Former WWE Diva and current TNA star and Knockouts Champion Tara joined The Rack Thursday Night. In a nearly 20 minute interview, she discussed her upcoming documentary about being female in the world of professional wrestling, her feelings seeing the work-in-progress, what it’s like being a such a strong female character, breaking her arm in the famous cage match with Mickie James, her experience with hardcore matches, her feelings about the WWE Divas and how they are handled on TV, where does she the Knockout division going in 2013 and more.
About her upcoming documentary ‘Tarafied’ : “Well, it’s still in the works. He’s still adding onto it. It was done by Matt Goldberg, and he did it as a project for college; he’s a super fan of wrestling and I saw hime backstage here for quite a while and he finally came up to me. He did one on The Pope (D’Angelo), Elijah Burke and it went to Cannes Film Festival in France, so he’s presenting that to Cannes as well and it’s a documentary about how it is to be a female in a male-dominated industry, you know what I mean? So, I’m really flattered; it shows a lot of behind the scenes, things that the fans are not allowed usually to see. So, it’s kind of interesting. He’s still adding on; I’ll be opening a restaurant in Chicago in March and he’s going to be covering that too, so he’ll keep on adding to it and I’m very excited to see how it turns out.”
What she thought when she saw the in-progress work : “I’ll be honest, it’s hard; I mean, I’ve watched it and it’s really hard watching yourself, I find it very difficult. People think they love seeing themselves on TV; I’m the worst, I’m so critical. I’m a perfectionist, like when I watch my matches, I’m never happy with what I did. I mean, there’s always something I’ll beat myself up over and I guess that’s what makes you a better athlete; when you’re constantly criticizing your work. But when I watched that and there were some interviews backstage of what people felt about me and I was so flattered, I cannot tell you. I mean, we live, like, in a small bubble at work here and you don’t realize what live you touch, you don’t know. Because for us, it’s just we come to work, we do our thing, and go back to the hotel maybe work out and go on to the next town, you know what I mean? We are caught up in our own life and we forget, like, what we do and I didn’t realize people felt like that and I got teary-eyed. They interviewed a couple of my co-workers and what they thought of me and I had no idea they felt like that. So, I needed to hear that. It was a good ego boost for me, you know? Everyone needs a little bit of a compliment once and a while.”
On being such a strong female character on-screen and in the business : “It is a hard industry, and I’m not complaining. I love, love, love what I do for a living. I mean, I’m very blessed and I have a passion for this and I think it shows in my work. You have to be cut out to handle this sort of lifestyle. We are gone 250 days a year and this becomes our second family. People say, ‘Don’t neglect your family at home’; it’s unrealistic to say that, because the show much go on; there’s no excuses for missing a show here. It’s entertainment; we don’t have an offseason. We get Christmas off to spend with the family, but I think that’s why you don’t see a lot of females in this industry. I remember when I first got into it, maybe I had been in for about five years, and I’d see new girls come in and trying it out; like remember the Diva Search? I think they had a totally different image of what we did; I think they expected limos to pick us up at the airport, 5-star hotels but little do they know that three girls travel together maybe with a guy, hopefully a guy will travel with us, cause it’s a little dangerous out there; we’re not in rich areas all the time, you know? We’re independent contractors so we split costs; we all rent the same car and sometimes go three to four people in a room, it ends up becoming a really good time, don’t get me wrong. Occasionally, we will room by ourselves; that’s when we’re allowed to be like ‘I need some time to just be by myself’ and zone out in my own hotel room.
So, it’s a lonely road and you don’t cry. You just hurt a lot here; we’re actresses who do our own stunts and you get hurt and just don’t show it, it’s weird. In a normal lifestyle, like actors, if they get hurt, they pull you aside and are like ‘Oh I’m sorry, let me get ice on that’. For us, we don’t show pain, just because I don’t anyone to know that I’m hurt; that means I can’t wrestle the next match. Isn’t that weird? You just damage yourself more when you don’t say anything. It’s just a different lifestyle that we lead and I’ll be honest, if I had a daughter and she told me she wanted to be a wrestler, I don’t know if I’d be all gung-ho about it. I’ll be honest; that means I won’t see her 250 days out of the year and be on the road. You have to have thick skin for the business and I’m one the people that are very, very sensitive and I never got that thick skin. I don’t know what happened, but I’m very sensitive; you can ask anybody that I work with. They go ‘How are you still sensitive and still here?’ and I go ‘I don’t know’. It’s a tough industry but the tough survive. I’ve been doing it 13 years, gosh, I can’t believe it. I still feel like a rookie sometimes. It’s weird, it’s very weird.”
Being a trailblazer and working cage matches as a woman: “They’re scary, I’m not going to lie. I mean, imagine the ring without that cage and you stand on the turnbuckle, you know, when I do my moonsaults looking down, and you’re going to laugh but I have a fear of heights. Isn’t that crazy? And I look outside (the ring) and I go ‘Oh my god’ and you get that little tingly feeling because you’re so scared. And then imagine going to the top of the cage and looking down, to the outside it looks further, but again when you’re in this business; especially when I came to TNA, I talked a big game and said you’ll rarely find me saying no to anything. If you give me in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match, I’ll do it. You give me a cage match or a hardcore match, I’m game. I said, whatever you present to me, I will do the best I can and you won’t be disappointed. And, of course, what do they do, they put in them. Oh my god.”
On breaking her arm in the main event cage match with Mickie James: “It’s scary; with Mickie James, I tore my elbow in the end and it snapped back. I had Earl Hebner say ‘I’m ending it”; they were going to call the doctors and end the match and that was the main event, so I told him, and excuse my language, I told him to ‘f off’ in the ring and he goes ‘No, what’s wrong?’ and I go, ‘I think I broke my arm’. He said, ‘End it, end it; I’m ending it’ and I go ‘No, no. Don’t you dare!’ I’m main-eventing and you’ll have me get rolled up or something? The ending was she went to the top and ‘Theszed’ me from the top of the cage and I caught her and she rolled me up. And then as soon as they tell you, when the ref tells you ‘We’re dark; we’re off camera now’, that’s when my tears burst out. They told me ‘Stay down stay down’ because my arm was, you can see it on camera if you watch it back, it had a weird look to it. I tore my tendon and of course what do I saw when I come back to the agents and all my bosses and stuff? ‘I’m so sorry I hurt myself’ and they’re like ‘Are you serious?! You just got a standing ovation from the boy in the backstage. What other guy would have completed that?? You are tough.’ And I go ‘Yeah, but I hurt myself, I’m so sorry.’”
The audio interview can be accessed here.