Ministry of Slam about a variety of TNA related topics.
On TNA’s current creative direction:
“I feel like the past 6-8 months, maybe about a year, our show has really taken on more focus and more discipline in our storytelling and our character development. I think that’s one of the things that was fundamentally flawed about our product previously, that our storylines were just all over the map. There wasn’t a lot of follow-through, there wasn’t a lot of commitment and there wasn’t a lot of detail. And as I tell people when I’m working with them, or suggesting to them I should say, the audience will only invest in a character or in a story as much as we do. For instance, if we asked the audience to invest in a long-term storyline, and in the middle of that storyline we just decided for whatever reason to go, ‘Nah, we’re not as excited about it as we used to be’ and we kind of shift gears, that’s very disappointing to the audience. We've asked them to invest and they’ve invested, but then all of a sudden we just change gears with no explanation, no follow-up, nothing that really makes sense.
“It’s hard to get them to invest in you again when you spent a long time conditioning the audience that we may or may not follow through with a storyline at any given point. And I think that’s one of the things – as the executive producer and someone who feels so strongly about storytelling and creative structure – that we have to invest. Sometimes that means in the short-term or even in the mid-term we may not be getting the results that we hoped or expected. But that just means we’ve got to dig in a little harder, we’ve got to try a little harder and we’ve got to commit to a story or character. Eventually when you do, it will pay off. That’s discipline. I think that’s one of the things that people are starting to see in our show, the discipline in our storytelling and the discipline in our character development."
On the monthly Gut Check segments:
“Gut Check was a format that myself and my partner Jason Hervey kind of created and brought into TNA as a means to create a reality element within the show on a monthly basis. I think it’s showing some great talent in there, I think the deliberation process is entertaining as hell, I think there’s been some surprises. I know we’ve all been surprised because it’s live television and anything can happen. There’s been some things that have happened that were totally out of our control and we would have never guessed were going to happen. Overall, I think the segment is a very good segment. I think we’re still kind of developing it, meaning we’re fine-tuning the concept. I don’t think it’s as good as it can be quite yet, but we’re getting there. Any kind of reality element in our show, I think, is a good thing.
“It’s a way to introduce new creative, new angles, new talent in a way that’s just outside of our regular formula. Wrestling has been done for so long by so many people in so many different ways that it’s hard to come up with anything that feels new. The Gut Check format, or elements within the format, definitely gives us that kind of new feeling. I wouldn’t want to build an entire show around that format week in and week out, but it’s certainly a great segment to have happen once a month. It just feels fresh.”
On the effect of live shows to the audience and performers:
“It’s all the difference in the world, but it’s a big difference because of the same reason. The audience in a live show, particularly when they know now that this is a live experience, they come to the arena – whether it’s in the UK or even in the Impact Zone, which is still very challenging even though it’s live because of the nature of the soundstage in a tourist attraction. But even when it’s in the soundstage, the crowd knows the show is live and they come to the venue with a higher expectation. They’re more engaged, they have a higher level of energy. That really translates or connects with the performers. They feel it, the crowd is more intense. These guys are athletes, actors, artists, performers. And as such, they react much differently to a highly energetic crowd than they do to a more passive crowd, which is one of the reasons why we love coming to the UK. The crowd brings an entirely different level of energy and actually becomes a character within the show.”
On the British Boot Camp show:
“I did meet the group at Bound For Glory, and I watched them the other night perform in the ring. They’re a very talented group of young people, and I think they all have a lot of potential. I’m not involved with the show at all. What I know of the show and the format, I think it’s a great idea. Look, I’ve been a big proponent of TNA expanding into reality television and other forms of television since the day I got here, and I think the opportunity for the British Boot Camp show, especially given the strength of TNA in the UK, I think it’s a phenomenal idea. I’m sure it’s going to be a successful one.”
On the possibility of TNA holding a PPV in the UK:
“I can’t speak to that. I’m not involved in that side of the business. I’m sure it’s safe to say that Dixie Carter and the rest of TNA management would love for that to happen. I don’t think there’s a bigger supporter of the UK fan base and UK television than Dixie Carter, but that’s a financial and business decision. I think as soon as someone can figure out how to make such of it financially, my guess is we’ll be over there on a regular basis.”
On the possibility of returning as an on-camera personality:
“I doubt it. I don’t really look forward to it. Don’t get me wrong and I don’t want this to come off the wrong way, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed everything that I’ve had the opportunity to do. AWA, WCW, WWE, TNA – I’ve enjoyed all of it on-camera. I love to perform, and I think I’m half-assed good at it. But I’ve kind of been there and done that. Unless there’s a new character, I don’t really have the desire to come back and do things I’ve already done a bunch of times.”