Where Are They Now?: Victoria

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November 27, 2013

Victoria overpowers the WWE competition.

Lisa Marie Varon didn’t grow up obsessed with wrestling like many of the Superstars and Divas she traveled the road with. Today, however, it’s a different story. Though the former Women’s Champion previously known as Victoria left WWE in 2009, her passion for the business stays with her to this day through her Chicago-based, sports-entertainment-themed eatery, The Squared Circle.

Classic photos of Victoria | Current photos | Video highlights

It was a long road from the world of fitness competitions to the canvas of WWE’s rings and into the restaurant business. Anyone who checked out ESPN’s “Fitness America Series” in the mid-1990s was sure to recognize Varon flexing amongst the chiseled beauties. It was in the fitness world where she would make friends with people who would influence her into getting into the wrestling industry.

“I started following it more closely when Torrie Wilson got into WCW,” she explained.

Eventually, she went to an episode of WCW Monday Nitro with Wilson and ended up appearing on television. Wilson continued to pass Varon’s information to WCW officials, but it was a chance meeting that ultimately led to her becoming a Diva.

“I ran into Chyna at a health club,” she said. “I told her I was friends with Torrie and Trish Stratus. She said I had a good look and asked if I had ever thought about [getting into wrestling].”

That was all the assurance Varon needed. She put together a tape showing her fitness competitions and news segments about working out that she appeared in and mailed it off to WWE. She never expected the response she received.

“I got a phone call from Kevin Kelly, he said that [then-WWE Talent Relations head] Jim Ross had never seen a video as impressive as mine,” Varon explained.

Although WWE officials were impressed, there was still one tiny problem: Varon had no idea how to wrestle, and the company wanted to see her in the ring during their next stop in California before they signed her. A Google search of pro wrestling schools led the future Victoria to UPW.

“I called them and said, ‘I have 28 days to learn how to wrestle, can I come visit your facility?’” Varon said with a laugh. “Of course, you can’t learn how to wrestle in 28 days.”

She went down to UPW’s training facility and joined a class of hopefuls that included John Cena.

“I don’t think there was a girl in the class,” she recalled. 

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