Long before he became the Yoga-for-dudes savior of Scott Hall and Jake Roberts, Diamond Dallas Page (above) was a wrestling maven-turned-manager-turned-neophyte worker at the ripe old age of 35. Page wasn’t without his critics in his early years, an era recalled by Paul Levesque aka Hunter Hearst Helmsley in a wide ranging interview with Grantland’s Dave Shoemaker.

When do you first remember the Internet becoming a factor? There were dirt sheets before then, but they really blew up on the web. I know you guys pretend you’re not listening to it, but come on.

When I got into the business, obviously the dirt sheets were there. In my mind, it was like a gossip column. I remember Dallas Page coming in. I used to go to the Power Plant every day just to train with Terry Taylor. Page would come in and he’d be so upset because the dirt sheets were ripping him apart all the time. Especially Wade Keller, who was fucking brutal: “Page is a waste of skin. I don’t even know why he has a job there.” Stuff like that. Page could do no right and it really bothered him. I would say “What do you care? Who cares what he thinks? Just do what you do, man, and worry about if they’re cheering or not.” But he’d say to me, “You don’t understand, man. Bischoff puts a lot of stock into this.” So one day he came in with a dirt sheet and Keller had ripped him up and he got so mad that he went into Jody Hamilton’s office and got Wade Keller’s phone number. We were all in the office; it was me and Terry Taylor and I think Big Show, and Page called and left Keller this scathing message. A little while later, over the intercom, they say “Page, Wade Keller’s on the line.” They get on a phone together, and boy, they hit it off. And they’re talking and Page is saying, “I just don’t understand why you’re giving me such a hard time. Yeah, I’m coming into this late, but I try and I work harder than everybody else.” From then on Wade Keller was digging Page.

He flipped?

Completely. I was like, “You just worked the dirt sheet guy!” It blew my mind that these guys don’t even really have an honest opinion.

Pro Wrestling Torch’s Wade Keller insists Triple-H’s version of events, “isn’t at all accurate” (“I was an advocate of DDP pretty early once he started showing he could be a great common man babyface character to go opposite of the NWO. All of the back issues of PWTorch Newsletter lay this out.”)