Joe Exotic Reportedly Believed That Ring Of Honor Wrestlers Were Sent To Spy On Him
Joe Exotic has become somewhat of a pop culture sensation in 2020 due to the popularity of Netflix‘s hit documentary series, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. However, Ring of Honor wrestler Matt Taven claims to have met Exotic before he became a documentary sensation.
As documented by Wrestling Inc, Taven recently spoke to ESPN West Palm and told a story about visiting Exotic’s zoo along with Jay Lethal and Dalton Castle. According to the ROH star, Exotic and the zoo employees got “weird” with them after Lethal revealed that he was from Tampa, Florida.
Exotic had a feud with Carole Baskin, who just so happens to run a zoo in Tampa. After learning where Lethal was from, they assumed that the wrestlers worked for their nemesis in the zoo profession.
“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.”
Taven then went on to say that the wrestlers’ shocked reactions ultimately convinced Exotic and the zoo employees that they were there to see some tigers, and in no way affiliated with Baskin. However, the story is yet another example of Exotic’s eccentric behavior, which has captivated Netflix subscribers during quarantine.
Of course, given the nature of the feud between Exotic and Baskin, it’s understandable why he assumed that she could be capable of sending spies to his zoo. In addition to being fierce competitors, Exotic also alleges that she was responsible for the disappearance of her late husband, Don Lewis, in 1997.
Taven appears to see the funny side in the wrestlers’ interaction with Exotic, but it must have been strange and stressful at the time. It’s not everyday that people are accused of being spies, after all.
As noted by Vulture, Exotic’s documentary has been a roaring success for Netflix, having attracted an estimated 19 million viewers in the U.S. during its first 10 days alone. The series has been popular around the world as well, and has rapidly become one of the most successful titles to air on the streaming service since its inception.