Lisa Marie Varon (née Sole; born February 10, 1971) is an American professional wrestler, former bodybuilder and fitness competitor. Varon is best known for her time with World Wrestling Entertainment under the ringname Victoria where she is a former two-time WWE Women's Champion and in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling under the ringname Tara where she is a former five-time TNA Knockouts Champion and a former one-time TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champion with Brooke Tessmacher.
Professional Wrestling CareerEdit
World Wrestling EntertainmentEdit
Training and debut (2000–2001)Edit
After moving to Los Angeles, Varon worked as a trainer at the gym Crunch Fitness, where she met World Wrestling Federation wrestler Chyna, who complimented Varon on her appearance and encouraged her to become a wrestler. Varon 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 in a month's time. 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 WWE talent scout Bruce Pritchard during her first UPW show. Varon made her on-screen debut in the WWF portraying one of The Godfather's hos. She was referred to as the "head ho" and led the "Save the Hos" campaign. On the August 7 episode of Raw, Varon took a bump by being thrown 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. Varon 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.
Women's Champion (2002–2004) Edit
Varon returned to the renamed World Wrestling Entertainment as Victoria on the July 7, 2002 episode of Sunday Night Heat in an angle with WWE Women's Champion Trish Stratus. In the angle, Victoria portrayed a psychotic villainess who claimed that Trish betrayed her back when they were fitness models together. At Survivor Series, Victoria defeated Stratus in a Hardcore match to win the Women's Championship for the first time. After a successful title defense against Stacy Keibler defeating her with her debut of her finisher the Widow's 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.
Victoria continued to feud with Stratus into 2003, competing against her in successful title defenses and tag team matches during which Victoria teamed with Richards. At WrestleMania XIX, Victoria dropped the Women's Title 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 Women's Title at Judgment Day and defeating Lita in the first women's steel cage match in WWE history on November 24. Victoria also defeated Ivory in a number one contender's match for the Women's Title on the last edition for Sunday Night Heat of 2003. After the match, Women's Champion 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, with Victoria defeating Holly in tag team matches.
On February 23, 2004, Victoria was booked to defeat Holly, Lita and Jazz in a Fatal Four-Way Elimination match to win her second Women's Title. 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. She kept the Women's Championship until June 13, when she dropped the title to the evil Trish Stratus during a Fatal Four-Way match at Bad Blood and subsequently lost a rematch a week later. After defeating Molly Holly at Vengeance to become the number one contender, Victoria lost a match to Stratus at Unforgiven. Prior to Unforgiven, several of Victoria's matches were interrupted by a mysterious person in drag, who was later revealed to be Steven Richards, with whom she was previously allied. After the match with Stratus, the storyline culminated when Richards challenged Stratus' ally Tyson Tomko to a match, which Richards lost.
Vince's Devils (2005–2006)Edit
On May 30, 2005, Victoria participated in a swimsuit competition, losing to Christy Hemme. Following the loss, Victoria turned villainous by attacking the other contestants, as well as host Jerry Lawler, claiming that she had enough of the attention Hemme was receiving. The two engaged in a short feud which ended at Vengeance in a match that Victoria won. Continuing with her heel persona, the evil Victoria was placed in an angle alongside Candice Michelle and Torrie Wilson (collectively known as the Ladies in Pink and later Vince's Devils) on August 29, portraying the role of the group's enforcer, as the three women joined forces against the 2005 Diva Search winner Ashley Massaro. Massaro was assisted in the storyline feud by Trish Stratus, and at Unforgiven, Victoria and Wilson were defeated by Stratus and Massaro. The angle continued into WWE Homecoming, where the Ladies in Pink lost a Handicap Bra and Panties match to Stratus and Massaro.
