Transcript Of Dixie Carter’s Interview With House Committee

Bill Behrens

Full Transcript Of Dixie Carter’s Interview With Government Officials

Reported by: Ryan Clark



Here is a transcript of an interview government officials conducted with TNA president Dixie Carter on Thursday, December 6, 2007 largely regarding steroid use in her company as well as professional wrestling. Carter also goes into great detail on the behind the scenes aspects of TNA.

You can also read the interview in PDF file form at the following link.

Mr. Cohen. This is an interview of Dixie Carter

conducted by the house committee on oversight and government

reform. This interview is part of the committee’s

investigations into the use of performance enhancing drugs

in professional wrestling.

Mr. Cohen. Ms. Carter, can you please state your full

name for the record.

Ms. Carter. Dixie Carter Salinas.

Mr. Cohen. My name is Brian Cohen. I’m a member of

the majority staff. Ms. Carter, you’re represented by

counsel. Can your counsel state your full names for the

record as well?

Mr. Cacheris. Plato Cacheris and John Hundley

representing Ms. Carter.

Mr. Cohen. Let’s have the other people in the room

identify themselves as well.

Ms. Despres. Sarah Despres with the majority staff.

Mr. Buffone. Sam Buffone, majority staff.

Ms. Safavian. Jennifer Safavian, Republican staff.

Mr. Chance. Benjamin Chance, Republican staff.

Mr. Cohen. Before beginning, I have a few standard

instructions and explanations regarding the interview to go

over. The reporter will be recording everything you say and

will make a written record of the interview. As you give

answers, please give verbal, audible answers because the

reporter obviously cannot record nods or gestures. I’m

going to ask you questions on a particular subject matter.

When I finish my questions on a specific matter, I’ll turn

to my colleagues and ask them if they have any additional

questions. We’ll make every effort not to take up any more

of your time than we need to collect the information that we

need. If you need a break at any time, please let us know

and we can step out and take a couple of minutes to rest and

relax. This is not a deposition. So you’ll not be placed

under oath. You’re required by law, however, to answer


questions from Congress truthfully. Is there any reason

you’re unable to provide truthful answers in today’s


Ms. Carter. Absolutely not.

Mr. Cacheris. I understand we’ll be given a copy -­access

to the transcript to review when it is completed?

Mr. Cohen. Correct. You’ll be invited in — it is

usually 2 or 3 days?

Mr. Buffone. Within a week.

Mr. Cohen. Within a week or so, we’ll have the

transcript and we’ll invite you in to review it. You can’t

take it with you or make copies, but you can review it and

make any changes.

Mr. Cacheris. We will probably do it after, the

holidays if you don’t mind, Brian.


Mr. Cohen. I think that will work okay.

Mr. Cacheris. That will work, won’t it?

Mr. Cohen.

Mr. Cohen.

I’m almost certain it will.

I will be asking questions about several

Do you have any questions

specific documents during today’s interview. I’ll ask that

as we ask those questions, we also put those documents into

the official transcript record.

before we begin?

Ms. Carter. No, sir.

Mr. Cacheris. What is the confidentiality of this

transcript, Brian? It is obviously shared with all of you

and your members, I guess.

Mr. Cohen. We as a committee, we always have the

the committee always has the right to make these kind of

interviews public. In this case, that is decided pursuant

to committee rules. In this case, we have not made any


Mr. Cacheris. No decision?

Mr. Cohen. That’s correct.

Mr. Cacheris. Okay. All right.



Q All right. We’ll begin by asking some background

questions about TNA wrestling and your role at TNA. First,


please state your current position for the record.

A I’m currently President of TNA wrestling.

Q And what are your responsibilities in that position?

A I’m ultimately responsible for everything that

happens within the company.

Q How long have you been TNA president?

A I’ve been president since the spring of 2003.

Q And can you briefly describe your professional

experience prior to your current job with TNA?

A Prior to TNA wrestling, I owned my own company in

Nashville and moved there at 26 years old and started my own

company in the music business and entertainment business and

represented a variety of different music acts and worked in

the motion picture industry some and represented a few

athletes as well mostly in the marketing, PR and promotions

side of the industry. But right before this, I was doing

management, artist management as well.

Q Okay. If you could just give us a little slightly

description of your roles and your day-to-day

responsibilities within TNA.

A I was first brought in I was offered the

opportunity to take a meeting with TNA wrestling, and quite

honestly, I was not a fan of current wrestling products, but

I knew it was a big business and so I took the meeting

anyway, and was very impressed with the people that were

there and it seemed completely out of character from what my

perception of the business was. And I took on TNA wrestling

as a client and I handled their marketing, PR and promotions

when I first started the company. It was a very, very small

served, funded company and they lost its funding weeks after

its first show quite honestly, and people only gave them

weeks to survive anyway.

So it was right on time. And then I helped them find

an investor which happened to be my family’s company out of

Dallas. It is an energy company and it was a completely

nonstrategic investment for them but they felt like, you

know, there was only one competitor in the industry and that

there was an opportunity there. And so I continued on in

that same role until the spring of 2003 when I was — I

moved into the presidency.

Q Okay. Can you walk us through the organizational

structure of TNA Wrestling?

A Currently?

Q Uh-huh.

A Currently we finally had some dollars to hire some

people to do some stuff. We have the company is — it

centers around the creative process. It is — really, we’re

scripted television. And up until just recently and in our

future plans for 2008, we’ve done nothing but be a

television production company. We didn’t tour. We held, on



average, three shows a month all for television purposes.

So under that, the biggest part of our group would be the

creative guys who write and script the television show. And

then we have the production company who — you know, the

director, the producers and the truck and then those people.

