Rounding up the Fast 5 was the unexpected debut of TNA’s Tara, who was still going by ‘Victoria’ at the time.
In January 2009, Victoria wrestled her last match and bowed out in traditional style by losing to Michelle McCool. Most of her ‘Golden Era’ crop had already left the WWE: Trish Stratus and Lita were given big retirement storylines, while others like Jazz, Molly Holly, Nidia and Torrie Wilson were all given quiet releases. Victoria’s send off wasn’t as fancy as Trish’s, but it was a nice way to send her out on a much better note than being ‘future endeavoured’ on WWE.com. Many thought this meant Victoria would be a ‘WWE-lifer’ and would be a shoe-in for a future Hall of Fame spot.
However, at this time, it was still an unwritten law that jumping to TNA was forbidden. Anyone that would end up in TNA would never work in WWE again – ruining any chances of ever being called back. It seemed that Victoria believed this herself as when rumours started circulating about her joining TNA, she posted this on her MySpace (wow throwback) to squash rumours in April 2009:
IT’S ALWAYS WEIRD TO ME WHEN A TIDBIT OF MY PERSONAL LIFE BECOMES WRESTLING GOSSIP, BECAUSE SOMEONE SAW DIXIE AND I TALKING, AND NOW “I MAY BE GOING TO TNA”. I’D BE LYING IF I SAID IT NEVER CROSSED MY MIND, BUT THEY HAVEN’T COME TO ME WITH ANYTHING, AND I AM REALLY FOCUSED ON MY MMA.
However, just a month later, the then TNA Knockouts Champion Angelina Love was in the ring accompanied by her Beautiful People members Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne. She squashed Sojournor Bolt in a quick match (who many thought was about to enter a longer title feud with Love) and issued an open challenge. The roster was still brimming with talent including ODB who was another top choice to enter the title picture…
Instead, Victoria ‘crossed the line’ and became Tara. She took out the Beautiful People and slotted right into the TNA Knockouts Title picture. She was arguably used better in TNA than how she was for the last 3 years of her career in WWE and it was a great way to show what she still had to offer. Tara went on to put on some amazing matches with the likes of Awesome Kong and ODB, winning the Knockouts Championship 5 times and the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship one time with Brooke Tessmacher.
Thankfully it seems the TNA/WWE lines have been blurred since then, but making this move was a very big risk but showed why Lisa Marie Varon still had a massive passion for this business!
What did you think about some of these ‘unexpected debuts’? Are there any that you think are missing? Are there any weird debuts that lead to current stars? Comment away in the section below and feel free to shout out ideas for next week’s Fast 5 where I’ll be back to list 5 more things for you all!