On the March 6, 2006 episode of Raw, Victoria and Candice turned on Wilson during Candice's Playboy cover unveiling, starting an angle between the former teammates. A scheduled match was set to take place at WWE Saturday Night's Main Event on the March 18 edition with Victoria and Candice against Wilson and Stratus. As part of the storyline, however, on the episode of Raw prior to the event, Wilson was found unconscious with the implication being that Victoria and Candice had attacked her. The match eventually took place on March 27 with Victoria and Candice being defeated. The alliance of Victoria and Candice fell apart during a tag team match on July 17, in which Victoria and Mickie James were defeated by Wilson and Stratus, with Candice as the guest referee.
SmackDown! and Departure (2007–2009)Edit
Victoria was given a character push on November 27 after she was booked to win a number one contender's Divas battle royal. She gained notoriety from the match when it was reported that her kick to Candice Michelle's face resulted in a legitimate broken nose that required surgery. Following the victory, the angle had her carry a checklist to the ring which contained the names of other Divas. Each week she checked a name off the list after defeating them in matches. She also defeated Women's Champion Mickie James in a non-title match. Victoria lost the championship match at New Year's Revolution and a rematch on January 15, 2007.
On June 17, Victoria was moved to the SmackDown brand as part of the WWE Draft. She became involved in an on-screen relationship with Kenny Dykstra, and the duo was placed in feuds against Torrie Wilson and Jimmy Wang Yang, as well as Michelle McCool and Chuck Palumbo. While on a tour of Europe with WWE in December 2007, Varon claimed to have legitimately broken McCool's nose. She later allied herself with her "best friend" Natalya. In October and November 2008, Victoria found herself on the losing end of matches with the debuting Brie Bella, when Bella disappeared under the ring during matches and reappeared seemingly "refreshed," eventually revealed to be Brie swapping places with twin sister Nikki Bella.
On January 13, 2009, at a SmackDown! taping (aired January 16, 2009), however, it was announced she would be retiring. In her final WWE match, Victoria lost to the evil Michelle McCool. She dedicated her final match to the United States Armed Forces. She was in tears while announcing her retirement and departure from WWE. 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, before being eliminated by The Bella Twins.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2009-2013)Edit
Debut and Knockouts Champion (2009–2010)Edit
On May 24, 2009, it was officially confirmed by Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) that Varon had signed a contract with the company. She debuted on the May 28, 2009 edition 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) after Angelina Love's match with Sojournor Bolt, making her a fan favorite. On the June 11 episode of Impact!, Tara won her first match against Madison Rayne. On the July 1 edition 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 edition of Impact!, after Tara threatened to put her spider on Sky once again, Angelina Love agreed to put her TNA Women's Knockout Championship on the line which Tara ultimately won. She lost the title back to Love two weeks later at Victory Road.
On September 24 on Impact! she teamed with ODB to challenge for the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship against champions Sarita and Taylor Wilde but they lost after Awesome Kong interrupted and distracted her during the bout. During the following two weeks of Impact! Kong and Tara both received one-on-one Women's Knockout Championship matches from ODB, but both of them ended up losing after the other interfered in the match. At Bound for Glory ODB defeated both Kong and Tara in a three-way match to retain her title. During the match Tara was confronted by Mixed Martial Artist Kim Couture to set up an MMA fight between the two, which, however, never came to fruition. At Turning Point, Tara defeated 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 edition 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.
Heel Turn and Various Feuds (2010)Edit
On the February 18, 2010 edition of Impact!, Tara defeated Daffney via disqualification, after she hit her with a toolbox. At Destination X, Tara successfully defended her title against Daffney, who stole Poison from her after the match ended. On the March 29 edition 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 edition 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, but at the same time, Tara lost the Knockouts Championship to Angelina Love. The title change caused friction between Tara and Love heading into their tag team match against The Beautiful People at Lockdown, with Tara slowly turning heel and acting hostile towards her partner. At the event, Tara and Love were defeated by Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky in a tag team steel cage match for all of the Knockouts championships, with Rayne pinning Tara to become the new Knockouts Champion. After the match, the evil Tara attacked Love, turning into a villainess for the first time in TNA. Tara snarled evilly at Love and embraced her heel persona by giving a psychotic shriek at the crowd before leaving the cage.