And these are all just day workers for us. But we do have a

production crew that comes in on day of show.

And we have very no, like, up until recently, one PR

person, one marketing person that we just hired earlier this

year. We have a licensing — two people in licensing. We

do our toys through Marvel, which does Spiderman and the

Incredible Hulk. We have a video coming out in May of ‘0S

with Midway. So that is a division that has grown with us

through our television exposure. Then — excuse me, one

more, International. We take our domestic television show

and then we license it internationally as well.

Q Okay. Can you describe the employment relationship


A The what relationship?

Q The employment relationship between your talent -­I’m

going to ask this question in two parts. First, your

creative talent. Is your creative talent, are they

full-time staff or are they brought in on a —

A No. They are all independent contractors, but we do

have a contract with them. Up until just recently, our


talent — when we first started, they were on literally four

weeks at a time and we only had a few of them because we

didn’t know how long we were going to stay in business. And

then we signed more. But because we only worked with

them if every single guy was on every show which would

never happen anyway, the most they could work would be 36

times a year with us which was on average three times a

month. But we did have them under contract just where they

could not go work for the only competitor that we would care

about, which would be the WWE, but we allowed them — there

is a multitude of other organizations, domestically and

internationally, wrestling companies that they also worked


Q Okay. So to clarify, the employment relationship

between the wrestling talent and TNA, the wrestlers are

considered independent contractors?

A Correct.

Q But there is contractual provisions that -­A

Just to prevent them from WWE.

Q And allow them to work with any other organization?

A Correct.

Q How many wrestlers do you currently have under


A Currently we have between 50 and 60. We just signed

a big two-hour television agreement with Spike TV which is

the biggest milestone in our companies history. So we have


just recently acquired more talent to be able to fill from

one hour to two hours worth of programming.

Q And what is the typical length of contract between

TNA and its wrestlers?

A There is not one set one, but it is as least — we

try to on ones we would like to have longer relationships

with, I belieye it is one year with two one-year options.

Some of them are under contract as show to show.

Q I was going to say, are there short-term contracts

as well?

A Very much so, yes, sir.

Q Okay. And can you give us a sense of the pay

structure for your talent? What are wrestlers typically

paid and what is the range of salaries for your wrestlers?

A This is the confidential part, but — the

confidential part, but

Mr. Cacheris. She feels it is confidential. So

I don’t think we’re asking for any

she’ll tell you to answer your question.

Ms. Carter. I have no problem you knowing, but just

the average wrestling fan.

Ms. Safavian.

names of individuals.

Ms. Carter. No, but they’ll know. They’ll start off




Q To clarify — before you answer this question, I’ll

again reiterate what I told you at the beginning. The

committee always reserves the right to make this material

public. Of course, we’ll take your considerations into

account as we go through those deliberations.

A They are usually paid in — between — I’d say 90

percent of our talent are paid

~per show. There are a few exceptions that are paid

more than that, but that is the solid range.

Q Okay. And

A And they’re paid per appearance.

Q I was going to say the basis is per appearance.

A So it is not a lot of money. That’s why we — you

know, they do work outside as well.

Q Okay. You had started to go over this a little bit.

Can you walk us through TNA’s current schedule, how you’re

schedule is set up?

A Yes, absolutely. Up until October 4th, we had a

one-hour show on Spike TV, and we deliver a 1 hour

pay-per-view every month to, like, In-Demand and Direct TV

and DISH, where you pay $29 to get the show. On Spike TV,

when we had one show, because we were operating in the red,

we were taping two shows a day. We film at Universal

Studios in Orlando. We were taping two shows a day. So we


would film two l-hour shows. When we went to the 2-hour

format on October 4th, we couldn’t do 4 hours of taping in

one day. So now we do if we have a pay-per-view, it is

Sunday and then we’ll tape Monday, Tuesday. So they go to

Orlando and we’ll tape Sunday, Monday, Tuesday there. And

then we’ll wait 2 weeks and then come back Monday, Tuesday.

That’s on average what we do.

Q So how many shows — yoqr typical wrestler, how many

;. > â<80>¢â<80>¢â<80>¢â<80>¢,,_. I

s1′ Ira lIiflill they do in a given year?

A For us?

Q Uh-huh.

A The most they can do if they are on every single

show and very few are on every single show would be 64 now.

Ms. Despres. A year?

Ms. Carter. Yes, ma’am.


Q And typically on a given show what — how many

wrestlers I guess it is changing a little bit because you

are going to 2 hours. But say a 2-hour show — now you’ve

got 50 to 60 on a contract. A typical 2-hour show, how may

wrestlers will YQu use?

A A typical 2-hour show, you might have as many as 40,

maybe a few more on the show where half of them or more than

half may not wrestle, but they’d be used in the scripted

story lines to further character development and things such


as that.

Q Okay. What is TNA’s annual revenue?

A This year we should do — it would be $15 million.

And I would like to check that number. I’m not —

Q And can you walk us through the sources of that


A Absolutely.

Q Just in a general sense giving us how much they

cog~ribute to the company?

A Absolutely. The licensing fee from Spike is a

majority of that. We have pay-per-view licensing and

international licensing and then we have merchandise and toy

sales and things such as that. And the first three would be

the majority of our income, you know, pretty much evenly

split. Maybe a little more in television rights.

Q Okay. And you’ve got no Live Gate component of your

revenue? It is

A Well, we’ve toured so few times, what we’d call a

house show, which is a nontelevised show. It is something

we want to do. Up until this point, we have been mostly a

television production company, but we want to get out there

and start touring. But you have to create the demand first.

It is a very expensive business. So our goal in 2008 is to

tour. And we have tested the waters in a few markets this

year before we get out there next.


