The WNS Podcast, official podcast of WrestlingNewsSource.com conducted a great interview with former WWE Diva Victoria, TNA Knockout Tara a.k.a, Lisa Marie Varon.
She discusses a number of topics in depth including her restaurant in Chicago, the different backstage atmosphere between WWE and TNA, a possible return to WWE, the original planned finish for her match with Trish at Survivor Series 2002 and more.
Below are the highlights:
Thoughts on making appearances at conventions:
It’s a lot of fun. Absolutely. That’s basically what I do. I have a restaurant here in Chicago and I’m here every single night. So, it’s basically a fanfest every night anyway. I’m taking pictures, signing autographs and talking about what I love. Watching what I love and making new friends in my city. So, I’m super blessed at this point in my life right now. All those bumps and bruises in the past are really paying off. I really love doing these autograph sessions. I go way over and beyond. I don’t want anybody to have bad experience. I like every fan or follower to have a unique experience meeting me. I absolutely love them. It’s also a reunion for me to see some old friends at these conventions. You try to make it a little bit of a vacation just to like have dinner with old buddies and catch up and find out what they’re doing in their life
On opening her own restaurant in Chicago:
It’s going well. This is our third restaurant. We had two more and we had a custom car shop and when we first got married we had a gym so we’re not foreign to owning our own businesses. My husband’s very stubborn and cannot work for anybody else and he’s been a chef since he was about 15 or 16. He’s always been with food. It’s awesome. Our menu, if you go to thesquaredcircle.biz
, and look at our menu it’s very unusual items. I named a few things after wrestlers and we do stuffed burgers and pizza and pizza made with duck fat. We have adult milkshakes. We do very well. We’re both workaholics. I’m the front of the house and he’s the back of the house and it works out very well.
On the upcoming Sweet And Sour Larry Sweeney Night:
We’ve had Ring Of Honor donating some gifts to auction off and all proceeds go to a suicide prevention organization. So, we’re excited to be a part of it because his friend Karen, actually she’s here because it’s indy night so she lives in Chicago, brought it to us and we jumped on it and we reached out and said we definitely would love to be part of it. It’s pretty sad. In wrestling, you’re supposed to be this tough person with no family problems, you don’t really air out your dirty laundry so you kind of bottle it up a lot andxit’s important for people to know they can reach out and have someone to talk to if they’re under such bad times. I feel very lucky since I’ve got a lot of followers and very social media, I’m able to get the word out moreso then what Karen can do. Everybody should take a part in this. It’s not all about making money it’s giving back to charity and making people aware. We had an event where Jay Lethal and Roderick Strong came in as guest waiters and we gave the proceeds to Mick Foley’s charity. It’s a good thing.
Thoughts on what it was like to be part of an elite roster of female wrestlers such as the WWE had:
It was quite an honour. At the time, we were very confident in our work but we were perfectionists and before every house show and before every TV, we were in the ring for 4hrs working with Fit Finlay, working with Arn Anderson, and Ricky Steamboat in the ring to try and better ourselves. We didn’t have to do it we just did it. We knew our division was growing and growing and getting more difficult and we wanted the viewers to respect us not just as female wrestlers but just as wrestlers period and when I look back, when I watch it here at the restaurant because we have the Network and when I watch some old matches and I remember afterwards, in my mind at the time I’d be like “that was an okay match”. And when I watch it now it’s like “That was a really good match!”. I beat myself up for two weeks after that match. We were such perfectionists. If one thing went wrong or if something didn’t look believable we’d dwell on it for a long, long time.
Thoughts on intergender matches:
When we were doing those in the past, I was all for it. I mean working with a guy is so much easier than working with a girl because they’re so strong and they put you in moves that you didn’t know you could put yourself into. They really lead the match. They’re very good leaders. Eugene works really good, Nick Dinsmore was really good at making us look good. But now, we have indy night here and I was watching an intergender match where one of the girls got punched in the face by a guy and I went “NO WAY!” in my restaurant and they’re like “What? What happened?” and I go “A guy just get punched her in the face”. So, I think I got a little brainwashed and did a PG-13 and it was a little disturbing to watch. Because, when we first started, if I got punched in the face by a guy, I should move because they’re supposed to be a thousand times stronger than I am. So, it is difficult for me to watch. I don’t mind the mixed matches where it’s girl on girl and guy on guy and then teasing the girl about to hit the guy or the guy about to hit the girl and then getting cut off. But, I don’t want to see a girl get punched in the face by a dude.
On a possible return to the ring or working as a trainer at the Performance Centre:
I have heard that rumour. Everybody that’s been coming in every night goes “I read on the internet that you’re going back”. My phone hasn’t rang so I don’t know what you’re talking about. I have a lot to give, a lot of knowledge to share. I think I can help a lot of the girls. Whenever I watch some of the wrestling I text someone in the office and say “please give her to me for a month and I’ll work with her”. I don’t hear back, I think they think I’m joking but I never said I was retired. I think as a wrestler you don’t say retired because you aren’t always going to show up either back in WWE or the indy circuit so I don’t let myself get out of shape where I’m not ready to go in the ring. I think it’s an ego and a pride thing for me. And you think when you’re out that you can kind of let yourself go. It’s actually the opposite. When you’re “retired” and you go backstage people are checking you out going I wonder if she let herself go. It’s almost a little bit more pressure to stay in the same shape as when you left. God forbid you age or your metabolism slows down and you start enjoying the pizzas and the burgers every single day. I think maybe for a woman it’s a little different. We still have to take care of our face, our physique, ournails. You still have to present yourself as that girl that you left because people will start feeling sorry for you.
