"I don't like being a babyface, I really don't. I like being the bad guy." Lisa Marie Varon/Victoria/Tara - professional wrestler, seven time champion, co-host of GAW TV
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ABOUT LISA MARIE VARON:
You might know Lisa Marie Varon as Victoria or Tara from her time in the ring, but she is so much more than the characters she portrayed. Lisa talks about how she got her start, what it was like to win her first championship, and how much fun she had as a heel. Plus, Lisa talks about her new show Grown Ass Women TV, with her friends and former co-workers, SoCal Val and Mickie James. GAW TV can be found on YouTube with new episodes coming out every Wednesday.
Jeff: Lisa, thank you so much for joining me on the show. I'm so excited to talk to you, and I just want to start off... First of all, first and foremost, I just want to start off, I'm a fan of everything you do, not just wrestling. I'm a fan of what you do in the restaurant industry. I'm a fan of how much you love charity, and, as we're going to talk about in a little bit, I'm a fan of what you love, and that's a lot of nerd culture, and I know that for a fact. So, I just want to thank you so much for taking your time out of your day to be on my show.
Lisa Marie: Oh, I'm very honored. Like I said, huge fan, and cheers to you.
Jeff: Yeah. There it is. Excellent. Excellent.
Lisa Marie: I'm drinking my Death Wish Coffee in here too, with a little bit of whipped cream on top.
Jeff: Hey, you got to live a little.
Lisa Marie: So, if I start moving around a lot and jumping all over the place, it's the caffeine. I've never had a coffee that had a warning label on it.
Jeff: Yeah. Right?
Lisa Marie: Yeah, but I dig that.
Lisa Marie: Oh, yeah.
Lisa Marie: Yeah, and to tell you too, my niece Michelle, when she found out... When I posted the picture of all the coffee you sent me, she was like, "Oh, my god. That's my favorite coffee." I was like, "Oh, my gosh. That's awesome." So, it was... Yeah. Got a lot of comments when I posted that.
Jeff: That's awesome. Well, I know that you enjoy coffee because you're so busy all the fricking time, and you definitely probably need coffee. While we're talking about coffee, did you start drinking coffee at a young age?
Lisa Marie: I did. I was a nerd in school too, so I would pull all-nighters, and then in college, you just drink coffee all night long and not sleep to study, and then cram, that kind of stuff. A funny scenario, I went to Loma Linda University in La Sierra in California because I wanted to go to medical school, Loma Linda University Med, and they... No caffeine, no makeup, no jewelry. Your shorts were... I had to live on the dorm for two years because I was the age of 21, and you're required to stay on campus, all-girl dorm, of course, and then a lot of church functions, and I'm Jewish, so it was a bit of a culture shock for me.
Lisa Marie: But what we used to do, my roommate, her parents owned Kona Coffee in Hawaii, and so we would have her mom and stepdad send us chocolate-covered coffee beans and eat them just to stay awake because we were not allowed to brew coffee in our dorm. They would smell the caffeine, because they didn't drink caffeine. They were vegetarian. Oh, my goodness. It was just like we had to sneak a lot of stuff in just to keep up with the studies. Oh, my gosh.
Jeff: That's incredible.
Lisa Marie: But yeah, I did drink coffee at a young age.
Jeff: Me too.
Lisa Marie: I was 13, into high school.
Jeff: Yeah. That's good, though. I mean, you got to start them young.
Lisa Marie: Yeah.
Jeff: You brought it up.
Lisa Marie: It's a good thing we didn't have all these baristas and stuff like that back then.
Lisa Marie: We had our 7-Eleven, right?
Jeff: Right. Oh, yeah.
Lisa Marie: Yeah. The flavored coffees from there, that was a big thing back then, and so that was the start, and then I switched to my dad's Puerto Rican, did the espresso and all the strong, strong coffee.
Jeff: Oh, yeah.
Lisa Marie: Okay.
Jeff: Puerto Rican coffee's one of my favorites.
Lisa Marie: I cut you off. I'm so sorry.
Jeff: No, Puerto Rican coffee's some of my favorite. What I was going to mention, though, is you were saying about your schooling, and I wanted to bring that up because another thing that we love here at Fueled By Death Cast is science, and you were going to school. You studied biology and medicine, and you were going to school for that. Did that come at a young age? Was that something you were always looking to do, or did you kind of find that out later in life?
Lisa Marie: When I was younger, I was good at math and science. English, my grammar, as you guys probably can tell by some of my posts and stuff like that, my grammar is just not my forte, and I did well in biology and math, and I've always felt at home, safe at a hospital. Is that bizarre-sounding?
Jeff: A little, but it's okay.
Lisa Marie: I've always just... I just gravitated to that, and I volunteered at a pediatrics center in Rialto, California, where I grew up, and he's never had a volunteer, and I go, "I just want to come in and learn and know the environment. Why don't you give me some disease a day, and when I come back, you test me on the disease or something I need to know?" and that's when I realized I do like medical. The pediatrics was a little... You're not seeing the cute little babies and wanting to cuddle and give you a hug, just like being a vet. You're not seeing the animal at its best. Right?
