An Open Letter to TNA and Dixie Carter
Ah, Dixie, I didn’t see you standing out there. Come in, come in.
Please, have a seat; we have a lot to go over. Now, I more than anyone am thrilled to see that you’ve taken the initiative and gone the purported “extra mile” in trying to get TNA a foothold into the North American wrestling scene. Market share is a tough broad to woo, and oftentimes you find that she’s put you over the barrel and into the red – and in this market, anyone not named “Vince” will be taking it hard.
Oh, I’m sorry. Did that come off too harsh? I could hear you shifting in your seat from here. The leather on those chairs says quite a bit, you know.
We’ll go the more…cordial way then, if you prefer. What you and your staff managed to pull off on Monday did more for this company’s image than all the work of the previous 8 years combined.
And therein lays our problem.
Image is important in this industry, Dixie: Probably more so than with any other form of entertainment in America. It took Eric Bischoff years to build an image for WCW, and just a single year of bad execution to blow it all away. Vince came within weeks of going under in ’97 when he banked on Austin to save them.
Yes, Dixie, image isn’t something I need to school you about. You’re a businesswoman, after all, and the corporate world isn’t much different from the wrestling one. We’re dealing with a much different audience, sure, but image is what drives sales, and image is what destroys companies. You have Bischoff and Russo under contract now. Ask them all about it.
I can see it in your eyes that this isn’t what you wanted to hear. I can’t blame you. You’ve worked tirelessly to bring this company out of the cellar. The Jarrett’s can’t be too happy with what you’ve done with their baby, but the market was ready for a big-time competition, and you helped bring it there.
I saw that same look on Monday night when Eric Bischoff prattled on about becoming a giant in the “sports entertainment” world.
I had a professor back in business school that once told me, “If you want to back up a point, turn to numbers.” So that’s what I’ve asked my crack staff to do.
Where to begin?
In the months leading up to Monday night, the talk had been that wrestling, not entertainment, was going to dominate the new TNA landscape. This made sense, after all, since the company is widely considered to have the best collection of talent on the planet. Polls and feedback from fans concurred. Finally, they said, the wrestling community was going to get all the wrestling they could handle.
On Monday’s 3-hour iMPACT, wrestling accounted for 46 minutes of airtime, split between 7 matches. Twenty-two minutes of that time went to the main event. Five of the remaining six matches went under 5 minutes. The remaining match went for nine and a half.