Lisa Marie is owner of The Squared Circle Restaurant in Chicago, IL. She is formerly known as TNA Knockout Tara & five-time TNA Knockouts Champion as well as an one-time TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champion. She is a former two time WWE Women's Champion, Finishing move is the Widow's Peak, debuted on WWF as one of the Godfather's Ho's, has worked on all three WWE brands (RAW, ECW &a Smackdown). She departed from the WWE in January of 2009. Owned Black Widow Customs & Fat Tony's Pizzeria in Louisville, KY. Moved to Chicago, IL for for a few years & currently resides in southern California.

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TNA Wrestling’s Tara takes Chicago pizza into the Squared Circle

Former TNA Knockout and WWE Women’s Champion Tara has answered the age old question: “When are wrestling fans going to get their very own brick-oven pizza place? “ The master of the Widow’s Peak has answered that question with a new pro wrestling themed pizza restaurant in Chicago fittingly called ‘the Squared Circle’ located at 2418 N. Ashland Avenue. The Lincoln Square dine-in spot which opens today, features a variety of pizzas, burgers, and more of the Second City’s delicious delights all with a heavy focus on pro wrestling fun.

Last night, Tara and the staff of the Squared Circle welcomed a packed-house of special guests to a grand opening party which Pro Wrestling Examiner was lucky enough to attend. An all-star cast of IMPACT stars were also on hand including Magnus, Chavo Guerrero, Matt Morgan, Robbie E, Velvet Sky, So Cal Val, Gail Kim, Joseph Parks and Brooke Hogan. The TNA talents dug into tasty pizza samples and mingled with the crowd in attendance. Tara greeted guests personally and appeared to be in great spirits with the opening.

How long have you been working on it?

Tara: A year, good lord in (Chicago) it’s pretty tough to open a business. We made offers on several locations, they never bit. They would change their minds, our this building is not zoned for a restaurant. Finally, we got a location in Lincoln Park by Depaul University. It’s pizza and burgers, my two favs. I am super excited about the menu. You have to come out and try it.

Read the entire interview with Tara at this link where she discusses the WWE Hall of Fame induction of her rival and great friend Trish Stratus

The atmosphere of the Squared Circle is perfect for wrestling fans with several collectible wrestling outfits and autographed framed photos on display. Ring gear worn by stand out wrestlers like Gail Kim, Lita, and Kurt Angle are all featured but the coolest prize was a striking glove worn by the Undertaker which hangs over the bar.

The restaurant has an inviting brick and wood interior and big bold ‘Squared Circle’ sign on the outside of the building that bares a striking resemblance to the same flag that adorns CM Punk’s ring attire.

Numerous big screen TV’s were showing TNA wrestling action during the party which is pre-cursor to the Squared Circle hosting live screenings of TNA, WWE, and UFC pay per view events. If you live in the area, make the Squared Circle your destination for pro wrestling get-togethers. Wrestling fans and pizza fanatics can find out more at or by following @theSQdCircle on Twitter for more details.

TNA Wrestling has a big night on Spike TV tonight as they broadcast IMPACT live on the road for the first time from the Sears Center right outside of Chicago in Hoffman Estates. The show will feature some serious fallout from Sunday’s Lockdown Pay Per View with new TNA World Champion Bully Ray betraying Brooke Hogan and revealing himself as the leader of the evil faction, Aces & 8’s.

Pro Wrestling Examiner has exclusive coverage of TNA IMPACT in Chicago including three exclusive interviews, read them in the links posted below.

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The Squared Circle Serves Up a Delight of a Night
March 14, 2013

OK, I have to admit it: I spent the night with Brooke Hogan. All right, not the entire night. Oh, and with Christy Hemme, Gail Kim, Velvet Sky, SoCal Val and Lisa Marie Varon. Plus Robbie E, Chris Daniels, Joseph Park and a bunch of other wrestling folks.

My idea of work: Posing with Brooke Hogan was painless. Well, for me it was.
They all were at a private pre-party Wednesday (March 13) for the grand opening of The Squared Circle (2418 N. Ashland, Chicago), the restaurant owned by Lisa Marie and her husband/chef Lee. The restaurant is wrestling-themed — with memoriabilia framed on the walls alongside flat-screen televisions — but not overwhelmingly so.

The establishment will show wrestling on those TVs. Included will be the TNA Impact Wrestling live event Thursday at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates. The show is to be televised at 7 p.m. on Spike TV, so opening-night diners and/or drinkers (there is a bar area) will be able to take in the wrestling action.

Because the TNA Impact Wrestling action actually will be showing one card live and taping another, Lisa Marie and her colleagues are unlikely to make an encore trip to the restaurant Thursday before it closes at midnight.

Meanwhile, back to Wednesday night. Also attending were some members of the media. Included were Rich Koz (aka Svengoolie of TV fame), Luis Gomez of the Chicago Tribune and Elliott Serrano of Redeye, another Tribune property.

Also present and chronicling some of the evening’s events was filmmaker Matt Goldberg, whose movie “Tarafied” has been submitted to the Cannes Film Festival. And before anyone scoffs at that notion, let the record show Goldberg had an entry in 2012 at Cannes.

