Wrestler of the Day – February 9: Tara

We’ll go with someone a bit better looking than Big Show today: Tara, or Victoria if you’re not a TNA fan.

Victoria would begin training in 2000 and make her in ring debut (she had been an on screen character as one of Godfather’s Ho’s for awhile) in the WWE in August 2002 with her first feud against Trish Stratus. Believe it or not there was a story here with Victoria saying Trish ripped her off when they were both fitness models. This led to a hardcore match for Trish’s title at Survivor Series 2002.

Women’s Title: Victoria vs. Trish Stratus

Hardcore rules here and Trish is defending. This is their second PPV match after Trish won last month. Victoria immediately chokes her with Trish’s coat before getting a broom out of one of the trashcans on each post. Trish jumps the broom (lucky guy) but Victoria takes her down almost immediately. Victoria chokes her with the broom in the corner but gets flipped to the mat.

Now Trish finds a trashcan lid but Victoria knocks the lid into her head with the broom. We head to the floor and Trish gets whipped HARD into the trashcan. Back in and Victoria hits her slingshot legdrop for two. The challenger puts a trashcan in between the top and middle rope but Trish grabs her legs and slingshots Victoria’s head into the can. Trish sets up an ironing board in the corner and whips Victoria into it for two.

It’s kendo stick time with Victoria taking a beating. She gets a boot up in the corner though and BLASTS Trish with a trashcan lid. Victoria has a bloody nose and sits on the middle rope, allowing Trish to try a rana out of the corner. Victoria counters into a kind of Boston Crab position, but Trish does a big situp and hits Victoria in the head with a can lid.

That only stuns her though so Trish BLASTS her in the head with a trashcan lid again to knock Vicotira off the ropes and out to the floor. Victoria gets a mirror from under the ring but Trish superkicks her down. Chick Kick (Punk’s high kick) gets two for Trish as does a bulldog. Victoria rolls to the floor and pulls out a fire extinguisher to blast Trish with. That and a suplex gets the pin and the title for the nutjob.

Rating: B. This was AWESOME with both chicks beating the tar out of each other. The story of the match worked really well too with Trish trying to wrestle her way out of trouble against a monster that wanted to hurt her no matter what. This worked really well and is one of the most intense Divas matches you’ll ever see.

Victoria would become more and more psycho before hooking up with Steven Richards in a bizarre relationship that lasted for several months. She would hold the title until Wrestlemania XIX when she would defend it in a threeway against Jazz and Trish.

Women’s Title: Trish Stratus vs. Jazz vs. Victoria

Victoria is defending and is still psycho here. She’s also Tara for you TNA fans. Jazz hits a quick dropkick for two on Trish before Victoria can even get to the ring. Off to what we would call a Last Chancery to the Canadian after the champion is knocked to the floor. Everyone winds up outside with the champion taking over. She sends Trish back inside for a slingshot legdrop, getting two. Jazz and Victoria square off now before turning their attentions back to Stratus for some double teaming.

That goes nowhere though as it’s time for the villains to fight again with Jazz getting two off a powerslam. Trish comes back with a rollup on Victoria for two but she clotheslines Trish down for two as a result. Jerry: “Trish is like a quarter among pennies in there.” JR: “…..what?” Jazz hits a sitout powerslam for two on Stratus before arguing with Victoria even more. A spin kick by Jazz hits Victoria by mistake and allows Trish to roll her up for two. The Chick Kick puts Jazz down and the Stratusphere does the same to Victoria.

The champion is knocked to the floor as Jazz puts Trish in a half crab which is transitioned into an STF. Victoria’s boyfriend/manager Steven Richards comes in to send Jazz to the floor, allowing the other two to trade rollups for two each. Jazz comes back in and lifts Trish up for a double chickenwing before dropping her down on her uh…face. Yeah face. Victoria kicks Jazz down but misses a moonsault, knocking herself to the floor. Richards comes in and hits himself with a chair. As he goes to the floor, Trish hits the Chick Kick on Victoria for the pin and the title.

