TNA President Dixie Carter was on a media conference call this afternoon to discuss Impact going live this summer, starting tomorrow. Here are some highlights from the call:
- Impact will be live for the next 12 weeks. They are hoping to make it 13 weeks, because the taped week comes before a PPV. They plan on mixing the format from week-to-week to keep the product fresh.
- It was Dixie Carter who approached Spike TV about going live this summer. Everything is happening quickly, and she didn't know they would be going live for the summer until the last set of TV tapings. She feels that going live will prevent spoilers from getting out and will encourage people to watch the show live rather than on DVR. The best thing for them is to provide a great live event experience to the fans. Ideally they would be live every week, but they can't do that until it makes sense. Tomorrow is a big night, and the show will continue to improve week after week.
- Dixie Carter will introduce Brooke Hogan tomorrow night, and Brooke will not be wrestling. Brooke is a celebrity and is there to help bring more attention to the company. In regards to negative feedback to her signing, she stated that Brooke hasn't been given a chance yet and that she was impressed by how much Brooke knew about the business.
- There will be another announcement made tomorrow night, fans will have to tune in to see what it is.
- They don't feel that monthly pay-per-views are necessary, and are currently negotiating their PPV deals.
- There was talk about moving Impact to three hours last winter, but she chose quality over quantity.
- She called Alex Shelley a great talent, and the door is open for him to return.
- She was proud of the company's ten year anniversary and noted that there were many who didn't expect the company to last ten months.
- Going head-to-head with WWE on Monday night showed how strong WWE's business is today, and she respects that and wants to build TNA in that direction.
- She had no comment on the Ric Flair situation.
- They don't expect a major ratings jump initially, but feel that being live will help them establish the new timeslot faster. It will take time for the audience to find them with the timeslot change and the summer season, but she is confident they will.
- She is honored about how hard Hulk Hogan works for the company, and it will be a big part of his legacy.
- She wants to have consistency and quality from week to week, and slow down and build their storylines better.
more highlights credit wrestleshark.com
Biggest Challenge over the last 10 years: "If you're smart you listen to your fans and your criticism, you learn from it and you grow. I am so proud that in just a few short days we will be celebrating our ten years anniversary in this business. I have never been more proud to be associated with something in my professional career. I truly love the men and women who make up our roster… we have achieved so much in ten years. There isn't a person in this call who would have thought we'd be in business ten months, we almost didn't make ten weeks. More importantly right now, where we're going. I look back, we've made a ton of mistakes… both creatively and how we've approached certain things. I think we're on a very good road… I don't think we've ever produced as quality television as we are right now."
New Format, PPV Plans, three hour specials? "Spike asked us last thanksgiving to take Impact to three hours. We thought quality over quantity… I think we're very comfortable with our programming being two hours. Do we need more programming? Absolutely."
Florida's wrestling history and going on the road: "It's interesting, I think there's all corners of the state that have rich history in the wrestling… as far as Orlando is concerned, I would rather be able to go live and stay there. Ultimately the plan is to go live and on the road… but I wanna be in business in another ten years and having this conversation with you. The touring market is soft right now. The live format will allow us to use the Universal format to it's full capacity and then take the viewers on a greater journey."
PPV Format: "I'm not a fan of 12 PPV's… we've got some contracts we're looking to negotiate right now. Every one will be something new and unique. We're hoping to evolve our PPV's."
Monday Night Live experiment: "We've got an incredible competitor with a 25 year head start on us. People watch television different from they did in the old Monday night Wars. I practically don't watch any shows during their first broadcast.I think there's going to be a shift in how we look at our ratings."
WWE's attitude toward TNA: "To not acknowledge competition is ridiculous. Competition is absolutely critical to the success of any business… it doesn't matter what industry youre in, it makes you better, it makes you work harder."
"Our thought is instead of trying to compete in the same form…lets try to be different, let's try to be unique, try to present our product…wrestling matters… it's not a dirty word. We're very excited about taking whats we do best."
Wrestling vs. Entertainment, and if there is pressure to tone down the product: "I think we do take all of those elements very seriously and try to present them in the right way, I think it is business as usual. To do something that is sexually offensive for it to be that way is ridiculous… too much blood means nothing, too much language means nothing. Whatever happens has got to have meaning."
On their fan interaction: "One thing we do best is give people that personal experience up close. When they walk away, the comments that I read… that's the sentiment that I hear over and over again
On the number of established stars on the independent circuit: "If it's a guy or a female who already have an established career, yes we are always looking at them. If it's a new person, that's what gut-check does so well… It's great television."
Do you expect the ratings to go better? "I don't expect that, I expect it will help us gain attention quicker in a new timeslot…
"Creating a six month story arc, such a commitment to structure and story… I think that's going to have an effect. It's just going to take some time. It's going to take some time for people to find us in the new timeslot, but it'll happen faster than it would any other way"
Ric Flair and Alex Shelly: "We really work hard to protect the privacy of our performers. With regards to Alex, the door is always open, we would love to see him back with us. With regard to Ric, I cannot say anything further."
