Diamond Dallas Page discusses the “dead pool” surrounding professional wrestling in the 80s and 90s – and how he’s turned his life towards positivity

In the latest episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show, Mike O’Hearn sits down with wrestling legend Diamond Dallas Page to discuss how the high death rate in professional wrestling in the 1980s and 1990s led Page on a path towards focusing on positivity and reducing stress to live a fulfilling life. Here’s a comprehensive recap of their insightful discussion.

Diamond Dallas Page, born Page Joseph Falkinburg Jr., is a retired professional wrestler, fitness guru, and actor renowned for his incredible journey and transformative impact on the wrestling and fitness industries. Starting his wrestling career at an uncommonly late age of 35, Page quickly rose to prominence in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), where he became a three-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion and a beloved figure known for his signature move, the Diamond Cutter.

Despite early setbacks, including a severe back injury that nearly ended his career, Page’s resilience led him to develop DDP Yoga, a fitness program that has helped countless individuals improve their health and well-being. His dedication to positivity and self-improvement is further exemplified by his efforts to help fellow wrestlers like Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Scott Hall overcome personal struggles.

In 2017, Page was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, solidifying his legacy as an inspirational figure both in and out of the ring.

The Misconception of Wealth and Happiness

Mike O’Hearn opens the discussion by addressing a common misconception: the belief that wealth equates to happiness. He observes that many millionaires are unhappy, while some of the happiest people he knows are financially struggling. O’Hearn emphasizes that true happiness is not directly tied to money but to how one achieves their goals and the stress involved in that process. He questions whether one’s net worth brings more stress than joy, suggesting that for many wealthy individuals, the answer is often yes.

Reflecting on Life and Happiness

Diamond Dallas Page resonates with O’Hearn’s observations, sharing that he has been reflecting on his own life lately. At this stage in his life, Page asks himself, “How much time do I have left?” and “With that time, how do I want to live and be happy?” He underscores the importance of reducing stress to achieve true happiness, regardless of financial status. Page notes that stress can hasten one’s decline, and in his twilight years, his focus is on living in the moment and extending his happiness as much as possible.

The Dark Side of Professional Wrestling

Page then shifts the conversation to the darker aspects of professional wrestling in the 80s and 90s. He recounts the tragic losses of many wrestlers to alcohol and drug abuse, to the extent that fans created a “dead pool” to bet on who would die next. The most notorious names on this morbid list were Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Scott Hall.

At that time, many professional wrestlers were pushing themselves so hard that they turned towards muscle relaxers and pain killers to keep pushing forward in the ring. This also led to addiction and recreational use. A very dangerous habit that led to tragic deaths in wresters far too young.

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A Journey of Redemption

Diamond Dallas Page shares a pivotal story about his efforts to help fellow wrestlers overcome their struggles. He recalls assisting Jake Roberts in overcoming his addiction and depression (which later became the subject of a documentary – The Resurrection of Jake The Snake), which inspired other wrestlers to seek his help. One such wrestler was X-Pac, who reached out to Page with concerns about Scott Hall’s deteriorating condition and suicidal thoughts.

Page’s approach to helping Hall was compassionate and strategic. Recognizing that he couldn’t change Hall’s life in a single phone call, Page focused on steering the conversation toward positive and hopeful topics. As Hall began to respond more positively, Page invited him to stay at his house, where Roberts was also staying, to continue the conversation in a supportive environment.

Building a Supportive Environment

In a moment of levity, Hall turned to Roberts and imagined a scenario where both could get sober together under Page’s roof. Roberts humorously responded, “Hold on, let me get your crown of thorns,” highlighting Page’s saintly dedication to helping them both. This anecdote underscores the importance of avoiding negative energy and seeking out positive influences in life, a principle Page lives by.

Embracing Positivity and Reducing Stress

Diamond Dallas Page uses this story of the dark side of wrestling to circle back to his original point. As he stated, we don’t know how much time we have left – but we do know that as we age that time gets shorter. Much like how he used positivity to help fellow wrestlers Jake The Snake and Scott Hall with drug abuse – Page needed to further use positivity to transform the rest of his own life.

Page elaborates on how he has focused on reducing anxiety and stress in his own life. He credits his wife, Payge, for helping him discover the benefits of deep breathing and yoga. Page explains that deep breathing activates the hypothalamus, which connects to the pituitary gland in the brain, helping to relieve stress and anxiety through its physiological effects on the nervous system.

The point Page makes here is that deep breathing is not just a mumbo jumbo psychological trick to help relax. It can lead to a physical response triggering your body to reduce stress and anxiety. Much like working out in the gym – a consistent practice of deep breathing and yoga can reduce stress and extend your life.

Payge’s Story of Resilience

Diamond Dallas Page’s wife, Payge McMahon, shares her own powerful story of how deep breathing not only reduced stress but also saved her life. After breaking her back twice, she recounts a fall from a tree that left her alone and injured. By focusing on deep breathing, she managed to turn herself over and crawl to safety to call for medical help.

This incident led to the discovery of a tumor in her left ovary, which might have gone undetected if not for the accident. She was able to have surgery to remove the tumor, turning a painful experience into a life-saving event.

The Wisdom of Embracing the Present

Mike O’Hearn circles back to the episode’s central theme: the importance of focusing on happiness, positivity, and reducing stress. He echoes Page’s sentiment that we never truly know how much time we have left, making it crucial to prioritize what brings joy and peace into our lives.

O’Hearn concludes with a poignant reflection: “Time is wasted on the young and wisdom is for the old.” He emphasizes that individuals like Diamond Dallas Page, Sylvester Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger are living their best lives now because they have the wisdom to focus on positivity and being present.

Wrap Up

This episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show offers valuable insights into the relationship between happiness, success, and stress. Through their candid conversation, Mike O’Hearn and Diamond Dallas Page remind us that true fulfillment comes from reducing stress, embracing positivity, and living in the moment. Their stories of personal reflection, redemption, and resilience serve as powerful examples of how focusing on what truly matters can lead to a happier, healthier life.

You can watch the full episode above. And make sure to check back every week for new episodes on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever podcasts are downloaded!

Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.