Dixie Carter Looks Back At 2014, Talks New TV Deal, Leaving Spike TV, Kurt Angle

The following are highlights of a new interview with TNA President Dixie Carter, conducted by TNA executive Jeremy Borash:

On 2014: Carter said she is proud of some of the overall changes they have made to the product and bringing back the six-sided ring. “I think it was a really good year, but it’s definitely a transitional year.” She said she was in negotiation mode during the second half of the year. “I’m proud, it was a good year,” she said.

On Spike TV: “I said to them I feel like we have to have something different. We can’t just be status quo going into a new deal. It can’t just be a two-hour Impact. We have to grow our brand and do some things differently and really shake it up. That was the tone of all my conversation with networks. I’m not really interested in someone picking up our two-hour show. I’m interested in having someone become a partner on a much bigger level.”

On her dealings with talent during the negotiations: “I never didn’t feel 100 percent support from everybody. There’s always an uneasiness when it comes to change… I was not going to let anybody down. It didn’t matter what it was going to take, I wasn’t going to let anybody down, but that didn’t mean we were going to take a bad deal.”

On breaking new news to talent: “I wanted to do it in person, obviously, but we weren’t able to do that. They were the first people I told when we all got on the conference call. The response was great. I had to have them open up the lines so I could just hear people talk, to make it much more casual and informal in the way we are. The great thing is I think everyone is supportive, I think everyone is excited about the potential, and they’re doing that without even knowing how just different it is going to be… I can’t wait for these meetings that we’re having and these conversations that were happening and some of these changes that are going to happen, that these get out and they start to see the support on a different level. So many things. There are a lot of announcements coming. I know sometimes we say stay tuned, but I really mean it, stay tuned. There’s a lot of stuff, a lot of changes.”

On the current talent: “I love this young roster we have right now. Looking back, this is probably the best, freshest group of young talent that we’ve ever had. I can’t say enough good things about him, I have to give credit to John Gaburick, our head of talent relations and television creative. That was a real focus of his, and Spike was very supportive of us taking a step back to take a major step forward in our future, and that is giving a lot of real estate on our show, a lot of television time, to kids who had never seen before. They have the best attitudes and are so great to be around and their work rate is incredible, and they do whatever is asked. They’ve been such a great addition, I think even to challenging the veterans. I love that they are coming in with such a confidence. They want a top spot and they are working really hard to get it. I think there have been some who have made massive strides in such a short period of time, and I don’t ever remember us having that kind of success with new talent in such a short time.”

On Kurt Angle: “I’ve always been very vocal in saying that I want Kurt to retire in TNA. He was our first massive signing. What he’s meant to this company from the very beginning I can’t even put into words. He’s carried the load and led. Obviously, his work rate is off the charts. He brings so much to this company. I want to see him with us for the rest of his career, and when he decides to hang up his boots, I would love to see him on the other side. There are very few brains, the psychology of wrestling, that are as fantastic as his. But I want to see him do some new and exciting things, represent us on different levels, which he’s done a little bit of in the past… He is so ready to get back in that ring. He’s in amazing shape. His head’s on straight. He’s so focussed, he’s so excited. This could be the year of Kurt Angle, it really could be. And he deserves it. He’s had some tough injuries to come back from, but he’s worked very hard and he deserves it.”

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