Red Light Job - You are the victim of a red light job when you undertake some work on the lot and, when you go to collect your pay, all you see are the red taillights of the employer's car receding in the distance. And so it has been with the fans of pro wrestling as it relates to TNA's "Tara" and the octagon she is building in the air.
Coming to terms with changing times is something we all have to at one point do in our lives. We can either do it with grace or in a completely disgraceful way. Some choose to opt for the presence of the former while completely immersing themselves in the latter. Enter Lisa Marie Varon who at the time of her WWE departure: was in her late 30's, unable to accept her role as enhancement talent for women who were in most cases 10-15 years younger then her, and who worked herself into believing she should be WWE Women's Champion despite not being as over as her younger counterparts. With a torn ACL and possessing the uncanny ability to make Roderick Strong sound like Dusty Rhodes on the mic she soon packed her black Sexxy Brazil hippie shorts and left the WWE before her contract ended and began her journey into the emerging MMA landscape...or so she would have her fans believe.
Lisa Marie Varon has been able to fly under the crazy radar when it comes to the discussions of vets who say nutty things and vets who need to hang it up. This is mainly due to reverse sexism (women can do no wrong in wrestling. Treat them like goddesses at all times), the majority male heterosexual demographic having a hard on for her, and general apathy overall for women's wrestling. Despite turning in terrible performances in TNA and even worse promos she managed to con Strikeforce into a number of meetings about a possible future in MMA. Before I jump a head...let's go back just a little.
Wrestling is a business a lot of people cannot let go for various reasons. Being a wrestler is pretty unique and a lot of wrestlers never followed the advice DDP gave during the height of his run in WCW. Go to college, get a degree, have a back up plan. Because a lot of wrestlers do not have this backup plan their life and career becomes pro wrestling and vice-verse. It traps them into the quagmire of one of the dirtiest and sleaziest businesses in the world. So how did a 40 year old women who is college educated and who once worked as a Human Tissue Coordinator become one of wrestling's biggest female carny outside of the McMahon women , and Dixie Carter? Before the MMA delusions, Benoit sex scandal, and the poor attempts at working the Internet, Lisa Maria Varon was one of the best women wrestlers in WWE history during what is considered by many to the peak division years of 2003-2005.
She wasn't a great worker (and still isn't), nor was the most over, but she came off competent enough and knew her way around the ring. I believe everything was all well and good until the releases of Gail Kim, Jazz, and Molly Holly. When WWE started focusing more so on sub par Maxim fitness models and B level soft-core porn stars, I am assuming something in Lisa 'snapped' and she realized that she wasn't in the wrestling business, but in fact the sports entertainment business. Where 'wrestling' and being a good wrestler is only one aspect of being a successful wrestler and only one aspect of the wrestling business at large. Around this time is when I believe she conned herself and thus became one of the biggest marks for oneself since Bret Hart. For a while she did her job and did it well (some would say) despite having to face less then stellar competition. But as the women got younger she got older. All Divas wear hair extensions and makeup but eventually it got to a point where Varon was wearing the most out of all of the Divas in order to hide the wrinkles. The business was changing and moving in a different direction. Toward youth and beauty that can obtain crossover appeal. Varon on the other hand was moving outside the woman preferences of WWE's target male demographic of 18-34 year old males and being considered 'tough' wasn't winning her much fanfare as her later Smackdown matches were met with silence crowds.
Appearing to be in the twilight of her career, Varon did what an woman in wrestling over the age of 30 does...hit a midlife crisis, make crazy posts on social media sites, and begin focusing on phantom plans to expand her brand. Eventually the soft MMA talk became a full blown con she was willing to shill to anyone who was willing to listen.
In her Feburary 09, 2009 Myspace blog titled: I'm Baaaaack !!!
she posted the following:
I have really increased my jiu-jitsu training. I was even training on vacation. Again, if you know me, I'm 1000% about anything I do. Now that I'm back in Louisville, I've moved from a straight Jiu-Jitsu program into a full MMA training program. I have also been contacted by several agents, a couple of whom represent current and former UFC Champions. But I think that's putting the cart in front of the horse. I think they think I can fill seats. I'll sign with someone if and when I feel that I can be a top level competitor.
In here July 02, 2009 Myspace blog titled:Tag Team, Baby!
she posted the following:
I'm going to make this short. I am between MMA training sessions. I will talk more about it once I decide either way, but a fight promoter came to my coach with an amazing fight opportunity. It is against a name those who follow women's MMA would know. It is a great opportunity, and would be two months away, and frankly, we are discussing whether I can be ready for a fighter at that level this soon. I'll keep you guys in the loop.