Lisa Marie: There's always sad scenarios. So, those two things, I was like, nah. So, later on, fast forward, I was in college, and a little bit after college, the Human Eye and Tissue Bank in Loma Linda, Redlands, California was hiring, and I was intrigued by this. A friend of my ex-husband, Rob [Noose 00:05:26], I can't believe I remember his name, removed corneas for transplantation. So, I said, "Man, would you be able to get me a job there? I would love to learn hands-on surgery," and you still get paid for it, but that wasn't the issue. I just wanted hands-on.
Lisa Marie: So, I got the job, not because I went to UCLA. When they saw Loma Linda University, La Sierra, on my resume, they were like, "You went to Loma Linda?" and I was like, "Yeah," because the first quarter in Loma Linda, we were working on cadavers, and we were testing our own urine, so everybody at this college, pre-dentistry, pre-nursing, premed, it was the... All these kids were geniuses and all went to private school, some at the Adventist schools. So, when they found out about that, I got hired. So, I procured, which I surgically removed corneas, saphenous vein, middle ear, heart for the valves, bone, and some of the soft tissue for transplantation. So, I did... Yeah. It was incredible.
Lisa Marie: My learning, it was such a rewarding job. You're still helping out, and we'd get letters, "I'm so glad my husband could help somebody in their vision," or something like that. It's very touching, and that's when I thought, maybe I don't want to go to med school. I said, "You know what? I'm very happy doing this, and I don't need to make 100 grand and above a year to be happy." You know what I mean? So, I did that, but that's when I got addicted to working out.
Jeff: Yeah. I was going to mention that. When you were working there was when you really started getting into that. Again, same kind of question, was that just kind of organic? Did you fall into working out, or was that something you'd always been kind of into?
Lisa Marie: Well, I was always an athlete, cheerleader, gymnastics, track and stuff like that. I was always a really skinny kid, to be honest with you, a really high metabolism. I'm ADHD, but we didn't have ADHD back then. We were just considered spazzy kids that wouldn't sit still. When I was working at the eye and tissue bank, I was... When you were cutting through tissue and you find out their health history, and you're like, wow, is this my future? Because we don't necessarily eat healthy, and that's when I started getting really addicted to working out, and then started... My body reacted very quick when I started lifting weights. I was teaching aerobics, and then I started lifting weights.
Lisa Marie: My body, I got really jacked really fast, and I was always natural in my career. It's just, my shoulders and my back, and I think just my... When I look at my parents, my mom had a big... Her lats were gigantic, and my dad had really nice legs. I started competing, did well. I got my pro card in 1999 at [inaudible 00:08:21] Pro Fitness. This is when we did a dance routine, along with a bikini and judging your symmetry of your muscle, and it wasn't super jacked, not body-bodybuilding, but you're still muscular, and that's where I met Torrie Wilson and Trish Stratus.
Lisa Marie: Then Torrie Wilson brought me backstage. We used to compete in tri-fitness, where you do an obstacle, the routine, and then, of course, the physique round. She got a job at WCW. Kevin Nash seeked her out, and she brought me backstage at WCW, and I was like, "What the heck? You get paid to walk the guy out to the ring? Are you kidding me?" It was shocking, and I was like, "Oh, my god. You have to get me a job doing this." [inaudible 00:09:08] and then I passed by Vince Russo, and... Who else did I pass by? I forgot. They asked me if I had any sexy clothes with me, and then I was like, "Oh, I thought I was actually looking sexy [crosstalk 00:09:23] not sexy-"
Jeff: I was going to say...
Lisa Marie: Not sexy enough for WCW. So, one of The Nitro Girls gave me an outfit to wear, and my first segment was my only segment on WCW, was sitting on Scott Hall's lap, twirling his twirl, and he was surrounded by all these hot girls, and then we left in his limo, that kind of thing. That was my first and only segment. I didn't get paid for it. I was just an extra, and then I was like, "Oh, I can't believe you get paid to do this." Then when I met Chyna at a health club in LA, it was Crunch Gym in West Hollywood, and I was living down there at the time. I was doing personal training at the time too. So, they charged her to come into our gym, and I was like, "What are you doing?" I didn't grow up a wrestling fan, but everyone knows Chyna. She's just an icon. I went up to her, and I said, "I have a couple friends that do what you do. I have Trish Stratus and Torrie Wilson," and she goes, "Oh, my gosh," and we took hiphop class at Crunch together. Okay?
Lisa Marie: We didn't know each other. I was just like, "Oh, we're taking the same class too." I'm trying not to mark out, all that kind of stuff, and she said, "You have a really good look. Have you ever thought about doing it?" and I go, "I think I can do what the guys do, like Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio and all the fliers and the gymnasts and stuff, because I have a gymnastics background," and she says, "You have a really good look for it." So, I put a VHS, DVD, VHS tape together, cost me 600 bucks to put this together because I had editing done. I didn't do it myself. This is VHS.
