She is a business woman who took control of a wrestling company in dire financial straights. For fifteen years, she controlled TNA wrestling and was met with a lot of criticism. Today on the blog, we ask…’Whatever Happened To’ Dixie Carter?
Dixie Carter was born in 1964 in Dallas, Texas to Bob and Janice Carter. The Carter family own and operate an energy company called Panda Energy. Dixie graduated the University of Mississippi in 1986 with a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration. She started an internship at a marketing firm in Dallas and in a few years, worked her way up to vice president. At 32 years old, Dixie became the youngest female to ever acheive that distinction with that firm.
In 1996, she founded her own marketing firm called Trifecta Entertainment that focused of music and sports marketing based in Nashville, Tennessee. It was while with this company, that Dixie was approached to help market Total Non Stop Wrestling (TNA) back in 2002. TNA which was being run by Jerry and Jeff Jarrett had lost their number one financial backer and were in a serious financial crisis. With the company hanging on by a thread, Jeff Jarrett went to Dixie for help.
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According to Jerry Jarrett, Jeff and Dixie were longtime friends with each other from when the Jarretts owned the USWA and were based in Dallas. Jeff and Dixie lived in the same apartment complex during that time. Jeff approached Dixie and asked if she would be interested in backing TNA financially. Dixie Carter saw potential realizing that WWE was a monopoly and there was room for competition in the marketplace. Dixie was able to convince her parents to purchase a 71% stake in TNA for $250,000.
A few months later, Dixie was named TNA President and overtook the entire company. Jerry Jarrett said that Dixie immediately took control of TNA and made a series of changes with office personnel and where the home office would be located. She would make occasional appearances on pay per views, but for the most part…stayed out of the spotlight. That all eventually changed and Dixie became more involved in storylines.
The first real introduction to Dixie Carter the character came when she brought in Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff in an attempt to recreate the Monday Night Wars with WWE. That of course failed miserably as mentioned here. The second big storyline she was involved with, was when she was accused of having an affair with AJ Styles.
Dixie received a lot of criticism for trying to make TNA into a version of WWE rather than being a true alternative to that company. Ex TNA stars like Styles, Konnan, Velvet Sky, Booker T and Tara all publicly badmouthed Carter and blamed her for the downfall of the promotion. Despite sharp criticism from wrestlers and journalists alike, Carter continued to be heavily involved in creative aspects of the company.
Instead of backing away from the spotlight, Dixie decided to use the criticism to turn her on screen character heel. She would form a faction called ‘Dixieland’ that consisted of the likes of her “nephew” Ethan Carter the Third, Rockstar Spud and Magnus (Nick Aldis). They became the focal point of storylines within the promotion.
Her heel character was finally written off television when she was put through a table by Bully Ray. She said she made the decision to do it to say thank you to TNA fans and give her respect to the roster who stood by her. In reality, Carter suffered two fractures in her back and a fractured rib. She was off TV for an entire year as she recovered from those injuries she took in the spot.
Dixie would return to TV, but once again would make sporadic appearances. Behind the scenes, TNA was losing money and it had become apparent that the Carter family wanted out of the wrestling business. Dixie had received loans from musician Billy Corgan making him the new TNA president. Unfortunately, the partnership was short-lived as Corgan sued Dixie and the promotion citing Dixie had lied to him about what his role would truly be for TNA/Impact.
Throughout all the behind the scenes chaos, Panda Energy eventually sold a majority stake of TNA/Impact wrestling to Anthem Sports in 2017….thus ending Dixie Carter’s long tenure with the company. So, the question remains….whatever happened to Dixie Carter?
After resigning as chairwomen of TNA/Impact wrestling…Dixie focused her attention on her marketing company until 2018. Since then, Dixie is now president of Panda Biotech a subsidiary of Panda Energy. She resides in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and two children.