The High Spot: Interview with Dixie Carter
September 30, 2005 by Joseph Bachman
Recently I had a quick Q & A session with a very busy TNA president Dixie Carter about the debut on Spike TV and more. Enjoy!
THS: Is there a two hour time-slot in TNA's future? Will it depend on Saturdays ratings and so on?
Dixie: Nothing in life is guaranteed, we have a brand new one hour show on Saturday nights and if it's successful I'm confident Spike will look at other opportunities for us whether it is another show, or a two hour show. I feel strongly that if the fans watch the show and like it, and we deliver a lot of exciting things will happen.
THS: How do you plan on bringing in the casual fan? Also how do you plan on bringing in the WWE fan, one who may not appreciate the athleticism and skill of someone like A.J. Styles?
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Dixie: Well you know we have a unique product for everybody, if you love wrestling, you will love our product. As you know 5 short years ago 14 million households were watching wrestling and where are those people today? I don't necessarily have to go after the ratings that the WWE does to have a successful television show. We can bring back some people who haven't watched wrestling in a while, who have been disenchanted with it, who have given up what they wanted. Maybe it was too much talk and less wrestling, and maybe they're looking for someone different and hopefully we can fill that spot.
THS: Note that there are ECW fans, and WCW fans that aren't watching anymore as well.
Dixie: And WWE fans as well, they were doing seven's in the ratings, and we know that there are a lot of people that love wrestling who are not watching on a consistent basis and hopefully we can bring a product to them that's different. Spike actually did a focus group and we were with very avid fans and they watched a two minute piece on TNA and all of them said "there were 20-30 moves in there I have never seen before!" and that's the difference, you are going to see stuff that you've never seen before. I may or may not be for you, but either way you walk away with an appreciation for the talent that our guys have.
THS: I wanted to talk about the women's division, TNA has recently signed Gail Kim, Traci Brooks is a solid wrestler as well, is this a pre-cursor to a respectable women's division, compared to the WWE's where they just degrade their women's talent?
Dixie: I don't know where it's going to lead quite honestly, but women used on a show the RIGHT way can be a wonderful compliment to the show, and that's what we have to do well. It has to make sense, it has to position them well, and showcase their talents in the right way. We'll see what happens, right now the plan is to have some amazingly talented people there in the right role and that's where we're going.
THS: Are you involved in the creative process at all at the moment as far as booking, storyline etc...?
Dixie: I'm not. As far as the management committee I am very involved in what happens, but I don't create what happens.
THS: Can you tell me anything about the TNA video game?
Dixie: I wish I could tell you more about it, but we have been talking to several companies. We're close and I think in a couple of weeks you will hear an announcement from us that will be very exciting. It's an exciting time for the video game business and I know the one that we are talking to, and the one that we are going to sign the deal with and announce are goal is to create the BEST fighting game out there.
THS: Do you have plans on bringing TNA PPV's to other venues say in Chicago, Pittsburgh even New York?
Dixie: Those are all great markets yes, the goal would be to start touring next year with the PPV, we will do it when it makes good financial sense. I have been reading our obituary since before we started and we have had such a specific strategic plan in place in which we have done a great job in meeting or exceeding our goals and in 3 years, we have put ourselves in the position of being in 118 countries, making our major debut on Spike, we have toys out, videos out, our DVD's launch in stores October 4th, in Sam Goody's, Wal-Mart and others. People have doubted us for so long it's good to see everything come together and know that we have this plan in place and achieving it or exceeding it in such short order. Touring is an extremely expensive venture, and we our in a wonderful and unique situation where 15 million people this year walked in the doors in Universal Studios who have been a wonderful partner. We have fans from around the world coming to our show, they come to us every week so we couldn't be in a better position and next year at some point we would like to start touring.
THS: Recently Jeff Jarrett won back the NWA world title, this has fans worried that Jarrett will become sort of the Triple H of TNA and hog the world title unnecessarily. Could you say something to TNA fans to let them know that this isn't the end of the world?
Dixie: For one, TNA is all about surprises, and those title are defended around the world all the time. Jeff has been a wonderful champion for us in the past, and he is very good at what he does. I personally think that the people who give him a hard time would see how he is involved in this company and see what he brings to the table. Like I said we have a specific plan in place and Jeff is a character that you love to hate and he does a very good job of that.
THS: Fans have been talking about another title brought into TNA possibly a mid-card like title, any word on that?
Dixie: Well we have three titles that we are trying to give a lot of weight to all of the titles. Especially with the X-Division being so prominent to us, so we are focused on that. Chris Sabin and Matt Bentley and guys like that the X-Division is where they will compete.
THS: TNA has brought some of the best in from the Indies like Samoa Joe, Roderick Strong and Austin Aries, is that trend going to continue?
Dixie: Well we have a one hour show, and a group of guys that are so deserving that it can be hard to get a lot done in that period of time, it's really a challenge. Our number one goal is to give exposure to the guys who have been with us a long time and once we accomplish that and we either grow our programming and beyond, introduce them the proper way and give them the time they need we will always have our eyes open for great new talent. We have a commitment to the guys who brought us to the dance.
THS: Is there a truth to the current storyline where there is a scare that the WWE talent that was released will replace some of the TNA talent?
Dixie: It is true, those guys are there and those guys are looking for jobs, that is a real situation, and if you put one of them in you knock somebody out.
THS: If anything it could raise the bar even higher.
Dixie: Absolutely, our own talent will raise the bar among each other and they continue to blow my mind every PPV. Every time these guys are in the ring, they don't hold back, it doesn't matter if they're on Spike television or not and work so hard to deserve a following. I cannot wait until they get there because they are the reason why we are having so much success.
Dixie would then continue to tell me how much and how important the fans are to the company and that no matter how big TNA will become that they will always listen to them compared to a certain promotion up north. No matter how you put it, TNA has some very exciting things happening for them right now. With the debut on Spike TV, to the video games, and DVD's, as a sick and tired wrestling fan of the WWE kind over the past few years, this is a breath of fresh air that any TRUE wrestling fan should check out.
I'm tired, I'm going to go play Madden 06' now with myself as starting quarterback...
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