In her August 15, 2010 Myspace blog titled: Catching Up
she posted the following:
I think I mentioned that I went to the Bellator MMA fights in Louisville a couple months ago along with my BJJ coach. I met with their matchmaker, and not too long ago they offered me the opportunity to fight at their September show. I appreciate the opportunity. Some parts of what they were offering were very intriguing. Some parts, not so much. Bottom line, I just notified them that since we don't have a deal in place at this point, we are too close to the date for me to be ready the way I want to be ready. But we are continuing to talk, and I hope to come to terms for a Spring 2011 fight.
These comments along with the constant interviews with MMA media put her in the Kurt Angle territory of empty MMA promises coming from pro wrestlers. Varon, unlike Angle has actually trained BJJ and other aspects of MMA. She is definitely into the sport as both practitioner and fan. She has used these two things try to con anyone and everyone into believing she is making the jump to MMA. Its the equal of someone loving to play video games such as Call Of Duty and who love to read Tom Clancy novels and then start going around telling everyone they are training for Black Ops and plan on joining The Black Ops team, despite never signing up for the Armed Forces.
Ever since the rise of MMA in America everyone and their mom in the world of pro wrestling "wants" to move to MMA. Despite not having the chops and completely ignoring the fact that with little MMA training and lots of liabilities she has setup her soapbox whenever and wherever she could. Putting on her top hat and short tail coat she compared going into MMA (a real sport) with a torn ACL is the same as Austin working pro wrestling matches in the late 90's-early 2000's. As time moved on she went to the tried and true 'we didn't come to terms on a contract' route instead of admitting that not a lot of promotions were willing to give out the 'big bucks' she 'deserves' and instead to offer her a fair wage that any fighter with her track record (none) and the fan appeal she has (very little) would get. Strikeforce would have been her best bet as they loved the carny sideshow and was the closest thing to pro wrestling in the MMA world.
Varon, at this point, had done so much moonwalking on the MMA issue she made Michael Jackson look like an amateur with butter on his shoes. How did she get out of the corner she backed herself in to? Simple: by messing up the Knockout title match at Bound For Glory 2009. Varon fought against Awesome Kong and ODB in a triple threat match on October 18, 2009 at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, California in front of over 2000 fans. From all accounts the fans were into the match and behind the hometown girl (Varon) until (unbeknown) to the viewing audience at home Kim Couture pulled at Varon's hair and a shoot angle ensured. Varon stole a classic Vince Russo move and the crowd went dead and the match shortly thereafter ended. It was the end of the year and despite her con loosing legs by the summer of that year she decided it was best to continue on with it and in the process disappointing paying fans because she wanted to placate her delusions of grandeur that there was an audience drooling at the possibility of seeing Varon vs. Kim Couture (who at the time was one-and-one) who's only real claim to fame was being Randy Couture's ex wife.
She later "apologized" for the shoot angle that got zero heat and made NO ONE more interested in seeing a match EVERYONE knew wasn't going to happen. She put another sport before pro wrestling because she wanted to dress up in Tap Out gear and get comp tickets to MMA events. But unfortunately that wasn't the end of the saga and she continues to talk to noted MMA reporters like Ariel Helwani regarding her 'training' and 'prospects' and 'eventual move into MMA' all the while no one calling her on her shit because...well...I guess everyone understands. Its the 'Be Nice to the Old Lady' syndrome that many have which causes them to give Varon the time of day.
She has been in pro wrestling so long that in order for her to go to sleep at night she needs to convince herself that she can leave anytime she wants and make money being a real fighter. She still competes with women younger then her and getting bigger pushes that she feels should be hers. Women like Kelly Kelly are making more money then Varon and I am sure Varon feels like another "Tara" that being Tara Larossa who complained about Gina Carona making more money then she despite her being in the business longer and having more fights under her belt.
There is nothing left but to feel sorry for the female Kurt Angle (as far as crazy MMA talk is concerned) of our sport. There is nothing wrong with hopes, dreams, and aspirations, but when it flies in the face of logic and also the person making the claims takes no actual step forward in accomplishing what they came they want to accomplish, then its a con. She is hot, there is no doubt, however she is still a carny. She is in a carny business and is in the business of being a carny. Its 2011 and by all accounts the delusion has continued and unfortunately has no end in sight as she hasn't seen the light. However, I can see the red lights of the trucks pulling away while others assume she will be back refusing to accept the fact that they have participated in another of Varon's red light jobs.