The following interview with TNA President Dixie Carter has been posted over at TNAWrestling.com. Below are highlights:
“After seven years, we’ve come a long way. We’ve overcome some tremendous obstacles, but have a long way to go,” Carter said. “Until we are the biggest wrestling company in the world, we won’t be satisfied. And then with that comes another set of challenges, but I look forward to those challenges one day.”
“We’ve set very high, very realistic goals along the way, and I don’t think there’s been one (goal) that we haven’t met or exceeded,” she said. “We have not been infused with hundreds of millions of dollars, nor had a parent company that is a network. We have fought hard for every bit of success we have attained. We’ve done it fan by fan, success by success. And that, to me, is what makes TNA special, because it truly is a company of the fans; they’ve been the ones who have allowed us to grow.”
Such that “TNA iMPACT!” now regularly draws close to 2 million viewers on a weekly basis. As of late, “TNA iMPACT!” ratings routinely surpass the WWE’s ratings for ECW on the Sci-Fi Network. TNA is now focused on surpassing Smackdown in ratings, which is the WWE’s stalwart on Friday nights.
“I think we have accomplished more in the last six- to 12-months than we have in the last several years,” Carter said. “I look at our ratings over the last year, and they are up more than 20 percent.”
And yet the ratings for the WWE’s three main shows are relatively flat or significantly down. How do you feel about that?
“We actually don’t want that to happen,” Carter said. “We want everyone’s ratings to go up. In order to succeed, we don’t think we have to take ratings away from anyone else. As a wrestling industry, we all have to grow the fan-base worldwide.
“We can’t just say we’re going to beat Raw (in the ratings). Right now, that’s unrealistic. We had to start with a more obtainable goal to beat the ratings of our competitor’s third-rated show, ECW – and we’ve done that.
“I have heard people say, ‘It’s not a big deal to beat their lowest rated show,’ but I disagree. It’s a huge success for TNA, which five years ago had just 300,000 viewers in a Friday afternoon timeslot on Fox Sports. So now we’re setting our sights on their second-rated show, Smackdown – and that gap has closed significantly over the past six months.”
“In my opinion, TNA has the best in-ring performers in the world and (the roster) just continues to get better,” she said. “Every show we tape, I watch as a fan sitting in the arena among the fans. Sometimes I am overwhelmed at the star power in the ring. Just a few short years ago it was a dream to have the roster we now have; today it is a reality.”
Here are Dixie Carter’s comments about a few more topics:
“Simply PHENOMENAL. He has taken the in-ring product to another level and is really starting to embrace his own stardom, which is a big part of being a star. I am so proud when I hear the ovation he gets around the world when he enters the arena; it usually is the loudest of the night. He has helped build TNA. AJ is the first and only TNA Grand Slam winner, and his time is just beginning.”
“Matt Morgan has amazing potential and is going to be a huge star in this business.”
“The creation of Suicide has been a great marketing and creative success.”
“I’m very proud of the Knockouts. As a woman, it’s important to me that these ladies be represented properly. They are the best in the business, and the recent addition of new Knockouts, such as Tara and Sarita, will only further strengthen this division.”