The following are highlights from a recent interview with Lisa Marie Varon, who portrayed Knockout “Tara” in TNA Impact Wrestling and Diva “Victoria” in WWE.
How is the restaurant business going?
LMV: Awesome and chaotic. As with any new business, we’re still doing some fining tuning. But our staff is really coming together. We have received a great response from the community and are building up a solid customer base.
Tell me a little about the restaurant?
LMV: We are wrestling themed. We have a bunch of framed wrestling memorabilia, and we show as much wrestling as possible on our TVs. (WWE, TNA, Ring of Honor, Shimmer, lots of Indy stuff, you name it). We serve a great variety of brick oven pizza as well as about a dozen different stuffed burgers. We like to say that its all your guilty pleasures under one roof.
Let people know about your wrestling viewing parties at the restaurant and do you do them for other sports?
LMV: We show wrestling 7 days a week. Our WWE PPVs are insane! For Summerslam we had about five times as many people show up as we had room for. That was unfortunate. But it is an amazing environment to watch a PPV. The electricity and excitement is amazing! We also show Chicago sports and other major sporting events.
What did you learn most from your previous restaurant in Louisville?
LMV: That was more food focused. We definitely feel like we came in with a good foundation in that respect. Only now we have added an amazing experience to that. I’m so pleased with the way everything is going!
What are your thoughts regarding wrestling right now, how much do you want to do, do you want to continue full-time, part-time, interested in WWE this stage, going back to TNA at some point?
LMV: I like the direction that the Divas are heading. I also think there are a lot of talented females on the indy scene that could shine in TNA. I’m not sure that I understand what direction they are heading. They say never say never in this business. But I’m comfortable saying I will never return to TNA. I feel like I am still in peak physical condition. I still am able to have great matches. I would like to continue to wrestle, but my plate is full right now. We are looking at more locations for the restaurant. We are looking to expand our brand. I have an offer on the table outside of wrestling that I’m considering. There is also a group that has approached me about starting a wrestling organization. I am blessed to be in the position that I am in right now. I’m considering my next move, and for the time being, I won’t be taking any more Indy appearances outside of those I’ve already committed to.
Is it difficult being around good food all the time to maintain dietary discipline? Is not being on TV most weeks going to relax your diet or is it a thing that has nothing to do with being a wrestling performer?
LMV: I don’t have a super strict diet. I eat cheeseburgers 5 days a week. But i also eat lots of fruits and vegetables and lean meats. I ‘cheat’ in moderation. Plus I train like an elite athlete, so that allows me to indulge on the food side. I love to eat, and Chicago is a foodie town. I will continue to train like I have been. I never know what I’ll feel like doing next, and I want to be prepared for it.
On leaving TNA, did you have advanced warning or was it a surprise and how was it handled?
LMV: It was a surprise to me. I went to TNA because I wanted to work with some of the great female wrestlers that i hadn’t faced like Kong, ODB, and Sarita. TNA has definitely shifted their focus as far as the women’s division. It was really my love of wrestling that kept me going. I didn’t think it was the right fit for me anymore. My contract was up in a month or two. They knew I wasn’t going to re-sign. First, they had the travel guy call me and tell me I was released. Then Dixie called me later that day and said that it was a financial thing, and they knew I was ready to jump ship anyway. I think the classy thing to do would have been to give me the opportunity to quit rather than getting released. But at the end of the day, everyone got what they wanted.
Best and worst things about TNA right now?
LMV: I dont want to mention worst things, but the best is that I think women like Brooke and Taryn have really blossomed as wrestlers.
Thoughts on the Gail Kim and Taryn Terrell matches, Mickie James new TV character?
LMV: Gail is always a fantastic performer, and those matches really highlight how far Taryn has progressed. Mickie is an amazing talent, and shines in anything she does.
How was working with Jessie Godderz and Robbie E?
LMV: So much fun! Did you need to ask? We had an amazing time. Those are two young charismatic guys who both can have long successful wrestling careers.