The end of an era may be upon us.
Pets and mascots were phased into wrestling many years ago. Jake Roberts introduced us to Damien, his Burmese Python he carried in a large canvas bag and let loose onto fallen victims. Koko B. Ware perched his beloved macaw, Frankie, at ringside. The British Bulldogs walked around with a real bulldog named Matilda. Al Snow had a pet Chihuahua named Pepper. Mankind and Black Reign each had pet rats. Legacy had Cody Rhodes. Now, the lone remaining representative from the pet/mascot category is Poison, a tarantula spider owned by Tara in TNA.
Tara, along with Poison, will face the TNA Knockouts Champion, Madison Rayne, at the upcoming Sacrifice Pay-Per-View on May 16th . The stipulation is that Tara will leave TNA if she is not victorious. It’s a pretty convenient stipulation considering Tara’s TNA contract expires on May 21st. In all likelihood, Tara is leaving TNA and taking her precious spider with her.
I have never been too interested in pets as part of a wrestler’s persona. I couldn’t imagine being a budding superstar backstage, waiting for that golden opportunity to make an impact, only to see an animal squander away your valuable television time. Each second is crucial to the entertainment product. It takes far less time for me to hit a button on my remote than it does for Tara to release her spider.
Assuming Tara and Poison are leaving TNA, I hope this ends the mascot era. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the now PG rated WWE bring it back at some point, probably on their family-friendly Smackdown product.
The WWE already has a large established fan base and it is doubtful that adding a mascot would cause a dramatic reduction in their ratings. But TNA, little ol’ TNA, hasn’t reached the grand scale of WWE. It cannot afford to waste any time on pets and mascots. As the saying goes, less is more, especially when it comes to wrestling and the animal kingdom.