Dixie Carter @TNADixie
TNA is on the verge of something VERY big. I can't go into details right now, because things are still being finalized. Stay tuned.
Dixie Carter @TNADixie
I promised you that TNA was on the verge of something big, and it's right around the corner. June 9th is the day everything changes.
Dixie Carter @TNADixie
June 9th. TNA takes the next, logical step in its growth. I'm so excited! I can't wait until everyone sees what happens.
Dixie Carter @TNADixie
In one week, the world will finally see where TNA is headed. I'm sorry for my vague tweets. The suspense is killing me, too!
Dixie Carter @TNADixie
24 hours away! Check Impactwrestling.com tomorrow at 8pmEST for live, streaming video of the future of TNA! I can't wait!
Location: College Park Center on the campus of the University Of Texas At Arlington in Arlington, Texas
Date: June 9th, 2012
The stream begins with a shot of an empty podium, emblazoned with the Impact Wrestling logo. There are numerous members of the pro wrestling media in attendance, but nobody is quite sure as to why they're there. Like everyone else, they followed Dixie Carter's tweets about "the day everything changes" for TNA, and everyone in the room was summoned by the company to attend this press conference, a day before TNA's Slammiversary pay-per-view, celebrating ten years in business. After a moment or two of near silence, minus some quiet chatter amongst the crowd, Jeremy Borash walks into the room and makes his way to the podium.
Borash: Thank you for being here today, ladies and gentlemen, especially to those of you that were able to make it out on such short notice. As you all know, Slammiversary weekend is a very important part of the TNA Impact Wrestling calendar year, and it has only become bigger, and more important, this year. If you know anything about the wrestling business, you'll know that hyperbole often runs wild, ranging from over-the-top to downright absurd, but I can say, right now, that the following statement is something I mean and stand behind completely.. this is the biggest day in the history of this company. The entire landscape of TNA is changing, and changing for the better. Before we officially get started, I'd like to take this time to acknowledge the TNA representatives in attendance here. TNA President, Dixie Carter, is here. The two men who founded TNA ten years ago, Jerry Jarrett and Jeff Jarrett, are here. Senior Vice President Of Programming & Talent Relations, Bruce Prichard, is here. Representing the on-screen portion of the company, along with myself, are Mike Tenay and Christy Hemme. Also joining us are the two men that I personally feel are the greatest professional wrestlers to ever live, Hulk Hogan and "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair. Each and every name I just mentioned shares the same excitement over the announcement I'm about to make. I don't want to keep anyone waiting any longer, so I'd like to announce to the world that Dixie Carter, representing her father, TNA Owner Robert Carter, has been in serious discussions about a sale of TNA, and the deal has been finalized. The i's have been dotted. The t's have been crossed. The ink on the contract has dried, and it is my honor.. my pleasure.. my privilege.. to introduce you to the brand new Owner of TNA Impact Wrestling.. Shane McMahon!
An audible gasp is heard in the room as the door opens, with Shane McMahon himself walking in. The flash bulbs go off as the photographers are trying to capture this historic moment. Before he gets to the podium, Shane walks around shaking hands with Hogan, the Jarretts, Prichard, Tenay and various members of the wrestling press. He embraces Dixie in a lengthy hug before finally reaching the podium.
McMahon: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen in attendance, and to everyone watching on ImpactWrestling.com at the moment. First and foremost, let me say that I'm almost as surprised to be here as all of you are to see me here. I would like to stand here and tell you that this was all a part of a long, drawn-out plan, but that would be a lie. In reality, this is something that has only come up within the last few weeks. About a month ago, I ran into TNA Executive Andy Barton at a trade show. For those of you unaware, Andy Barton is the Executive Vice President in charge of International Television Distribution, and he came to look for me. One of my current jobs is the Chairman and CEO of YOU On Demand, the very first pay-per-view and on-demand platform in China, and Mr Barton came to me, representing TNA, about possibly branching out in the pay-per-view market. During our conversation, he revealed to me that Robert Carter was mulling over the idea of selling a majority stake in TNA. I was put in touch with the Carter family, almost in jest. I had no intention of getting back into the wrestling business like this at the time. Out of respect for Mr Barton, I did place a call, both to Robert Carter and to Dixie Carter, and the ball simply started rolling from that point. To get the ball rolling here, I'm going to open the floor to questions. I know there are some people in here that would like some answers, so let's get started.