Q Okay. And with regard to your television ratings,

what is TNA’s prime demographic?

A We hope our prime demographic is men 18 to 34, but

men 18 to 49 is really what Spike TV is looking for and what

we have a tendency to deliver the highest demo in.

Q Okay. Are adolescent males and adolescents in

general an important demographic for TNA?

A They are not at all to the network. Really they

just look at that 18 to 49, really 25 to 34 is their key

demo that they’re going after, you know. But to us, we’re

kind of — we call ourselves Shakespeare to the masses. So

it is really — you know, we pride ourselves on being a

family friendly show. So we’re trying to get the

grandparents back to bringing their children. Where, you

know, I would not let my children watch other product

necessarily, we try to make it where, you know, it appeals

to all ages.

Q How do you do that? What is your — how would you

describe the differences between say the WWE show and a TNA


A The pay-per-views have a rating of a TV 14. So your

pay-per-views have a tendency to go a little bit more, be a

little bit more violent in like a brutal type of match, like

a cage match or you’ll see things such as that. But on

television, we bleep out our language. We film at Universal


Studios. We are a park attraction. So if that gives you

any kind of guidelines of what we have to follow, that is

pretty much — that sums it up to me. It is us and Shrek

and Dora and Twister. So there is a little of everything in


Mr. Cohen. I’m done with this set. Anybody else have

anything you want to add?



Q Can I just go back to the demographics? One of your

sources of revenue are toys?

A Uh-huh.

Q Can you describe what kind of?

A It is mostly collectibles, action figures. And I

don’t know if any of the men around this table admit to

having any. But it is really — it is more in the

collectible side where guys keep the toys and they keep them

in their boxes and then they increase in value and things

such as that. They’re not as much, you know, play toys as

more collectible items.

Q And who is the target audience for those items?

A Well, collectibles are a much older demographic. I

mean, they are probably — I mean, they are more grown men.

I mean, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s even. Have you seen the

40-Year-Old Virgin with that man that has all the toys? I


mean, that is kind of — that’s our audience.

Q And what is the pr~ce point for those?

A It just depends. Some are, like, 9.99 and some get

up to $29. They are not real expensive because they collect

in mass. I mean, those that collect have a tendency to get

everything that is out there.


Q Do you know what percentage of your viewership is in

the 13 to 18 or

A It would be 12 to 17.

Q Approximately?

A 10, 15 percent. And I’d really have to go back and

check viewership. But I know that a majority of our ratings

are 18 to 49. Actually our median age on our show since we

started two hours I think is 39 years old. And that

fluctuates each week a little bit especially since we’re

newer. Once it gets into more months, it will stay within a

year or two.

Mr. Cohen. Okay.

Ms. Safavian. I don’t have anything.

Mr. Chance. Nothing.

Mr. Cohen. All right. Next set questions is going

to be on TNA’s hiring practices.

Ms. Carter. Hiring, okay.



Q How do you recruit talent for TNA?

A How do we recruit talent? There is a finite group

of wrestlers that are out there. A majority of them work

for the industry leader, obviously WWE. So you have two

options when you’re a company such as ours and that is to go

over who is not currently under contract with them or to

find new talent. And developing new talent does not

obviously sell. You know, it is not real popular and it is

not going to draw your ratings and it takes a while to

develop. So now that we have hit our 5th year mark, we

finally have a group of TNA talent that have started to gain

in popularity. Most of them are in their late 20s, early

30s. We do have several other talent that have had

especially early on in our days prior to me being president,

just whoever was out there and available. And most

eveiybody with a name has worked at a former organization

whether it be WCW, which is no longer in business or WWF or


Q Do you — just to clarify. You’ve got your stable

of talent, the talent you mentioned that has been there for

five years and it is starting to get its name. Those

were that group came from —

A The new guys?

Q Yeah. Those were — you hired those

independently —


A People that we heard about on the independent

circuit, somebody who happened to see somebody on a small

show. And When I say small, it could be anywhere from 150

to 500 people at a bingo hall, a K.C. hall, something along

those lines. But they’re standouts. I mean, our guy that

we have now came from one of our top guys who will win

the heavyweight belt, it will be one of our first big

made — our own talent. He — you know, we heard about him

up in the ring of honor circuit up in Philadelphia. And you

know here is a guy and he is big, and I don’t mean muscular

big, I just mean big and he moves like lightning and he is

really great and you should check him out.

So we’d bring him in for a dark match, which means it

is nontelevised put on before we go on to air just to see

how he does in the ring in front of people. And then you

give him a shot at losing on a show for a couple of times

and then just see if they work. But the people who write

the show and our director of talent relations, between them,

they know every single wrestler personally that is out

there. Because it is not that many people. So they’ve

either worked with them in the past or have heard of them or

know somebody who has.

Q Okay. And your second group of those that you have

brought in that have worked for

A Other organizations.


Q Other large organizations, what percent of your

talent has come from other organizations?

A Right now — this would be a guess without sitting

in front of a talent roster — 50/50.

Q Okay. And what kind —

A Which is something we’re proud of because, I mean,

we finally have gotten to a point where we can have that

many of our own guys on the show.

Q What is turnover like? I mean, how typical — a

typical year, how many of your — how much of your talent

turn over?

A They don’t quit, you know, because they’re under

contract. They — it would just be if a character or a

story line is not working out. We still have a lot of guys

on our roster from the very first show. But there have been

a lot that came on, especially in those early days from my

understanding that just, you know, didn’t have the talent,

didn’t work out, had — a lot of these guys have a lot of

baggage from pre-existing relationships with other companies

and didn’t fit the mold.

