TNA Knockout Tara on Getting into Wrestling, Tarantulas and MMA

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Tara, also known as as Victoria during her time with the WWE, is one of the most decorated women's wrestlers of all time and is a six-time Women's Champion, winning the title twice with the WWE and four-times in TNA.

 

The 41-year-old has been in the business for 12 years now, having made her debut for the WWE at WrestleMania XVI, but it was a chance meeting that got her into wrestling in the first place.

 

Sportsvibe.co.uk caught up with Tara to discuss how she got into the wrestling industry, wrestling over in the UK and tarantulas, plus much more.

 

Q. How did you first get into wrestling?

 

I was a fitness competitor back in the '90s. Torrie Wilson and myself used to take part in fitness competitions together. Torrie was working at WCW at the time and she brought be backstage and she was walking a guy out to the ring. I said to her 'you get paid to walk a guy out there, that must be awesome'.

 

I then met Chyna at a health club and she asked me if I was a wrestler and I said no but I have a couple of friends that do it. I was friends with Torrie and Trish Stratus. Chyna told me I had a really good look for wrestling and said I should look into it. 

 

She gave me the address to the WWF, and I sent them the tapes of what I had done and got a call back and the rest is history as they say. I've been doing it for 12-years now.

 

Q. You made your debut for the WWE at WrestleMania - what was that like?

 

Oh my goodness! I was so new. I think people could tell I was trying to act cool like I belonged there, but it's always terrifying to be part of such a big event and I didn't realise how big it was until I actually got there. 

 

I didn't have the wrestling background, I never wanted to be a wrestler, I got into it as an accident. I got lucky being in the right place at the right time, but making my debut at WrestleMania was nerve wracking, I was completely just taken back by the whole experience. 

 

Every WrestleMania is different, it's our SuperBowl but it was amazing to make my debut for the WWF on the grandest stage.

 

Q. What were some of your highlights from your time with the WWE?

 

I was there for nine years and during that time I learnt so much, they basically moulded me to what I was. I really loved playing the psychotic character, I guess I got that accidentally because they said my intensity reminded them of a psychotic girlfriend and I was like 'wow, okay I feel sorry for you but I'll go with it', so I guess I played that very well.

 

Stevie Richards and I fed off each other so well, we never had to go over anything, everything you saw onscreen between us was just so organic and just feeding off each others' characters, it was amazing working with Stevie.

 

I still in contact with a lot of people over there that will be lifelong friends.  

 

Q, You've been with TNA since 2009, what are the major differences you've noticed between TNA and WWE?

 

Oh my gosh! the first thing that I realised straight away was that the 'Knockouts' were such a main part of the show. When I first arrived we were doing four segments with the girls on one episode. It was nice because we got to showcase not just being boobs and butt, we got to go out there and showcase our talent, what we train to do is wrestle, kick-butt and not just having five minute matches.

 

We were having 12 minute matches, cage matches, the full works. It was amazing and the girls were all shapes and sizes we had the likes of Awesome Kong and ODB and it was just exciting to be a part of.

 

Q,  Having worked for both Vince McMahon and Dixie Carter how would you compare your two bosses with their similarities and differences?

 

I rarely got to talk to Vince McMahon, I would always say hello if I walked passed him in the corridor but he was always really busy, and I can imagine he has a lot going on in his life. 

 

On the other hand Dixie is always around backstage, we can approach her and she has a lot of meetings with us girls and tells us what an important role we have on the show, so that's nice.   

 

I respect Vince, he created a palace and I have learnt a lot from both Vince and Dixie.

 

Q. How did you find the recent UK tour and filming Impact at Wembley?

 

It was great not just for TNA but for our loyal fans in the UK to bring our TV cameras to Wembley Arena. It was great being in a different building and a building with lots of history, we are so used to filming in the Impact Zone in Orlando. The change of scenery and the fans, nothing compares to the fans in the UK, they are so loud and participate really well.

 

They were two great shows and I think that showed when they were shown on television. 

 

Q. It's been a busy start of the year for yourself and TNA - what does the rest of 2012 have in store for Tara?

 

Brooke Tessmacher and myself are aiming to reclaim the Knockout Tag-Titles from Gail Kim and Madison Rayne. I also want to face Gail one-on-one and take back my Knockouts championship. 2012 I want to be number one, when you're part of this business you don't want to be second best, you want to be the best. 

 

Q. I understand you're a motorcycle fab and have got to come to the ring on a motorbike - are you a fan of spiders also?

 

The whole tarantula thing was not my idea, I was called the 'Black Widow' in the WWE, The Undertaker said I looked like the Black Widow the pool player so I went with it and had everything designed with spiders. 

 

Then when I came to TNA, I remember getting a call and them asking if I was allergic to anything and I said just penicillin, Then when I arrived at the arena someone brought me over four tarantula's and said 'these are for you', I then put two and two together with my new name Tara and tarantula, but I talked a big game, I told them I had no fear, they still had venom, but I ended up loving it and the kids loved it, I felt a bit like Jake 'The Snake' Roberts.

 

The motorcycle was pretty cool too. I'm a huge fan of The Undertaker and I've always wanted to come down to the ring as that bad ass chick on a motorcycle, that's so sexy to me. Management were like 'okay go ahead do it', so I got sponsored by Honda and they provided me with the Honda CR and that was super exciting.    

 

Q. You've done some MMA training in the past, what have you made of a number of wrestlers moving into MMA?

 

I've been fully behind Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley's MMA careers and was sad when Brock said he wasn't going to do any more.

 

I think it is an easy transition for wrestlers to go over into MMA. When I retired from the WWE I couldn't just stay at home and do the housewife kind of thing. I went to a gym and started doing Jiu Jitsu, and the trainer asked if I had done this before. I said 'actually I'm a pro wrestler'. we do similar moves but it's a little bit different. I was good at that so I then took up a boxing class as well and I got sucked in just like I did with wrestling and wanted to compete in MMA.

 

You can catch Tara in action tonight against Gail Kim for the Knockouts Championship at Against All Odds on Wednesday at 10pm on Challenge TV.

 

 

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