Goldberg has the knack for capturing the action and activity without being intrusive. One example occurred when Brooke arrived with a gift for Lisa Marie (known in TNA circles — or rings — as Tara). Brooke brought a little bag whose distinctive color indicated it was from Tiffany. Inside was a small box. Inside the small box was a smaller trademark Tiffany bag.

Lisa Marie carefully opened the present that included Tiffany tissue and a white ribbon around the book. Inside the bag was a necklace (you can see it in the accompanying video that Lisa Marie was gracious enough to submit to after an evening of meeting and mingling with her friends and assorted guests).

Goldberg blended into the woodwork — well, close to it — and captured the moment. Can’t wait to see where that video footage ends up.

Toward the end of the evening’s festivities, your humble correspondent approached Christy Hemme and reminded her of having escorted her to the ring at TNA’s 2008 “Bound for Glory” event, also at the Sears Centre. She feigned remembering our previous relationship. Can’t imagine why. At the very least, one of us recalled the moment and called it one of the highlights of his life.

Well, Christy still was/is a good sport and consented to posing with Velvet Sky for a photo (there it is toward the top of today’s posting).

Meanwhile back to Brooke Hogan. She is attractive and tall (especially in 4-inch heels, or however high they were) and seemed in good spirits. She even performed waitress duties by bringing a round of drinks to the table where she and some of her female cohorts were stationed.

Brooke also was a good sport and posed for a photo with yours truly — with Lisa Marie taking the picture.

If all this sounds a bit surreal, the reason is simple: It is. Was. Always will be. Was there an hour or two of waiting for that moment to occur? Indeed. Does anyone really care? Nope. Certainly not me.

Here is the interview that Lisa Marie Varon was gracious enough to do after a busy evening at The Squared Circle:


* Speaking of Lisa Marie Varon, she will be a guest on “Sports & Torts” on Thursday (March 14) at noon Chicago time on with co-hosts David Spada and Elliott Harris. Because she has to be at the Sears Centre before noon to prepare for the TNA Impact Wrestling event at night, the interview with her is taped. For those who miss the original “Sports & Torts” broadcast, it will become available on podcast later in the day.

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Exclusive interview with TNA’s Tara
Posted on March 4, 2013 by Seth

The lifestyle of a TNA Impact Wrestling Knockout is not easy, especially for a champion. And with Impact Wrestling taking to the road full-time, the schedule will only be getting more demanding.

Five-Time Knockout Champion Tara has been taking care of business in the ring for over a decade, but the still manages to find time to open a pizzeria in downtown Chicago. Tara also takes some time out to talk to us about both.

Ms. Tara, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. What do you think about Impact Wrestling going on the road full time?
I think it’s the right thing to do for the long term success of the company. I love going to work at Universal Studios in Orlando. But I’m also looking forward to feeling the excitement from crowds who don’t get to see us every week. And I think it gives the company an opportunity to bring in new fans who maybe aren’t as familiar with us now, but will become regular viewers once they get the chance to see us live.

How do you manage to stay in shape while on the road so much?
I train hard. I like to think that nobody trains as hard as I do. I’m living a dream, and in order to keep doing that, I need to be in peak physical condition. I have trained in the gym with MMA fighters, football players, boxers, triathletes. I have never seen anyone train harder than I do. I am fully committed. When I go through the indies, and people tell me that this is their dream, and they tell me they do no conditioning, I know that they aren’t 100% committed. If you want to be a professional wrestler on an international level, at least be in as good condition as this 42 year old woman.

Which heel character have you had more fun with? “Crazy Victoria” or “Cocky/Snobby Tara”?
They are both awesome. I have fun doing characters that are different than myself. For me, the more ‘out there’ the character is, the more fun I have.

Was Jessie always the planned “boy toy”, or was there ever discussion of using Joey Ryan?
I’m not involved in what happenes in those meetings. I show up to work. They give me some direction, and I take it from there.

Who is the one opponent you have yet to wrestle, and would be your dream match?
I have said Chyna several times. People don’t like that answer because a lot of people don’t think she’s been living her best life since she left WWF. Since it is a dream match, she would have come to WWE 8-9 years ago and we would have had a slobberknocker (to use ne one if JRs terms).

Where can people find your restaurant, “The Squared Circle”?
2418 N Ashland in Chicago, IL. We’re on pace to open on March 14th. You can get more details at or @theSQDcircle

Will “The Squared Circle” host PPV “parties or events”?
Absolutely! We’ll definitely be hosting pro wrestling PPVs.

Will you make appearances at your Restaurant?
I will be there on a regular basis. Several times per week. This isn’t a pet project. I will be managing it

What’s next for Tara? Perhaps setting a new record as a six-time champion?
The sky’s the limit!

Impact Wrestling begins touring full-time starting March 14th, and can be seen every Thursday Night at 8PM ET. If you’re in the Chicago area, make sure to check out Tara’s pizza restaurant “The Squared Circle” in downtown Chicago at 2418 N Ashland Ave.

More details on attending the historic first live Impact on March 14th is available HERE.

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Gail Kim was shown joining Tenay and Keneley at the broadcast position. Tenay noted that Gail gets to face the Sky-Tara winner for the KO Title at Lockdown.

