January 20, 2009

Ever since I heard about Victoria’s retirement I’ve been meaning to sit down and write a tribute commentary about her. It’s taken me a while and for the most part I’ve been putting it off wanting to watch her last match from SmackDown first. I still haven’t watched the match, but I do have it recorded and plan to eventually, but I decided I needed to get to this before it was too late.

I’ve always been a big Victoria supporter. We were good friends when we were both on RAW and for a few years we were actually siblings. Not true siblings, or even storyline siblings, just rumored siblings online. This was an absurd rumor that I actually started and kept alive for several years. It all started when I got what I thought was an absurd email. I don’t recall exactly what the email said, but it was more that just a simple question; the person either asked if Victoria and I were brother and sister in a, “I know it’s true so don’t deny it” kind of way, or they asked noting that there was an obvious family resemblance.

I thought this person came off like a bit of a smart ass in the email, so not to be out done, I replied in what I thought was an obviously sarcastic smart ass way and confirmed our sibling status and noted that this was the reason Victoria only used a first name, because the office wanted to hide the fact that we were related. As the Internet often does, it took this sarcastic rumor and gave it a life of it’s own. Everyone believed my smart-ass comment and I started getting email after email asking about it. At this point I decided to start having fun with it and started adamantly defending and confirming our brother and sister status.

I remember another email I received where a guy asked if Matt and Jeff were really brothers and to further my Victoria agenda I responded matter of factly that they weren’t really related and the only true siblings combo in the WWE was Victoria and I. Since this response seemed completely unrelated to the original post things just took off.

It got so crazy that smart fans started trying to prove me wrong by pointing out all kinds of crazy fact. It started with the fan who wanted to point out that they had been to Victoria’s website and found out her real name was Lisa Marie Varon, and thus she could not be my sister. To this I of course responded that she was married and Varon, was her married name. Then came the comment that I was a Canadian and she was an American so we could not possibly be related. To this I responded that I was born in Sarnia Ontario (true fact), which is right on, the US border across from Port Huron where Victoria was born (I have no idea). This seemed to satisfy most people and the rumor continued.

At this point debate started about whether we looked alike or not and I decided to up the ridiculous level of the rumor and actually claimed we were twins, I’m not sure how our Mom would have crossed the border between twin deliveries, but I’m not one to let fact screw up a perfectly good rumor, so Mom was a trooper! Somewhere along the line Victoria became aware of the sibling rumor and her, Trish, and I would share a good laugh whenever the topic came up. I think Victoria even started confirming the rumor at some point.

There were two more absurd stages to the rumor that I think worth mentioning. In a moment of Russo-esque booking when defending our family resemblance I went so far as to state that we were in fact, identical twins and fans need to start looking more closely because we obviously looked a lot alike. I immediately got a response to this statement when someone, who still seemed to be honestly attempting to prove me wrong, pointed out that for us to be identical twins we would have to be of the same sex. To this I thought Oops! Thankfully this was shortly after Trish and I had been ribbing Victoria about having a bit of a low voice, so I responded to this neigh sayer, “Why do you think she has such a low voice?”

I don’t think Victoria found this revelation as funny as when she first discovered our sibling status, but I know Trish laughed her ass off at it. So at this point I’d booked myself into a corner where I am either outright lying to people or Victoria is my identical twin brother whom is either working in drag or had a complete sex change operation. Despite this absurdity, rumors and confusion persisted for a couple years before I finally admitted, in a commentary, that this whole story was just an ongoing rib. There are likely still people out there that believe Victoria and I are siblings.

Okay enough about my silly rumor, this is after all intended to be more of a tribute commentary for one of the most talented Divas / women wrestlers going. I think a lot of people over look just how good Victoria was and how big a part of the hey day of the women’s division in WWE she really played. I was very lucky to have been a small part of that hey day (I often helped Fit Finlay when he was the women’s division agent) so I was there first hand to see how important Victoria was to it.

When people think about the peak period of women’s wrestling in WWE everyone thinks of Trish Stratus; she was after all the top figurehead of the division and it was the company’s faith in Trish that got them behind the women’s title in the first place. That being said, it takes more than one great worker to make a division and without Victoria, Molly, Jazz, etc. Trish would not have had a division to spear head and without those great opponents Trish would have never had a great match.

Second fiddle is a crappy term but it is an important role in pro-wrestling. For a lot of the women’s boom period Victoria played that important second fiddle role and thus doesn’t always get the respect or praise she so deserves. Tiger Mask had his Dynamite Kid, Jushin Liger had his Chris Benoit, Ric Flair had his Ricky Steamboat, and Trish Stratus (and the whole women’s division) had Victoria, and she should be very proud of her efforts in that role.

During this period I worked out in the ring with the girls quite often. When Fit was helping them put their matches together I would help demonstrate and would often walk through the matches with the girls if their opponents were busy. I really enjoyed working with Divas and it’s one of my favourite times in my career. I was so happy for their success because they all worked so hard to achieve it, and a lot of us became really good friends as a result. Because of our friendship and my working so closely with the women’s division I remember just how big a part of that period Victoria played and want to remind everyone of some of her great accomplishments.

As a heel Victoria won her first WWE Women’s Title in what I believe was the first ever Women’s Hardcore match in WWE. She defeated Trish Stratus that night and went on to hold the title for about 5 month before dropping the title back to Trish at WrestleMania XIX. The following year she again took part in a women’s division first when she defeated Lita in the first ever Women’s division Steel Cage match.

She then turned face and won her second Women’s Title by defeating Lita, Molly, and Jazz in a 4-Way elimination match. From there she once again took part in a WWE first when she defended her women’s title in a Hair vs. Title match with Molly Holly at WrestleMania XX. She held the title for 4 months before once again dropping the title to Trish.

Victoria took part in more landmark firsts in the WWE’s women’s division than anyone else and had countless great matches along the way. The whole division from that time deserves a lot of credit because they took women’s wrestling from just a bunch of T & A crappy matches to “good matches, for a girl’s match” to eventually just out right having damn good wrestling matches. The Women’s division match was no longer the worst match on the card and I recall one PPV event where I honestly thought Victoria and Trish had the best match on the show.

Victoria had an amazing run, accomplished so much, and was one of the most talented working females this business has ever or will ever see. While she did not get the huge send off Trish received, she deserved it every bit as much, and on the brighter side, at least faired far better than Lita did in her send off.

Congratulations Victoria, on your retirement, and everything you’ve accomplished. I feel privilege to have been a small part of your career and could not be happier for you. I look back on our times together in the ring, and our times together on group flights huddled around William Regal listening to his great wrestling stories as some of the most enjoyable times of my career. You will always have my respect and my brotherly love.

Enjoy what lies ahead,

P.S. I just watched Victoria's last match and have to say it was AWESOME. One of the best women's matches I've seen in a long time.