On April 28, 2010, Varon 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. On the May 3 edition of Impact, Tara teamed with babyfaces Sarita and Taylor Wilde in a losing effort to The Beautiful People in a match for all of the Knockouts championships. During and after the match, Tara snarled at her babyface partners and berated them. Later in the program, Tara challenged Madison Rayne to a match at Sacrifice, where she would put her career on the line against Rayne's Knockouts Championship. At the PPV, Tara failed in her last attempt to win the Knockouts Championship, when she was defeated by Rayne and as a result her TNA career came to an end. After her TNA career came to a halt, she continued to discuss a new contract with Dixie Carter.
Alliance with Madison Rayne (2010–2011)Edit
Tara returned to the company on July 11 at Victory Road, and continued portraying a villainous Knockout by hiding behind a motorcycle helmet and attacking Angelina Love during her match for the Knockouts Championship. In the following weeks, she aligned herself with Madison Rayne against Love and Velvet Sky. On the September 2 edition of Impact!, Tara finally unmasked after she and Rayne defeated Love and Sky in a tag team match, after hitting Sky with the motorcycle helmet. On the September 30 edition 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 on October 10, Tara defeated Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, and Madison Rayne in a Four Corners match to win the Knockout Championship for the fourth time, much to the dismay of Rayne, who thought Tara's intention was to help her regain the title. Four days later, Tara laid down for Rayne and let her pin her to win the Knockouts Championship, giving her the shortest title reign in the title's history.
The following week, the villainous Tara attacked Mickie James after her victory over Sarita. At Turning Point, Tara wrestled Mickie James to a double disqualification after James pushed the referee, and they began brawling. On the December 2nd Impact!, Tara attacked Mickie James while she was singing her single "Hardcore Country", which led to Mickie attacking her when she accompanied Madison Rayne to the ring. At Final Resolution, Tara defeated Mickie James in a Falls Count Anywhere match, following interference from Madison Rayne. On the following edition of Impact! James defeated Tara in a Steel Cage match. During the match Tara legitimately tore a ligament in her elbow, but the injury would not require surgery. On the December 16 edition of Impact! Tara and Rayne defeated James and Ms. Tessmacher to make it to the finals of a tournament for the vacated TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship. The following week they were defeated in the finals by the team of Angelina Love and Winter.
In 2011, Rayne would start a rivalry with Mickie James over the Women's Knockout Championship, and would successfully defend the title against her at Genesis and Against All Odds, both times after interference from Tara. During the feud Tara started to claim that Rayne had gone too far in her brutality towards James, but was forced to follow her orders due to being under exclusive contract with her and not TNA. After Rayne lost her title to James at Lockdown, James agreed to give her a rematch for it on the condition that if she is unable to regain the title, Tara would be released from her contract with Rayne. On May 15 at Sacrifice, Tara turned on Rayne during her match with James, costing her the Women's Knockout Championship and guaranteeing herself a release from her contract with Rayne.
TnT; Knockouts Tag Team Champion (2011–2012)Edit
Tara and Rayne had their first match against each other since the break–up of their partnership on the May 19 edition of Impact Wrestling, where Tara teamed with Mickie James and Ms. Tessmacher against Rayne, Sarita and Rosita. Tara won the match for her team by pinning Rosita, after Rayne, who avoided her former partner throughout the match, sacrificed her in order to get away from the ring. On the June 21 edition of Impact Wrestling, Tara portrayed the villainess in a winning effort against Gut Check contestant Taeler Hendrix, but later showed her respect and hugged her after the match. Tara and Rayne faced each other in a singles match on the July 14 edition of Impact Wrestling, where Tara was victorious after distracting Rayne with her tarantula. At the tapings of the July 21 edition of Impact Wrestling, Tara and Ms. Tessmacher defeated Mexican America (Rosita and Sarita) to win the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship. With the win, Tara became one of nine 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. Tessmacher and Tara made their first title defense on August 7 at Hardcore Justice, defeating Mexican America in a rematch. On the September 29 edition of Impact Wrestling, Tara was defeated by her former partner Madison Rayne in a match to determine the third and final challenger for the Women's Knockout Championship at Bound for Glory. On the November 3 edition of Impact Wrestling, Tara and Tessmacher, now billed as TnT, lost the Knockouts Tag Team Championship to Gail Kim and Madison Rayne. On the January 26, 2012 edition of Impact Wrestling, Tara defeated Mickie James and Velvet Sky in a three-way match to earn a match for the Women's Knockout Championship. On February 12 at Against All Odds, Tara was unsuccessful in her title challenge against Gail Kim.