Knockouts champion VELVET SKY vs. TARA (w/Jessie) — Knockouts Title match — winner defends against Gail Kim at Lockdown — Taryn Terrell referee

Tara, along with Jessie, was introduced first before TNA replayed events from last week when Gail pinned Tara during the four-way elimination match for the KO Title. But, Gail was unable to pin Velvet Sky, who captured the KO Title in the four-way. Velvet Sky was introduced to the ring as Gail had to watch Velvet Sky win the title last week. Gail noted she’s sick of KO referee Taryn, claiming biased officiating. Once the bell sounded, Tara angrily attacked Velvet Sky to take the early advantage. Early in the match, Taryn became involved when Jessie tried to get involved, as usual. Chaos ensued, then Tara turned around and took Sky’s finisher for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Velvet Sky

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Tara Opens “The Squared Circle” Restaurant in Chicago

A new pizzeria is taking shape in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago and the owner is professional wrestler Lisa Marie Varon. The Squared Circle, which is a term often used by wrestling promoters to refer to the ring, is located at 2418 North Ashland and will feature house-ground burgers, brick oven style pizzas and a full bar.

Formerly Leon’s Ribs, The Squared Circle will accommodate approximately 48 patrons in addition to 15 seats in the bar area. Autographed wrestling memorabilia will adorn the walls and TV’s will showcase live sports including wrestling pay-per-views.

Varon’s husband Lee, will head up the kitchen which will include a custom-built brick oven.

“I could not be more excited about returning to chicago, and about bringing my concept to one of the greatest food cities in the world,” explains Varon.

Varon is currently on board with TNA’s Impact Wrestling as “Tara” where she is one of their biggest stars and can be seen every Thursday night at Spike TV.

On Thursday, March 14th at 7:00 pm she will join wrestlers Hulk Hogan, The Icon Sting, Bully Ray, Austin Aries, Velvet Sky and many more to perform at Impact Wrestling at The Sears Centre at 7:00pm. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.

The Squared Circle will be open for business beginning Thursday, March 14th.

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Jessie is backstage giving Tara a pep talk as she prepares to defend the Knockouts Title…NEXT!

Knockouts Title Match: Tara vs Velvet Sky vs Brooke Tessmacher vs Gail Kim

Brooke Hogan is at ringside to make sure nothing screwy happens.

Okay, we’re back and it’s elimination rules as Jessie is ejected from ringside. Tara hits an electric chair on Tessmacher as Brooke and Gail go at it, but Tara joins Gail in a 2-on-1 against Velvet. Tara hits a twisting side suplex on Velvet, but Gail breaks it up at 2 and she argues with Tara over who gets to beat Velvet. This progresses to a shoving match and then a slugfest that ends in Tara backdropping Gail into next week. Gail dodges a charge in the corner and gets yanked to the floor by Tessmacher, but Gail gets ahold of her and goes for an atomic crotch on the ringpost. Tessmacher kicks off the post and bulldogs Gail on the floor, then she joins Velvet in a double team on Tara. Tara gets knocked out to the apron and hangs Velvet up on the top rope, then rolls back in and drops Tessmacher’s throat on the ropes as well. Tara goes for a moonsault on Tessmacher and connects, but she seems to hurt herself on the way down and Velvet hits her with In Your Face. Gail comes in and dumps Velvet to the floor and cradles Tara for 3.

Tara is eliminated.

So we’re guaranteed a new champion tonight as Gail and Tessmacher battle on the top rope. Velvet comes over and grabs Gail in a powerbomb as Gail tries to suplex Tessmacher and it’s the Tower of Doom! Velvet covers Gail for 2, then covers Tessmacher for 2. Tessmacher tries an O’Connor roll on Velvet, but Velvet reverses and catches a fall on Tessmacher.

Miss Tessmacher is eliminated.

Gail whips Velvet to the corner, but Velvet gets her feet up on a charge by Gail and comes out strong with a pair of clotheslines and a flying headscissors. Gail with a dropkick to Velvet and she tries a cradle while holding the ropes, but Taryn Terrell catches her and stops counting. Gail gets in Terrell’s face, then goes back after Velvet with kicks to the ribs. Gail charges Gail in the corner, Velvet tries a Jack Brisco sunset flip, Gail holds the ropes, and Terrell kicks Gail off the ropes and flat on her ass. Velvet hits In Your Face on Gail, and we have a new Knockouts Champion!

Winner and NEW Knockouts Champion: Velvet Sky

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Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Morph Trainer Joey Thurman, Lisa Marie Varon Keep Fit With Kettlebells.
Morph personal trainer Joey Thurman shared tips on how to keep fit using kettlebells. He and Lisa Marie Varon, a-k-a Tara, from TNA’s Impact Wrestling showed us how.

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Party Marty & The Blossom Twins vs. Gail Kim and Tara & Jessie

Jessie takes control of Marty early and gloats. Marty fights back and gets the crowd behind him. Marty charges but stops and slaps Jessie in the corner. Marty hits a springboard moonsault as we go to commercial.

