and said, 'Paulie, what's up, man?' I had called him a couple of weeks ago so I was expecting his call."
While Triple H made small talk, Page says he was distracted by the fact that he couldn't remember the original reason he had called him. Soon enough, as Levesque began to recall their early days working together in WCW, Page became suspicious.
"He was down there with me at the Power Plant; he was Terra Rizin down in WCW," Page said. "We rode together, we hung together. He's talking about, 'I never thought you could do it. This guy was like 35 and a half. What were you thinking? But you did it.'
"He put me over to such a degree that I said, 'Hey, wait a minute. Is it that call? I started getting choked up and I couldn't even talk."
The moment was captured as part of the DVD, which will be released on April 4. It's a fitting celebration of his underdog journey, as it comes out just one day before Page's 61st birthday and four days after his Hall of Fame induction.