Rating: C. Not bad again here and one of the better women’s matches I’ve seen in a long time. There wasn’t much of a story being told here but at the same time, they looked like they knew what they were doing and never looked lost, which puts them miles ahead of anything in the last three years of Divas matches.

As is almost always the case with the Divas, there weren’t a ton of stories around this time. There would however be one match of note on November 24, 2003: the first Divas cage match with Victoria vs. Lita in Lita’s first match back after breaking her neck.

Lita vs. Victoria

There’s no backstory to this one as the gimmick is selected through Raw Roulette. Lita jumps Victoria as she gets in the cage and rams her into the steel. Victoria’s pants start riding down a bit and Jerry freaks out at the sight of a thong. Lita is sent face first into the steel as well and the spinning sidewalk slam gets two. Victoria can’t make it through the door and some right hands from Lita have her in trouble.

The redhead can’t make it out of the cage as Victoria makes the save, pulling her down from the top for two. A spear sends Lita’s back into the cage but she comes back with a powerbomb out of the corner. Lita goes up and moonsaults a standing Victoria but the EVIL Matt Hardy comes in and slams the door on Lita’s head, allowing Victoria to crawl out for the win.

Rating: D+. The match was way too short to go anywhere but DANG the girls looked good out there. I know Lita is often remembered for looking great but crazy Victoria was no slouch whatsoever. Evil Matt was a decent idea but it didn’t have the time to really go anywhere. Again, more of a novelty than anything else.

Speaking of novelties, Victoria would eventually turn face and win the title, leading to a hair vs. title match at Wrestlemania XX. I don’t think I need to explain it any further than that.

Women’s Title: Molly Holly vs. Victoria

Victoria is defending and Molly has her hair on the line. The champion has the awesome All The Things She Said as her theme song as is looking sweet in white here. They lock up to start and Molly pounds her down before whipping Victoria into the corner. Victoria nips up off the mat and sends Molly to the floor but loses control soon thereafter. Back in again as the match is already going slowly.

A low dropkick gets two on Victoria and it’s off to a reverse cravate by Molly. A quick rollup gets two for Victoria as JR says he doesn’t wear underwear. Victoria powerslams her down for two but Molly heads up a few seconds later. An attempted superplex is countered into a slow motion sunset bomb for two for Molly. A backslide out of nowhere retains the title for Victoria, meaning it’s time to see a bald Holly.

Rating: D+. Not much to see here other than both girls looking incredibly cute. As is usually the case, there’s no explanation given for why this match is happening, nore does anyone seem interested in telling us. Molly would get a wig soon after this which admittedly was pretty amusing. Nothing to the match which didn’t even last five minutes.

Molly tries to put Victoria into the barber’s chair post match but can’t get the clippers to work. The champion fights back and lays Molly out for the haircut.

Since this is WWE and Victoria is a good looking woman, a special outfit match had to be coming eventually. This is from Taboo Tuesday 2004.

Women’s Title: Trish Stratus vs. Jazz vs. Nidia vs. Gail Kim vs. Molly Holly vs. Victoria vs. Stacy Keibler

This is the schoolgirl battle royal and yes Trish is defending the title in a battle royal. She’s pissed and a heel here. Jazz isn’t someone I want to see dressed like this. Why can’t Lillian be in this? I’ve never been sure if Nidia is hot or not. Gail looks good too. She never meant a thing after her debut though. Molly is growing her hair back after having it shaved at I think Mania. Victoria (Tara) looks great like this. Stacy is perfect for it with the legs.

It’s not over the top either. The crowd is more into this than the first match. Nidia’s top falls off and she gets knocked out. Jazz is hanging on to the bottom rope and Victoria accidentally hits her with a baseball slide to put her out. Gail is out. There isn’t much to say here at all. Stacy gets the biggest pop of the night for doing a Nash leg choke on Victoria.

