Just weeks before TNA celebrates its 10th year in existence, the company is planning big things this summer, with Impact Wrestling airing live for the next 12 weeks in a new time slot of 8 p.m. EST, which has company President Dixie Carter smiling from ear to ear.
“We’ve had maybe two or three live Impact shows in the past. But this is a completely different feeling tomorrow in the fact that we’re going live all summer. It’s a new time slot change for us, shifting to earlier,” Carter said. “Everybody’s really excited. It’s better than just a one night kind of event. We’ve got things planned all summer long, and we’re going to be trying some new things on the show as well, that I’m very excited about. To do them live, will make them that much more impactful.”
Carter elaborated on this change in a conference call Wednesday afternoon, and hopes that business only gets better from here.
“[Thursday night] is the beginning of a new evolution of where the company is going. I’m just as excited as anybody to see where this takes us. You’re not going to tune in [Thursday] night and see a completely different show, per se. But it is going to be something that’s going to happen over time,” Carter said. “It’s a serious commitment to presenting our product in a unique way that I think is important with the way people view television today. It’s a new evolution of how people have ever seen professional wrestling; it’s going to be a journey.”
Impact’s live broadcast will also feature the official debut of Brooke Hogan, who will be placed in charge of the Knockouts division, and picking up where Karen Jarrett left off. Despite the criticism, Carter is in full support of this decision and is behind Brooke 100 per cent.
“You don’t know how it’s going to play out until you get a chance to see. This decision is very important to me: a female head of a predominantly male company. For women to get out there and do this, I feel that you have to set a certain standard, that is going to be different than anything else that’s out there,” Carter said. “Here’s someone who has been living and breathing wrestling her entire life. She has been under the greatest single wrestler ever in the history of our industry and has got to learn and see. We were having dinner with my daughter, and she was telling us, ‘I remember being seven and sitting there, while my dad was talking business with some of the greats,’ so she’s always learned from this, and she’s incredibly intelligent. She’s a big star in her own life. What we really need is for somebody to help us get more exposure. I think Brooke is going to become a great character on television. One of the biggest things she will do for us is shine a light on the Knockouts, that they very much deserve.”
As general manager of Impact Wrestling, Brooke’s father Hulk Hogan will undoubtedly make his presence felt on the live broadcast as well, and has already signed a huge lumberjack match to kick off the show, featuring the defending World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Roode and “The Icon” Sting. Carter is looking forward to seeing the best of the Hulkster during this 12-week period as well.
“Last week, you saw just a taste of what he (Hogan) does behind the scenes. I get very defensive when it comes to people talking about Hulk Hogan being there to take a paycheque or he’s there to take up some television time,” she said. “When I’m in meetings and we’re planning the show, I hear him talk so passionately. He comes and he attends these meetings and he’s trying to make our company better. I feel honored sitting in those meetings, and think, ‘Why couldn’t other people see this side of him?’ What I get to see is what I think is going to be so evolutionary in how we view wrestling. As it relates to Hogan directly, I think it’s going to be a big part of the legacy that he leaves in this business; not what he did for himself, but what he did for others.”
Given that social media is a huge deal in the entertainment industry right now, Carter hopes to incorporate more fan interaction into the company’s live shows.
“I think you are going to get the message that the more of this show you get to watch, the better. It will help us gain momentum a lot better in a new time slot. It gives us the opportunity to be very socially interactive,” she said. “[Thursday] night for instance, [the fans are] going to pick who Devon’s opponent is. We’re looking to ask them questions and have their input throughout the show. It is going to be something unlike we’ve ever had the ability to do before on our show. It’s something that I’m very excited about. [Thursday] night will be the show that is going to be the most socially interactive program in professional wrestling. But it’s only going to get better in the weeks following.”
Carter will be on the first live show with a major announcement, and she hopes that this show will serve as a springboard to an even brighter future.
“Once we evolve into this next phase of what Impact Wrestling is all about, at that point, we’ll face our next challenge,” Carter said.