Heel Turn and Knockouts Champion; Departure (2012-2013)Edit
On the August 23 episode of Impact Wrestling, Tara defeated Knockouts Champion Miss Tessmacher in a non-title match, and was subsequently named the #1 Contender for her title. On September 9 at No Surrender, Tara failed in her title challenge against Tessmacher. Four days later on Impact Wrestling, Tara turned heel by attacking Tessmacher after pretending to congratulate her, officially ending TnT. On the following edition of Impact, the evil Tara claimed that Tessmacher used her to become Knockouts Champion, and was about to attack Christy Hemme before Tessmacher made the save. On the September 27 episode of Impact Wrestling, Tara defeated ODB in a #1 Contender's Match to earn another shot at Miss Tessmacher's Knockouts Championship. On October 14 at Bound for Glory, Tara defeated Tessmacher to win the Knockouts Championship for a record-tying fifth time. Afterwards, Tara laughed evilly while celebrating her victory, and later introduced her "Hollywood boyfriend", the debuting Jessie Godderz.
Tara made her first successful title defense on the October 25 episode of Impact Wrestling, defeating Tessmacher in a rematch following interference from Jesse. On November 11 at Turning Point, Tara and Jeese were defeated by ODB and Eric Young in a mixed tag team match. On December 9 at Final Resolution, Tara successfully defended the Knockouts Championship against Mickie James after a distraction from Jesse. On the December 20 episode of Impact Wrestling, Tara defeated James to retain the title. Tara went on to successfully defend the title again on January 25, 2013 episode of Impact Wrestling, defeating Velvet Sky. Two days later at the January 27 episode of Impact Wrestling in London, England, Tara lost the TNA Knockouts Championship to Velvet Sky in a Fatal Four-Way Elimination Match, also involving Gail Kim and Miss Tessmacher, ending her reign at 104 days. Tara received her rematch on the February 28 episode of Impact Wrestling, but was again defeated by Sky. Tara was released from her TNA contract on July 16, 2013. Tara was shown on the Knockouts Knockdown PPV on September 6, 2013 (taped in March), competing in a victorious outing against Mia Yim.
Independent circuit (2011–present) Edit
Tara took part of Family Wrestling Entertainment's FWE: Fallout pay-per-view on November 15, 2011, defeating Madison Rayne with Christy Hemme as the special guest referee. Tara returned to the promotion on February 25, 2012, taking part of a tournament to determinate the inaugural FWE Women's Champion at FWE: No Limits, losing to Maria Kanellis. Tara then helped Maria defeat Winter to win the championship alongside her partner Ms. Tessmacher. On November 9, 2013, Varon debuted at House of Hardcore 3, where she and Stevie Richards were defeated by Carlito and Rosita.
On June 19, 2015, Varon returned to the independent circuit at Maryland Championship Wrestling's Ladies Night event, where she served as the special guest referee for the MCW Women's Championship main event match between Mickie James and Amber Rodriguez, which also featured Melina as the evil outside enforcer. After Melina turned heel and attacked James, Varon delivered her Widow's Peak finisher to Melina
On December 2, 2017, Varon appeared as a hidden villainess at House of Hardcore 36, serving as Candice Michelle's opponent in Candice's retirement match. Varon and Candice hugged as a display of their friendship, but later on, the evil Varon attacked Candice after feigning an injury, establishing Varon as the villainess in the event. Varon continued unleashing her heel persona and attempted to upstage Candice in her home state of Wisconsin, only to end up defeated by Candice with a DDT.