This is mainly just a way for Lawler to freak over underwear shots. Molly and Trish get rid of Victoria, leaving the two of them and Stacy. This is boring as all goodness. Stacy is supposed to be the big face here and she makes a bit of a comeback but Molly puts her out easily. Trish is almost out earlier but holds on and sneaks up on Molly to put her out and retain.

Rating: D-. This was bad on all levels. I’ve never gotten the appeal of the schoolgirl thing and this was no exception. Nothing came from this at all but at least it was quick. It was boring as heck on top of that too so there we are. At least it’s over and the girls are hardly bad looking….for the most part.

Around this time we started getting some new Divas, including one by the name of Christy Hemme. She and Victoria started a feud over a swimsuit contest, leading to a match at Vengeance 2005.

Christy Hemme vs. Victoria

They start fast and Victoria does all kinds of evil things to Christy. This is non-title also since the title is on Smackdown at the moment. The cards in the set change based on who is in the current match. The fans don’t really care either. Lawler says this is about looks or whatever. Christy botches the heck out of a sunset flip. Yeah I’m stunned too.

Ross freaks because Christy can do a DDT. She can do one of the least complex moves of all time and she gets cheered for it. She goes for another sunset flip and Victoria drops down and grabs the ropes for the heel pin.

Rating: D-. The lack of failing is because these are two of the hottest Divas of all time. The match was totally awful though, if you didn’t guess that part. Christy was gorgeous but it was clear that she just wasn’t all that great in the ring and it showed every time she was out there. Even Victoria couldn’t save her, and that says quite a bit.

After entering and leaving an alliance called Candice Michelle and Torrie Wilson called Vince’s Devils, it was back to old stomping grounds for Victoria as she faced Trish Stratus on the August 21, 2006 episode of Monday Night Raw.

Victoria vs. Trish Stratus

They slug it out to start and Trish hits a splash in the corner followed by a dropkick. Trish knocks her to the floor and hits the Thesz Press to the floor. Clothesline gets two back in the ring. Victory roll gets the same and you know Lawler was happy with that. Stratusfaction is countered into a backbreaker and Victoria works on the back a bit. They go to the corner and Trish hits a middle rope hurricanrana but Victoria pops up and tries the Widow’s Peak. Trish escapes and Stratusfaction ends this clean.

Rating: C+. This was FAR better than any Divas match that we’ve had in years. It’s only about three minutes long and they did more good looking stuff than the modern batch of Divas have done in I don’t know how long. Trish was gorgeous but she could also have some great matches. Victoria is no slouch either.

Mickie James was Women’s Champion around this time and that wasn’t cool with Victoria. She created a hit list and went after every name before getting to Mickie, with the showdown coming at New Year’s Revolution 2007.

Women’s Title: Victoria vs. Mickie James

So for a month and a half, Victoria has had a hit list of the Divas to get to James and this is the end of that. Mickie is still rocking the insane skirts at this point. Ross and Lawler talk about Jack Doane’s hometown for zero explainable reason. Lillian is cheering for Mickie as Lillian almost got a Widow’s Peak on Raw.

Mickie starts throwing punches which is weird to see. And Lawler gets to use the line of he loves to see her wrestle but he’d love to see her box. Ross misses it though so we get no rebuttal. Melina comes out to help Victoria and it doesn’t work as Mickie hits her spinning DDT for the pin.

Rating: F+. Only reason are all the great visuals. The booking here makes zero sense as they built Victoria up as the monster for a month and a half and now it’s just thrown away. Oh well, they looked hot so that’s all that matters in this division. Lawler’s lines were beyond old at this point and brought it down even further.

Victoria would become a veteran around this time, meaning she would be used to bring up the newer Divas coming in to replace the retired Trish and Lita. This would go on for most of 2008, including a six Diva tag on October 31, 2008’s Smackdown.

