Former two-time WWE Women’s Champion Lisa Marie Varon was on a recent episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily where she discussed how WWE reacts to talent doing third-party projects. Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman first brought up SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks’ Star Wars debut in “The Mandalorian.” Varon reacted to Banks’ role on the podcast.
“First time in my career that I’ve ever been jealous,” Varon admitted “I’m a Star Wars freaking geek like full-on geek, maybe not a collector.”
Hausman noted that the more female talent are getting more opportunities when it comes to movies and TV. Varon expressed her excitement to see that and talked about how she founds out about Banks being on “The Mandalorian” from her boyfriend.
“Heck yeah! I could not believe it,” Varon expressed. “We were behind one episode, just a day. That’s it because we like to watch it together. David goes, ‘Hey, one of my co-workers is a wrestling fan too.’ He said, ‘Do you know Sasha Banks’ because he doesn’t know wrestling at all, and I go, ‘Yeah.’ He goes, ‘She’s on Mandalorian.’ I go, ‘Are you kidding me? That’s freaking huge! Oh my God, that’s crazy to me.’ I’m so happy and proud, but I was like, ‘(gasps), Wow. In Star Wars, that’s big.’ I can die tomorrow.”
Hausman also asked if it was true that WWE had to approve of talent’s film and TV roles. Varon confirmed that was true and said that there were requests for roles that she did not know about because either WWE did not reach back out or the role was given to someone else. However, she noted that talent back in her day were more focused on wrestling and reiterated her excitement that female talent now are getting more outside opportunities.
“Oh, absolutely,” Varon confirmed. “Sometimes shows will go like this, ‘I want this character,’ and they’re like, ‘How about this character?’ So whoever they want to push a little bit is going to get the spot sometimes. You get a lot of requests that you don’t know about, until you go do some signings. They’re like, ‘Oh, I contacted WWE about this for you,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, what did they say?’ Either they never got back to them, or they recommended somebody.
“I think back in my day, they wanted us to full-on focus on wrestling. So then, later on towards the end of WWE, that’s when they started pushing people like Kane doing his movie, [John] Cena and The Rock. All that kind of stuff started happening. I think I was maybe late in the game for the females. Awesome that it’s finally happening.”
WWE’s third-party edict has created a lot of turmoil over outside projects including for former Divas Champion Paige. Varon pointed out that Paige’s work on Twitch is a full-time gig for her speaking on how much work goes into running your own channel from her work on GAW alongside Mickie James and SoCal Val.
“Of course, we had Paige on our show, Saraya, and she does Twitch. And I’m gonna be honest, that’s her full-time gig,” Varon noted. “I get notified when she goes on live. We were thinking about doing our show on Twitch instead of just YouTube, and we don’t know anything about it, like the special effects. When she hits a certain number, a dancing character comes. There’s a lot of nitty-gritty, and for our show, SoCal Val does all the editing and all the stuff.
“We have other people helping us post on Instagram and Twitter. Big shoutout to Ian, and LF and Tre. There’s fans that help us. ‘Oh, I made this edit for you.’ We’ll use it. Thanks, its advertising. We don’t know how to do all that graphic stuff. I’m really horrible. I feel like my mother and my father learning how to use the remote and the VCR when it comes to this. There’s a lot to learn. A lot of editing. ‘What platform do I use? How did you even do that edit?’ I wish I took a class on that.”
Hausman wondered if Paige was ignoring WWE’s third-party ruling. However, Varon believes that Paige may have spoken to someone and cut some type of deal that allows her to continue streaming on Twitch.
“No, I think she’s contacted the right people,” Varon stated. “I have no idea. We have not talked about this. Honestly, I don’t know anything, but maybe they get a cut because she’s doing so well on it.”
Varon also commented on Zelina Vega’s release from WWE due to her breaching her WWE contract. She talked about how sometimes talent should try to “pick and choose your battles.”
“You got to kind of pick and choose your battles a little bit like going, ‘Hey, you want to work with me on Twitch. I would love to be on the WWE platform’ and have WWE Twitch under Zelina’s account,” Varon said. “At least merge and give an option.”
Varon talked more about WWE’s third-party edict noting that WWE Superstar James is part of GAW, and WWE reached out to her about doing the show. They told her that she herself could not open a Patreon account but could a Patreon account for the show was fine. Varon also noted that their show is not just about wrestling and is more of a general show where fans can get to know them more as people.
“Mickie’s part of GAW too, but they did reach out to Mickie and say, ‘You can still do the GAW thing. You can do Patreon but not your own Patreon.’ We have a GAW Patreon. As long as it’s about our show because ours is not technically just about wrestling. It’s relationships and lifestyle. We talk about normal crap. ‘Oh my God, you’re not gonna believe what happened to me today.’ It’s just us in our pajamas drinking wine and just ‘Hey, I got asked this a lot on our Twitter,.’ That kind of stuff. So it’s more of a casual in our PJs. You’re just eavesdropping on us talking and goofing around.
“As Val explained it in one of the shows, fans get to see what she knows. She knows Lisa and Mickie on a personal level outside how we really are instead of just that hardcore wrestler or that hell or psychotic person. We’re actual real humans. We go through the same crap everybody else goes through. It’s bonkers when people meet me at Comic-Con. I do my signings. They’re actually surprised how nice I am, and I’m like, ‘We play a character.’ You don’t go to Darth Vader, ‘Oh my God, you’re so mean in movies.’ It’s just a character.”
Lisa’s full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.