Q Okay. You had mentioned the baggage that some of

your wrestlers bring. I think in the context of that kind

of baggage, can you walk us through — when you’re

considering whether to contract with a specific wrestler,

what kind of factors do you take into consideration? How is


that decision made?

A Talent is very important. You know, we are about

quality in the ring. Ours is not as much about, like, story

lines and — I mean, we do have story lines and character

development, but it is not the — the focus is not on that.

Ours is mostly on the in-ring action. So they have to be —

you know, they have to be good wrestlers. They have to have

a reputation of being easy to work with. We — having a

talent — I mean, if you get 50 men in a room and a few

women in a room at any time, it is hard and you want a happy

environment, it is a challenge, especially when, you know,

these guys have big egos and the whole thing. And we have

from the very beginning made this kind of our law, that this

is a team, you may consider it an individual sport, it is a

team and you have to have the attitude of such. And then

secondly, you know, where they are at. I mean, we have a

lot of guys on our roster who are former addicts, you know,

who have been addicted to pain medicine for obvious reasons.

And some who have had substance abuse problems in the past,

alcohol and, you know, who have cleaned up their lives and

they are now in a different part of their life and are with

us now. So we do consider, like, everything about them.

Q Okay. I was going to say specifically, do you

provide guidance to your talent scouts regarding wrestlers

who have known or suspected drug problems?


A I don’t personally, because I don’t know them

personally. But they know. I mean, it is one of those

it is an industry and it is a very unique industry. I don’t

come from this industry. I have not been a part of it very

long. It is an extremely unique industry. These people

know everything about everybody. And probably, because some

of them I — even employees worked with them at times when

they knew what they were going through, or things such as

that. So they are very aware.

Q And do you provide any guidance to your talent

scouts that some of these issues may be red flags?

A Absolutely. We don’t hire anybody who has a

problem. And — but we do hire people who are in remission,

you know, or who have gone through therapy and have cleaned

up their lives and, you know —

Q And how do you determine that they are — that

they’re clean?

A Well, we’ve not tested them prior to them coming in.

But we do know, you know. And we do know because these

people have either been best friends with them for 10 years,

15 years and they don’t hide it. You know what I’m saying?

I mean, if people know that this person, you know, has been

on the record of doing drugs and quit for years leading up

to it or whatever.

Q What about steroids in particular? Do you provide


talent any — I ask this question — steroids — to the

extent someone has a problem with cocaine or painkillers,

that is something that I think you’re right, it can often be

an open secret.

A Very much so.

Q And people know about it. Individuals who are

taking steroids, they can be highly functional. It is not

like someone who has an addiction to different drugs. How

do you — do you provide any specific guidance with regard

to wrestlers who may be using steroids?

A In our drug policy, it says there is no steroid

you know, steroids would be coupled under prescription

medicine prescribed not by an appropriate physician.

Q Right.

A So that would fall under that. But you’re right, I

mean, that is the case. I mean, they would be fully

functioning. I think the look of a wrestler is your number

one ability to be able to look at somebody and tell. Our

talent — I brought them a few pictures. I don’t know if

you’d want me to show them.

Mr. Cacheris. Not now.

Ms. Carter. But our talent is they just look

different. You know what I’m saying? I have never and

would never and I profess to tell everybody that, you know,

we just want healthy, clean athletes. We don’t want


anything else. And you do not have to look like a cartoon

character. As a matter of fact, that does not fit our mold

for our company. And, you know, they — so that’s pretty

much the case.


Q And again, I don’t want to harp on this issue over

again. Do you provide any specific — do you — that kind

of explanation you just provided me, do you provide that

kind of explanation or guidance to your talent scouts?

A Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, I have people who

have been on steroids in the past, some for extended periods

of time, some to the point where they have no testosterone

in their body at all now. They can’t have children now.

They have a variety of medical issues that this has caused.

And not only has my director of talent relations but I’ve

had direct conversations with these people saying this is

not tolerated, it is not expected in this company, we want

you to be around when you’re 70, 80 years old. I know you,

your family, your little kids and you need to make sure that

you’re under proper care and that you’re completely taken

care of.

Q To the extent that — again, you mentioned the look

being a big tip. To the extent that one of your talent

scouts or anyone else with any organization has a suspicion

that a wrestler may be using steroids, do you instruct the


talent to inform TNA management as they — to the extent

they provide a recommendation regarding picking up that

particular wrestler?

A Absolutely. It is called — the juice is what they

call it. And they — or the gas, or I think that is the

other name that they typically call that. And — like I

said, they — like this guy is on the gas, this guy is on

the juice. You know, you wouldn’t want him, he is — that

is not who you’d want.

Q So you have had those specific conversations?

A Absolutely.

Q Do your talent scouts provide written

recommendations or —

A No.

Q — suggestions for particular individuals?

A No.

Q It is all by word of mouth?

A It is — I mean, the creative committee will call

and say — you know, either the talent relations man will

come to creative and say these wrestlers are available or

they’ve shown an interest in working here or the creative

group that writes the shows will go to him and say, hey, we

are interested in bringing in so and so. Within the last

6 months, we had a concern that there were two people that

creative wanted to bring in, that we did not have a


knowledge of them, we did not have that personal, you know,

working, personal relationship with them and wound up not

bringing in one, brought in the other and we could tell -­we

didn’t even need to test. We could tell right away that

he was not — would not fit the mold and would not be able

to pass a test. And he was not invited back after that

time. It was a one-time offer to come in.

Q I see. Okay. That’s actually a little bit to my

next question. To the extent that there may be questions or

rumors about a particular talent you’re considering or your

talent scouts have indicated that they have suspicions, do

you conduct background checks or any other independent

investigations that might provide insight into a particular

wrestler’s drug use?

