Dixie Carter Sports Illustrated Interview: Budget Cuts, Hulk Hogan’s Effectiveness, “Reality” In Wrestling & More

TNA Wrestling was profiled by Sports Illustrated today, including an interview with TNA President Dixie Carter. Here are some highlights of what Dixie Carter said about:

The “Impact On The Road” Experiment: “We went on the road thinking if we could sell 1,500-2,000 tickets, we’d be good. We went in with a very conservative budget. We didn’t come out here thinking we’d sell out arenas. The truth is we exceeded those budget numbers. We hit our revenue numbers, but we overspent when it came to loading out of the Universal studio. There was a two-month overlap that cost us.”

“We have to try different things. Going on the road to see if this is the thing that changes the whole feel and vibe of the show, if it works, you stick with it. I think we’ve learned a lot from this. We learned that the show has to be shaken up, not the venue.”

Incorporating “Reality” Into TNA Storylines: “Fans want to see things they think they aren’t supposed to be seeing.” Specific to her heel turn, Carter said she and TNA Creative “thought it would be best to let a little more of the company’s reality bleed into the show.”

Talent That Was Released Due To Budget Cuts: “They didn’t resonate. They didn’t move the needle or the contract they wanted wasn’t something that was good for this company. Sorry, but this company has to be in business 10, 20 years from now. I have to run a company and grow it. I’m to the point right now where things have to be a certain way for us.”

Hulk Hogan: “I think Hulk has been worth it. He’s opened a lot of doors for us. When you’re about to lose a deal in an international territory and one phone call from Hulk Hogan makes a man who doesn’t even speak your language melt and you get your deal back, that carries a lot of weight. There’s not another guy out there who could do that.

“If we did anything wrong with him, we used him too much on television. If he stayed with us, you’d probably see less of him.”

Panda Energy: “Once we got on Spike, we changed a lot of things and our revenues grew. We’ve been cash flow positive for the last four or five years. After that point, Panda stopped putting money in the company. We’ve funded it with every dollar we’ve made and maybe that’s kept us from growing quite as fast.”

Surrounding Herself With People Who Know The Business: “That’s all any business is. You don’t have to know wrestling. You’ll know wrestling eventually, but business is about making good decisions, putting good people around you and managing them.”

Samoa Joe was also quoted in the article, saying this about Dixie Carter’s job running TNA:

“In some aspects, yeah, I think she might be (too nice). In other aspects, I think it’s refreshing. I don’t think she’s too nice in that she’s not aggressive and won’t do the things that need to be done. She sticks by people, maybe to a fault sometimes. I’ll give her that. What some people say is a character weakness, others will say it’s a strength. It just depends on how you perceive her.”

Also interviewed for the TNA profile were Jeff Hardy, ODB, Spike TV President Kevin Kay and others.