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The Johnny B. Badd/Diamond Dallas Page feud


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10/29/95 - Diamond Dallas Page v Johnny B. Badd (Halloween Havoc)

11/26/95 - Diamond Dallas Page v Johnny B. Badd (World War 3)

02/11/96 - Diamond Dallas Page v Johnny B. Badd (SuperBrawl)


What an underpimped feud and an underpimped series of matches! Granted, these aren't hidden classics, but that's not really important -- what is important is that you can see both wrestlers improve with every match. Page was just coming into his own around this time. He won the TV title in September and the October match was his first major title defense. He also had a beautiful valet and had won $13 million in the lottery in an angle that was admittedly corny. The point was made, though, that Page was improving and life was finally throwing him something other than a curveball. Even winning the TV title is far more than anyone ever expected him to achieve at this point in time. Johnny B. Badd had been slowly transforming into a more serious wrestler over the previous year after holding his own against veterans like Arn Anderson. Even though he lost the TV title, he made a good showing. He had been where Page already was, and after winning a US title shot in a memorable match against Brian Pillman (on the same night Page won his first championship of any kind), he was also finding himself more successful than many had ever expected him to be. The setup for the match was that on the night Badd was to get his US title shot against Sting, he no-showed and Pillman ended up getting the shot anyway. We would find out later in the show, in an angle run by countless promoters countless times, that Page had slashed Badd's tires and as a result, he missed his opportunity. With that, the stage for the match was set. DDP's character as the Trailer Trash Gone Legit works well because it's believable.


The Halloween Havoc match was surprisingly good. The opening sequence was one where a Johnny B. Badd lookalike walked backwards to the ring, distracting Page long enough for the real Badd to come through the crowd and blindside him. It popped the crowd, but it would have worked even better had Tony Schiavone not given it away on commentary. The first minute of the match sees Page almost immediately take two huge bumps -- one from the ring to the floor and another back over the guardrail. Amidst the brawl at ringside, Badd puts a bucket on Page's head and starts smashing it in a terrific comedy spot. They don't really do a bang-up job of building on the momentum the opening sequence gave them, as they immediately do a criss-cross sequence when they return to the ring, but they fix the problem soon enough. They seem to have a fairly good command of the basics; they work an extended armbar sequence, but they do enough busy-body things to keep it interesting and keep the crowd involved before transitioning into Page taking control. He excels here, and even puts some nice mid-range offense out there, most notably a move the announcers refer to as a pancake, where he drops Badd from a piledriver position into a facebuster. He works the chinlock a little too long for my tastes, but he's quick to try something different, as they tease a Badd comeback with him attempting to power out, only for Page's ringside second Maxx Muscle to give Page illegal leverage to keep the hold locked in. There's even a mild Memphis flavor here, with him choking Badd out with his wrist tape while the referee is distracted. They do a nice job of paying off the sequence with Page unable to reach Maxx for a second time, leaving himself open for a belly-to-belly suplex. Badd's comeback is good, but Page in control was much better. Badd pulls out some nice moves for the time, including a flying headscissors, a somersault pescado, a slingshot splash, a flying double axehandle and even a Liger bomb, but flying was about the only thing he really did all that well. Page continues to impress though, turning a normal hiptoss attempt into a bulldog. They tried a little too hard at the end, doing a finish that was a little too complex for such a basic match, but this was still a surprisingly decent effort. Badd wins the TV title here.


The World War 3 match sees a stipulation where Kimberly will be allowed to leave Page's side if Badd wins the match. The crowd has really taken to the feud by this point, as both Page and Badd get strong heat for their entrances, and Kimberly gets a huge pop. Immediately, DDP gets cocky and tries to bully Badd, which causes a nice brawl. Page stooges like crazy here, talking smack and begging off almost constantly. The "start off with something wild before settling into a match" formula seems to be working for them, and the opening segment in this match was probably better than the one at Havoc. The hair pulling game starts again, although this time, it's not done as well. There are a few times I think that Page is going to go one direction where he doesn't capitalize. He starts stomping on Badd's arm and hand after yanking him to the ground, which would have been a perfect attempt to neutralize the power of the punch, but they really didn't go there, and there are a few times where Page seems to be drawing a blank on what to do. He redeems himself by pulling out a great counter for Badd's headscissors and doing more high-quality stooging, the highlight of which is Badd tripping him to avoid getting kicked in the gut. This match, unlike the Havoc match, is at its best when it's back and forth. The finishing moments are terrific and contain some awesome nearfalls, all of which the crowd totally buys and which includes some cool moves from both guys, including a nice recovery from Page after he almost botches a rotation bomb. They did try too much here at times, but the match is fascinating to watch because it's almost like you're actually watching them learn as they work. This match presents a good case against those who say that DDP can't work a good match unless everything is laid out in advance.


At this point, Page has lost his title and his woman, and now he's putting his money on the line because he wants to win that TV title back so badly. The improvement in both is very evident in this one, and there are some great, traditional babyface/heel exchanges, as the battle of strong wills ensues -- Page wants a reverse chinlock, Badd wants an armbar and neither is really willing to settle for anything less. Badd always had nice spots, but he tries a few new things here, including a gorgeous hammerlock floatover into an armdrag. There is a little sloppiness when they attempt a criss-cross sequence, but it ends with a really good stun gun, and it's so obvious they're working hard and getting better with every performance that many of the flaws are easily overlooked. Page executes a fantastic gutbuster and DDT off the ropes, but sometimes, he stalls too much afterwards. He's more aggressive here than he's been in the other matches because he has so much to lose. There was a really nice simple sequence here with Badd attempting to come back from a chinlock and Page actually sitting on the top rope to keep him in the hold. As is the case in all of their matches, the final stretch of nearfalls is terrific. Now, Page has lost his title, his woman and his fortune. The plan before Mero left WCW was for the two to have another match at the next PPV where DDP would put his career on the line and lose that too, only to return in a couple of months with a renewed push, and that did end up happening, but Mero wasn't around for that part. These matches aren't great, as I said, but if you enjoy watching wrestlers learn and evolve, you can't really go wrong with this series.

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Guest The Man in Blak

Great review, Loss. Everybody talks about Steve Austin's metamorphosis from the Ringmaster into "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, but it's funny to remember Diamond Dallas Page feuding over bingo winnings and, overall, being a terrible wrestler. Not only did he evolve as a character during the nWo era, but he really evolved as a worker, irritating preparation work be damned.


Really, if you think about it, all of the stars of the late 90's were born from discarded gimmicks: Austin (Ringmaster), Rock (Bluechipper Rocky Maivia), Triple H (blue-blood snob), DDP, etc. Even Hulk Hogan cast off his super-successful face persona to resurrect his career at this time.


As far as what I've watched recently, I caught a little bit of Bret Hart's shoot video during lunch at work on my laptop. I've already read Teke's outstanding review, but it's still interesting to see Bret reflect on the things that happened in WCW.

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Agreed, MIB. The more I look back on that time period, the more I think Page has been underrated over the long haul. Some have given him his credit, yes, but he's also been written off in some circles as a bad worker who only got his spot because he was Eric Bischoff's next-door neighbor. Page was a meticulous planner, but I think people who held that against him were a little too single-minded in terms of their mindsets. If Page needs to construct everything ahead of time to deliver a good match, it's a compliment to him that he's willing to do it, not a black mark against him.


The Bret shoot is great, if only because Bret knows the subject matter so well. Many times, wrestlers who headlined as long as Bret did who have had as many matches as Bret has have trouble remembering a lot of details, dates and specifics, but Bret has never had this problem, even after suffering a concussion where he had partial memory loss.

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