Dallas Page Gets Candid About Role In High Heat, MJF's Rise, CM Punk's AEW Exit, Possible Vince McMahon WWE Return, More! - Exclusive

If you're looking for a high-octane action/comedy/thriller, look no further than "High Heat."

The film stars Don Johnson and Olga Kurylenko as husband-and-wife duo Ray and Ana, who open their dream French cuisine restaurant. Ana is a skilled chef; her masterpieces quickly gain the attention of major outlets and immediately bring a lot of attention to the restaurant. That attention does not come without its perils, however, as it's quickly revealed that Ray took out a more than seven-figure loan from the mob to open the restaurant, and the mob now wants their money back. Enter WWE Hall of Famer and former WCW World Heavyweight Champion Diamond Dallas Page, who channels his inner mob boss as Dom, the ruthless gangster looking to cash in on the married couple's success.


In this exclusive interview with Wrestling Inc. Senior News Editor Nick Hausman, Page opens up about his role in "High Heat," MJF making the leap to Hollywood, CM Punk's controversial AEW exit, Vince McMahon possibly making a return to WWE, and more!

"High Heat" will be released in select theaters, on-demand, and in digital form this Friday. For more information about Page, please visit DDPYoga.com, which is currently offering a 30% off holiday sale.

Channeling His Inner Mob Boss

Nick Hausman: Can you tell us a little about your experience filming "High Heat" and how you got involved in the project?

Diamond Dallas Page: It was a good time, overall. I get a lot of stuff sent to me, and a lot of them, I don't really have an interest in filming it, because time is my most valuable asset. I don't need the money. I don't do things for the money anymore. I do things, I want to do them, and this was something that when I read it — and it cracked me up, when I saw they that they wanted me, that it was Jordan Levine, who is the executive producer along with Jesse [Korman], and I know those guys from ... 12 or 15 years ago in LA ,when I was living out there and we just hit it off. And they saw this role and it was like, "Let's call DDP for it," because I get a lot of people — I don't have a manager, I don't have an agent.


To be clear to everyone out there, you are like a murderous gangster in this film, like a mob boss, and your friends are like "Wow, we need a murderous gangster mob boss, let's call Diamond Dallas Page!"

(Laughs) They knew I could bring humor to the character. And I love the subtleties and the choices, because whenever I do any kind of a role ... it's a lot of work, because I put a lot of time in, "Who is Dom?" ... I grew up in Jersey, man, so I grew up with a lot of guys who were wise guys and guys who came in the clubs. And so I knew a lot of them. And to be perfectly honest, some of the baddest, scariest, son of b***hes were the nicest guys ever. I look at, well not a mob boss, but ... he was the head of the Hell's Angels for a long time, Chuck Zeto. Chuck Zeto is a sweetheart. He's a killer. He'll tell you that.


Have you hung out with this guy before? You said he is a sweetheart?

I could call him right now.


Yeah, he's a good friend of mine ... So he would be an example of someone who could have very easily just been a wise guy, but instead he was the Hell's Angels. He was the head of the chapter, New York chapter, for 25 years. So he's the extreme example. But I had so many friends of mine in Jersey growing up, because a lot of these guys would come down to the shore for the summer, and I'm in the nightclub business, so it's kind of really easy. And then those guys were a lot of fun to hang out with. So when I write my backstory, that's how it comes around.

And to me, I'm partial Italian, just like Henry Hill was in "Goodfellas." Henry Hill was at my 50th birthday party in Los Angeles. And he's nothing like the late, great Ray Liotta. I mean, Ray Liotta was one of the slickest, hippest, handsomest cats around when he played that role. But he was a guy who was partially Italian, so he couldn't be a main man. So all that goes into, who is that character?