On bringing in Brooke Hogan: "This division is very important to me…for women to get out there and do this, I feel like we have to set a certain standard that needs to be better than anything else that's out there. We have the best female wrestlers on the planet. She has been living and breathing wrestling her entire life, she has gotten to learn and see. I remember being seven sitting there as my dad was talking business. She has always learned from this, she is a big star in her own right. We need somebody to help give them more exposure. She is not going to wrestle. One of the biggest things she will do for us is give the spotlight they deserve."
Addressing following up on storylines: "Who kidnapped Samoa Joe, what happened to the Jackie Gayda video tape? That attention to detail is critical if we are to do our best work. There have been times in the past when we HAVE NOT been consistent in our follow up… being more consistent is going to be critical to our growth. I'm confident we can continue that."
Next step for growth: "Tomorrow is the new evolution of where our product is going. I'm just as excited as anyone to see where this is going to take us. It's going to be a journey, I'm excited about that Journey. This is an evolution, we will be evolving over time and I am excited about seeing where that is going to take us.
Was there anything that precipitated this change in direction? "No, it wasn't any one thing. We have some of the greatest characters on television, we just need to give them free reign to cut loose. I think there will be a whole new slew of viewers who are proud to watch that wrestling show!"
On trying to avoid Concussions: "It's a concerted effort and decision on the companies part… when people say wrestling is fake, I'm offended. I see the unbelievable pain these people go through. We've got to try and make what we do as safe as we possibly can."
After the success of Ring Ka King, is there any chance of a UK based promotion or spin off? "We're working on something as we speak. We're hoping to make an announcement very soon."
Lack of X Division: "We've had a lot of injuries which have effected some long term plans we have had…this is not a division you can just put anybody in… it's been disheartening for all of us over the last 12-13 months. Gutcheck, we are specifically looking for X-Division type wrestlers"
Why did TNA decide to bring the Lockdown Cage to the UK Tour? "We wanted to do something different. The UK tour is the beginning to our road to Lockdown. We wanted to give people a first hand live taste of just how exciting those could be.
"The United states fans can go to Universal at any point. The UK is incredibly special for us, it's truly one of the highlights of the year. It's the first country that has given us a stamp of approval. We will never forget what the UK has done for our business and we will always give back in a big way."
Do you want to tour UK more? "Maybe twice a year or different cities every six months… more fan parties over there. I'd love to see a second tour every year in different cities."
Will we see more talent from the UK appearing on TNA? "Doug Williams to some extent and Magnus he started on our UK Tour, Mark Haskins the same thing so I hope we do see local talent on this tour. Hopefully we'll continue to pick up more talent on that tour."
Six Sided Ring: "The truth of it is the wrestlers prefer the four sided ring…the more popularity MMA gets then there will be some confusion… We may use it when it's fitting."
If she has noticed a difference since Vince Russo left: "I think Vince is a brilliant writer, I think he has a great creative mind. Sometimes it's just time for change, for somebody's life and for their company. I'm very happy with Vince's contribution to the company. I wish him nothing but the best.
"The change isn't Vince related. It's time to look at this with fresh eyes… it's time to take our product to a new level."
On first getting involved in TNA: "I was meant to do this. I was meant for Jeff Jarrett to walk into my life to take a meeting with him. I was blown away by the passion of these people. I just feel lucky to be a part of it."
Biggest contributor to success: "Quality of talent… I happen to think we have the best roster on the planet."
If you overtook WWE, would you hire Vince McMahon? "I'd consider that. I think he would have something to contribute, I'm not sure he would fit into our new structure though [laughs] I think we already are the better company we're just not the biggest.
"There is always a good time to step back and have somebody come back fresh… try and take their character to another level. The single biggest challenge we have is we have so many people who deserve to be on TV every week. We've got to be more consciences about telling the story the right way."
On the talent and television product: "We're working very hard to make sure that whoever is on the show is on there for a reason… we've been guilty of not doing this in the past."
Who could be the next big star we haven't seen yet? "Where Bobby Roode is going… James Storm, I saw things in him that truly gave me goosebumps. I love the work he is doing. I think Bully is a fantastic example of someone reinventing himself."
Next step? "TNA as a brand we need to expand outside of wrestling. We've had a tremendous 10 years, we've overcome a lot of adversity and I think we are set to have a bright future."
If she could sign one WWE star, who would it be? "The Rock… I think he's great, I love what he does in movies, I love the kind of exposure he brings to wrestling outside of what we do on television and I think that's magic."
If she could sign one WWE star the full time roster: "I dunno, there's a lot of talented people, but I'm pretty content with who we have."