We’re back as Tara tags in. Marty tags one of the Blossom Twins. One of them is Hannah and one is Holly and nobody knows which is which. Gail Kim is in now and almost gets pinned by a Blossom. Gail is pinned again but Taryn the ref has to get Jessie off the apron. Tara kicks the Blossom Twin in the back from the apron and Gail takes over. Gail tags Tara who slams the Blossom by her hair. Gail and Tara take turns on the girl and Gail gets 2. The Blossom Twin continues to kick out. The crowd tries to get behind her as Tara scoop slams her. Tara goes for a standing moonsault but Blossom gets her knees up and tags her fresher Blossom sister. She takes it to Tara and Gail and the sisters hit tandem offense on Kim but she kicks out.

Marty hits a missile dropkick to Jessie and knocks him out of the ring. Marty launches himself through the ropes but overshoots it and crashes more into the rail than Jessie. Gail hits Eat DeFeet in the ring for the win.

Winners by pin: Gail Kim, Tara & Jessie

Gail cuts an in-ring promo and tells Tara she wants her title back. Gail tells Brooke to come out and give her the match. Brooke comes to the ramp to ‘boos’ from the crowd. Brooke says Gail has her match but Miss Tessmacher will also be in the match. Tessmacher comes to the ramp but Brooke is not done. Velvet Sky comes out in her classic look. Brooke says it is a 4-Way Elimination and Brooke will be ringside watching. She wishes them all luck.

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Exclusive Interview: TNA Wrestling’s Tara talks IMPACT on the road and much more

TNA Wrestling is bringing their weekly Spike TV show IMPACT on the road with the first stop being on March 14th at the Sears Center in Hoffman Estates, IL which is just outside of Chicago, one of the biggest Pro Wrestling towns in America. One member of the TNA roster who is really excited see IMPACT in the Second City, 5-time TNA Knockouts Champion Tara.

Tara who some fans may know as Victoria from her time in WWE, grew up in the city and is getting ready to open her own pizza/burger spot in town, so it was fitting that she greeted the first fans to buy IMPACT tickets Thursday night at pre-sale party held at Jersey’s Pizza & Grill. The master of the Widow’s Peak sat down for an interview with Pro Wrestling Examiner discuss her new restaurant, her future in TNA, her good friend Trish Stratus getting inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame, and much more.

IMPACT is coming to your town March 14th. How do you feel?
Tara: It’s a big big event. I have a new outfit actually that represents Chicago, I am super stoked about that. This is first one, this is history, going on the road, first show on TV live, it’s going on in Chicago, and I could not be happier.

You have been active in Pro Wrestling for 13 years, enduring numerous injuries, and having a lot of violent matches. How is your body holding up at this point in your career?
Tara: “I am a little older than some of the kids in the business.”

They call it ‘vintage’.
Tara: Yeah it’s like wine, it gets better with age! Honestly though, I feel like I am in the best shape of my life. I work really hard, train really hard in the gym. I eat healthy. I don’t see myself slowing down. The day I do slow down a little bit, I’m done. I don’t want to be watching me walk down the ramp and feel sorry for me saying “oh, I remember when she used to be able to do this or this.
But I will never say ‘retire’.It’s always going to be a part of me. Wrestling is always going to be a part of me. It’s always so bad to say retirement, because we always come back. Something brings us back. Ya know? And I love it.

In March, you are opening up your new pizza and burger restaurant in Chicago. How did that new venture come together? What’s something on the menu that should be a must-eat?
Tara: I am opening a restaurant in Chicago, in the Lincoln Park. It’s called the Squared Circle. We are going to show all wrestling, local wrestling, WWE, and of course TNA. Pay Per Views and stuff like that. It’s going to be awesome. It’s pizza and burgers, my two favs. I am super excited about the menu. You have to come out and try it.

How long have you been working on it?
Tara: A year, good lord in (Chicago) it’s pretty tough to open a business. We made offers on several locations, they never bit. They would change their minds, our this building is not zoned for a restaurant and so on. Finally, we got a location in Lincoln Park by Depaul University. 2418 N. Ashland is the address. The opening is on March 14th.
Fans can follow the Squared Circle on Twitter @theSQDcircle for more updates

You are one of the most pure female wrestlers around.Is there any established wrestlers out there you want to lock up with?
Tara: There are several. What comes to mind is, Chyna. I never got to wrestle her. She was the one who recommended to the company (WWE), and said I had the good look for it. And Medusa, she’s freaking hard-as-nails. I heard she can whoop my butt and I never fought her. Maybe the ‘Divas’ when they are done, I can take them on the independent circuit. Eve Torres, I never got my hands. Her and I do jiu jitsu, so it would be an interesting submission match.

You have reached a point in your career where you are still very healthy but have gained a certain level of experience where you can have a new and exciting dynamic with fresh talent. Is there any new younger female wrestlers you want to have a match with?
Tara: Oh my god, I love it. I salivate over it, so many girls coming up too, that are green, nice, young, youthful and fresh. I can not wait for the initiation to the ring. I talk to them, tell me what’s your repertoire? What’s your style? Do you fly? Do you stick to the ground? Are you strong? They always say “I’m generally all of them”. And I am like “really?”, we are gonna test that out. Usually, you should be humble and say something like “i’m really just feeling it out” ya know? The respect thing.
But when I see a girl who has a little of , ya know 60% good in the ring. I am gonna make them look 100%. That is my forte. You give me a rookie, I will make them look like a million bucks.

You had to make too many look good in the ring.
Tara: Ya know, I did but so be it. This is my longevity in the business, too. I am never upset about it. It’s part of the business.

