Joe Exotic, subject of Netflix’s hit documentary series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness thought Ring Of Honor wrestlers were spies from Big Cat Rescue, according to Matt Taven.
Tiger King is an eight-part series focusing on big cat conservationists and zookeepers in The United States with a focus on the feud between the charismatic Exotic, owner of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, and Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida. The series chronicles Exotic’s eccentric life, along with his allegation that Baskin was involved in the disappearance of her late husband Don Lewis in 1997.
Taven spoke with Brian Rowitz of ESPN West Palm where he said a group of ROH wrestlers visited the animal park before a ROH show in Oklahoma City. Taven said Exotic became wary of the wrestlers when they told him where they were from.
“So I watched Tiger King like everybody else,” Taven said. “So funny story, me, Jay Lethal, Dalton Castle actually went to Joe Exotic’s zoo. Yeah, we did. We had a show in Texas and the next day we were in Oklahoma City. On that drive you see nothing but billboards saying, ‘240 exotic tigers,’ and then all of a sudden you see a billboard with Joe Exotic on it and you’re like, ‘I’m sold, I need to see what this place is all about.’
“So we went and we had no idea at the time, and I kind of found out after listening to a podcast before Tiger King, they got really weird when Jay Lethal told them he was from Tampa when they asked where we were all from. Because that ends up being where Big Cat Rescue and Carole Baskin is from. So they thought we were some sort of spies instead of some random guys walking in without a family like everybody else to this tiger zoo. So they thought we were some sort of animal activist or spy. I think after they saw our reaction to, ‘Woah woah, we’re just here to see some tigers,’ they realized that we had no other intention besides exactly that.”
You can listen to Taven’s entire interview with ESPN West Palm at this link.