Lisa Marie Varon to receive a women’s award this April
The Cauliflower Alley Club is pleased to announce that Lisa Marie Varon, better known as Victoria and Tara in the squared circle, will be honored at the upcoming CAC Reunion with a women’s wrestling award!
The women’s wrestling award originated in 1996 and has a long-standing tradition of honoring the best female wrestlers of all time. This prestigious list includes the Fabulous Moolah, Judy Grable, Luna Vachon, Beverly Shade, Lisa Moretti, Molly Holly, Cheerleader Melissa, and many more. Lisa Marie is certainly a worthy addition to this list, and joins Beth Phoenix, Gail Kim, and Malia Hosaka as part of 2015’s amazing class of female honorees!
Lisa Marie Varon is a professional wrestler, bodybuilder and fitness competitor. She is perhaps best known for her time as Victoria when she worked for World Wrestling Entertainment where she won the WWE women’s championship on two occasions. Lisa Marie also had a great career in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling under the ring name Tara where she is a former five-time TNA Knockouts champion. In addition to wrestling, Lisa Marie has competed in fitness competitions and bodybuilding events. Pretty impressive!
Here is a snapshot of her great wrestling career to date [courtesy in part of Wikipedia.com]:
Lisa Marie attended Eisenhower High School in Rialto, California. During high school, she was active in cheerleading, a sport she competed in since the sixth grade. During her senior year in high school, she was nationally recognized by the National Cheerleading Association, earning an All-American award for cheerleading and being chosen to cheer at half-time of the NFL Pro Bowl, alongside 70 other women.
After graduation, Lisa Marie studied biology at the University of California, Los Angeles and medicine at Loma Linda University, with career plans of becoming a physician.
During this time Lisa Marie became a personal trainer and taught aerobics. While training at a gym, she was offered an opportunity to compete in a bodybuilding competition, a contest she won as a middleweight. She competed in fitness competitions, such as ESPN2’s Fitness America Series, and the Miss Galaxy Competition in 1998, where she met and befriended Torrie Wilson. After Wilson moved to Los Angeles and signed with WCW, she invited Lisa Marie to one of the shows. While backstage, an agent asked her to appear in a segment with Scott Hall. Through Wilson, Lisa Marie unsuccessfully attempted to obtain a contract with WCW. She later moved to Los Angeles to find work in televised news fitness segments instead.
After moving to Los Angeles herself, Lisa Marie worked as a trainer at the gym Crunch Fitness, where she met World Wrestling Federation wrestler Chyna, who complimented Lisa Marie on her appearance and encouraged her to become a wrestler. Lisa Marie put together a biography package and sent it to the WWF. She heard from Kevin Kelly two days later, who asked her for an interview. With no previous wrestling experience, she looked up professional wrestling schools on the internet and trained at Ultimate Pro Wrestling (UPW) in Southern California in June 2000. She wrestled under the ring name Head Bitch In Charge (HBIC) and appeared in a cheerleading outfit, with a snooty gimmick similar to WCW Nitro Girl Miss Hancock. She impressed WWF talent scout Bruce Pritchard during her first UPW show.
Lisa Marie made her on-screen debut in the WWF portraying one of The Godfather’s hos. On the August 7, 2000 episode of Raw, Lisa Marie took a bump by being powerbombed through a table by The Godfather’s next persona, The Goodfather. After this, she was given the name Victoria. She was removed from television in November and sent to WWF’s developmental territory Memphis Championship Wrestling (MCW) for extensive training.
Victoria briefly acted as the commissioner for MCW and was involved in storyline feuds with Stacy Carter and Ivory. She also managed Steve Bradley before MCW closed. Lisa Marie later moved to Louisville, Kentucky to train in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) using the ring name Queen Victoria. She was placed as the manager of the tag team the Basham Brothers and managed one of the team members, Doug Basham, to win the OVW Heavyweight Championship on July 25, 2001.