A friend of mine called you the “female version of William Regal” for your ability to make less talented wrestlers look better and your visible toughness in the ring. How do you respond to a comparison like that?
Tara: Yeah! Oh my god! I love him too. I am HUGE fan of his. And he’s still in the business though, it’s the longevity of us. You will never get rid of us.

But it’s harder for a lady, because there is a double standard with that.
Tara: I have been in this business a long time. I think I have earned that respect. A lot of people come up and ask me about that backstage, my bosses. I think they are protective of my character and they don’t want me to look too bad, never squash what I can do.
You are only as good as your opponent, you have heard that. I am hoping the girls coming up want to throw down. Not wanting to be here for pretty nails and looks. We can hire models for that. You need to be able to take a whooping.

Let’s say you get the call to put together your DVD of ‘greatest hits’. What matches should make on to that DVD?
Tara: Oh my goodness, I have a lot of good feuds. I would go with a lot of the ‘golden era’ as we like to call it. Trish Stratus, Lita, Jazz, Molly Holly. all of them. My cage match (against Mickie James in TNA) was brutal. Just because I tore my elbow but I kept on going and then I got a standing ovation from the crowd when I came back from the respect level. The Chicago Street Fight with Trish that is the epic. We beat the hell out of each other in that match. We just laid everything in. Ya know you give us a match, we made it just as good as the guys. I am very competitive with the guys. I want people to go “oh that was a great match for a women’s match”. I want people to say “that was a great match period.” Every match I try to top it, and it’s pretty tough.

What is the feeling in TNA right now with IMPACT coming on the road? How do you feel bring IMPACT out of Orlando and to the rest of the country?
Tara: Our fans get spoiled and callused They want to see us draw blood. In Orlando, thank god we are going on the road, our fans in Orlando got a little bit spoiled because they see us every week, but we were out there killing ourselves for entertainment. We are actresses and actors who do our stunts with drama. And when they don’t react to certain things, it’s like my God, what do you want me to do?!

Was that becoming an issue in Orlando?
Tara: Not for like my bosses. it’s just that we feed off the fans, we feed off their reactions. It becomes stale (without those reactions). And now we get to see fresh faces and that’s why it’s nice to go overseas too. I am just excited about going on the road, you have no idea. We don’t want ‘hush hush’ fans. It’s nice to hear everything, I have a problem where I can hear everything in the first couple rows. And if I hear someone cheering for my opponent. I am going to go out there and freaking tell them like it is. I am very fan-interactive. That’s a big part of TNA.

One of your greatest rivals and best friends in Pro Wrestling, Trish Stratus was recently announced as an inductee in this year’s WWE Hall of Fame class. This has to be a great news for you to hear. How did you feel about hearing this announcement ? Is there any chance you could attend the ceremony?
Tara: Oh she so deserves it! I am going to be honest with you, I wish I could induct her. I was in WWE. I am proud to be a part of WWE history, and now I am with TNA, there is no rivalry between companies for me. I love both companies but I am super proud of her, she deserves it for ‘the Golden era’. She also reached out and called me and said thank you, you helped me be inducted because we had hellascious matches. That’s a true professional, she appreciates who got her there. I would love to be there, but I don’t know how both companies would feel. Honestly, I am super proud. I love her, we are best friends.

So what’s the hard sell for IMPACT at the Sears Center on March 14th? How would you convince a fan who maybe likes watching IMPACT on Spike TV but might be on the fence about seeing the show live and in person.
Tara: Oh come on! You got Hulk Hogan, Kurt Angle, Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, first live TV on the road! You know we are going to be pushing the limit. You have no idea of the excitement that the talent and the wrestlers are feeling. We are brainstorming on what we are doing. I don’t know who I am facing but I guarantee that person will not walk out of that ring pretty, because ya know I am going to feed off Chicago fans!

Follow Tara on Twitter @TaraLisaMarie

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Published: 12:30 AM, Fri Feb 01, 2013
TNA Impact: Big names won’t be holding back for show at the Crown
By Brian Dukes, Staff writer

If you’re wavering on whether to get tickets to the Saturday, Feb. 2 TNA Impact Wrestling show at the Crown Arena, there are three words you should consider: Steel. Cage. Match.

TNA is bringing its Road to Lockdown Tour to Fayetteville, and the action will be amplified by the use a 15-foot reinforced steel cage. Wrestlers slated to battle it out include Austin Aries, the “Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy, Bully Ray, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Hernandez and TNA Knockouts champion Tara, who will take on Velvet Sky.

The tour leads up to TNA’s Lockdown, a popular annual pay-per-view program that will air March 10.

“Until then,” said Lisa Marie Varon, better known by her wrestling name, Tara, “You never know what’s going to happen.”

The show starts at 7 p.m. with an autograph session at 5:30 p.m. for those who bought $75 tickets. A “Gut Check” seminar is earlier in the day but is open only to those who registered by Monday.

Hardy, a North Carolina native, is the current TNA World Heavyweight champion. He said fans can always expect surprises.

“It’s going to be a great show, and it’s going to be great being back home,” said Hardy, originally from Cameron.

Weekender caught up with Tara and Hardy by phone in Orlando, where the two were taping a different wrestling show. During a break, the pair spoke about the Saturday, Feb. 2 show, their lives and their upcoming projects.

