Dixie Carter Speaks On WWE vs. TNA In The Ratings, & More

FTNA president Dixie Carter recently spoke to TNAWrestling.com, here are the highlights:

On WWE & TNA’s ratings: “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 the 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.”

Impact’s timeslot: “Thursday nights are tough. Besides being the most competitive night on TV for networks, we are always up against the biggest sporting events, including high-profile playoffs games. The recent NBA Playoffs had record ratings success, yet TNA held its own. As Spike officials have said, and I agree, ‘God Bless the TNA fans.’ Nothing is set in stone, but no move is being planned right now. Our goal has always been to be competitive and go head-to-head against one of our competitor’s programs. So we hope that might happen sometime in the future.”

On the current state of the wrestling industry: “The audience of 2009 is significantly different from the audience during the height of the WWF-WCW run. And we have to continue to change accordingly. Today’s fans are smarter, more involved. They don’t want their intelligence insulted, and we have been guilty of that at times in the past. Can we please everyone all the time? No, that’s not realistic. But you have to strive to please them much more than not.”

On TNA’s progress: “Until we are the biggest wrestling company in the world, we won’t be satisfied. […] 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. […] I think we have accomplished more in the last six- to 12-months than we have in the last several years. I look at our ratings over the last year, and they are up about 20 percent.”

On AJ Styles: “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 Gland Slam winner, and his time is just beginning.”