Acting Alongside Don Johnson

And what I've said before is that I love the choices that the director, Zach [Golden], who also edited everything as well, or was in charge of that, he took a lot of my first choices, because I'm going to give you what I want to give, and a lot of times I'm going to nail it the first time, maybe the second, but I'm going to nail it pretty quickly. And then, "Okay we've got that, now let's try this, let's try that, let's try this." So I'm going to give him whatever he wants, because he knows what it's supposed to look like and how it all pulls everything together. And I thought Zach did [an] amazing job, and I love the choices that he picked for me. Because it's hard for me to watch my own stuff. Especially if I start watching something I don't like, I'll just stop watching. It's like there's no reason for me to go any farther. I just will never watch, I have bad movies like that 'cause they were lower budget.


You're right, this is a really well-produced film. I mean it's going to get a theatrical release ... you're obviously very notable, but you got Don Johnson in this. I mean, you got a pretty stacked cast for this one. I mean, when you get to work with these more tenured actors, what are you learning when you get to be in a space like this?

I never am really intimidated on anybody that I've ever worked with. I worked some pretty big people, but Don Johnson kind of a little got me in my head. And we're running the lines just out in the garage area, and I know these lines, I mean I own them, but I hit a brain block and I got in my head, and you know what Don did? He hugged me.

Did it bring you down? 


Yes, yes. And I go, "Dude, you're amazing." And he kind of laughed or something, and then I got right on track ... I'm a red light guy, you put a red light on me, I'm gonna deliver. And we did that one take, and he was like, "Excellent. That was excellent." And I think it actually shocked him a little bit ... Because he has no idea who I am, you know what I mean? So it took him from where we just were to where we are now, and everything we did after that was super easy.

Golden Age Of Pro Wrestlers In Hollywood

This is a real golden age, in my opinion, for pro wrestlers in Hollywood. It seems like more wrestlers than ever are getting a chance to actually make that leap. From your end, do you think Hollywood's warming up to pro wrestlers and pro wrestling, do you find it easier for you to make the transition now than years ago?


Well let's put it like this, who's the biggest star in the world?

Dwayne Johnson.

Yeah, right. He changed the playing field. It used to be when rappers, they get into all these roles because they could play tough guy type things or whatever it was. And there's some great actors, Ice T, like Ice Cube, Snoop's really good ... there's a lot of great actors there. But wrestlers were kind of dogged for the longest time. Batista coming out the way he came out, if you look at some of his work, where he started and where he is, he's right under Rock right now. I mean, Batista is as hot as you can be right now. And here's another guy who's 6'4" and 250 pounds.

And then John Cena, who's been delivering on all levels. If you look at Adam Copeland, aka Edge, what he did in "Vikings," the guys can act. We're acting live ... I've had long promos, back then I literally wrote those promos. Now the WWE, they give them to you, which to me takes out a lot, because you really want to say, "Okay, here's your bullet points, now make it magical." And that's what Cena does. That's what Roman does. That's what Seth does. That's what Cody does. That's what the guys who really are at that top level, they could do it just like I could do it back then. But back then, no one gave me anything ... So it's yes, in answer to your question. Yes, it's a much better time ... I mean, Sasha Banks was in something, one of those Disney...


Star Wars, she did "The Mandalorian."

Yeah. And again, here's a beautiful woman who can do anything, who can act, you know what I mean?

The Rise Of MJF

While we're talking about the actors and stuff, a big name that you kind of left off your list was MJF, man. He's got this Von Erichs movie coming up right now. I just kind of want to get your thoughts on him. He's currently the AEW Champion, who was left in a really bad spot coming out of All Out, and they still gave him the ball and let him run with it. I mean, what [are] your thoughts on this guy right now? What do you think about MJF?


When Cody turned me onto him, no one would know who he was. But when I got around him and I realized, wow, this kid. This kid has it at a different level. I've never really known anyone who understood a promo or a character like he did. If it was the '70s, someone would've shot him already. He would've been stabbed multiple times. He's at the perfect time, because besides Jericho, you don't really see any guys who are so over be able to want to take the heat. Because when you get over, you want to take the accolades. MJF never wants to be a babyface. And he will be at some point. But it'll be like Ric Flair. Like Ric Flair, people love to hate him. I mean, because nobody did it better than Flair. But I'll tell you what, this kid can cut a promo as good as anyone ever. And everybody's seen it. And what I tried to do with him was explain to him the dos and don'ts, because I took him under my wing to a certain degree, because I loved being around him, thought he was a great kid, and I knew he had a lot of potential. And very early on, I'm like, "Dude, just don't put your foot in your mouth too hard."