Weekender: What can fans expect when TNA comes to town?
Tara: We’ve got a great lineup. My best friend – Chavo Guerrero – will be there. And one thing I really love about TNA is that we can play toward the crowd more, and we’ll do autograph sessions before the show and interact with the fans a lot. That’s really unheard of in this industry.
Hardy: We go out here every night and are able to spend time with the fans, and that’s what so special with TNA. We try to give back a lot to the fans.

Weekender: Tara, how are you approaching your match against Velvet Sky?
Tara: I know she’s been off a bit from time away, but she’s been brushing up. She’s feisty in the ring, so you never know what to expect, but I’m prepared and excited about the match.

Weekender: If you could pick anyone to wrestle against from all time, who would that be?
Tara: For a female opponent, I’d pick Madusa. She’s a legend. For a male opponent, there’s too many. Maybe Sting. He’s a legend, and he’s hot, too. I’m not gonna deny that.
Hardy: Yeah, Sting’s a legend. I remember seeing him when I was 10 years old.

Weekender: Jeff, how often are you able to return to North Carolina, and are there any spots you’re looking forward to visiting?
Hardy: I’m so excited to be back at the Crown. I’ve had some great matches there, and it’s always nice to be 30 minutes from home. My career is busier now with TNA, but I’m home a lot more than I would be otherwise, and that’s really important to me now that I have a 2-year-old. TNA understands the importance of family, and I love Cameron.

Weekender: Tara, what are the challenges of being a female wrestler in a world that’s male-dominated?
Tara: It’s a tough industry, and I’m not complaining. It just takes a certain person to handle this life. You don’t cry. Ever. There’s no crying in wrestling. You don’t cry over broken nails. We want to be respected by the guys, our co-workers and the boss. If you hurt yourself, you walk it off, and we also have to look sexy all the time. You have to look the part, eat right, get rest, look hot and still punch each other in the face. It’s tough.
Hardy: It’s always great to see the Knockouts. They beat each other up worse than the guys do. Hands down, they’re vicious.
Tara: That’s true.

Weekender: What’s the best part of your job?
Tara: I get to fight and entertain in sexy clothes. I get to travel the world and meet the most amazing people who become your family – because you don’t get to see your real family that much.
Hardy: Wrestling has opened up a lot of doors, creatively, for me. I have my photography, my art, my music. Wrestling’s allowed me to live so many dreams.

Weekender: What’s next for you?
Tara: I’m opening the Squared Circle Pizzeria & Burgers restaurant in Chicago. I’m taking part in a new documentary called “Tarafied” by director Matt Goldberg, and I’m thinking about taking an improv class.
Hardy: I’m loving fatherhood right now. I also recently went to Nashville and recorded three more songs for my band (Peroxwhy?gen). I don’t just sing in the basement now – I’m learning so much about breathing and singing, and it’s just amazing. I’m crazy excited to share my music.

When: Saturday, Feb. 2, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Crown Arena
Tickets: $8 to $75. Early-entry autograph session is at 5:30 p.m. for fans who buy $75 tickets.

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Uniquely Chicago: Lisa Marie Varon. Posted on January 24, 2013. She’s shut down opponents left and right in the ring, and now wrestling champ Lisa Marie Varon is sharing her story of how it all came about.

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Tara and Jessie Godderz come into Brooke’s office to complain about the cold and the crappy accomodations, but Brooke freaks out on them for being petty and selfish. Tara doesn’t want to wrestle Tessmacher, but Brooke says she’s wrestling and Jessie is barred from ringside and can get her coffee instead.

Knockouts Champion Tara vs Brooke Tessmacher

Tara brutalizes Tessmacher right from the start, pounding on her with forearms and taking her down with a side headlock. Tessmacher sweeps the ankle and hits a dropkick, then wheelbarrows into a facebuster for 2. Tara is very distracted and out of her game without Jessie at ringside as Tessmacher stinkfaces her clear out to the entry ramp. Tessmacher goes after Tara and dumps her back into the ring, but Tara catches her up top and hits the Spiderweb for 2. Tara tosses Tessmacher across the ring by the hair and then puts her in a full nelson. Brooke tries to fight her way out, but Tara yanks her down by the hair and chokes her. Tara covers for 2 and then grinds her ass into Tessmacher’s face, but Tessmacher reaches up and rolls Tara into a rollup for 2. Tara quickly nails Brooke and puts her in a chinlock. Brooke starts mounting a comeback against Tara, hitting a flying headscissors before climbing on her in the corner and grinding her crotch into Tara’s face. Tara takes her out with a clothesline, but Tessmacher hits an atomic facebuster for the win.

Winner: Brooke Tessmacher

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Velvet Sky is upset she isn’t the Knockouts Champion and calls out the two people responsible for that, Jessie and Tara. The pair come out, assuming it’s a handicap match when they finally arrive. Sky says she has a partner and introduces James Storm.

Velvet Sky and James Storm vs. Tara and Jessie

Jessie and Storm kick the match off. Godderz shoves Storm but Storm shoves him back. He lands multiple blows to Jessie’s face and takes him out with a shoulder block. He hip tosses Jessie across the ring and whips him into the corner. Jessie tries to counter but Storm catches him and drops him on the top rope. Godderz is taken out by Storm but Tara distracts the Cowboy. This allows Jessie to attack from behind. Jessie corners Storm and attacks him with kicks. He goes for a cover, gets a one count.

