By Liam Byrne @tvtimelimit
The Renegade © vs Diamond Dallas Page 9/17/95
WCW Television Title Match
The claim could be made that Diamond Dallas Page was one of the only superstars that WCW ever made themselves. With Sting having his breakout during the NWA days, Page was one of very few wrestlers that you can point to and chart their movement up the card within the promotion during its existence. Relying heavily on stars from different promotions and countries, WCW never really had a record of star making, with Page being somewhat of an outlier.
What makes Page’s rise all the more surprising is that he spent the majority of his early years in the company as a manager and a jobber. To go from being at ringside to stepping foot in the ring is one thing, but to turn things around from being a guy that fans are used to seeing eat pinfalls and submissions on a nightly basis to being someone who is challenging for titles was testament to the work Page did. Making his in-ring WCW debut in 1991, Page would spend eight years battling his way to a World title. During this time, he went from complete also-ran to fan favourite, picking up secondary titles along the way.
That Page picked up the Television Title at a low ebb for the belt isn’t really his fault. Once a title that was considered a mark of technical skill and the ability to entertain the television crowds on a weekly basis, it had been somewhat undermined by Arn Anderson losing the gold to the Renegade. With a lineage that included wrestlers like Anderson, Bobby Eaton, Steve Austin and Ricky Steamboat, the Renegade felt like the moment the bloom went off of the rose when it came to the title. Still, it was an appropriate stepping stone for any wrestler looking to move his way up the card.
Accompanied to the ring by Kimberly (as the Diamond Doll) and Max Muscle (his on-screen bodyguard), Page would take his time checking out both rings before his opponent hit the ring. With Jimmy Hart in his corner, it was hard not to just see the Renegade as the most budget of Ultimate Warrior clones, especially as he ran down to the ringside with his tassels flying. Page ducked out between the ropes in an effort to get away from the champ. An apathetic response accompanied the Renegade showing off the title from the second turnbuckle, whilst this also allowed Page to jump him before the bell to add insult to injury.
Page would make his own mistake soon after by headbutting the Renegade, a move that saw Page fall out of the ring, walk into the ringpost and end up in the front row after some majestic overselling. Whatever interest the fans had in the contest dissipated the second the Renegade decided to use a side headlock as a means to wear down Page. A clothesline earned the champion the first two count of the match, but a missed should tackle would see the Renegade collide with the top rope.
A guillotine jump over the top had Page telling Kimberly to hold up her number ten placard, much to her disgust. Page managed to draw the ire of the crowd with his posturing, with a missed charge into the corner even seeing the fans seemingly getting behind the Renegade – at least until he went on offense which saw the volume drop significantly. Impressively, the Renegade landed a cartwheel back elbow which did get a response, but Page then reversed a hiptoss into a DDT to leave both men down.
A collision between Max Muscle and Page seemed to give the Renegade a window for victory, only for the champion to launch himself to ringside with a top rope shoulderblock on Muscle. As he tried to get back into the ring, the Renegade would have his leg grabbed by Muscle, allowing Page to hit the Diamond Cutter and win the Television Title – a decision that got more positive response from the crowd than the champion’s entrance.
Whilst this would only be a short reign, it was the catalyst for feuds with Johnny B Badd and the Booty Man that put further spotlight on Page as a wrestler. Two years down the line, he would be turning down the NWO’s overtures and cementing himself as a hero of the fans. From small acorns grow mighty oaks.