In a huge interview with the Busted Open radio show, Dixie Carter talked in-depth about the entire TNA product, from Impact Wrestling’s new direction (TNA Gut Check, Open Fight Night) to Hulk Hogan’s TV time to the infamous Sting-Jeff Hardy 2011 Victory Road PPV main event disaster.
Check out all the details below, transcripts courtesy of ProWrestling.net:
On “Open Fight Night”: “I’m excited about where we’re gonna go with it. I think it will just continue to get better week after week. I love the concept. As we’re continuing to grow our developmental league, this was just a great opportunity for us to take something that we do on an ongoing basis and let the people see it. About six or seven months ago, we were having some guys try out, and somebody was literally going to get a shot at being on the show that night, and a couple of guys really impressed.
“And two of the guys that were part of that were Anthony Neese and Jesse Sorensen. It was like real-life drama being played out backstage; they were literally fighting for their lives and their match was unbelievable! We were sitting there watching them in this empty arena. It just had such a great vibe to it. So it’s just something that we thought people might want to see a real glimpse of what we do. And this is real; these guys are people that we’ve had our eyes on that we’re looking at. And it’s a tremendous amount of pressure when that red light goes on to put those nerves in check and get out there and perform like we know those guys can do.”
On New Time Slot: “There’re more viewers available in that time slot. There’s a younger audience that’s available. When the kids are not in school, we have really really high younger numbers, and that fluctuates depending on what’s going on with school year all the way up through college even. So I think it will be interesting to see what happens. Spike thought it was an exciting opportunity for us to try and we’re going to, and we’ll see what happens.
“I think what we’re trying to do is be more consistent with the bleeping of the language. I mean, we can all go see the movie Shrek and we get one thing out of it, our kids get another thing out of it. That’s the line that we have to walk: to provide something that is going to be an edgy product, but do it in a way that is not going to be offensive. And we just have to stay consistent at it.”
On Hogan On TNA: “I hear all the time from people, Hulk Hogan is on my television screen all the time! And I think if people put a clock to what he does on TV and then if I put a clock on what he does for our company, it’s just a misconception amongst a small percentage of viewers. If you like Impact! Wrestling, then you should love Hulk Hogan because that man is working his tail off for us and he’s expanding our brand and growing our perception and awareness level out there in ways that it would take us so long to accomplish. He’s really rolled up his sleeves, he shows up to work if he’s not on television. He is there to help build the next generation of stars. I’ll fight anybody who tries to take that away from him, and that’s a big frustration to hear it stated any other way. If you like Impact! Wrestling, he’s doing nothing but helping us on every level.
“If you look at who’s getting the air-time on our show, it’s definitely not Hulk Hogan—he wasn’t even on for six months. It’s not the Stings, it’s not the Ric Flairs, but those guys add something that few other wrestlers can add. But it’s the Bobby Roodes, it’s the James Storms, it’s the Bully Rays, it’s now the Austin Aries, it’s those people that, if you look at the minutes of match time and promo time, far exceed anybody else. All the people that are holding the belts right now: Chris Daniels, Kazarian, Joe and Magnus. There are so many new faces. And I think for the first time in our history, we have really been consistent and given that focus and push to this younger roster of people, and I think that they’ve really stepped up and done a great job with the opportunity that they’ve been given.
“What Hulk does the most of now is he truly is talking with these younger guys and working with them on their matches and the psychology of their matches. On-screen and off-screen, he’s backstage talking with these young guys when they go out, when they come back, in the agents’ meetings… It’s just on every level, he’s helping these guys. He’s trying to help define and develop the next Hulk Hogan. And that’s hard to be, but just even the process and potential of that…when you’re in my shoes, that’s a great opportunity to be given.”
On Jeff Hardy – Sting Disaster: “I’m so proud of Jeff Hardy. His potential is so unlimited, he’s never known how good he really is, he’s an incredibly humble man, and he has turned his life completely around. I feel blessed to have been a small small part of that in supporting him and helping put the structure in place. He’s just been amazing. He’s a father, a wonderful husband, and he’s got his priorities right and his health. Therefore, I think we’re seeing the best work from him he’s ever done.
For the full report on what Dixie Carter has to say about other topics like TNA’s Growth Plan, competing with WWE, Kurt Angle, Garrett Bischoff and more, click here.
Busted Open satellite radio show with Dixie Carter
Host: Dave Mortman and Dave LaGreca
Airs Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays on Sirius 94 and XM 208 from 2-4 ET
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