The following is a recap of Steve Austin’s recent podcast with TNA President Dixie Carter. Thanks to Mark Adam Haggerty of Cheap-Heat.com for the transcript:
Steve Austin and Dixie Carter begin the conversation by saying “in all of these years” they’ve never met each other.
Dixie said that she grew up a “girly girl” but also a sports fan. She didn’t participate in any athletics however because, as she put it: “If I can’t be the best at something, then I don’t want to do it.” Dixie went to a private girls prep school and was 26 years old when she left Dallas Texas. She was a Vice President of an ad agency where was the youngest VP in company history by at least 15 years. She packed up her things “like a bad country western song” and moved to Nashville to start her career in the music industry.
Dixie describes her intelligence by saying, “I’m not a rocket scientist, but I’m not dumb. I’m like my dad who has a lot of street smarts.” After college, Dixie worked for the ad agency as well as a PR firm where she had several famous clients such as Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason. She moved to Nashville because of a specific affinity for country music. Steve asks Dixie what goes into marketing a successful country musician. Dixie says it’s no different than wrestling: “Somebody may not be as great of a wrestler as the next person, but that Hulk Hogan sure turned that bit of charisma into quite a career. I think it’s the same thing with Garth Brooks. I don’t think Garth Brooks is the most talented vocalist out there, but he has such a talent for picking great songs and connecting.”
Dixie Carter is a Dallas Cowboys fan, and a college football fan, specifically her alma mater Ole Miss Rebels. She opted to go to the University of Mississippi because of a guy she met who was about to attend Ole Miss in the fall. He asked Dixie if she really wanted to be where everyone else was going to be, or if she wanted to try something else— and she decided to go to college in Mississippi. Steve asks Dixie about the differences between Oxford Mississippi and Dallas Texas. Steve says that he really enjoys the American South, but Oxford seems to be a little bit more pretentious, or “yuppie” as Austin puts it. Dixie describes it as laid-back and gentile, and says that Ole Miss has one of the most beautiful campuses in the country.
Dixie says that she did a lot on campus while studying at the University of Mississippi and is still involved in the Ole Miss activities today. Dixie promoted professional wrestling while attending Ole Miss, and booked USWA events courtesy of Jerry Laweler featuring Ric Flair. Dixie said she was incredibly disappointed with the performance. She sent ringside and insisted that the performers in the ring “mailed it in.” She said that it was “fake,” and turned her off to the product for a number of years. She said that there was a very good turnout, but the entire audience could feel the “fake vibe.”
Steve asks if anything intrigue her about it when she saw it at the time, and if she got a sense for how hard of the guys in the ring were working. She said, “I didn’t get that sense. If I’m being honest.” She says that prior to the second appearance of the USWA at Ole Miss, she had a conversation with USWA bookers, telling them: “This was a financial success, but if we’re going to keep doing this, it has to be better [in the ring.]” She told him that she grew up watching WCCW and the Von Erich family, and sees a number of the same personalities on the USWA roster, and if they can’t perform at the level that she really expects, she has no problem spending her money elsewhere.
Steve says that he and Dixie are “virtually identical ages” and asks if she was a wrestling fan as a kid, She says that she was a big Von Erich fan, and Austin says, “Everybody was.” They both agree that the Von Erich’s were among the most popular wrestlers in history, and Dixie compares their connection with the crowd to the electricity of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Dixie says that she wasn’t a diehard wrestling fan because her family didn’t have the money to go to wrestling matches. Steve asks what her father was doing at the time, and Dixie says that he was an entrepreneur. Dixie says that her dad was the kind of man that never took no for an answer, when one door closes, he didn’t look for another. He kicked the door down the closed.
Dixie says the TNA took a step back to take a step forward, and Steve assumes she’s talking about the jump to Destination America. But Dixie is referring to the roster: “When you have a Ric Flair on your roster, or a Hulk Hogan on your roster, or a Sting on your roster—to not have them on your roster, is taking a step back…”But [by having them] you’re not investing in your company for the future.” Steve asks Dixie about her country music company and asks if she is still involved. She says that she was—it was her company—and she maintained a presence for years into her TNA tenure. But as time went on, more and more artists only wanted to talk to her, which made it difficult to split her time.
Steve heads into a commercial and when the show returns, he asks Dixie about how she initially became involved with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. She said that she had a meeting with Jeff Jarrett who was looking for a marketing/PR firm. She said that she didn’t even want to go because it was outside of her country music wheelhouse, but it was sports related so she decided to take the meeting. Dixie was involved with TNA since before it launched in 2002 from a public relations perspective, and became a majority investor when another party withdrew his support the morning after an event he would later refused to pay for. Dixie recalls when Jeff Jarrett came to her and said that he was in a financial bind and was going to try and raise some money. Dixie asked him how much he needed. Jeff asked if she knew someone, and she said, “Well, maybe. Potentially.” She said that by this point she was so impressed with the product and the work ethic of the individuals involved. She says that work ethic is very important to her, so she took the proposal to her parents company, and had TNA funded within days.