An Open Letter To Dixie Carter

Dear Ms. Carter,

I have been a professional wrestling fan for nearly seventeen years.  In that time I have seen some great wrestling, as well as some poor performances as well.  I witnessed the fall of WCW and ultimately its sale to WWE.  It was just a few years prior that WCW had better ratings than WWE for a period of 84 consecutive weeks.  Despite such fierce competition in the ratings WCW saw its untimely demise because of poor management, lack of creativity and horrible business decisions.  I fear the same fate is rather near for TNA, which as a simple fan, I humbly ask that you step down as President of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.

Competition is important, and if WWE had a true rival in professional wrestling it would be better for business.  That is not the case since you have been in charge.  I am writing this letter as a hope that you step down before it’s too late and TNA does not become financially stable and is forced to shut down.   As a wrestling fan, the last thing I want to happen is see greatly talented performers be out of work simply because of your sheer incompetence.

Having watched you as President of TNA for over ten years, the number of negatively impacting business decisions far outweigh the positive ones.  The thought that this company has managed to survive this long despite such poor decision making from management is downright remarkable, and I daresay it’s quite surprising that the doors haven’t been shut sooner.  I want to see this promotion succeed but it simply cannot with you as acting President.  The following are a list of grievances that I feel justify requesting your resignation.

Hiring Vince Russo:

The man that single-handedly killed WCW was given creative control of your company and made the booking decisions from 2006-2012.  In 2000, WCW posted a $62 million dollar LOSS (in a single YEAR) because of his lack of foresight and inability to creatively book talent in substantial and cognizant storylines.  This is a man who put the championship belt on a non-wrestler because he thought it would do good business.  You failed to listen to your fans requests to fire Russo, (chants heard repeatedly on Impact) despite the fans request.  While you stumble over your words in this video horribly justifying why you wouldn’t fire Vince Russo,

“…he had nothing to do with what’s going on in the ring.”

As much as you want to displace anger from your fans who chanted for years to fire this man, you only did so just a year ago.  The damage had been done with poor decisions but not including the Electrified Steel Cage.  You can’t say that he had nothing to do with what was going on inside the ring when he is in charge of creative, how does that answer make sense?  It’s insulting to the fans to assume we would accept such a ridiculous answer.  Furthermore, it’s unconscionable to think that you would fire another member of creative because of a fan’s reaction to a segment.  This is not the behavior of a President of a company, but rather that of someone who has never had the slightest amount of management training.

Ms. Carter, you are absolutely correct when you say that fans aren’t in the room for the discussion of booking and creative, but when fans have seen the same mistakes made by Russo in WCW reappearing in TNA, it’s hard to believe otherwise.

Underpayment of Talent:

TNA is a nationally promoted organization.  It is not an independent company, your company has a television deal with Spike TV and, as you stated syndicated in over 120 countries.  It’s startling to read from ex-talent the amount they were paid for their appearances.  Seeing as wrestlers are independent contractors, they are responsible for their own travel and lodging arrangements when necessary.  Now that Impact is on the road, the amount talent are paid is now depreciated because of additional costs associated with being on the road.

Despite TNA Knockouts consistently drawing the highest quarter-hour rating during a two-hour episode, the division’s own champion was required to find additional work because TNA didn’t pay enough for her to cover her bills.  Taylor Wilde was forced to work at a Sunglass Hut, a minimum wage job that she only quit after being recognized as the TNA Knockouts Champion.  What does it say about the working conditions for your company when someone decides it’s not enough to be on national TV and they need to work a remedial job to supplement their income?  What message does this send to not only the women of the Knockouts Division, but to the fans watching at home?

Talent that put their lives on the line when they enter the ring should be compensated properly.  There is no justification for talent to be paid so poorly, in spite of people like Hulk Hogan, a man that has done nothing to change TNA since the ratings have stayed the same since he joined the company.  While talent are being released as a cost-cutting measure, Hulk Hogan’s contract certainly can’t be cheap.  The direction of this company is maligned and unbelievably disturbing from an ethical standpoint.