Victoria returned to the renamed World Wrestling Entertainment on the July 7, 2002 episode of Sunday Night Heat in an angle with Trish Stratus, who Victoria claimed betrayed her when they worked together as fitness models. The storyline had her character become a demented, sadistic villain as she and Stratus feuded for months. Her first pay-per-view match was at No Mercy where she was defeated by Stratus. The following month at Survivor Series, Victoria defeated Stratus in a Hardcore match to win the WWE women’s championship for the first time. After a successful title defense against Stacy Keibler defeating her with the debut of her finisher the Widows Peak. The next night on Raw, Victoria was attacked in the ring by Stratus. Steven Richards came to her rescue, starting an on-screen relationship between Victoria and Richards.
At WrestleMania XIX, Victoria dropped the WWE women’s championship back to Stratus during a triple threat match that also included Jazz. Throughout the rest of the year, Victoria was involved in matches against other Divas, such as participating in a fatal four-way match for the title at Judgment Day and defeating Lita in the first women’s steel cage match in WWE history on November 24. Victoria also defeated CAC honoree Ivory in a number one contender’s match for the WWE women’s championship on the last episode of Sunday Night Heat of 2003. After the match, WWE women’s champion, and CAC honoree, Molly Holly struck Victoria in the head with the title belt.
The next week on Raw, Victoria became a fan favorite when she attacked Holly after the two women were placed in a team, along with Miss Jackie, for a six woman Happy Holidays tag team match. During her face run she began wearing hippie shorts and performed a gyrating moonsault. The angle with Holly continued into the next year, and on February 23, 2004, Victoria defeated Holly, Lita and Jazz in a fatal four-way elimination match to win her second WWE women’s championship. After defeating Holly in a tag team match the next week, Victoria was challenged by Holly to a rematch for the title at WrestleMania XX, which later became a hair vs title match. At the pay-per-view, Victoria won the match and shaved Holly’s head bald.
Victoria kept the Women’s Championship until June 13, 2004 when she dropped the title to the villainous Trish Stratus during a Fatal Four-Way match at Bad Blood, that also included Lita and CAC honoree Gail Kim. During the next few years Victoria would have great storylines with all of the era’s top Divas, including Trish Stratus, Christy Hemme, Ashley Massaro, Candice Michelle, Mickie James, and CAC honoree Beth Phoenix.
In 2008 Victoria allied herself with her “best friend” Natalya in April and worked an angle with Brie and her twin sister Nikki for the rest of the year. Following a loss in a singles match to Michelle McCool which aired on the January 16, 2009 episode of SmackDown, Victoria announced that she would be retiring. Post match she thanked the fans, and gave farewell to staff at ringside. After leaving WWE, she began training for a career in mixed martial arts and practiced Jiu Jitsu. She returned to WWE for one night in April 2009, when she was part of the 25 Divas battle royal at WrestleMania XXV, outlasting the five other former WWE divas. She eliminated Maria but was eliminated by The Bella Twins.
On May 24, 2009, it was officially confirmed by TNA that Lisa Marie had signed a contract with the company. She debuted on the May 28, 2009 episode of TNA IMPACT under the ring name Tara, later revealed to be short for “Tarantula”. She made her intentions known by attacking The Beautiful People (Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, and Madison Rayne), making her a fan favorite. On the July 1 episode of IMPACT Tara began bringing a tarantula with her to the ring, after winning a tag team match against The Beautiful People, she put the spider on the unconscious body of Velvet Sky. On the July 9 episode of IMPACT, after Tara threatened to put her spider on Sky once again, Angelina Love agreed to put her TNA Knockouts championship on the line which Tara ultimately won. She lost the title back to Love two weeks later at Victory Road.
At Turning Point 2009 Tara defeated CAC honoree Awesome Kong in a Six Sides of Steel match. On November 26, Tara won a ten knockout battle royal to earn herself a shot at ODB’s Championship at Final Resolution. On December 20 at Final Resolution she defeated ODB to win the Women’s Knockout championship for the second time. On the January 4 episode of IMPACT, Tara lost the title back to ODB. Two weeks later at Genesis, Tara defeated ODB in a two out of three falls match to regain the title, making her a three-time champion.
