Victoria has spoken out about how the late ‘Ninth Wonder of the World’ Chyna helped her to get into the professional wrestling industry.
The comparisons between Victoria and Chyna were rife when the talent stepped into WWE in summer 2002 and began to dismantle the women’s division. The way she looked, acted, manhandled women and the emotionless stare all reminded fans of when Chyna first broke onto the scene and choked out Marlena.
Now, the real-life Lisa Marie Varon has spoken to Chris Van Vliet about how Chyna helped her to obtain a career between the ropes which began when the former WWF Intercontinental Champion visited a gym Varon was training at:
“I met Chyna at Crunch Gym in West Hollywood. They charged her to come into the gym, and I gave her a stack of guest passes and said “hey, I know they charged you, here.” Crunch Gym, there’s a lot of celebrities there so they don’t care who it is, they have to pay to come in. So I gave her a stack and we took a hip-hop class together. I said, “hey, I’ve got a couple of friends that are in the business that I know, Trish Stratus and Torrie Wilson.” She goes, “oh, are you a wrestler? You have a really good look for it.” I go, “you know, I think I can do what Rob Van Dam does and Rey Mysterio.” Gymnastics and the flyer and that kind of stuff. And she goes, “you have a really good look for it.”
Heeding the advice of one of the most popular and successful women to ever step inside the squared circle, Varon noted how she pressed Chyna for more details and put extra effort into her audition tape:
“I asked who I would send my stuff to and she wrote down the address, which was just the corporate, the one in Connecticut. Sent my stuff in. I had a video made, I paid $600 for this VHS to be made. Like transitions, I started it with [makes punching motion] boom, LISA MARIE VARON [appears on screen]. It had music and all that kind of stuff. It showed all my competitions and me demonstrating exercises and stuff like that.
I got a call back from Jim Ross and Kevin Kelly and they said “we’ve never seen a video so professionally done and a package sent like this”… They said “we want to meet you in 30 days” and I asked “what do you see me doing? I’m obviously not a Torrie Wilson or Trish Stratus, I’m a bigger girl.” They said, “We see you wrestling.” So I googled a wrestling school, and UPW came up. So I called them and said WWF is wanting to meet me and I need to learn how to wrestle in 30 days, which, I didn’t know [how difficult it is]. I thought it was a routine, 5-6-7-8, okay here we go. You go to the corner. I didn’t think in a million years that I would be doing that for 20 years.”
Varon’s gamble paid off. Not only did she make an impact upon her debut, but her career stretched long beyond WWE with the star also joining IMPACT Wrestling where she held the Knockouts Championship a staggering five times before her retirement in 2019.
Credit for the interview: Chris Van Vliet
h/t for the transcription: Fightful