Jessie works over Storm’s elbow. Jessie snapmares Storm to the mat and connects with a legdrop. The cover gets two. He tries another cover, gets another two count. Jessie tries to send Storm over his head but the Cowboy escapes and lands closing time.

The women are tagged in and Velvet connects with multiple clotheslines. She spins Tara with a headscissors takedown and lands a russian legsweep for a two count. Tara knees Sky and sends her into Jessie. She rolls Tara up and gets a two count. Jessie tries to interfere in the match but Storm takes him out with Closing Time. Tara argues with Storm but Velvet Sky kicks her. Double underhook facebuster on Tara gets the victory.

Winners: Velvet Sky and James Storm

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[ View 582 January 31, 2013 Screen Captures Here ]

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[ View 1 January 31, 2013 Digital Here ]

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Taped for January 31, 2013
– Velvet Sky calls out Tara and Jessie. James Storm comes down to make it a tag match. Storm gets a great reaction and it’s a shame TNA can’t get out of Orlando more with live crowds Like tonight. There is a pedigree by Sky for the win.

Taped for February 14, 2013
– Blossom Twins & Party Marty (Scurll) vs Gail Kim, Tara and Jessie. Match was way longer than it needed to be, with a mild response to the British Boot Camp trio at best. Gail Kim pinned one of the Blossoms seconds after Marty scarily overshot a dive to Jessie on the floor, getting nothing but the guard rail. Post match Gail talked down to Tara and set up a title match for impact next week… Out came Brooke who was booed, who arranged Gail vs. Tara vs. Tessmacher vs. Velvet Sky for the title instead. Marty got up after the Brooke promo and got a good reaction.

Taped for February 21, 2013
– Gail Kim vs. Tara vs. Tessmacher vs. Velvet Sky for the Knockouts title. Tara came out to Brooke’s music in another in a list of production botches. Jessie was thrown out at the start of the match. This was announced on the prior show as an elimination match but there was a load of broken up pins in front of a dead crowd. Gail pinned Tara after Velvet hit her sit out pedigree so we’ll get a new champion. It was an elimination so the match continued. Very little reaction – why break up pins if it’s elimination rules?? Tessmacher eliminated after her attempt to roll up Velvet from another sit out pedigree failed, leaving us with Gail vs. Velvet – Velvet Sky wins the title with another sit out pedigree.

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Backstage Tara was shown preparing for her Knockouts Title match before Jessie introduced a Velvet Sky action figure. Jessie said it’s motivation to remind Tara that Velvet is nothing and they are TNA’s power couple.

Knockouts Title Match: Tara vs Velvet Sky

Velvet is very aggressive at the start, going after Tara as the bell rings and going for several pinfall attempts. Velvet misses a shoulderblock, but follows up with several clotheslines and a Russian legsweep. Tara rolls out to the floor to catch a break, but Velvet grabs her by the hair and drags her back inside before taking Tara out with a basement dropkick to the chest and another kick that sends Tara to the floor. We’re at commercial.

We’re back, and Velvet is still on the offensive as she rams shoulderblocks into Tara’s midsection in the corner. Velvet goes for a monkey flip, but Tara holds onto the corner ropes and Velvet crashes hard. Tara tries a cover for 2, then rams Velvet’s face into the mat and follows up with a snap suplex for 2. Tara gets a rear chinlock, then picks Velvet up and tosses her across the ring by the hair. Tara goes up top, but takes too long and Velvet is able to get up and toss her off the corner. Now they’re on their knees trading right hands, then they get up and Velvet connects with several clotheslines and a flying headscissors. Velvet with a rolling facebuster, but Jessie distracts the referee as Velvet tries a cover. Velvet goes after Jessie, Tara tries to backjump her, but Velvet moves and rolls her up for 2. Velvet tries a suplex, but Jessie trips Velvet from the floor and holds onto her ankle while Tara pins Velvet with her feet on the ropes.

Winner: Tara

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[ View 7 January 24, 2013 Digitals Here ]

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Brian FINALLY watched the CM Punk DVD and you can hear his glorious praise of the DVD on this week’s episode! Speaking of which, CM Punk successfully defended his WWE Title in just about 10 minutes AND had to go beard-to-eyebrow with The Rock right after. Talk about pressure!

Also, the guys go over the week’s news including TNA cutting back on the amount of yearly pay-per-views; Sarita, Rosita, and D’Angelo Dinero being released from TNA , and also a spoiler alert straight from!

This week, current TNA Knockout Champion Tara joins the guys on the show! This interview covers her upcoming documentary by Matt Goldberg, her TNA career, business ventures, and much more in this great interview!

All this and more on Running The Ropes, the official podcast of the Unchained Wrestling Network and a part of the SNS Radio Network!

The Interview with Tara starts at the 1 Hour 16 minute mark.

