Over the past few years we’ve seen the first ever Women’s Elimination Chamber, first ever Women’s Royal Rumble and women main event WrestleMania for the first time ever. But the first ever Women’s Steel Cage Match goes way back to 2003 when Victoria defeated Lita at Judgement Day.
Victoria talked about making history with that match when she joined Lilian Garcia’s podcast.
“We thought it was a joke. Trish Stratus and I, Hardcore Match, Street Fight, and all these unusual matches and when they say that you have a Steel Cage Match tonight, I looked at Fit Finley and thought, shut up, you’re joking. He said that he was serious, and I thought wow, are you kidding me? So, there was a lot of pressure too,” admitted Victoria.
“I was the kind of girl who never said no. If they wanted me to have a Pillow Fight then I was going to make it as tough as hell. We are going to still wrestle, but we are going to have the best Bikini Match you will ever see too. There is a lot of pressure. I asked if I could cut myself during the match. I asked Vince McMahon but he said that people don’t want to see a Diva bleed. I told Lita to throw me as hard as she could in the steel cage and that I was going to cut myself by myself, but I didn’t know how to do it. She threw me, and you are supposed to scrape down, but as you see my face it just shows a bump. My outfit too was falling off. My panties were showing, so I was distracted by that, but it was very flattering to have those unusual matches because they knew we could carry it. It was a pat on the back because they knew we can pull it off.”
Victoria was with WWE for nearly 10 years before departing in 2009. She left on her own accord by asking for her release and she explained why she felt it was time to leave.
“I still loved the business and I didn’t want to be the bitter vet who starts crapping on the company. I wanted to leave still happy and loving what I did. I didn’t know I was going to retire. I never said retire,” stated Victoria. “You never say retire in wrestling. Look at Ric Flair, but when you walk to the cars after the shows and the fans are waiting by the fences. When the fans were yelling, they were yelling stuff about my character and how they stopped believing in my character because I was losing all the time. I understood what my job was, which was to get the other girl over as a heel.”
She added that her one regret was not asking if she could stay on as a trainer like Fit Finlay. But she appreciated the way WWE sent her out in her last match with Michelle McCool.
“I went and spoke with Vince McMahon, Johnny Ace, and Stephanie McMahon and said that I would like to ask for my release. I know that I have two years left on my contract but I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I felt lost. I was like, maybe I need to spend more time with my family and work on my marriage, I just didn’t know. We are big kids. We are wrestling. I want to leave loving the business and I still love it. Vince McMahon asked if there’s anything that we can do for you and I asked for one last match and it was against Michelle McCool,” recalled Victoria.
“I remember her pinning me and her saying that I love you. That was my closed door. They called me backstage, which was the most awesome standing ovation from the boys and agents. I was like, oh my gosh they watched! I was surprised but I knew it was time. I was happy with my decision. I wasn’t bitter. I still loved wrestling. You never want to be fired it’s always awful or get released because you will always feel bitter. I did what I did and I gave it my all. I didn’t care who I lost to, but when the fans start sh*ting on you it’s never a good feeling. They asked why I became a good guy? I said that it wasn’t my decision. I was starting to be cheered as a heel and they didn’t like it, but Michelle McCool was awesome. She said that I was going over and I said okay. She asked them if I could leave as a winner but I felt that it was time to pass the torch. I was so used to it, so I was like, okay, I’m going to lose another match. I had a huge speech on my mind but I’m a crier so I just cut it short. There was so much that I wanted to say but I didn’t get to say it.”
After WWE Victoria then went to TNA for four years and her character was known as Tara. She made half of what she made in WWE but she called it another opportunity and a chance to wrestle new girls. However, she doesn’t look back fondly on her time there and it made her appreciate WWE more.
“It wasn’t out of my system. I just didn’t like TNA. I didn’t like the girl that ran it,” revealed Victoria. “The girls were amazing, the talents were amazing, catering was?Taco Tuesdays was one of the days. I’m like, do you guys realize what we have to wear out there? It’s going to get us fat and sick. It is fattening. We have to wear skimpy outfits. The talents were amazing but WWE is where it’s at. I haven’t watched the product lately, but the good thing is that Gail Kim is part of the Women’s division so I’m proud of her trying to make them be tough girls, but at the time when I was there it wasn’t pleasant. I knew I wasn’t going to re-sign but they let me go before I can quit. I was there for almost four years. It was very short. They knew I wasn’t happy with the company.”
Victoria has yet to be invited back to any of the WWE or Raw Reunion specials and her only on-camera appearance came when she was on hand for Torrie Wilson’s induction to the Hall of Fame in 2019. She admits to being disappointed at that and admits that a negative tweet has maybe played a part in her not being invited back.
“It’s a little hurtful, I’ll be honest with you. I don’t know if it’s because I went to TNA. I did a tweet in the past. I went to the first Women’s Ladder Match, of course. I knew all the cameramen, cable guys, and sound crew, but of course, everyone else changed,” said Victoria. “They were like, oh my God, what are you doing here? You have to go back and say hi to everybody. I said that I wanted to watch the show live because I don’t like to see it on the monitor. I wanted to go backstage and say my congratulations to all the girls…
“He came back and said that they aren’t letting anybody backstage, my feelings were hurt and I ended up tweeting about it. You don’t air your laundry, which was my bad, but I was just really hurt. I didn’t want to go hang out with everybody because I wanted to come back outside to watch the show, but when you come back and they tell you this, you’re overthinking. I felt victimized. I felt that they didn’t want Victoria there. I felt excluded as a wrestler. I felt like I wasn’t needed anymore. I shouldn’t have tweeted it but I was really hurt. I am an impulsive person. I should have thought about it a little longer. I said that I wanted to go backstage and congratulate the girls but I wasn’t allowed backstage. I was so hurt. They didn’t appreciate what I had done. I didn’t feel good enough to have been there.
“I stay off social media on those days because fans can be a little hateful and when you see that it riles you up. I have learned a lot from Torrie Wilson and to stay away from negativity. I did my job, and when I go to Comic-Con and Wizard World and they tell me that I should be in the WWE Hall of Fame, that is when I know I did my job. I know that I am a nice person. Candice Michelle asked me whether I was at the Raw Reunion and I said, no. She said that it broke her heart that I wasn’t there. Your friends were all the girls that were brought back, and then you [Lilian Garcia] texted me saying, ‘Don’t take it personally. We all love you.’ So, I don’t overthink it anymore. It is what it is.”
Despite that hurtful feeling in the past, Victoria did say that if WWE asked her to come back for a reunion or a special, she would definitely do so.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.