Jeff: Oh, yeah.
Lisa Marie: 600 bucks I spent to have this all spliced together, and sent it in with my eight-by-10s of me doing fitness competitions and doing news segments on what to do when you work out, that kind of stuff, and then just added special effects of me punching the screen, "Lisa Marie Varon," and sent it in. I got a call in a month, and they said they never received a tryout video so professionally done, and I was like, "Well, what do you get?" Of course, when I join wrestling, I see the tapes that got sent in of backyard wrestling, and it's just taped on a... I don't even know how they... Probably with their phones at the time.
Lisa Marie: I don't even know if they did have it. Did they? I don't know. But they were really not good quality, and I said, "Well, what do you see me doing? Obviously, I'm not a Torrie Wilson or a Trish Stratus. I'm a bigger girl," and they say, "We see you wrestling. Do you have wrestling experience?" and I said, "My three older brothers were college wrestlers, and my oldest brother got a golden-"
Lisa Marie: Yeah. Yes.
Lisa Marie: The Pan Am Olympics, yeah.
Lisa Marie: So, I was like, "I'm a quick learner. I was always an athlete," and they said, "We see you wrestling," so I Googled pro wrestling school, and there was one in California, UPW, and I called them. I said, "Hey, WWF called me and want to meet. They want to meet me, and they want to see me in 30 days." I thought I could learn how to wrestle in 30 days. Not possible at all. I thought it was like a dance routine, I could memorize everything and choreograph the whole entire match. It's not. It's a lot of improv, talking and knowing how to transition to moves, and what every move is called, because there's a lot of communication in the ring that you guys are not supposed to see.
Jeff: Of course.
Lisa Marie: But yeah, that's how it happened. Isn't that nuts?
Jeff: That's nuts, and you've already went through a big fitness regimen, obviously, getting into the competition, but also being a trainer yourself, but now training for wrestling, was it that much different... I mean, you said it was so much different because of all the things you had to learn, but from a fitness perspective, was it a lot more on that side of it as well?
Lisa Marie: Yeah. I didn't realize how out of shape I was until I got in the ring.
Jeff: Which is crazy.
Lisa Marie: It's a completely different kind of training. You cannot train at the gym, running on the treadmill. You can't lift weights. You never can prepare to be in the ring. You have to actually do the bumping, running stuff, keep on going, and because we're on a dime, and then the show doesn't stop. So, don't forget, adrenaline is part of it, and you have one chance to make it, to do the match, hopefully correct, so my cardiovascular was terrible, and I was getting blown up so much. I mean, we still did the running the ring, running the ropes. That still doesn't get you prepared until... You just have to constantly keep on doing matches to prepare yourself for wrestling.
Lisa Marie: It's not all about looks, and if you look in shape, it doesn't cut it.
Jeff: Yeah. One of my favorite things... I've been a fan of wrestling since I grew up... I'm an '80s kid, grew up with the golden age of it, and one of my favorite things is learning about the ins and outs of it because you learn so much as you're training, and then it's not just to hone your body. It's not just to hone your skill, but one of the things that I can't even put myself into is when you're in the ring in front of thousands of people, and then it's about to happen, how do you compartmentalize everything that you have to not only know what's going to happen, but like you said, the little nuances in the ring, where you and your opponent are kind of telegraphing things and letting them know... How can you keep all of that in your head while giving a performance? Was that really tough in the beginning?
Lisa Marie: It still is. I did it for 20 years, and the girls, even after WWE and TNA, when I would do the indie scene... So, I didn't do the indie scene prior, and so I would be about to throw up before matches-
Jeff: Oh, my gosh.
Lisa Marie: ... and just sweating and just my stomach, I'd get a nervous belly. I would be a mess, and they were like, "I can't believe you get this nervous still." You are always nervous. You're aways insecure. Are the fans going to appreciate this? I hope they pop on this move because this is... We're really putting our necks on the line. We hope the fans are... We hope we don't get hurt. We have an agreement backstage with our opponent, "I'm so sorry if I actually really tag you. I don't really mean to do it. I get excited, and if I forget something, talk to me. This is not... The fans don't know what we're doing, so if a move gets messed up, screw it. Just keep on going." Do you know what I mean? "Don't get mad at me. I'm not going to get mad at you."
Lisa Marie: There's some opponents that get like, "How'd you forget about that?" and I'm like, "I'm sorry, the moment. I'm blanking out." We're human. We do mess up, and we're sweaty, we're tired, adrenaline, nervous, insecure, and everything is going through your mind. I don't think you're ever confident going... For me, I don't know, I'm one of those people that are never happy with my match because I'm like, "I could've done that better. Oh, shoot. I should've done this, and paused more," that kind of stuff. You know?
Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Lisa Marie: So, I don't know how you prepare for that. I always have a ritual. I say three prayers before I go out, and then give a hug to my opponent and the referee, and give a thumbs-up to the people who are filming in the back. As soon as you hear the music, Lisa doesn't exist. You snap, and you just open the curtain, and you're just like... You know?
Lisa Marie: You just become that character. You try to tell yourself to be confident. You're just going, "I'm going to kill you. I'm going to kill you. I'm going to win this match. You have no idea what you're in for."
Jeff: Of course.
Lisa Marie: It's a lot of your mind. You have to mentally trip yourself out. You know what I mean?
Lisa Marie: Do a psyche trip on yourself.
Jeff: Well, and you said it too. When you're coming out, let's talk about in the beginning. You started with WWF, which was amazing, and then moved over to WWE, and you coalesced into the character of Victoria, which it was, which by the way, I love heels.
Lisa Marie: Me too.
Jeff: I mean, it's great to be a hero, but heroes are only good if they've got good villains. Right?
Lisa Marie: Yes.
Jeff: How great was it for you to be a villain? You must've loved it.
Lisa Marie: I don't like being a babyface, I really don't. I like being the bad guy. I was always larger than most of the girls, and the dark hair, those old-school comic books, the dark-haired villain, the blondes are always all-American, girl nextdoor, and tiny, petite. I was a bigger girl, and so as the Goliath, you'll feel sorry for the smaller girl. You're like, you want the underdog to win. You know?
Lisa Marie: So, it was much easier to get, especially as a female, for people to hate you than love you. You have to do your skill and your craft so well to get people... and to have a good villain to get you over. You know?
Jeff: Oh, totally. You were totally that villain throughout your career. I mean, not just the villain, but I mean-
Lisa Marie: I know.
Jeff: ... throughout your career, you really embodied the character that you were, no matter what. But in the beginning, what I loved about what you did is, just like you were saying, you would flip that switch. You went from being very nice Lisa to Victoria, but you were still authentic. I want to throw it to one of the biggest points in your career, winning the Women's Championship the first time, the WWE championship. You won it as a villain. Again, I love it when the villains win, and I'm always rooting for the villains. But one of my favorite moments is at the very end, you win, and a lot of times, being in that persona, being the villain, the villain still is just like, "Screw you." You know?
Lisa Marie: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Jeff: "I won." You can see it, and I would implore all of my listeners and viewers to go watch that clip on YouTube, of you winning that first match, or that first championship. When you win, it's on your face, and you're genuine. There's a moment of Lisa right there because you're like-
Lisa Marie: Oh, no.
Jeff: You're happy. You know?
Lisa Marie: Yeah.
Jeff: You're not a villain in that moment.
Lisa Marie: It was a Survivor Series, my first championship, at Madison Square Garden.
Lisa Marie: That's a hard crowd to really get behind you. New Yorkers, they love the villains too.
Jeff: Oh, totally.
Lisa Marie: But I genuinely, I started crying, and then, oh, my god, I broke my nose, chipped my tooth during that.
Jeff: It was brutal.
Lisa Marie: I really was shaken up. A lot of injuries during that one. But you're still... When you get the belt... I'm sorry. We're supposed to say championship, but it's still a pat on your back that you're doing a good job. You know what I mean?
Jeff: Yeah, yeah.
Lisa Marie: It's still like, oh, my gosh. Of course, every girl that wins the belt the first time, they go home and take pictures. I put my dogs on it, my belt on the bed, and had my ring gear by it, that kind of stuff. It's incredible. It's not just storyline and that kind of thing. It is a reward that you are doing well.
Jeff: Oh, totally.
Lisa Marie: What made my character so easy was Fit Finlay. You know what I mean? So, he kind of created all of our characters and just... He thought I worked like a psycho, and I said, "I'm just intense and Memphis-style," which we're very exaggerated on moves, and, "Just be crazy," and I'm like, "Okay." So, you can't be too crazy. You can always do your character too much, and they'll tell you to hold back, but it's always... You never want them to come and say, "You're not doing enough." That's an uh-oh. Shoot. You always want to turn it up too much where they can kind of hold it back, "You need to hold it back," "Oh, okay," which never happened.
Jeff: Yeah. Of course. Of course.
Lisa Marie: I guess I was crazy.
Jeff: Of course.
Lisa Marie: I was crazy.
Jeff: That's awesome, though. That's so awesome. I know you were known for a lot of different signature moves and a lot of things, but I love asking wrestlers, for real, from your personal experience, whether it was WWE or TNA or any of the independent stuff you did, was there a move that you just loved to perform that might not have been one of the crowd favorites, but just one you personally was just like, when it worked, it was like, yeah, that was a lot of fun to do?