Listen to the interview here:

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TNA Knockouts Champion Tara was the featured guest on this week’s edition of Monday Night Mayhem, hosted by The Big Mosh, Todd Vincent, and “Wild” Bill Brown. Here are interview highlights courtesy of’s Aaron Carnevale, MNM’s National Correspondent:

The experience of teaming up with “Mr. PEC-Tacular” Jessie Godderz in iMPACT Wrestling: “I love to manage. It is so much fun working and bouncing stuff off of each other, being goofy, and being able to entertain. At the same time, I can still wrestle. It also allows me to get my body a little bit of a rest while watching him wrestle. It is so much fun. I can’t express how much fun I’m having.”

Why she believes the current WWE Divas should not receive the criticism that they do: “It’s not their fault. They have some great talent over there (in the WWE), but you cannot tell a story in four minutes with two entrances. We’re lucky to have that much time on television to do it. I hope they get more time in the future, because they aren’t getting their opportunity.”

The direction of the TNA Knockouts division and where she sees things headed for the Knockouts in the new year: “I love where we are going. I think we’re going to see some new faces, new feuds, and maybe a new style of wrestling. We have an awesome creative department that are huge fans of the Knockouts division. You’ll be seeing a good year, honestly.”

Much more is contained in Tara’s interview with Monday Night Mayhem, including her candid thoughts on just how close she was to retiring from professional wrestling, her current reign as TNA Knockouts Champion, why she believes the future is very bright for her man in iMPACT Wrestling, what her fans can expect to see from the release of her new documentary (“Tarafied”) and more. You can download and listen to the full interview by clicking here.

6:00 – TNA Knockouts Champion Tara on her last interview with The Mayhem on a golf cart
9:45 – Tara on why she had planned on retiring after leaving WWE and getting the call from TNA
13:33 – How she got her start in pro wrestling and already having relationships with pro wrestlers
29:00 – Why the current state of women’s wrestling in WWE is not the fault of the Divas talent
44:00 – Closing the podcast with what is coming up for the show in 2013 going forward

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// Monday Night Mayhem

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We go to the Impact Zone where Jessie is gorilla pressing Tara, leading us into…

Tara & Jessie Godderz vs Robbie T & Miss Tessmacher

Jessie tries to cheapshot T, but T no-sells Jessie’s shots and just starts tossing him aruond like a ragdoll. Jessie tags out to Tara, and she slowly comes into the ring as Brooke comes in to take her out with a series of clotheslines and a charging forearm. Brooke mounts Tara in the corner and humps her face, then stinkfaces her in the corner. Tara crawls to the safety of her corner and tags in Jessie, who promptly get chokeslammed into the corner and powerbombed. T covers Jessie and gets an easy win.

Winners: Robbie T & Miss Tessmacher

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[ View 2 January 10, 2013 Digitals Here ]

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Backstage we Gail Kim and Miss Tessmacher were shown warming up backstage. TNA cut to Jessie watching on a monitor before KO champion Tara got him to focus on her. TNA then cut to Mickie James also warming up, exciting Taz.

Christy Hemme was standing by to introduce a Knockouts tag match. Out first was Gail Kim. Knockouts champion Tara, joined by Jessie, was out second for the heel duo. The face duo started with Mickie James, followed by Miss Tessmacher.

Knockouts Champion Tara (with Jessie) & Gail Kim vs Mickie James & Miss Tessmacher

Gail and Tessmacher go at it as we start, with Tessmacher taking Gail out with a flying clothesline and a crossbody. Tara cheapshots Tessmacher from the outside and then tags in so she can grind her eyes across the top rope. That’s cold, man. Tessmacher makes a blind tag and snapmares Tara so Mickie can come charging in with a running knee before dropkicking Gail out to the floor. Tara and Gail try to escape to the floor, but Mickie and Tessmacher go outside and give them a double noggin knocker. Taryn Terrell, being the high end official she is, blocks Tessmacher from coming back inside and pays no attention to Tara and Gail beating Mickie up 2-on-1 as we go to commercial.

We’re back, coincidentally JUST as Mickie takes out both Gail and Tara and makes a hot tag to Tessmacher. Tessmacher comes in and goes nuts on Tara humping her face and setting up for the stinkface before Tara slips out to the floor so Gail can come in and nail Tessmacher from behind. Tara comes back in and blatantly chokes Tessmacher before using a hair Beell. Tessmacher gets double teamed in teh corner while Mickie distracts Terrell, and Gail hits a version of Go To Sleep for 2. Gail hits a running clothesline for 2, but misses a charge and hits the post. Gail falls out to the floor and now Tessmacher is crawling to make a tag, but Gail pulls Mickie off the apron just before Tessmacher gets to her corner. Mickie comes in AGAIN and distracts the referee while Tara tags in with a slingshot legdrop and covers for 2. Looks like Tara accidentally popped her on that one. Tara goes to a surfboard and then tries for the ass-shaking moonsault, but Tessmacher gets her knees up and then bulldogs Tara before finally making it to the corner and tagging in Mickie. Mickie takes Gail out with a Thesz Press and dropkicks Tara to the floor. Mickie with the swinging headscissors out of the corner and gets a neckbreaker for 2. Tessmacher takes Tara out, Tara rolls out to the floor to be comforted by Jessie, but Tessmacher takes them both out with a dive off the top rope. Mickie hits the implant DDT on Gail and gets the win.

Winners: Mickie James & Miss Tessmacher

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