Posted in: Doctor's Orders Doctor's Orders: Is Diamond Dallas Page Worthy of the Hall of Fame?
By The Doc
Apr 23, 2012 - 11:41:51 AM
I was perusing the LOP main page a few days ago when I came across a story detailing DDP’s desire to one day be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, perhaps at next year’s in New Jersey (where Page is from). I posted on Twitter (@TheDocLOP) a rhetorical question that prompted numerous responses in the affirmative and a few against: “Does DDP deserve to be in the HOF?”
It’s an interesting proposition to determine the parameters of Hall of Fame candidacy. From what we know, there’s a committee in the WWE that meets sometime in the late summer or early fall, names are suggested, votes are tallied, and we end up with our 6-8 person HOF class to enjoy. With rare exception, the WWE seems to have it down to a certain formula. There’s the headliner that will put 15-20 thousands butts in the basketball arena the night before Mania for the ceremony itself. Edge, HBK, Austin, and Flair are the most recent representatives of that trend. Then, there’s the all-time great(s) that are much-deserving and also serve as the secondary ticket purchase attraction. The Four Horsemen, the Road Warriors, Ricky Steamboat, and The Rock’s family come to mind as good examples. From there, it’s about a mixture of tag teams, managers, females, and other marginally well known stars circa the modern era. One thing that’s pretty much been a fixture, though, amongst that latter group is that they’re mostly from the 80s or prior to. We have not yet reached the point where stars of the Monday Night Wars have gone in as part of that hodgepodge of “others.” 2012 inductee, Ron Simmons, did his most memorable work in the early 90s, so we’re getting there, but not yet. Page is in that category, in my opinion, below the headliner and top secondary attraction.
However, DDP is, in my opinion, supremely underrated. He is not someone that I closely followed during my days as a WCW fan. In fact, my live memories of Page mostly revolve around his being a manager; not a wrestler. I vaguely recall his TV moments during the Monday Night Wars, but I never watched WCW PPVs, so I missed most of his major matches once he ascended to the main-event level. However, I have had a chance to go back and, through the power of WWE Home Video and the internet, I can unequivocally state that there should be no question as to the future Hall of Fame status of Diamond Dallas Page. He’s a lock for the future. The question is, “When?”
During the Twitter discussion, the first reason that came to mind when evaluating Page as Hall of Fame worthy was Halloween Havoc 1998. Despite the fact that the event, as a whole, was a disaster for WCW, what with Hulk Hogan vs. The Warrior being one of the worst matches of all-time and taking up so much space in the last hour that the main-event was cut off from thousands of paying viewers just minutes in, said main-event of DDP vs. Goldberg was a real joy to witness. It was one of numerous main-events involving Page that helps you see that there was some good going on in the WCW product that seemingly tried its best to make you see nothing but bad. When starting my historical viewer’s guide on DDP, it was that match which got things started. I was highly impressed by the creativity put into his counters and false finishing sequences. As I viewed other matches from earlier in his wrestling career from 1995-1996, it became clear how hard the man had worked and how much passion that he had to succeed in the industry.
Most of the comments I received in response to my Twitter inquisition revolved around DDP’s feud with Randy Savage in 1997. That was his breakout storyline, without question. Their heated feud led to some memorable matches that put DDP on the map and let the WCW higher ups know that they had someone that they could bank on in big situations. It has often been said that Goldberg was the only new star that WCW created during the Monday Night Wars, but that would incorrect. DDP was not quite on Goldberg’s level, but he was certainly in the discussion as one of the top WCW stars to come out of the Turner side of the “Wars.” His star rose with the work he did with Savage and then it soared when he teamed with Karl Malone and Jay Leno against Hulk Hogan, Dennis Rodman, and Eric Bischoff. They had other options that they could’ve chosen for those roles, but they chose DDP. Subsequently, it helped stave off the WWE from completely overtaking WCW for a little while longer with the mainstream attention garnered by those feuds.
If you look at his resume, taking into account his top quality matches, his importance to the business side of things, the championships that he won, and the headlining/main-event matches in which he was involved, DDP is certainly a Hall of Fame star. The common guys mentioned that have not yet been inducted into the Hall, such as Jake Roberts, Rick Rude, Owen Hart, and, of course, the Macho Man, unquestionably can stake their claims to spots in the coming years. Yet, other than Savage, the case to be made for DDP is as strong as anyone’s. The matches that Page had with Raven over the US title and the World title matches with Jeff Jarrett, Scott Steiner, and Sting to go along with the aforementioned bouts with Goldberg and Savage is quite a list. He was a 3-time WCW Champion during a very important time period in the business (though none of the reigns were lengthy) and he was involved in several key headlining matches.
Sure, he didn’t have much of a run in the WWE, but one could argue that it was as much due to an untimely injury that went on to end his career and prompted him to develop his own version of yoga as anything else. Yes, he got owned by the Undertaker, but that payoff fit the storyline. Before he got hurt, though, DDP was a major piece of the WCW vs. WWE puzzle. He headlined King of the Ring, main-evented Invasion, and headlined Summerslam prior to the injury. I’m not sure his lack of a lengthy run in the WWE really matters, anyway. That’s not exactly a prerequisite for the WWE to induct a wrestler into their Hall of Fame.
So, I think it’ll be awhile before Page gets in and I certainly believe 2013 to be unrealistic, but it’ll certainly happen someday. He might be destined to be in that conversation, like some of the earlier mentioned names, every year as a “why hasn’t he gotten in, yet?” type of guy. Nevertheless, he deserves it and it’s only a matter of time…