Tara started a great feud with Daffney. At Destination X 2010 Tara successfully defended her title against Daffney, who after the match stole her pet tarantula from her. On the March 29 episode of IMPACT Tara retained her title against Daffney for the second time, this time in the first ever female First Blood match. On the April 5 episode of IMPACT, Tara was one of the four winners in an eight Knockout Lockbox match. The box she opened contained her pet tarantula, Poison, whom she regained from Daffney. At the same time, however, Tara lost the TNA Knockouts championship to Angelina Love. After losing the title, Tara began turning heel due to her friction with Love heading into their match against The Beautiful People. At Lockdown, Tara turned into a villainess by attacking Love after losing a tag team steel cage match against Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky.
On April 28, 2010, Lisa Marie announced on her MySpace blog that she would be leaving TNA the following month, after refusing to re-sign with the company due to not receiving a pay increase. After her TNA career came to a halt, she continued to discuss a new contract with Dixie Carter. Lisa Marie returned to the company on July 11, 2010 at Victory Road as a villainess, hiding behind a motorcycle helmet and attacking Angelina Love during her match for the TNA Knockouts championship. In the following weeks she aligned herself with Madison Rayne against the Beautiful People. Tara was finally unmasked on the September 2 episode of IMPACT, when she and Rayne defeated Love and Sky in a tag team match, after hitting Sky with the motorcycle helmet.
On the September 30, 2010 episode of IMPACT Rayne signed a waiver to allow Tara to return to the ring, after losing a Title vs. Career match, which was supposed to end her TNA career. At Bound for Glory, Tara defeated Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, and Madison Rayne in a Four Corners match to win the TNA Knockouts championship for the fourth time. At the following day’s tapings of IMPACT, Tara laid down for Rayne and let her pin her to win the TNA Knockout championship, giving her the shortest title reign in the belt’s history.
Tara continued to have great matches in TNA against the likes of Mickie James, Madison Rayne, Sarita, and Rosita, and even captured the TNA Knockouts tag team championship. With the win, Tara became one of seven TNA Knockouts (along with Angelina Love, Awesome Kong, ODB, Madison Rayne, Velvet Sky, Winter, Taylor Wilde and Gail Kim) to have held both the Knockouts championship and Knockouts tag team championship.
On the September 27, 2012 episode of TNA IMPACT, Tara defeated ODB in a number one contender’s match to earn another shot at Miss Tessmacher’s TNA Knockouts championship. At Bound for Glory that October, Tara defeated Tessmacher to win the TNA Knockouts championship for a record-tying fifth time. On December 9 at Final Resolution, Tara successfully defended her title against Mickie James. On the February 21, 2013 episode of TNA IMPACT in London, England, Tara lost the TNA Knockouts championship to Sky in a fatal four-way elimination match, also involving Gail Kim and Miss Tessmacher, ending her reign at 104 days. The following months, Tara would be rarely used competing in either singles or tag team matches. On the July 14 episode of TNA Xplosion, Tara was defeated ODB in her final TNA match. Two days later on July 16, 2013 Tara was released from her TNA contract.
During 2011 – 2013, Lisa Marie also competed on the independent circuit from time to time. Lisa Marie is currently operating her wrestling-themed restaurant “The Squared Circle” in Chicago, IL, which she opened in March 2013.
From CAC board member David Buckler:
“Lisa Marie has always been one of my favorite female performers because of her incredible versatility. She worked great programs with so many of the era’s top stars and found success in both WWE and TNA. She also displayed great artistry in creating her character, which in combination with her excellent ring work, makes her truly unique. Her Widow’s Peak is one the coolest finishers of all time. My friend in Chicago knows Lisa Marie pretty well and said she’s a true class act, which is no surprise. Lisa Marie is a real stand-out in the history of women’s wrestling!”
From CAC board member Eric Chmiel:
“This woman has had one of the most distinguished wrestling careers of any woman of the past two decades. She’s starred in the two biggest companies in North America and was on top both times. There aren’t many women around who can say that.”
Congratulations again to Lisa Marie Varon, a 2015 women’s wrestling award recipient! It is truly an honor to have Ms. Varon attend the CAC’s 50th Reunion celebration in April to accept this award.
Read more about Lisa Marie Varon’s great career here:
Watch some of Lisa Marie Varon’s career highlights below: