To celebrate Women’s History Month Diva Dirt will be highlighting some of wrestling’s greatest unsung heroes. These individuals for some reason or another don’t get the recognition, respect, and status they deserve. These retrospectives will occur throughout the month of March.
Here at Diva Dirt, we have already touched based on a few who we feel are unsung heroes in the industry. Starting with the 1980s and 1990s we are now working through the 2000s. Here is who we have gone over so far. You can click on their names to go to their respective articles.
As we leave the 1990s and the “Attitude Era” for the 2000s and the “Ruthless Aggression Era” there is one wrestler who played a major part during this time and really stood out due to her great character work and kick-ass in-ring style. That wrestler was the ground-breaking and history-making Victoria.
Victoria had it all. The look, the physique, the talent and the accomplishments. Yet for some reason, she is not held in the same regard as many of her peers such as Trish Stratus, Lita and Mickie James.
Despite her storied career, Victoria is yet to be invited back for any of WWE’s appreciation nights or anniversary celebrations. For example when the “Women’s Revolution” took over WWE many of the aforementioned names were applauded and celebrated for all they had done for women’s wrestling by blazing trails and smashing the glass ceiling but Victoria’s name was and still is nowhere to be seen.
Lisa Marie Varon was an avid competitor on the bodybuilding and fitness circuit and would cross paths with and strike up friendships with Torrie Wilson, Trish Stratus and Chyna. Chyna would suggest to Varon that she would be perfect for wrestling. In 2000 Varon would train and perform for Ultimate Pro Wrestling, a promotion whose alumni would feature the likes of The Miz and John Cena. That same year WWF would sign her to a development contract and she would appear for Ohio Valley Wrestling and Memphis Championship Wrestling.
Victoria would debut on the main roster in June 2002 and immediately enter a top tier feud with Trish Stratus when she feined a knee injury during the match before attacking Stratus. During the feud, Victoria would reveal that she was out for revenge against Stratus for the treatment she received when they were fitness models together back in the day. Throughout the feud, Victoria would display some really great character work as she became more and more “demented and “unhinged” as she took upon herself to crush Trish Stratus by any means necessary.
Victoria’s sadistic attacks on Stratus would reach boiling point at Survivor Series 2002, where she would challenge Stratus for the WWE Women’s Championship in a Hardcore Match.
An intense and brutal affair, Stratus and Victoria absolutely killed each other in this ground-breaking match. Unsurprisingly for the time, it was the only women’s match on the card and they were not going to pass up on this opportunity. Trish and Victoria ushered in a new age of women’s wrestling with this performance as they mercilessly beat one another with kendo sticks, trash cans, steel chairs, and a fire extinguisher. A bloodied Victoria would pick up the victory to leave MSG with the championship.
In just four months, Victoria was had defeated the biggest star of the women’s division, Trish Stratus, for the WWE Women’s Championship and to make her impact on the division even more impressive over the next six months, she would continue to dominate the division with impressive title defences against Stratus, Ivory, Jacqueline and Stacy Keibler.
During this time Victoria would start up a very entertaining onscreen relationship with Stevie Richards, who would revive his “lackey” character. Richards would play a valuable part in Victoria’s success and the two would often team up in mixed tag-team matches.
Victoria and Trish would continue to clash and the two would make history on the 27.01.03 episode of RAW when they met in the first-ever women’s Chicago Street Fight. Believe it or not, the match was even more violent, brutal and intense as their previous hardcore encounter and an instant, yet underappreciated classic.
So intertwined were Victoria and Trish that their feud would continue until Wrestlemania 19, where they competed in a triple threat match, that also included Jazz. The combination of the three women was explosive and all three women were stellar from start to finish. Victoria and Jazz would punish Stratus throughout the match but in the end, Trish would pin Victoria to reclaim the championship.
Victoria would make history once more when she took on Lita in the first-ever women’s cage match on the 24.11.03 episode of RAW. The short, yet entertaining match was aggressive and wild with both using the cage as a weapon to inflict damage. Victoria would get the victory when Matt Hardy would slam the door on Lita’s head.
As 2003 became 2004 the tide began to change for Victoria as she transitioned from heel to babyface and into a feud with WWE Women’s Champion, Molly Holly.
The rivalry would intensify when Victoria would capture the title for her second and final time when she defeated, Holly, Jazz and Lita in a Fatal Four-Way Elimination match on 23.02.04 episode of RAW. This win would lead to Holly pledging to do anything to get her title back, even put her hair on the line. In reality, this was the length that the women had to go to just to get a match on the WrestleMania card.
The two would face off for the championship in a title vs hair match at WrestleMania XX. The entertaining match saw Victoria retain the title and shave Molly Holly’s head to the delight of the MSG crowd.
Victoria would lose the title in June of that year at Bad Blood to her long-time foe, Trish Stratus, in a Fatal Four-Way match.
Victoria would then go on to be a member of the stable known as “Vince’s Devils” along with Torrie Wilson and Candice Michelle. The stable would feud with Ashley Massaro, Trish Stratus and Maria, which would culminate in a “Bra and Panties” match.
Victoria would get back on top once again by showing her excellent character work as she would begin to bring a checklist with Divas’ names on it, who she would strike off after defeating them until only champion Mickie James remained.
Victoria would challenge James for the title at New Year’s Revolution, in what was to be her last high profile match within WWE. However, Victoria would remain a valuable asset of the Divas roster using her experience and skill set to help and put over the up and coming Divas such as Christy Hemme, Kelly Kelly, The Bellas and Michelle McCool.
On January 16th, 2009, Victoria competed in her last WWE match with McCool. After the match, Victoria would cut a heartfelt promo thanking all the fans and colleagues.
A few months later she would appear in TNA as Tara and go on to become a 5-time Knockout Champion and 2-time Knockout Tag Team Champion having great feuds and matches with the likes of Angelina Love, ODB and Awesome Kong.
Varon would leave TNA in 2013 and make appearances across the country for various promotions until last year she would announce her retirement from the ring.
There can be little doubt that Victoria had an amazing and impactful career that not only legitimised and revolutionised women’s wrestling in WWE at the time but helped and supported the next generation of young and upcoming stars. Yet WWE still does nothing to commemorate all of the sacrifices and effort she endured during her fantastic career.
Victoria played a major role in the renaissance of women’s wrestling in the 2000s and one day, along with Lita and Trish Stratus, she will hopefully get the recognition and respect she deserves from WWE in the form of a Hall of Fame induction.
What are your thoughts on Victoria’s career and do you think she ever truly got the right recognition for her services to wrestling? Let us know below and stay tuned to Diva Dirt for more unsung heroes as we celebrate Women’s History Month.