Lisa Marie: The reaction from the Widow's Peak, my finisher, I got it from Roderick Strong. Molly Holly saw an independent wrestler, Roderick Strong, do it. She gave it to me, because I was the girl that could pick up everybody, and so you always want to be able to do your finish on everybody, which is hard to do sometimes. But the reaction that that gets is goose pimples, but my favorite move to do is my Spinning Sidewalk Slam. Okay?
Lisa Marie: I call it the Spiderweb, and I just feel like it's sort of like a spiderweb, and it's so fun, and the girls always say, "That's such a fun move to take," and they're like... It looks so impactful because when you land, I just tell them, "When you take that bump, either scream or exhale because I'm landing with you, kind of on you a little bit, not all my weight, just my arm, but just exhale so you don't get the wind knocked out of you," but that's like... Every move that you take a bump, you exhale, or you're going to-
Jeff: Of course.
Lisa Marie: But that was my fun, and I got that one from Crash Holly.
Jeff: That's so awesome.
Lisa Marie: Yeah. So, that's kind of a special move. Yeah.
Jeff: That's awesome. Lastly on the whole wrestling thing, because I want to talk about other stuff, you really came up, like I said, at the tail end of WWF, and then throughout WWE and TNA, we really saw the woman wrestler become as large or larger than the male counterpart, which the sport started as. Did you feel that happen as you were in it, or was it so organic that it just happened naturally?
Lisa Marie: No, I think us girls in my era, we wanted to be not the best female match. We wanted to be the best match on the card.
Jeff: The best match.
Lisa Marie: We would get there so early, way earlier than we were supposed to get there, and I'm working the ring with Ricky Steamboat, Arn Anderson, Fit Finlay, all these people, all the other wrestlers, like Lance Storm, Tommy Dreamer. Oh, my gosh. A lot of the other boys would come in wanting to help us out, because we were trying so hard. I mean, we put the effort in. We'd just constantly, at home, we would call each other, "Oh, I have this great spot, I think, or this great idea for a match coming up," that kind of thing. We were so excited, and when the boys started watching it from the curtain, the backstage, we were like, "Wow. The guys are watching our matches. This is pretty cool." It was a little... We would always be so insecure, like, "What did you think of our match? Did you see this? I did this wrong," or we always wanted to get feedback. Do you know what I mean?
Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Lisa Marie: So, we tried. I don't know if it happened organically. I think it was every time we would see the guys help us out, it was like, "Wow. Geez. Look at. This would never happen, the guys helping the girls out, back in the day," but everybody wants... Yeah. So, it was really nice.
Jeff: It was really the heyday of it, and it's amazing that you were a part of something so special and so awesome that is still happening today in the sport, which is amazing. As everyone knows, you retired officially last year, but you're back in an industry that you love, and one that I love too, which is the restaurant industry. Right?
Lisa Marie: Well, I'm not... Oh, yeah. I am back at Buca di Beppo, but not as an owner this time. No. Yeah. Yeah. Right now, we're just doing takeout and delivery right now because of this whole-
Jeff: That's so awesome.
Lisa Marie: ... episode. It's terrible. But I was doing waitressing job, and I'm not one to sit home and not work. You know what I mean? I feel lazy and sloppy and not contributing to the bills. I'm just not that kind of gal, and I went old school, by foot, not applying online, went restaurant-to-restaurant, and I talked to the manager. "I have my resume here," and they were like, "Oh, you need to fill it out online." I'm like, oh, God. The new ways of getting a job, I was like, "This is horrible." By filling out everything online, it was just tedious, but when I met with Buca di Beppo, they wanted to see me in a couple weeks, and then I started training, and I ended up loving it, and I have really cool people I work with and... Yeah. So, I'm back in the restaurant, just a few days a week. I'm not full-time, because they are cutting back on hours just because we're-
Jeff: Of course.
Lisa Marie: I'm two days a week-
Jeff: Of course, but it's-
Lisa Marie: ... which is perfect for our new podcast, though. Right?
Lisa Marie: Our girls... Yeah.
Jeff: I want to talk about it. That's a perfect... You're good at the segue stuff. See? You're already good at this.
Lisa Marie: [crosstalk 00:26:32]
Jeff: Yeah, exactly. I wanted to talk about that because not only are you doing what you love, you're back in the restaurant industry, but you and your friends have now started a podcast. As we're recording this episode, you just came out with your first episode. I'm sure when this episode comes out, there'll be many more episodes out, and everybody can go check that out, which all the links will be in these latter notes as well.
Lisa Marie: Yay.
Jeff: But let's talk about the inception of Grown Ass Women. I love the tagline too, important nonsense. I think that's so amazing and so endearing. How did this come to be? Why did you guys want to start a podcast show?
Lisa Marie: I know Mickie was talking through this with Alicia Fox, and then years... She even had the date, the calendar where she was writing ideas for GAW, and then they never went through with it, and we all Vox. I don't know if you know what Voxer is, the app where you do walkie-talkie on your phone.