Michelle McCool/Maria/Brie Bella vs. Maryse/Natalya/Victoria

Michelle is Divas Champion and everyone is in Halloween costumes, ranging from Cleopatra (Brie) to a bunny (Maria) to a soldier (McCool) to a French maid (Maryse) to a cop (Natalya) to…..Victoria as a banana. Maria throws Victoria around but the banana cartwheels out of it. Off to Natalya who gets hit in the ribs and dragged over to Cleopatra, only to come back with a Samoan drop.

Maryse comes in for a backbreaker and two before the big banana hits her spinning side slam for the same. Brie tries to hide under the ring and it’s Twin Magic, allowing for the tag off to McCool. House is cleaned and a neckbreaker gets two on Victoria. Maria makes a blind tag and comes off the top with a cross body for the pin out of nowhere.

Rating: D. If you don’t get the point of this one, I don’t know how to help you.

That would be about it for Victoria in the WWE as she would leave in January 2009 but would appear again very soon, this time in TNA as Tara. She would win two Knockouts Titles in her first six months but neither of them would last a full month. That would change after her 2/3 falls match against champion ODB at Genesis 2010.

Knockouts Title: Tara vs. ODB

This is 2/3 falls which makes sense as they’ve had a match or two before and you can’t have the same match again as we had a few weeks ago and then ask people to pay for it. THAT WOULD MAKE NO SENSE! That Broken song is AWESOME. There’s not a ton going on in the first few minutes here as it’s just them going back and forth.

This is the problem with 2/3 falls matches: you don’t have to really pay attention until the second fall, which is starting right now as Tara hooks a small package for the first fall. Tara hooks the tarantula. Not a lot is going on here at all. We get a great shot of Tara’s figure to make this match much better. Brooke shot number 6. This time she’s with Joey Fatone.

If TNA insists on the celebrity thing, get celebrities that have mattered this millennium. ODB uses the freaking Tumbleweed. Are we in the mid 70s all of a sudden? She pulls something out of her cleavage to be odd before hitting a powerslam for two. This is kind of meandering along and needs to end soon. ODB keeps touching herself and checking her pulse. It’s freaking stupid looking. And the Widow’s Peak ends it. The timing was pretty good if nothing else. What the heck is up with the freaking spider???

Rating: C-. Not great here as the 2/3 falls thing felt way too much like a gimmick for the sake of having a gimmick which I can If never advocate. Tara winning the title is fine, but she didn’t need to get two straight wins to do it. That was overkill which is never a good thing.

The next few months brought various title defenses against any Knockout until Angelina Love took the title from her about four months later. She wanted the title back so badly that she agreed to put her career on the line against new champion Madison Rayne at Sacrifice, only to lose the title. A few months later, a mysterious biker would appear and help Madison in matches. The biker would be revealed as Tara, who was under a contract with Madison to continue her career. Eventually Tara would a title shot at Angelina Live in a fatal fourway at Bound For Glory 2010, also involving Madison and Velvet Sky.

KnockoutsTitle: AngelinaLovevs. MadisonRaynevs. VelvetSkyevs. Tara

Dang Mickie looks good. I could go without the hardcore country thing though. One fall to a finish here and tags are required. Angelina vs. Madison to start us off. Off to the regular Beautiful People now which is the only match left in that division I suppose. Madison comes in and gets in Mickie’s face but that goes nowhere.

This is another match that is going too fast to really keep track of. Tara vs. Velvet at the moment. How in the world did Hefner think Tara didn’t look good enough for Playboy? Octopus Hold from Velvet to Tara which blows my mind a million ways to Monday. The tagging thing is of course abandoned soon. Widow’s Peak doesn’t go on as Angelina makes a save. And then she rolls up Velvet with some tights being pulled to give her the title. We get the BROKEN song so I’m very happy. Madison goes off on her and Mickie kicks her teeth in. So it’s Tara vs. Mickie now? Ok then.

Rating: D+. Pretty much just a mess here and only a way to get the title on the show. This wasn’t much at all but you had five hot women and you get to add Mickie to the division now which is definitely not a bad thing at all as it was dying for some fresh blood. Nothing very good here but I’ve seen worse.

