Monday, February 5, 2007

WCW: Diamond Dallas Page, part 2

Page's career really took off in 1997. As part of the popular nWo storyline, Page began one of WCW's most highly acclaimed fueds of '97 with the nWo's "Macho Man" Randy Savage. On an episode of WCW Monday Nitro, Savage, aided by fellow nWo members Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, attacked DDP and spray-painted "nWo" on his back. A few weeks later at the WCW pay-per-view Uncensored, Savage and Miss Elizabeth revealed to the world that Page and Nitro Girl Kimberly were, in fact, married. Savage then proceeded to beat up Page, ensuring a future match between the two.

At the 1997 Spring Stampede, Page and Savage battled in a memorable match where Page emerged victorious, but it was the not the end of conflict between the two. A few months later at The Great American Bash, they squared off again in an anything goes, lights out match what was dubbed "Savage-Page II." This match was far more brutal than their first encounter, and ended with Savage defeating Page with help from (then) Tag Team Champion Scott Hall. Savage and Page would continue their rivalry from there on. Page even dressed up as masked wrestler La Parka and beat Savage.

Around this time, Page also started fighting nWo leader, Hulk Hogan. Page and Savage battled for the last time at Halloween Havoc. The match was billed as a Las Vegas Sudden Death Match, where anything goes and the only way to win was to beat your opponent so brutally, he could not get to his feet by a count of ten. Again, the two put on another excellent show. The match ended when Hogan, dressed as Sting, came out and hit Page with a baseball bat in his already "injured" mid-section, resulting in Savage picking up the win. During this time and for several months after, Page would have his mid-section taped up as he performed.

On an episode of Nitro after shortly Halloween Havoc, Page fought Hogan, but was again beaten down by the nWo.

At StarrCade 1997, Page won the WCW US Heavyweight Championship from Curt Hennig. This capped off what had been a great year for Page; he was voted WCW Magazine's "Wrestler of the Year" for 1997.

In 1998, at Uncensored, Page took on Chris Benoit and Raven in a triple-threat, falls-count-anywhere contest for his US title, putting Raven through a table with a Diamond Cutter to retain the belt. Classic matches, such as the aforementioned triple-threat match, and his walks through the crowd before and after matches solidified Page's reputation as the "People's Champion," a nickname he shared with The Rock; although, DDP was a face in WCW and was the willing People's Champion, while the Rock was a heel in the WWF and called himself the People's Champion in order to disparage the crowd. It is unclear which wrestler was first referred to as the People's Champion, but the Rock undoubtedly ran further with the title, referring to almost everything as "The People's..." (including the entrance ramp as "The People's ramp" and his signature move, "The People's Elbow"). During much of this era, Page was also frequently called "the hardest working man in the business" by commentators and other WCW figures.

Later in the year, Page tagged with Karl Malone against Hulk Hogan and Dennis Rodman at Bash at the Beach 1998, losing due to interference. Later on, Page tagged with late night talk show host Jay Leno at Road Wild', where they defeated Hogan and Eric Bischoff.

Popular Posts