Dixie Carter is a very affable public speaker, but whenever she is interviewed it exposes her blind spots as a leading wrestling executive. The latest example of this is her recent appearance on Busted Open satellite radio, which was quoted on prowrestling.net. On the show she was a bit too effusive of her praise for Hulk Hogan and Garrett Bischoff's presence in TNA and also showed a complete lack of understanding of the business of selling wrestling pay-per-views.
From her comments it's clear that she doesn't get why Hogan being on Impact can be a negative in getting over the next generation of stars:
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.
Unfortunately, the wrestling character of Hulk Hogan is the gorilla that sucks up all the oxygen in the room. Even though he isn't on every edition of Impact, when he's around he's treated as the focal point of their programming. Of course, the younger stars get more television time in total, as the veterans she speaks of can't step in the ring every single week any longer, but TNA still pushes Hogan's storylines as more important than those of the fresher faces that need to be the future of the company. Moreover, just because Hogan understands how to get himself over doesn't mean that he understands how to get anyone else over. He's been a part of TNA's creative braintrust for over two and a half years now and we're still waiting for a good idea from him that helps create a new breakout star. Instead, with rumours flying that Hogan vs. Flair is being considered as a headlining match for TNA's biggest show of the year, Bound For Glory, it just goes to show that Dixie's words doesn't match her actions on this point.
After the jump, read Dixie's comments about Garrett Bischoff and the dying business of pay-per-view.
It seems that Dixie has been conned by his father Eric and family friend Hulk Hogan that Garrett Bischoff could really be the next big thing in wrestling:
He's a very very talented kid. I told him from the beginning, look you are going to have to be better than the next guy because people are going to be so much more critical of you than they would anybody there. And I think because of that, it's a really difficult position to be in, and I respect his guts because it does take a lot-quite honestly-to be able to face that and all these critics. But the kid's got talent, he really really does. Just like others, he's been cycled into a solid storyline, and there's ebbs and flows to kind of keep people in the limelight. But he's no different than a Crimson who's on a great winning streak or a Magnus. There's a handful of other guys that we have who are new that we are trying to break. And I think it's unjust to give him that criticism when no one is saying that about a Gunner, or a Crimson, or a Magnus. And his in-ring abilities are equal to those guys.
If I was Gunner, Crimson or Magnus, then I'd be highly offended that their in-ring abilities are equated to someone who has only been working for six months, much less than they have, and looks like the amateur that he is. The average wrestling fan can easily see through Garrett's nepotistic megapush that he isn't ready for, which is why there is so much criticism of it, not because he's being persecuted due to everyone knowing who he happens to be related to. But then again, Dixie thought that inept script writer Vince Russo was unfairly scapegoated too.
However, perhaps Dixie's most foolish remarks were her explanation as to why TNA's PPV business is in the toilet:
Our focus in the past has been growing our television brand. And, again, when you only have one show to try to drive people to it, it's too many pay-per-views for only having one show. It's very difficult to try to do big arching pay-per-views once a month with only one two-hour show. If we had two shows, it would be much easier, three it would be much much easier. But I think the pay-per-view business is a declining business and we've gotta stay current with new technology. People are not even watching television the way they did twenty-four, eighteen months ago. All of the headlines today are about the shrinking ratings. It's not that the viewership is down as much, but people are watching differently: they're watching on their phones, their iPads, they're DVR-ing, and it's gonna change.
The problem with these comments is that TNA is drawing less PPV buys now than when they only had one hour of TV a week. If anything, too much free content eventually leads to overexposure of the product which makes it much tougher to get fans to part ways with their cash. The talk about PPV being a declining business flies in the face of WrestleMania 28 breaking records and early indications being that UFC 145 - Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans drew similar numbers in North America to WWE's top show. Simply put it was the wrong month for Dixie to make that dubious claim.