The producers of Tru TV's “Hardcore Pawn: Chicago” are hoping to turn pro wrestler and restaurant owner Lisa Marie Varon’s unusual career path into a reality TV show.
The series would revolve around Varon and her Lincoln Park restaurant, The Squared Circle. Cameras began rolling Sunday when The Squared Circle hosted patrons for WWE’s Hell in a Cell pay per view and are expected to return a few more times to film.
The pizza and gourmet burgers restaurant opened in March and has attracted its share of colorful wrestling personalities. Kevin Nash, Diamond Dallas Page, The Honky Tonk Man, Rikishi, Lance Storm, Rhyno, Molly Holly, Alicia Fox and Maria Kanellis have all stopped by.
It was Kanellis who got into a verbal altercation with Varon two weeks ago at The Squared Circle to promote their appearance at Ring of Honor’s Glory By Honor at Frontier Fieldhouse in Chicago Ridge.
Varon – who went under the name Victoria in WWE and Tara in TNA – has been more hands on with The Squared Circle than your typical celebrity restaurant owner. She is there almost on a nightly basis greeting guests. Varon previously owned a gyro stand in Lombard and a pizzeria in Louisville, Ken.
Should the reality show get picked up, Varon would join a long list of wrestlers who have ventured into the genre, including Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, Stacy Keibler, Trish Stratus and The Bella Twins, among others.
American Mass Media filmed the original sizzle reel for "Hardcore Pawn: Chicago" -- based on Royal Pawn Shop in the South Loop -- and is shooting The Squared Circle pilot. I'm told they're focusing on developing more Chicago-based TV shows. Former World Championship Wrestling president Eric Bischoff is an executive producer on "Hardcore Pawn: Chicago" but is not involved with the Varon pilot.
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