A What we’re starting to do is if there is any doubt

on a wrestler, even if we feel like we know the situation,

we are going to go — we are in a position now where we’re

able to do it. We’re going to test regardless. We’re not

just going to test anybody that comes in if there is no

suspicion or doubt just to screen.

Q Those are future plans?

A Yes, correct. Actually we already have been doing

that this summer, looking at people that we’d bring in.

Actually there was a couple that we were going bring in that

we said there would be testing and they wound up not coming



Q So you started testing, screening this summer?

A No. We planned on it. We started talking about it

and we even — when there were a couple of new talent that

we told if you were going to come in, we’d conduct a test in

advance. Creative — one didn’t write one into it and the

other one ended up going to Mexico instead, which could have

been our answer right there.

Q Okay. Have you ever with regard to WWE talent that

comes into the — that comes into TNA, have you ever do

you ask WWE if they’ve ever tested positive for drug use or

if those wrestlers might have a drug problem?

A No. It is all public knowledge. We don’t talk to

the WWE. But it is public knowledge who is, you know, not

failed who has failed a drug policy — a drug test.

Excuse me. There was one talent in particular that had a

history of it. I don’t know if they were ever, you know,

under — I don’t know if WWE even had a drug policy back

then. And it was a very famous charismatic guy, he had

people, you know — he knew everybody in our organization,

he had been clean for over a year. This was all street

drugs. He came in and was great for a long period of time

and stumbled. And we had to suspend him and then we let him

go. He never came back and worked for us again. Absolute

right thing to do. Painful for when you don’t have any


stars and you need one, but we didn’t even question it.

Q Okay. When talent is hired at the time of hiring,

for example, do you provide any education on the risk of

drug use in general and steroid use in particular?

A Not at this we have not. We have just instituted

about a year and a half ago a talent handbook that has some

information in there. We are going to be — you know,

steroids, we do not believe, is a big problem within our

company. But regardless of that, we are trying to start

providing steroid — not just that, but preventive medicine.

We have started doing seminars on financial planning. I’ve

got guys who have made millions of dollars in their lives

who now don’t have a penny to get to the next week. So

there is a variety of when I say baggage that comes with

this, it is far beyond drugs. It is, you know, not knowing

how to manage your money, depression, bodies broken down and

things such as that.

Q Okay. You’ve been pretty open regarding the fact

that you have hired wrestlers with known or suspected drug

abuse problems. Is it —

A In their past, correct.

Q In their past?

A Absolutely.

Q If you’re considering a wrestler with a known or

suspected drug abuse problem, is the hiring process any


different for those wrestlers than those with no known

history of drug use?

A Well, the only difference would be that there is a

conversation that happens with them that says there is no

tolerance here and it will not be allowed and we expect you

to keep, you know, the good work that you have done. I

mean, honestly we are a company where we have tried to give

people second chances because it is — you know, it is a

very different type of company. I mean, we were trying to

let wrestlers know — we’ve got a guy currently right now

who was an alcoholic for many years and was sober for 4 or 5

and started drinking within the last two months. He was

sent home immediately and told that his health and the

health of his wrestlers was more important to us than

anything and he’d be paid and his job is secure but he has

to get help before he can come back.

Mr. Cohen. Okay. I’m going to — before I get to the

next set, I’ll send it around and ask if anyone has any

issues they want to raise.

Mr. Buffone. I want to clarify something.



Q You said — would any competent scout should be able

to know the wrestling — the wrestler they’re recommending,

they should know whether or not they’re using illicit drugs?


Is that your opinion?

A They absolutely should be able to know that.

Q And they should be able to know if they’re addicted

to painkillers?

A They should know that.

Q And they shou}d be able to know if they use


A They would probably know that.

Q So most any wrestling scout should be able to -­A

Not just him personally. It’s not like you can

expect one guy to have all of that magic information. That

would be absolutely incorrect information. What it is is

you’d go and talk to that person’s best friend, you would

talk to the guy he has traveling with and you talk to other

people who have been in that organization with him. You

probably know family members that you’d consult with. But

he is responsible for finding and culling all of that

information together. But he himself would not know it.

Q But in the normal background check, that would go

into any scout recruiting new talent, they should be able to

find all that information and should know that before they

would come and make the recommendation to TNA?

A Yes.

Q Whether or not that talent has that problem?

A Uh-huh. Correct.


Q Thank you.


Q And to clarify, it sounds like you rely solely upon

the information obtained by those talent scouts?

A Up until this time prior to hiring, correct. And in

the future, like I said, if there is reasonable doubt, we’ll

do something. But if there is no reasonable doubt, there is

no — we don’t believe there is any reason to test prior to


Q Okay.

Mr. Cohen. Do you guys have anything else?

Mr. Chance. You had mentioned in the beginning looking

for talent. Was there any kind of perception that TNA might

become sort of a safe haven for those have been else where,

to come and work

Ms. Carter. I think it is the exact opposite. I think

it is — we run a very tight close-knit ship. We run only a

few shows a month and we keep a very, very tight leash on

people. One little incident and people have been sent home,

suspended or fired. And so I think it is the exact



Q For the next round of questions, I’m going to

present you with an August 9, 2007 e-mail from Andy Barton

to you. This is we’ll mark this as Exhibit 1. I’ll mark


it for you.

[Carter Exhibit No. 1

was marked for identification.]


Q Take a minute to review it.

A I know it.

Q Who is Andy Barton and what is his responsibility at


A Andy is our senior vice president. He is

responsible for licensing and international television

distribution and has been I worked with him for many

years leading up to this, so he is somebody I have most

trust in and he has helped me research a lot on drug policy

and other companies’ drug policies and things such as that.