One-by-one, Shane points at members of the collected media audience for their questions.
Reporter: What does this mean for Slammiversary tomorrow?
McMahon: That's a pretty obvious first question, I suppose. Slammiversary will continue on as planned. The matches will remain the same, because there was a lot of hard work put into the booking of the show. It would be incredibly unfair for me to unravel that at this point, if you ask me. Once Slammiversary is over, my team and I will officially begin cleaning things up within the company.
Reporter: What, exactly, do you mean by "cleaning things up"?
McMahon: Talent-wise, there is going to be a major roster shake up. We have signed several new people to long-term deals, and there will also be some releases to come in the next few days. After Slammiversary and the next set of Impact tapings, everyone in possession of a title belt is safe, but the rest of the roster.. from top to bottom.. faces the possibility of being sent home.
Reporter: Can you give us any information on some possible releases or the signings you mentioned?
McMahon: At this particular moment, I'd rather keep those things under wraps, but know that a few people have already been notified that the company will be moving forward without them. As I said, the releases will be made in the next few days, and all of you will find out when the news breaks. As a bit of a change, I'm going to be very proactive in getting news out on the internet for everyone, to avoid the "dirt sheets". It's something that other large wrestling promotions have never really done, and that's why you see all of the rumors and speculation on different sites, a lot of which ends up being inaccurate, at best, and a downright lie, at worst. I will be opening up my own Twitter account tonight, as well as my own YouTube channel, and when TNA news breaks, you'll hear it from me or members of my team, without the need for any of those aforementioned rumors and speculation. If any of you would like some tidbits for the time being, I will reveal that approximately a dozen workers have been sent official TNA contracts, and about half of those workers have already signed them and have sent them back. You know.. the more I think about it, the more I realize that you folks are looking for some headlines, so I'm going to change course already. At the very end of this press conference, I will reveal three of our new signees that have accompanied me to this press conference. They're waiting patiently in the back, but for now, I'll say this.. they're well-known names, and I have no doubt that they'll be able to help take TNA to where we want to be.
Reporter: Have you spoken to your father since this deal was made?
McMahon: As a matter of fact, I have. Nothing has changed when it comes to the relationships within the McMahon family. I remain incredibly close to my parents. Needless to say, I wouldn't be in this position without them. I also remain close to my sister. We all speak on a regular basis. They're all happy for me. When my father first heard about this, the deal was merely in the beginning stages, and nothing was finalized yet. He wasn't really concerned with "competition", or wondering if I was in it to try and put him out of business. He simply asked me if I was sure this is what I wanted to do. We spent over an hour on the phone, and he actually spent a lot of that hour giving me tips and advice. He wants me to succeed. Contrary to popular public opinion, he wants TNA to succeed. There are a lot of misconceptions about Vince McMahon. When he purchased World Championship Wrestling, everyone knew the company was finished. He wanted the video library and the rights to the names. With TNA, he wants them to continue growing. He's the first to admit that he needs the edge that only legit competition can bring.
Reporter: What other big changes do you plan on bringing to TNA, if any?
McMahon: For one, Impact is going back to being live every week. It won't be starting for a few weeks, until we get everything else ironed out. One of the things that needs to be ironed out is another big change.. bringing TNA on the road. The fans have been asking for both of those things, so we're going to give it to them. I understand the importance of the Impact Zone in Orlando, and to the fans in and around Orlando, you'll still be getting the occasional show. The Impact Zone will remain in something of a regular rotation for TNA locations. The company will remain forever loyal to those that have supported them through the years. We simply feel that it's time to branch out. More cities, more states, more countries, more venues. We want more people to have an opportunity to see TNA Impact Wrestling and what our wrestlers.. yes, I said wrestlers.. can bring to the table. There are other changes that will be made, but those will be revealed in the coming days, weeks and months.