Tara and Madison would continue their partnership for several more months, including through Tara’s feud with Mickie James. Eventually Madison would take on Mickie herself, only to have Tara turn on her for her freedom. Soon after this Tara would join forces with Miss Tessmacher and challenge Mexican America for the Knockouts Tag Team Titles.

Knockouts Tag Titles: Sarita/Rosita vs. Miss Tessmacher/Tara

 

Tara and Tessmacher wait for the champs to come through the curtain to jump them. After a beating in the aisle there’s the bell. A double team sends Tara to the floor and Tessmacher hits a double clothesline. Hey, since there are four hot chicks in the ring, let’s show the old Spanish announce team! Tessmacher gets beaten down as we start the actual match here. There’s the required USA chant as Tessmacher takes Rosita down. Just not down enough for a tag.

 

Everything breaks down quickly as Hebner puts Tara out. More double teaming gets two on Tessmacher. Tara comes in again and throws Tessmacher to their own corner to guarantee a hot tag. Tara cleans house with some awkward looking punches. Widow’s Peak is set up forever but doesn’t hit Sarita because Madison runs in to break it up. Sarita rolls Tara up but only gets two. Tessmacher is thrown into Sarita and actually manages a Stratusfaction bulldog. Tara hits a chokebomb and Tessmacher gets a small package for stereo pins at 4:43 to give us new champs.

 

Rating: C-. Not like the title mean anything but having Tessmacher and Tara hug each other a lot is never a bad thing. Does anyone ever successfully defend the tag titles anymore? Either way, this was a bit better than most of their matches and it helps that Tessmacher has an actual finishing move now rather than the amplified Stinkface.

Not a lot would happen for Tara other than a few random single and tag title reigns. Eventually she would start feuding with her old partner Miss Tessmacher, including a match for the title at Bound For Glory 2012. The main draw here though was the identity of Tara’s Hollywood boyfriend who would debut tonight.

Knockouts Title: Miss Tessmacher vs. Tara

Tess is defending. Tessmacher’s robe/jacket is on the ropes as we start. A quick crucifix gets no count for the champ. Teryn Terrell is referee again because…because…I have no idea why she’s still around actually. Tara gets sent to the floor and we get a chase scene. Tara hides behind the referee and we head right back to the floor where Tess gets dropped on the apron to give Tara the advantage.

Back in and the champ gets one on a sunset flip and it’s off to a chinlock by Tara. Tara whips her into the corner but charges into a boot followed by a DDT from Tessmacher to put both girls down. Tessmacher takes Tara down and nips right back up, followed by a top rope rana (decent one too) but Tara blocks the Tesshocker. Widow’s Peak and Tara gets the completely clean pin at 6:18.

Rating: D. The rana looked good and the girls looked good in their outfits, but thank goodness Tara won here. Tessmacher is just worthless as champion and hasn’t changed a bit since she won the belt the first time. Tara has had the belt before but at least she’s better than Tess, but most people would be.

Tara introduces the boyfriend: Jesse Godderz from Big Brother. To the shock of no one, there is zero reaction. He’s been training in OVW for like a year and has won five tag titles there. Tara and Jesse make out in the ring. Crowd: “WHO ARE YOU?”

Tara and Jesse would spend the next few months together before Tara left TNA over a pay dispute.

Tara is one of the few Knockouts/Divas that had both the looks and the wrestling ability. She could have good matches with just about anyone she worked with and that’s a rare thing to see anymore. The stuff with Lita and Trish was always great and she was able to help the Knockouts division get beyond the Beautiful People. She’s very talented and looks great for a woman in her 40s so there’s little to complain about with her.

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1 comment

  1. MikeCheyne says:

    Tara/Victoria was solid in the ring but also pretty decent on the mic–she wasn’t as flashy as some of the other women, but she had a series of distinct characters, wasn’t afraid to do some silly stuff, and like all good wrestlers could play comic characters as well as menacing threats. She was kind of like a female Kane in that she was a strong physical presence usually used to get people over.