The most important thing she’s learned being in the business:
For me, we were always walking on eggshells and always wondering am I pretty enough, am I skinny enough, did my armdrag look good, did people believe my match, were the fans involved. I think people think when people think you’ve made it to WWE that there’s no more pressure. It’s opposite now, When I go to indy shows, I wish I had the confidence level some of these indy guys have because once you’re brought up there you’re immediately put in a position where you need to be humble. I think what I learned is that you don’t settle for where you’re at. You always try to perfect yourself and strive to be better. Every match we had, we never walked away and said that was awesome. We’ll say “wow, thank you so much that was fun. Maybe we should do this next time”. In my day too, we were a little more snug or stiff. We laid things in a little bit tighter so that it’s more believable. You never settle for where you’re at. Like for me and my business, the restaurant, I’m still striving to make it better. We’re looking to expand now and it’s incredible and life passes you so fast?.
Thoughts on her match with Trish Stratus at Survivor Series 2002:
It was an adrenaline rush I’ll tell you that. Her and I beat the crap out of each other. You have your best matches with your friends because you have a lot of trust. You put your body in their hands. And, her and I, the rule’s “don’t say sorry”, “thank you for the match right now. I’m sorry if I’m going to hurt you”, “Let’s give the fans a good show”. In that match, the mirror was supposed to be the finish. I was supposed to smash the mirror up on her head and in the match she stepped on it on a move and I didn’t realize it until I went to grab it and I was like “oh my god, oh my god”. And I also broke my nose in that match from that trash can and chipped a tooth. But that wasn’t the part I was upset about. It was the mirror, I was talking to myself and the mirror was talking back to me. But that was me, Crazy Victoria and everybody thought Trish was better and that symbolism of the mirror smashing on her head was ruined and we had to improvise. I grabbed the wrong fire extinguisher. It had the pin it and I took the pin out and sprayed her and ended it with a suplex. I would have rather had it with the mirror. That’s what my disappointment was. When I do watch it, my heart rate races again and I feel like I’m at Madison Square Garden and all my customers here are watching it. Because they all request to watch that match here so I play it once a night and I still get nervous watching it.
On her Wrestlemania 20 match against Molly Holly:
I was nervous. She wanted to be the first woman to get her head shaved in history and so she was willing to put her hair on the line. I put my title on the line. When I was cutting her hair, I don’t know if you noticed but you’re supposed to cut it with scissors first and the guy that was standing next to us was actually Vince McMahon’s barber in real life. And no one went over how to shave a head and I cut her head several times. I mean I was nicking her skin on her head. And when I went back, I was like “oh my god, we’re going to get into a fistfight I know it. She’s gonna beat my a**” and it wasn’t that way and everybody was pleased with the match. Everybody was proud of us but at the same time I still felt bad because you really don’t want to cut someone open. Because we beat the heck out of each other during the match and now to cut her head it was really brutal and I remember them saying we need her bald by the time we get back and there’s no way. I asked the barber “can you help me?” and he goes “I’m not allowed to”. “But, I can’t do it”. And I’m smiling like I’m enjoying it but inside I’m going I don’t know how tofreakin’ shave her head. She came out here for an appearance at my restaurant to visit and I had it playing and she goes “I’m going to the bathroom I can’t watch this part” when she got her head shaved. But she’s a beautiful bald, she had the face for it.
On her favourite person to travel with:
Oh my god, there’s so many. There’s Candice Michelle, Torrie Wilson, Chavo Guerrero,Carlito. Gail Kim was one of my favourites. ODB. I mean, you have to ride with people because you’re with them 24/7. You have to drive with them and check into hotels and the girls we share a room so you automatically form a bond. Brooke and I never had to go out. We’d have fun in the room telling stories and stuff like that. So, it was like yea herand I are very tight. Even still to this day. I did notice that people in WWE have a little bitmore stronger bond than I do with people in TNA. I think just because I was with WWE for ten years and we were on the road four days a week. Not just the Orlando show but we weren’t together that much. I immediately had a bond with ODB from TNA she was one of my close friends there. That’s who I’m facing at the Texas show. So I’m excited.
On comparing the backstage atmosphere in WWE to that of TNA
It’s completely different. I’m going to be honest with you, there was a lot of freedom at TNA. I remember coming there and asking “Hey what do you want out of this match”. “Oh, you just do what you do”. And I’m like “What?” because I’m not used to that. I was always used to a little bit more structure. There’s nothing like a production like WWE. No one is going to be WWE, ever. Also, there were times I found out I was pay per view through twitter and I called the office saying “Hey am I on pay per view and never got travel and it’s been two days I don’t know what’s going on”. WWE is organized. I’m used to organization and someone handling the PR department. Someone handling a photo shoot. So there is a department for every single thing you do in WWE. And if you’re lost, don’t know what’s going on, they have a department to help you out. But I did have a good career in TNA. I had some good matches. I want to go to TNA to face ODB and Kong so that was one of my dreams and I got to do it. And Mickie James and I had a cage match. I had a good run there. At the end, not so much. I didn’t feel the passion anymore. That’s the difference.
The WNS Podcast is the official podcast for WrestlingNewsSource.com hosted by Danny Ray, Doug Sutton and Tyler Abear. Each episode covers the world of pro-wrestling featuring weekly WWE Raw, SmackDown and TNA Impact Wrestling rundowns, Pay-Per-View analysis and top interviews with industry greats such as Diamond Dallas Page, Booker T, The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase and Mick Foley. Check out our episode archive and LIKE us on facebook.com/WNSPodcast