Lisa Marie: We're old school. It's a little outdated, but there's a certain amount of some of us girls that still do that. I talk to SoCal Val often, and ODB, and Mickie, who's occasional, but we all still talk, and when we would have conversations, we're like, "Guys, what we talk about on our conversations, this should be a show, because people would never believe us." You know what I mean? That kind of stuff. It was just more of this... It's not just about wrestling, of course. We're going to talk about wrestling. It's unavoidable, and we all love it. That's where we all came from and our friendship started. But it's about grown-ass women talking.
Lisa Marie: We're going to have fans... It's going to be very fan-interactive, and we're doing challenges on there, and it's... I don't want to give away too much, but it's about real topics. We pay bills. We have relationships. We clean up our apartments. It's just like we have just a normal life, just like everyone else, but it went surprisingly well, our first episode yesterday. We were all so scared. We were watching it live and we're like... We had to watch the comments, going... Because a lot of people can be hurtful on comments, so we have somebody else helping us out, looking at it, so no F word, no B, just no cursing, and just be respectful, that kind of stuff. But the show is mostly... We're just goofing around and just being ourselves and having a conversation, and fans could be a fly on the wall and kind of witness this. You know what I mean?
Lisa Marie: It's like having a Zoom conversation with your friend, but for the public. You know what I mean?
Lisa Marie: To kind of eavesdrop on it. It's so much fun. We are having... Oh, my god. It's a blast, honestly. That's taken a lot of time, and we have to thank you for helping us out with the Death Wish Coffee too, and being part of... You're the first podcast I've gone on promoting it.
Jeff: Yes. Excellent. Well, we're so-
Lisa Marie: Yes. We're so excited.
Jeff: We are too. I mean, I love the idea of it because we were talking about it earlier with wrestling. You and Mickie James and SoCal Val, when you're in it, and you're in that industry, most of the press or anything you do you're doing from either the lens of the persona that you have, or tangentially sort of in that vein. So, it's never really where we get that fly on the wall as you, friends, just hanging out as friends. You know?
Lisa Marie: Yes.
Jeff: Which is really nice.
Lisa Marie: They don't realize, and they really... I guess [inaudible 00:30:05] learning our personalities, because like you said, I'm a big nerd, and a big... I'm an anime person. I'm a comic and Star Wars geek, all that, and I had... That dinosaur outfit I wore on our first episode, I didn't go out and buy it. I had it.
Jeff: Of course.
Lisa Marie: So, I was like, I finally got to wear it for the camera. Yeah. So, a lot of people got to see I'm not that vicious Victoria that you see on TV. That is a persona. I am considered... I remember Christy Hemme and Brooke Tessmacher, Brooke Adams, they were scared to meet me. They were like, "Oh, I don't want to meet Victoria," because I was so mean on TV, and they were like, "I can't believe..." Of course, who invites them to ride in the car? "Hey, you want to ride town to town with me in my rental car so I can teach you the ropes?" Because we had Ivory. She's the one that taught me the ropes on the road, and it's nice to have someone embrace you and welcome you to the crew, even though you might be gone in a couple months.
Lisa Marie: I never looked at it like that, and I ended up... They were like, "You're the nicest one on the roster," and I'm like, "Thank you," because when I started, I wasn't really welcomed with open arms, and I was like, I will never be like that. I'll never treat somebody and make them feel so insecure and not where they belong. I was like, whenever any new girl came in, I don't care what you did, if you were a backup dancer or one of the Godfather Hoes, or just there for the day. I still always said, "Hi. My name's Lisa. Hey, good for you. Good luck tonight," that kind of stuff. They remember that.
Jeff: Yeah. No, and that's awesome, and again, that's what's pulling the curtain back on the three of you on Grown Ass Women, which is great, GAW TV, for anybody who wants to hashtag that, and I love just from the first episode, the different segments that you guys got, because all three of you do so many interesting and funny things on your social media, so you're giving us little insights into that. Are you going to continue... Also, I had to ask... You did a signature cocktail, and you talked all about that. Are you going to continue to do those types of things as well?
Lisa Marie: Yes, we are. We actually have a bartender now.
Jeff: Excellent. Oh, that's awesome.
Lisa Marie: It's almost like Housewives. Remember when the Housewives had the bartender behind?
Lisa Marie: But we'll have a little extra piece on how to make the [Quarantini 00:32:31] or make something a drink. So, we'll have a recipe a week.
Jeff: Excellent, excellent.
Lisa Marie: Sounds exciting, right?
Jeff: Well, I-
Lisa Marie: Yeah, and then also, too, an upcoming segment too, Screwball, which is my favorite whiskey, and I'm not a whiskey drinker at all until I had Screwball. It's peanut butter whiskey.
Jeff: It's very good. Yeah, it's very good.
Lisa Marie: Oh, my god. So, they sent us out a package, so we're going to do a recipe with that, but I kind of gave up... I gave away too much, I think, just now.
