The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and not necessarily those of Wrestling Inc.
With Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff looking to be gone for good from TNA, and the Aces & 8s storyline finally winding down, TNA has appeared to build the company around a new on-screen character. The new character, a heel Dixie Carter, is what TNA is hoping will become their version of the evil-Mr. McMahon character that the WWE has used to such fantastic results over the last 15 years.
Like Vince McMahon, Dixie Carter is the real-life owner of the wrestling promotion, and is the one that realistically DOES make the big decisions for the company behind the scenes. Like McMahon, Dixie is in her position as a wrestling owner because her father was a successful businessman. Like Vince McMahon, Dixie has a perception from some fans that she does not exactly always make the best decisions and that she may not know what the fans want all the time.
While their background may be somewhat similar when it comes to running the company, their similarities as performers are virtually zilch. While Vince McMahon was an incredibly gifted, over-the-top exaggerated villain, Dixie completely lacks that kind of screen presence. Vince McMahon just has a natural talent that cannot be duplicated, and while other performs have been able to perform an effective impersonation (Vickie Guerrero, Eric Bischoff in the WWE), Dixie Carter is not one of those individuals.
The heel boss is a frequently used storyline device that is so common these days that it is almost always active in either the WWE or TNA. Whether it is Eric Bischoff, Triple H, Hulk Hogan, John Laurinaitis or anyone else, the evil matchmaker is a constant in wrestling storylines today. Dixie Carter is just another evolution in that idea.
The problem with Dixie as a heel is that she has no acting ability what so ever. Dixie Carter has cut the same heel promo the last few weeks, each one worse than the last. She grabs the microphone, calls AJ Styles a redneck, says she doesn't need the world title, then complains that he has the world title, then brings out the competitors and puts them over, while they begrudgingly except their positions. Her inability to speak on the microphone has really had a negative effect on the segments that are supposed to build the tournament. While men like James Storm, Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle and Bobby Roode have shown some serious spark on the microphone trying to build their matchups, the segments always goes back to Dixie, whose repetitive nature and southern drawl suck the air right out of the segments.
Another thing that hurts the heel Dixie storyline is that the WWE is doing a very similar storyline at the same time. The "Authority" piloted by both Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, the WWE is also working the whole evil-owner shtick as well as TNA. Whether one company is doing the storyline better than the other is a non-factor, the point is that TNA needs to be doing everything that it can to be different then the WWE, and rehashing the same storyline that the WWE is doing is not the best way to handle the company.
An issue that has more to do with the structure of the storyline then the Dixie's actual ability to perform her role is the conflicting way in which the storyline of AJ Styles walking out with the world title is being presented. On one hand, TNA is trying to really push the TNA World Title Tournament. The build-up to the tournament matches are all getting a good amount of television time and hype to try and build interest. The matches and the tournament are being embraced not just by Dixie, but by the talent and by the announcers as clearly being for the world title.
AJ Styles being the world champion and defending it in other companies is something that I can live with, and I actually think it is a really nice touch by TNA. What I don't understand is that TNA continues to push the World Title Tournament as a legit contest for the world title, while also clearly acknowledging that AJ Styles is the "real" world champion. TNA wants to push the idea that their tournament matches are all towards crowning a new world champion, while also showing highlights and recaps of AJ walking out of TNA every single week with the world title. Talents like Samoa Joe last week, have all but come out and said that the tournament is a joke and that they are only doing it because AJ Styles left, and that he is the real champion. How are we supposed to get excited about this tournament when the wrestlers themselves are basically admitting that the tournament is a sham?
If TNA wants to shore up their storylines after Hogan and Bischoff were removed and Aces & 8s concludes, they need to make sure that their storylines are not conflicting and are in capable hands. Right now, I cannot say that either of those statements are true.