CM Punk's AEW Exit

You talk about putting your foot in your mouth. The reason MJF got in this weird spot when this world title came along was another wrestler-turned-actor, Phil Brooks, CM Punk. What are your thoughts on the other side of the coin, the guy that could have been, CM Punk? How do you feel about the way he handled his exit, and what do you think his future would look like?


I don't know. I don't know where that sits, but I would've done it completely differently. That's the only thing I could say. I would not have aired the laundry of that moment. I just wouldn't have done that. He has his own way. A lot of the things he's done in his life of work for him, and he has his own belief system. I thought he did a hell of a job as an actor in "Heels." I thought he did a hell of a job. I don't know what kind of future he has. I mean, did they let him go? Is he gone? I don't even know. Is he?

The vibe I get is that he's under contract but not released, but negotiating his release. That he wants to leave, he wants to do something else.

Yeah. There was a lot of heat there, man. Just from what I see from the outside looking in, I don't really get into that stuff. I don't know if he would've — there's a lot of guys who would've, put in that position, if they had a chance to do it over again, might not have done it. I don't know if Punk would've done it exactly the same. Again, I can only speak from my viewpoint of, I know I don't handle things like that. I just do things differently. I try not to put it in a spot where it's going to create too much heat. I want a positive outlook on whatever it is. I mean, my whole life, Positively Page is a shoot, it's not a work. I change people's lives for the better. And if they don't want to put the work in, I don't have the time.


So for someone like Punk, I think he's had an unbelievable career ... It's not like he needed it. A lot of guys need to be there. That cat took off for seven years, and I'm sure whatever his thing they negotiate, he'll walk away and he'll be taken care of.

Vince McMahon Possibly Returning To WWE

Our website right now is on fire right now, Dallas. Wrestling Inc. is on fire because Vince McMahon, I guess, wants to maybe come back to WWE.


That was broken by the Wall Street Journal just now. I don't know if you've seen it.



Okay. What do you think about Vince trying to make a comeback, if that's what he wants to do, I guess is what we're all wondering?

Yeah. I just couldn't believe he left to begin with. But this is a guy who lives the business, and there's been a lot of changes since he's left. Been a lot of changes. Who knows whether Vince will come back or not. I don't know the stipulation. I think anything like that lights everything up on fire. I don't think it's a question of Vince wanting to come back. Like I said, I could never imagine him not being there. But there's been a lot of changes in the company, and I think it's pretty obvious that Vince wouldn't agree with a bunch of them, because he created those and those changes got changed back. So I don't know how that works, because in essence, he didn't leave going, "I'm done, I'm going to retire." He left kind of differently.


But then again, this is Vince McMahon, so this guy's done pretty much whatever he wanted to do his whole life, and he changed the business. I don't know. I think right now, the way I'm watching what's happening, it is a very interesting show now, to me.


It's gotten way better, the writing, and all's I know is, I know [WWE Chief Content Officer] Paul Levesque pretty well, and I've always known that cat really understands wrestling from every viewpoint from the business, because he has been on top of the business the whole time. But he's also one of the boys, so he understands storytelling in and out of the ring. And I think since this has happened — do I think that Vince McMahon could add to it as a character? I think he's the greatest heel ever. Dusty [Rhodes] and I — here's a great picture of me and Dusty in 1989.

Oh man. I was four at that time.

Dusty was my boy. And me and Dust used to talk about it, that Vince McMahon is the greatest heel of all time. And he could also be the biggest babyface, as well. So if he was being brought in as a character that he's just owns, I think it could be helpful to the company. If he's coming back to run the company, I don't know how that looks. I think no matter what, Eric Bischoff wrote a book on it, controversy creates cash. And that's something, the Wall Street Journal breaking that. Interesting.