Reporter: What about Dixie Carter? Now that you're in charge, what will her role be?
McMahon: The Carter family will remain on board with a small minority ownership stake in the company. If Dixie would like any sort of on-air role moving forward, I told her that I'd be more than willing to discuss it with her, but she made it clear to me that she's looking to take more time away from the industry to spend time with her family, especially now that she doesn't have to worry about the day-to-day operations anymore. To be honest, I wouldn't expect to see her in any form for at least the next few months, and I completely understand that.
Reporter: What about you and where you fit in with the on-air product?
McMahon: Right now, there aren't any real plans to have me appear on-air as a regular character. Don't get me wrong.. I love and miss being out there in a wrestling ring, in front of thousands of rabid fans. That will always be in my blood, but right now, at this stage of my life, I think my "place" is behind-the-scenes, in more of a low-key role with the company. I'm at a happy place in my life, able to work close to home and see my family when I want to. I can handle the day-to-day operations without a problem, and still have the freedom to be in attendance for as many shows as possible, fitting in with my schedule. I just don't have plans to be on-air right now. Not as an authority figure. Not as an in-ring talent. Not as an announcer. There are just too many things on my plate right now. In the future.. who knows? Anything is possible. I would like everyone to get their questions in, but unfortunately, we just don't have that kind of time today. As I promised earlier, though, I would like to introduce some of the newest signees to the TNA Impact Wrestling family. The first person that I'd like to introduce will be an addition to the Knockouts division. She hasn't been front-and-center in the wrestling business for a while, but she remains one of the most popular female wrestlers that the world has ever seen, and her history with various members of the TNA roster are well-known. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce.. Amy Dumas.
The same door Shane walked in earlier opens again, and the cameras flash as the woman-formerly-known-as-Lita walks into the room. She walks over to Shane, huge him, and stands behind him at the podium.
McMahon: The next person I'm bringing out actually comes with a unique story. It's no secret that my father's company owns the names of the wrestlers that are under contract there. When this guy parted ways with the company, he was able to to continue using one of the trademarked names because he went and wrestled internationally, where the laws are a little different. Bringing him back to the United States wasn't easy. He was happy with his new gig, and after discussing things with him, the only way I could get him here was to purchase the trademarks from my father. It cost a nice chunk of change, but I think that it will be worth it in the long run, because this man is one of the most dynamic in-ring performers wrestling has seen in recent years. Folks, please welcome Montel Vontavious Porter.. MVP.. back to American soil.
Once again, the door opens, and MVP walks in. He stops to pose for a few pictures before walking over to shake Shane's hand and join Amy Dumas on the makeshift stage.
McMahon: Finally, it's my pleasure to announce the signing of a man that is a six-time World Champion. He's one of the biggest names in all of wrestling over the last decade. He's been itching to return to wrestling, but only under the right circumstances. He feels TNA is the right circumstance for him, and he's hungry to achieve success once again. He's hungry.. much like an animal would be. Ladies and gentlemen.. I present to you.. Dave Bautista.
Another audible gasp is heard before the same routine takes place.. the heads in the room turn towards the door as it opens, and Dave Bautista walks in. He walks over to Shane and lifts him off the ground in a big bearhug. He shakes MVP's hand and hugs Amy Dumas as he joins them behind the podium.
McMahon: I want to thank each and every one of you for your time today. The future of TNA is extremely bright, and we look forward to you joining us on this special journey. Please enjoy Slammiversary tomorrow.
Writer's Note: This is part one of what could be a lengthy series, depending on reader feedback. I know that this was basically nothing but a "tease", but the column is already long enough, so I'm just cutting it short here. If you'd like to see this continue, let me know. I'm basically re-booking TNA from a fresh start, so it's going to be fun.