Q Okay. The e-mail refers to Terry. In reference to

Terry, Mr. Barton writes, is his main job facilitating

creative by getting talent creative wants on the TNA roster

who do not — I’m sorry. Let me start this again. In

reference to Terry, Mr. Barton writes is his main job

facilitating creative by getting talent creative wants on

the TNA roster who do or might have drug problems or is his

first obligation to tell you and Dean that a talent creative

wants has a drug problem and we either shouldn’t bring them

in or test them in a meaningful way prior to his joining of

the roster? Who is Terry and what is his responsibility at



A Terry Taylor is director of talent relations. And

this was the incident I actually referred to earlier from

this summer when there were two talent that creative said

that they’d like to bring in or needed for a show. And

one — there was a concern about one person because of his

physical look and we did not have anybody — you know, we

just had no history, knowledge, no one had worked with him

and he didn’t know anything about him except the judgment

that he was passing. The other one had a known substance

abuse problems. We wound up not even attempting to bring

him in. The other person is the one that we brought in and

could just tell by looking at him since no one had seen him

in a period of time that he did not fit what we’d want in

that company and he was let go.

Q Okay.

A He wasn’t really let go because he was never hired

but he was not invited back after that show.

Q Okay. And the Dean in that e-mail is

A Dean is Dean Broadhead, and he is our CEO. What

Andy was bringing to my attention was the system that should


Q Okay. Did you reply to Mr. Barton’s e-mail?

A I was on vacation when he sent it. So I probably

called him back. And it wound up being that the one guy


didn’t come in and we said we’ll make a determination, you

know, once we can see this guy and we did.

Q Okay. And did you reply to the specific question,

to clarify the nature of Terry’s jqb?

A Absolutely. That’s why he is asking that, is that

should he have just — because talent wants somebody, you

know, should he — if he doesn’t know that background with

them, is he to do it anyway? And Andy was being — Andy is

our — our police dog when it comes to this issue. So he is

being maybe a little — I don’t know if flippant is the

right word. But he was trying to let me know that if

creative wants somebody who has by any chance some kind of

baggage if we don’t have the ability to test them out,

what do we do.

Q Did you follow up on this e-mail in any other way?

A Well, one of the guys, like I said, we never invited

in. And the other guy came for us to see him. And after

that one appearance, he was no longer there.

Q Were you concerned Mr. Barton in that e-mail

makes reference to confusion within — is sounds like to

some confusion within — among individuals who are lower in

the organization about where the organization should stand

with regard to drug use. Were you concerned that this

confusion existed?

A No. The problem lies with the head of talent,


creative Jeff Jarrett, not — and Terry Taylor not being -­Terry

is not his favorite person. He thinks he is — you

know, he is not a good agent on the show, he is laying out

matches and things like that. So Terry is in essence scared

of Jeff and I think he didn’t know in this situation -­since

creative wanted him and he didn’t have the ability to

give him an answer of what he should do.

Q Okay. Do you know if Mr. Barton provided an answer

to Mr. Taylor about his concerns, a specific answer

regarding —

A I believe it is the same thing I communicated to

Andy. And at this point on August 9th, we had testing set

up for steroids and drugs for September 10th. And if they

were going to stay, they would be subjected to the testing

within four weeks. So we knew that that was happening as


Mr. Cohen. Sam or Sarah, do you want to ask anything

about this particular e-mail?

Ms. Safavian. Can I just follow up on what you

mentioned about the testing that was beginning on September




Q Did it happen?

A No, it didn’t. We did it in advance of receiving


the letter from the committees and then were advised that we

should just hold off on the testing in case we were given

certain provisions that we’d need to provide. So we were

told just to hold off until we heard back from Congress in

case there were certain things that we needed to do


Q With regard to your testing?

A With regard to testing, correct.

Q Had you notified the talent that there was going to

be this testing on September 10th?

A Uh-huh.

Q So they were all aware that within a few weeks you

were going to have the testing done?

A We set it up through — we have an orthopedic

surgeon on staff with us at every show and he had set it up

through a hospital in Florida.

Q What did you end up telling the talent when you

cancelled the testing?

A That it was just being postponed.

Q Was a new date ever scheduled?

A Well, we didn’t hear back for me to come in and -­until

just within the last week or two, I guess, when this

offer — when I was asked to come in. So we went ahead and

just decided we couldn’t wait. So we were just going to

schedule it within January.


Q So it is next month?

A Yeah. We just decided to go ahead and not wait and

if it wasn’t right, then we’d redo it and fix it later.

Q And did you notify the talent about the new testing


A I don’t know if they’ve been told or not yet.


Q The reason that particular e-mail caught our eye was

that several witnesses interviewed by our committee have

described TNA as a refuge for WWE’s failed drug users and as

a safe haven for drug users. Are you concerned about this


A I don’t think it is a correct image at all. I

absolutely don’t think it is. We have a lot of people who

have past histories. There was a USA Today article in ’94.

And you know there are several of our guys interviewed for

that that we offered up, come down, come see our show, come

down and talk to these people. And they all had past

histories with drug abuse and prescription medicine abuse.

Q Does image concern you?

A Image concerns me tremendously. I mean, we are -­we

work very, very hard to be a different kind of wrestling

company, to treat our wrestlers differently, to provide them

a different lifestyle, to not put them on the road where

they beat and batter their bodies so much that they have no


option but to turn to pain medicine. It is a huge problem.

