In a new interview with Chris Van Vliet, Lisa Marie Varon fka Victoria, has described how she came to leave WWE after 9 years with the company and sign with TNA.
From feeling “not ready” when she made her first steps in professional wrestling to winning the WWE Women’s Championship on two occasions and the TNA Knockouts Title five times as Tara, Victoria had quite the career in the squared circle.
The former bodybuilder first appeared in WWE as one of the Godfather’s “Ho’s,” before starring in matches with the likes of Trish Stratus, Lita and Mickie James. Her run with the company came to an end in 2009 when she asked for release. When asked is he knew that her WWE contract was coming to an end, Victoria commented;
“No, I had two years left on my contract when I asked for my out… I talked to Vince, Johnny Ace, and Stephanie McMahon. I asked them, ‘Do you see the title in my future?’ Their face gave it away. If I would have known if I would have been an enhancement talent, like Fit Finlay – all the new guys would go through him because he’ll teach them the ropes in the ring – I would have stayed if I had been told that.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grow up. I told them that. I go, ‘I know I’m in my 40s, but I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.’ I’m a kid still and I don’t want to hate the business. I didn’t want to be that bitter vet you meet those people at Comic-Con that just talk so badly about the business. I wanted to appreciate what I did and love it, still.”
She later revealed that at that time she had no plans to go to TNA, and was effectively retiring from wrestling, before recalling her farewell speech after her final match on SmackDown.
“I had a speech prepared, but when I cry, I can’t talk. I had such a speech ready but I was so disappointed. I had so many things to say, but when I came backstage, all the wrestlers, all the boys, all the wrestlers, everybody, standing ovation and it was worse backstage. I was like, ‘Oh my God. I can’t believe it.'”
Before leaving WWE, Victoria had already starting training Jiu Jitsu with an eye on beginning a career in MMA, but once she left WWE, TNA quickly came calling. She explained how the deal came together.
“We had a 30-day no-compete clause. TNA called me. I was like, ‘I need to think about it.’ They’re like, ‘We need to know tonight because we want to debut you Monday.’ So, I said, ‘Let me just sign for a year. Let me see if I like it.'”
Elsewhere in the interview Victoria credits Chyna with kickstarting her career and how Torrie Wilson attempted to get her a position in WCW in the late 90’s.
You can watch the full interview with Chris Van Vliet above with a h/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.