Tara - Interview
Posted by Guest Writer on Tue, 28 May 2013.
Lisa Marie Varon was our first interview at this years "Collectormania" event in Milton Keynes (and once again a big thank you to the Showmasters team, Gemma, Ken, David, Laura, Jess and their terrific colleagues). Lisa Marie is known as Impact Wrestling's Tara (formerly Victoria from WWE) and having interviewed the surprisingly wonderful "Magnus" at last years London Film and Comic Con, we wondered if Lisa was going to be something of a similarly nice revelation. The world of wrestling is tightly and professionally managed, so asides from their shows, you sometimes can't much of an insight into what that wrestler is actually like in real life. On screen, Lisa can be vicious, but as it turns out, in real life, much like Magnus, she is remarkably humble, nice and fun to talk to. If ever Hollywood though were to do a female character along the lines of Vin Diesel's XXX, then the Hayabusa riding, astute business woman, fighting gymnast Lisa Marie would be a prime choice. During our interview, she spots her fans walking by on the concourse of the MK Dons Stadium, calls out their names and waves, and then picks up the interview from the exact point she left it. She's genuinely excited about the whole event, and her fans appreciate and love her almost "Jason Bourne" like uncanny ability to pick them out in the masses (one of whom had thoughtfully brought along some chocolates for her).
You've been in WWE and TNA, so you know what it's like to be a "Diva" and a "Knockout", what are the biggest differences for you between the two?
I think the biggest difference between being a "Diva" and a "Knockout", and I'm not here to bash anyone at all, the girls on WWE don't get the TV time to demonstrate how good they are. They are all great great wrestlers, but they don't get the minutes on television, you can't really tell a story and do a lot of stuff in a three minute match. The "Knockouts" division in TNA Wrestling, we get a lot of time, sometimes two matches per night. And we have a huge "Knockout" fan base, a huge female wrestling fan base, and of course WWE has a huge fanbase too, but as I said, the women aren't given as much time. Sure they do get time in live shows, and the live events that aren't taped, you get to see the girls get down and dirty, and you get to see some talented wrestlers at work in some terrific matches.
You've been in the business for some time now.
Yeah, been in the business for 13 years now.
How has it changed for women wrestlers over that time?
I think when I first started, we were all trained by "Fit" Finlay, and he made us into good tough all round wrestlers. He made us as tough as nails. We go through phases, people want to see girls in the ring, and then not, but it can only get better. We're getting more female fans of wrestling, and it's not so much closet wrestling fans, and hopefully that'll open up more opportunities for women in the sport.
Your finisher, "WidowsPeak", it's a bit vicious, how did that move come about?
Oh my gosh, the "Widows Peak" (at this point Lisa gets excited as she's just spotted one of her biggest fans, Cody, walking by), where was I, oh, my finisher, "Widows Peak" came from an independent worker named Roderick Strong, he's with ROH, and Molly Holly saw him do that finish, and gave it to me as I was one of the bigger girls who could pick people up, and your finisher always has to be something that you can do to the biggest guy, actually, not the biggest guy, but you know what I mean! Any of the other girls. So that's how it came about, and he put me on the map, I'll be honest with you. So a big thank you to Roderick Strong.
What sort of additional training have you done to give you a good basis in wrestling?
I've taken Jiu Jitsu, I've taken boxing as well as Krav Maga. It's all beneficial in the ring. The stamina, I was a cheerleader and a runner, I was also a gymnast which helped. When little girls ask me what sort of sport they should do, gymnastics is the key. A lot of balance and stamina. But yes, I've always taken a mixed martial art.
What's been the best moment in your career so far?
Always your debut. When you first walk out from behind that curtain, especially coming back like I was with the Godfather, I was just a manager, so coming out as a full fledged wrestler, and getting the respect from my co-workers. I trained very hard through my career, three years in developmental school, finally getting back to show off what I've learned, and getting beat up by the guys (laughs). You know, I am always so mean on TV, but people are so shocked when they meet me in person!
It can't be easy, we forget that you have to act, fight, and be aware of each others safety all at the same time.
No, you're right, it's not easy. But you know what though, I've been doing it for 13 years now so it's part of my daily life now, having to maintain different roles.
What have you got planned for after wrestling?
Well, I do have a restaurant, let me give you a card. It's called "The Squared Circle", it is of course wrestling themed, and we show every night, not just TNA, we show Raw, and pay per views and stuff like that. We do things like stuffed burgers and pizzas with duck fat. So it's not a bar food kind of place, so it has really nice and awesome food. And it's my baby. I'm there most nights, can't be there tonight because obviously, I'm here in Milton Keynes, but it's mine, I've put hard work into it, blood sweat and tears. It's my third restaurant. It's always important, and I say this a lot to kids wanting to be a wrestler, I always preach education and college. In this business you could break a leg, an arm, or worse, your neck, and you're out of business. You cannot always rely on your body. And of course you have to take care of your health, your body is your temple, exercise is the key. But yes always plan for something else to fall back on. Still strive to do what you want to do, what you'd love to do, but education is also key.
We talk for a bit on The Jitty, and some of the things that young people face, especially the issues of bullying, self harm etc, and Lisa added;
People who have suffered issues such as bullying, I sometimes fear that some of them may be scared of being unique, original because that's why they got picked on. I think young people these days need to recognise that uniqueness is very important and that you shouldn't conform to someone else's mould of who they think you should be. Wrestling is the perfect example. We all play unique and very different characters and roles, which makes it ok. It's good to have groups of young people who can talk to each other, youth groups, so they know that they aren't alone. Mostly the shy kids get picked on a lot because they don't speak up for themselves. Hopefully, things will change. Hopefully they'll realise it's ok to be different, and to never stop striving.
Interview by Sulaimaane