And we treat them with respect, which they’ve never gotten

before. But we also hold them accountable. And it is not a

safe haven. These guys are on a very short leash as far as

it being a family friendly show what they can do in the ring

and the image and perception of how they are. If they get

into any kind of an altercation — let’s just say boys

having fun in a bar fight, it doesn’t matter — it may not

be on our clock and they may work for a lot of other people,

but it will not be tolerated in our company.

Q So have you had instances where you’ve let wrestlers

go because of those kind of indiscretions?

A Absolutely. Absolutely. Suspended, let off shows

which means without pay. That is a form of suspension as

well for a period of time and termination. And we’ve also

had several wrestlers who we have allowed to go to rehab and

have told them that their places were safe afterwards. But

again most of this would be, you know, pain medication and

some of them — yeah, it is mostly pain medication or


Q ,I was going to ask, have there been any specific

cases where you’ve suspended or let wrestlers go because of

issues with regard to steroids or performance enhancing


A No.


Mr. Cohen. I think that is the end on this set.

Anybody else want to


Q You seem to be saying that you want to create a

place that really says you don’t you want a better kind

of wrestler and a better kind of talent who really respects

the rules and respects the laws and doesn’t get in trouble.

How does hiring Pacman Jones who was suspended by the NFL

fit into that image?

A Well, you know, in this country, I believe you’re

innocent until proven guilty. And the last I checked, you

know, most all of his incidents, several of them have been

cleared during his tenure with us and even some since then.

You know, he was available and we found a good program that

was fun for him. And we. really felt after talking to him at

length, talking to his attorneys, talking to his agent and

everything that we asked all those questions in advance

and were told, you know, this is an issue that should be

cleared up in the next period of time and, you know, if you

want to use him, you can for that reason.


Q One of your other big stars, Kurt Angle, has also

been he is certainly suspected — he has been — media

reports have indicated he is a suspected drug user at the

very least.


A He has been very vocal about

Q And can you tell us when you decided to hire him,

was you have spoken about your concern about TNA’s image

and you’re concerned about being a family friendly

organization and presenting a family friendly show. What

was your thinking with regard to bringing in Mr. Angle and

how it would affect that image?

A Kurt has been very vocal in the media about his

addiction to pain medicine. And he — he was also very

vocal about his inability to be given time off to rehab.

And against the advice of doctors, he quit cold turkey.

Prior to a match, I believe, or I believe prior to right

after a big important match he had been off drugs for a

period of time, very, very unhappy with his situation. And

I hate speaking for somebody, but —

Q I asked.

A You did ask me. But he is the one to probably ask

even more so. But he had been cleared for a long period of

time. He — we met with his attorney and his agents. He

was under the care of a three legitimate doctors in the

Pittsburgh area, all of which are highly reputable. One for

preventative medicine, one for his broken neck and the other

just general — his general medicine and welfare I guess it

is. And, you know, we felt like he had, you know — he was

in a completely different place.


Q Okay.

A And he has been very vocal since about the kind of

life he led there. But he is a different kind of person. I

mean, he takes responsibility. Just because he worked 300

days a year, he doesn’t blame the company, which I don’t

believe he should because he chose to take the paycheck, you

know. And but he has been very vocal about getting

hooked on the medicine, his inability to rehab until he

finally had to do what he —

Q Okay. Our next set is on TNA’s testing and drug


A Okay.

Q Your drug policy is laid out in your talent policies

and procedures handbook. We’ll mark this Exhibit 2.

[Carter Exhibit No. 2

was marked for identification.]


Q I’m providing you with a copy. When was this policy


A WWE came out with a general wellness policy maybe

March 1st, maybe the last day in February of 2006 if my

memory is right. And Andy forwarded it to me within a day.

And we reviewed it and we decided that even though we were

just running the three shows a day and these guys didn’t

work for us full-time, actually worked for everybody else


for a majority of the time, we needed to, you know, put

together a formal document for them that laid out the dos

and don’ts of what they had been told in bits and pieces.

So we created this talent handbook of which a drug policy is

included in that.

Q The next exhibit — I’m going to present you with a

March 12, 2006 e-mail from Kevin Day to you.

A Uh-huh.

[Carter Exhibit No. 3

was marked for identification.]


Q This e-mail is from Kevin Day to you, Andy Barton -­A

Jeff Jarrett.

Q Jeff Jarrett and Steve Campbell, responding to the

February 28th e-mail from Andy Barton. This we will mark as

exhibit 3?

A So then they came out with that policy on February

27th. I was close.

Q In discussing the WW wellness policy, Mr. Day states

I can like the substance of it, provided we apply our own

discipline levels to it, it seems like a good policy to it.

It seems like a good policy. Are you familiar with the WW

policy that Mr. Day liked?

A Correct.

Q The first draft of the policy presented to the

committee — presented to our committee — among the

documents presented to our committee, the first draft of the

policy was created on March 3rd, three days after

Mr. Barton’s original e-mail. When you initially drafted

your wellness — your talent policy, did you use that WW

wellness policy as a guide?

A I think they looked at several different

organizations’ drug testing policies and made the

determination — I think, there was conversations back and

forth about. You know, with us only working with these guys

3 days a month, what we can and cannot request of them. And

it was determined that we wanted to create a full policy but

we did not list out all the specific drugs. It was more

just prescription drugs. We did not list every prescription

drug made and things such as that. But it does, I think -­you

know, it covers the basics of it.

Q Okay. With regard to your final policy — and I

apologize if I’m jumping around a little bit.

A That’s okay.

Q I’ll probably — one key difference between the

final policy and WWE’s current policies, is that WWE’s

policies include provisions for support — for drug testing

for steroids while TNA’s appear not to. Why is this the

case? Why did you finally not to decide to include testing

for steroids?