Jeff: Oh, that's okay. That's okay. I can always-
Lisa Marie: A big shout out to Screwball. They're awesome too. But a lot of people, they're just so shocked though, Jeff, that so many people are reaching out, "What can I do to help?" like, "Hey..." Some of our fans make our graphics, and they want to... or just, "Hey, I have an idea for this." You just helped me with the overlay in the background, which you're going to help SoCal Val figure that out.
Jeff: Yeah, yeah.
Lisa Marie: But there's so many people that want to help you and want to see you succeed, which is great. We haven't gotten any negativity out of this, so it's so nice-
Jeff: That's awesome.
Lisa Marie: ... especially during this time. You know?
Jeff: Yeah, that's awesome, and like I said, it's just awesome that the three of you get to just put out some really fun content, and we all get to be flies on the wall with you guys hanging out. That's a lot of fun.
Lisa Marie: I'm just telling you, we get crazy. It's just... Yeah.
Jeff: I can't wait.
Lisa Marie: We're all three way too comfortable with each other, I have to say.
Jeff: I can't wait. I got to ask real quick, just on the side of it, because you mentioned it, you and I share a very nerd-loving culture, and you mentioned that you like conventions and anime. How did you get into this? Were you a comic book fan or an anime fan from a younger age or...
Lisa Marie: Well, no. I was always a Star Wars fan, but not as much as I am now. You know?
Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Lisa Marie: Yeah, and the anime, my niece got me into it. Attack on Titan is one of my favorites, Parasite. I still haven't finished Parasite. When I started doing appearances at Comic-Cons, oh, my god, my nerd-ism, is that a cool way to say it, came out, and I was like... So, for me, when I did signings at Comic-Con, it wasn't work for me. I was like, "Oh, I get to go to a Comic-Con without paying a fee and sign autographs and make money at it too." So, for me, to go to Comic-Con, to have me stay in my booth, I would always... Especially when you're under budget, you don't want to go shopping around, so I would always mention, "Oh, I love Attack on Titan," and someone will say, "Oh, I just saw a hat over there at Attack on Titan," and so they'll save me from going aisle-by-aisle-by-aisle, that kind of stuff. So, yeah, I'm a huge nerd. It's fun for me. I love the cosplayers and everything.
Lisa Marie: When you go to Comic-Con, they become the superstars. I go running, chasing them, like NeverEnding Story or Dark Crystal. I'll go, "Oh, my god. Let me take a picture with you."
Lisa Marie: These people put a lot of time and effort into costumes, and I nerd out. I truly have a blast at Comic-Con, and I am jonesing.-
Jeff: Me too.
Lisa Marie: ... for the Comic-Cons, being stuck at the house. You know what I mean?
Jeff: Me too. I wanted to mention, I'm in the same boat. I've been a fan for years. I used to go to Comic-Cons, and then through this job I started having to work... We were the official coffee, actually, of the 2016 New York Comic-Con, and I remember my boss being like, "Are you sure you want to work all weekend?" I was like, "It's not going to be work. It's like, I get to go be with my people. This is amazing."
Lisa Marie: Yes.
Jeff: It's so much fun, and you were talking about-
Lisa Marie: Yeah, it is so fun.
Jeff: You were talking about cosplay. I'm sure people have cosplayed as you, right?
Lisa Marie: Oh, my gosh. Yes.
Jeff: That's kind of amazing, right?
Lisa Marie: Yes. Wow. It's incredible. There's a girl, and she cosplays as Sasha Banks, and then when she came as me, I double-took, and I go, "Wow. She looks like she's wearing my gear." She came walking toward me. I go, "Is she dressed like me?" I was like, "Oh, my god." So, I ran after her to get a picture. She goes, "I was coming over to go buy an eight-by-10 and a picture," and I was like, "Oh, no, no, no," and I would ask the person, because they take the money. I was like, "Can I give her a freebie?" and I go, "This is so flattering, that she dressed up like me. I mean, seriously." So, it's weird. It's so cool, though.
Jeff: It's so cool. I mean, another cool thing I'm sure that you love too, loving this type of culture, is that you have action figures. I mean, that's got to be amazing too. Right?
Lisa Marie: That's pretty cool.
Lisa Marie: Yeah. It's like, when you first see it, who cares what it looks like? Oh, your hair doesn't look like that. I don't care. It says-
Jeff: My name. Yeah.
Lisa Marie: ... me. That's my action figure. Yeah. Yeah. It's so crazy, and my mom and dad have it displayed on their...
Lisa Marie: I don't have it displayed. I don't have anything wrestling-related on my walls at all because it's the home. It's my home. So, my parents are big time... They have pictures of wrestling with me up, and it's weird. By my mom's bed she has me in this bikini pose, which is creepy to me.
Jeff: Yeah, I don't know.
Lisa Marie: We all hated that. We're tomboys that don't like to do photo shoots like that. It was such a... That was a struggle for some of us. Some people were good at it, but it was very uncomfortable to be half naked and look sexy when we're bad-ass athletes, go kick butt out there, and we want the respect from the boys, and we're showing that TNA side. Do you know what I mean?
