As part of the ongoing cost-cutting measures that have seen several fringe TNA stars axed (in the Knockouts Division we’ve seen Madison Rayne’s contract allowed to expire – whilst pregnant, no less – and GutCheck winner Taeler Hendrix ask for her release), TNA this evening tweeted that they have released Lisa-Marie Varon, aka Tara from her contract.
So there you go. After just over four years in the company – where she picked up five Knockouts Championships, tying Angelina Love for most reigns with the title, and one reign as Knockouts Tag Team Champions (though the less said about those belts the better), she apparently finds herself surplus to requirements.
In the last six months or so, and certainly since losing the Knockouts Title for the final time in February this year, Tara’s place on TNA television (when she’s been booked, that is) has been alongside her “Hollywood Boyfriend” Jesse Godderz, whom she introduced at Bound For Glory last year. They actually made for a fun duo, but with Godderz recently being slightly repackaged as one half of the Bro-Mans tag team with Robbie E, Tara (or any woman, in fact) didn’t really fit in their act any more, and one could certainly speculate that this was the beginning of the end for her, creatively.
The thing is – with TNA’s Knockouts Division already drawing comment for the relative lack of numbers, is getting rid of one of the most secure and reliable performers really a good idea? At the age of 42 she’s stayed longer in the wrestling business than many of her peers, but quite frankly, she still looks amazing at 42, can still go and has experience that can still be passed on to younger talent. A lot of Brooke Tessmacher‘s maturation in the ring can certainly be drawn back to her work with Tara, both in their tag team and subsequent Knockouts Title feud.
Perhaps she saw the writing on the wall though, as 2013 has seen Lisa-Marie open The Squared Circle restaurant in Chicago with her husband, giving food lovers (and wrestling fans especially) a new destination to get together with like-minded people. She’s been embracing the independent wrestling scene in Chicago too, and since attending SHIMMER in April as a guest, she’s been hosting regular SHIMMER viewing parties at the restaurant alongside the usual WWE/TNA TV shows – and it’s clear that the wrestling fraternity in Chicago adore what she’s doing there.
Does Lisa-Marie *need* TNA in 2013? Doubtful, but I think she can look back on her time in the company with a certain amount of pride. As of this writing, Lisa-Marie has yet to respond to the news on her twitter, but I doubt this will be the last we hear of her both in the ring or around the business. A salute then, and a thank you to Tara. Her last TNA match to make air will end up being the already recorded Knockouts PPV scheduled to air in September, where she took on indy standout and SHINE Title Tournament finalist Mia Yim.
— Stew Allen
— Photo by Lee South