Victoria spent nearly nine years in WWE and won two Women’s Championships, but she accomplished much more in TNA in a shorter amount of time. She spent about four years in TNA as Tara where she won six championships including becoming the second person ever to win five Knockouts Titles.
While her job as a wrestler was the same in both companies, the backstage environments were much different. She talked about the differences between WWE and TNA on The Chris Van Vliet Show.
“[In TNA] I went to every table and every person to say, ‘Hi, my mane is Lisa’ just in case I didn’t meet them. Someone from WWE that was there said, ‘Lisa, this is not WWE. You don’t have to go say hi to every single person!’ You should do that anyway. It’s not a WWE thing; it’s being kind,” said Victoria.
“Also, in WWE, all the new guys would be lined up, the indie guys. They would sit down at the chairs and be in a suit hoping to get a dark match. I would say hi to each and every one of them. I ran into them later and they’re like, ‘You’re the only one that said hi to me when I was backstage.’ Isn’t that awful? Because it’s hard being new in the business and coming backstage and you’re looked at like, ‘What are you doing here?’ It’s an awful feeling.”
Victoria’s real name is Lisa Marie and that’s the name she wanted to use in WWE. But WWE likes to have ownership over the wrestlers so they create names for Superstars and that’s how Victoria was born. She recalled not being able to use her real name in WWE.
“I wanted my real name. Everybody got their real name. They told me to go home and think of some names. So, I googled stripper names: Mocha, Candy. I said, ‘Here’s a list of names.’ They’re like, ‘Oh, you’re Victoria’. I go, ‘Oh, I don’t get it’. They’re like, ‘There’s nothing to get. You’re Victoria,'” recalled Victoria who then discussed finding out her name would be Tara in TNA.
“They told me I was going to be my name. Then, I get to TV and they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re Tara.’ I go, ‘Oh no, It’s Lisa Marie.’ They’re like, ‘Oh no, your name is Tara.’ I complained. I was just upset and Sting was there. I go, ‘Sting, can I talk to you?’ He goes, ‘Yeah.’ I told him they changed my name and I wanted my real name. He goes, ‘What’s the name?’ I go, ‘Tara.’ He goes, ‘That’s really sexy’ and I go, ‘I’ll keep the name, Tara.’ Good old Sting. You got to take his word for it.”
In 2013 Victoria, or Tara, was released from her TNA contract. Afterwards she said she would never return to TNA and being there made her appreciate WWE a lot more. Victoria discussed the ending of her TNA stint and why she left before her contract was up.
“Oh no, I got fired. I wasn’t going to re-sign,” revealed Victoria. “It’s great now because Gail Kim is in charge. They have a great office now.
“I didn’t know I was booked on a pay-per-view until I read Twitter. I called the office and I said, ‘Hey, am I on the pay-per-view? I haven’t got to travel. I’m supposed to travel tomorrow.’ They’re like, ‘Oh, s–t!’ That’s not just an example, but it was very unorganized. I didn’t feel appreciated as much. It’s always important in the business for the producers and agents to give a pat on the back to the wrestlers. We don’t know if we’re doing a good job.”
Victoria’s final match came against a former WWE rival in Melina Perez at an indie show but Victoria didn’t wake up knowing it was going to be her last match. She talked about her anxiety before that show made her realize that this was it for her.
“It was against Melina Perez. Going over the match, we were main eventing. It was a guy and girl show. I found out I was getting the belt and I was shocked. I’m main eventing and I get to pick my opponent? I remember going over the match and Melina goes, ‘Do you have some eyeliner I can borrow?’ I go, ‘Melina, we’re up in 30 minutes! Do you have the match?! We have to go over it!’ I would stress because I’m a little older. I’ll forget stuff too and I don’t want people to think I’m an old-timer,” said Victoria.
“My nerves, I was getting anxiety. I was sweating. I was like, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ I’m already physically, mentally exhausted and I haven’t wrestled yet. I don’t want people to be disappointed. I’m getting the belt tonight and we’re main eventing. What better way can I go out? I asked the guy; I took his mic. ‘Thank you for coming to my last match.’ Even the promoter goes, ‘You didn’t tell me it was your last match. We could’ve promoted it.’ I go, ‘I didn’t know until 30 minutes ago’, but I felt good.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Chris Van Vliet Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.