Unpaid Medical Bills:

It was at Against All Odds 2012 when Jesse Sorenson suffered a brutal neck injury that kept him out of action for 18 months.  A man that sacrificed his body for the sake of your own company.  Sorenson has gone on record that TNA has refused to pay for the cost of his medical bills and thusly his own mother had to file for bankruptcy.

Though the company has no legal obligation to pay for the costs incurred because of his injury, does the company not have a moral obligation to pay for injuries to ensure the trust, safety and well-being of its talent?  Why would anybody who doesn’t have a substantial contract want to work for a company that doesn’t support their best interests?  But this sort of behavior isn’t surprising.

Former TNA talent Jesse Neal was released after the amount TNA wanted to pay him wasn’t enough to earn a living.  Your company wanted him to move from Florida to Ohio to continue his training but the wage offered simply wasn’t enough to live off of.  Furthermore, after Jesse Neal’s injury in a match with Hernandez, TNA refused to pay for his medical bills outside of an initial MRI.  Again, it was a neck injury, a potential death sentence for the career of a professional wrestler.  The sole justification for not wanting to pay for medical costs is that it does set a precedent that TNA will pay for medical bills, but what is so wrong about that?  Again, it must be stated TNA’s priorities are not that of its talent but that of the bottom dollar because of not only the company’s ability to support its talent, but also by not holding its talent accountable.

No Drug Prevention Program:

It’s not secret that drug-use at one point was a cultural norm for professional wrestling.  While some companies have acted in response to said use, TNA fails to acknowledge any problem nor does it hold its talent responsible for such use.

During his tenure with TNA, Dustin Rhodes’ had a rampant drug problem that your company failed to acknowledge.  In his own biography, Rhodes discusses the amount of pills he was talking along with the alcohol that fueled his everyday life.  It wasn’t TNA that came to his aid in the end, it was his former employer, WWE, whom had offered to pay for rehab for any former superstar that took their offer.  Why wouldn’t TNA be the first company to offer said help for someone who claims to have become addicted to drugs during his tenure with your company?  Why is it that TNA feels the need to employ former WWE talent that would not be allowed near their company because of their existing Wellness Policy?

The greatest example of any lack of accountability would take place at Victory Road in 2011.  Jeff Hardy was set to face Sting in the main event of the PPV for the World Championship.  Despite being under the influence of some substance, your company still trotted him out to participate in the main event that lasted no more than ninety seconds.  Your fans paid to see a main event that your company could not provide.  This is a failure of the highest order.  At no point did anyone in your company feel that it was inappropriate for Jeff Hardy to wrestle that night.

Though Kurt Angle has recently been sent to rehab, how many times was he arrested for DUI while under contract with TNA?  At what point, if any, did your company decide to intervene with his reckless behavior.  It’s foolish to think Angle was only under the influence outside of his dates with TNA when everyone knows that is complete nonsense.  It’s great to see Kurt Angle finally get the help he needs, but this intervention should have taken place years ago, yet TNA failed to acknowledge his misdeeds because of their own failure to hold him accountable.

To allow this behavior to not only exist in the locker room but reveal itself on TV shows a lack of sensibility towards the safety of your talent.  It’s quite possible that Jeff could have severely injured either himself or Sting during that match had the finish not been changed by Eric Bischoff.  Even then Hardy fought the pinfall of Sting because he wasn’t completely aware of the finish being altered.  While I want to see a true alternative to WWE emerge, the fact remains that cannot and will not happen while you are in charge.

The only constant between all these grievances is management has not changed.  You, Ms. Carter, have remained in charge for those ten years, and during that time TNA’s value has plummeted dramatically.  A lack of accountability, safety, creativity along with your simple-mindedness has lead TNA astray.  You have nobody to blame but yourself.  I want to see Total Nonstop Action Wrestling promoted successfully and professionally, but because of said failures listed above along with your body of work as TNA President for ten years shows me that those expectations are impossible with you left in charge.  It’s time TNA was given a second chance, and that can only happen once you step down.


-Adam Johnson