Jeff: Oh, totally.
Lisa Marie: But yeah. But that action figure, I have seven.
Jeff: So cool.
Lisa Marie: Seven.
Jeff: It's so cool.
Lisa Marie: I know. I know. I know, and everybody's like... I didn't know mine were so difficult to get. I guess they didn't make a lot of them, that they were like, "I tried to look for your action figure online. I can't find it," and I go, "I know." I go, "I actually go row by row to look for it so I can purchase it and then have it at my table for people that want to get it." You know what I mean? But they're hard to find. I guess I get sold out.
Jeff: Yeah. Well, heck-
Lisa Marie: [crosstalk 00:38:31]
Jeff: It makes it more rare, and from a collector standpoint, that's the one you want because it's the one I can't have. That's awesome.
Lisa Marie: Yeah. You know what? So, you ever been to Comic-Cons where you see the bin with the action figures loose in the tub, and they're a dollar?
Jeff: Yep. Yeah.
Lisa Marie: My fear is to find myself in that freaking bin, going, "I'm only a dollar now." Thank God it hasn't happened yet.
Jeff: Well, I don't think it'll ever happen, and that brings me to the theme of this show. Through it all, through your entire wrestling career, through your restaurant career, through loving science, through loving nerd culture, through everything that you do, what fuels you to keep going? What fuels you to keep being Lisa?
Lisa Marie: My gosh. I have really good people around me. I have a great boyfriend, David Lubic. He's very supportive. He doesn't know wrestling at all, at all. He only knows Hulk Hogan and The Rock and Jake the Snake.
Jeff: There you go.
Lisa Marie: I remember we were on the Jericho Cruise, and Ric Flair was walking towards me, and David goes, "I think that's your friend." He didn't know Ric Flair, so it was pretty funny.
Jeff: Oh, my god.
Lisa Marie: Yeah. But I have a good family. I have three older brothers and my dad, plus my mom, but I try to surround myself by very positive people and weed out the negativity, Negative Nellies. I just can't deal with that, and it just... Negative energy feeds off of negative energy, so that's always my key, is to hang around positive people that boost you up. You know what I mean?
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah.
Lisa Marie: Yeah. Also, too, what can I complain about? I'm about to turn 50 in February.
Jeff: Oh, my goodness. That's not real. It's not real. It's just a number. It's just a number. It's not real.
Lisa Marie: Oh, my goodness. What was I saying about this, about my birthday too? Shoot. Oh, yeah. Being 49, I have accomplished so much. I feel like I should be 80 years old, that owning three restaurants, wrestling for 20 years, competing, and just gymnastics, and just... I had a good... There's nothing really to complain about. Of course, we had bumps in the road. My life is not perfect, but I've accomplished a lot, and always excited to see what the next adventure is, and thank God for GAW. GAW TV, it brightens up my day every time I think about us about to film, which is right after this episode. I mean, after us filming this, we're filming for it. So, it's exciting. It's not work. We get to chitchat and just tell jokes and goof around.
Lisa Marie: We're not getting paid yet. Don't get me wrong.
Jeff: You'll get there.
Lisa Marie: We're hoping to get paid in the future.
Jeff: You'll get there. You'll get there.
Lisa Marie: But baby steps.
Jeff: Yeah. No, that's so exciting, and it's really inspiring to hear you talk about it like that, and not be jaded, because being in any industry for a few decades can make you feel jaded, can make you feel trapped or whatever, and you are an inspiration for anybody who's been through that, and it's amazing. I'm so excited for everything that's coming down the pipe with GAW, with Grown Ass Women. One more time, for anybody who's looking for that, you can find it. Just Google Grown Ass Women or GAW TV. You guys are on YouTube, and you're going to be everywhere. I just know it. I'm so excited.
Lisa Marie: Also, too, about Death Wish Coffee, we're going to have a link right below on our homepage that you can enter GAWTV as a promo code, and you get 10% off of Death Wish Coffee.
Jeff: Heck yeah.
Lisa Marie: We figured that out on our computer, but our little editing tricks [inaudible 00:42:09] we're going to be calling you to help us out on that.
Jeff: Oh, I will be helping you. No problem.
Lisa Marie: So, yeah. Yes.
Jeff: I'm so excited for you guys, and I'm so excited for you because, like I said, you've had... You might feel like you've had 80 years of an incredible life so far, but you've got an incredible life ahead of you too, and it's just awesome. I can't-
Lisa Marie: Oh, cheers.
Jeff: Cheers. I can't thank-
Lisa Marie: Look at that shot. Look at that shot.
Jeff: Yeah. That's awesome. I can't thank you enough for taking time and talking with me on the podcast. It was really, really awesome.
Lisa Marie: Oh, thanks, Jeff. I'm honored. I was very honored. Thank you for having me