A Well, it is a prescription drug. I mean, that would

be considered to mean a legal prescription drug.

Q So your understanding is that your current policy


A Absolutely.

Q Specific provisions that would allow testing for


A Absolutely. For anyone to use prescription drugs


Q What was the specific rationale again for -­A

Not listing it out?

Q It seems like a curious decision to me. If you

wanted it to be clear to your wrestlers that they were

included why not list them out?

A I just felt like — I think everybody at the time

felt like for a company of our size and where we were at and

how many days a week these people were working for us, this

was as comprehensive and included every single thing, the

WWE’s did without specifically spelling it out.

Q Did you, at any point, spell out to your wrestlers

that steroids were covered under that policy?

A Absolutely. We went through this policy with them

when they received the’handbooks and, you know, everybody

was told — we walked through it, we walked through every

one of these steps. And every wrestler that comes and signs


a contract with us gets this in advance and I believe has to

sign it, that they reviewed it with us.

Q Okay. And did you when you gave them that

policy, did you indicate there would definitely be tests at

some point?

A At this point it was to reserve the right and we’ll

test if there was suspicion.

Q Okay.

A And since this has been enacted, we have had several

suspensions and terminations and those that have been sent

to rehab for drinking or things such as that. But no

testing was quite honestly necessary because it was obvious.

Q Okay. So .you’ve not conducted any tests under that

current policy?

A No.

Q Okay. All right. I’m going to give you a March 24,

2006 draft of the policy. We’ll mark that Exhibit 4.

[Carter Exhibit No. 4

was marked for identification.]


Q This draft — stipulation 5 of this draft, which

is the third page — that stipulates that TNA reserves the

right to drug test.

A Right.

Q This — as we’ve walked through the chronology of


drafts we’ve been given, this is the first mention of drug

testing in any of the drafts.

A This one right here?

Q Uh-huh. This is the March 23rd draft. Can you -­again,

I apologize. This is a little bit specific, but the

initial e-mail that began your — the discussion your

talent policy came on February 28th. There were several

drafts in between that did not include reference to drug

testing of any kind. The reference to drug testing

includes finally, appears in the March 23rd draft. Can

you walk us through the discussions that ensued between

February 28th and the final decision to include, I guess,

the decisions not to include drug testing provisions in the

initial drafts and then the final decision that led to the

appearance of the right to drug test in this March 23rd


A I don’t think it was a decision not to drug test at

first. We never sat down and said this is our drug policy,

now let’s put it in place. We throughout this entire

policy, the entire talent handbook, we just started off with

a first draft and then we reviewed it and brought more

people in to look at it and started pulling more information

as we were doing it.

Considering how understaffed our company was at the

time for us to have even turned something around like this


was in pretty quick order and showed me that this was a

priority for our company on a very fast track. So I think

what we did is we just began to pull more policies in,

people started talking and we started adding. It was not a

conscious decision, oh, let’s leave it out at first, no,

let’s do it and there were no discussions like that had.

Q Were there any discussions before that was included

of the potential costs of drug testing or if this — the

cost of including that provision in the draft?

A It was in this — in the discussing of it?

Q As you discussed the draft, as you discussed how the

policies would turn out, was there discussions that it is

going to cost us money to drug test, it may end up with -­are

we — we’d have to set up a testing program. We’d have

to do X, Y and Z. Were there those kind of economic

discussions that were going on about that particular

provision or provisions that were not included in drafts for

the final version?

A There have been discussion of every time we have had

to testing or physicals or things such as that, there has

always been financial discussions. Quite honestly up until,

you know, this year, we have been operating at a significant

loss. And so I’m sure that there were people talking about

how much anything costs. We talked about the cost of paper.

I mean, it was that kind of an existence for a company.

Mr. Cohen. Any other questions about the initial

development of TNA policies and procedures?

Mr. Buffone. Just to clarify.


Q Was it your understanding that testing from the

initial discussions when you first heard the WWE wellness

policy that the testing always was on the table?

A For us? Oh, absolutely. I think we decided from

the beginning we needed a policy that allows us to randomly

test people when we want and that protects us when we ask

these guys who don’t work for us full time that we want to

do this and that they have to agree to it in advance and

there are certain legal things that we need to make sure

that we cover on both sides.


Q All right. The next document I’m going to provide

you with is an e-mail dated May 31, 2006.

A Uh-huh.

Q This will be Exhibit 5.

[Carter Exhibit No. 5

was marked for identification.]


Q This is now after the final version of the drug

policies that has gone into effect. This May 31, 2006

e-mail is from Steve Campbell to you regarding blood and



drug tests — blood and drug testing. The drug test

includes according to this e-mail marijuana, cocaine, PCP,

amphetamines and barbiturates. Did this drug testing occur?

A That drug testing did not. At this time, we were, I

believe, complying with an OSHA request from the State of

Florida if I’m — I don’t know if that — but that is my

memory from this. And we did the testing that they

requested. But again, we were not — had not made the

decision to do, you know, talentwide testing. It was based

upon reason. And — so we were complying with an OSHA, I

believe it was request.

Q So that was specific compliance testing?

A Specific compliance, correct, for the State of

Florida, I believe. That’s who did it. But it was for our

shows in Orlando.




[2:05 p.m.]

Q The final version of the drug policy -­A

Do I have that?

Q Yes, that is Exhibit

A 0011?

Q Double 09?

A Okay.

Q The drug policy says TNA reserves the right to

conduct random drug tests and other tests in accordance with

government requirements.

A Correct.

Q Can you walk me through your understanding of the

meaning of that final provision “in accordance with

government requirements”?

A When you tour, there is athletic commissions in each

State and each State has from pretty much no provisions

whatsoever to pretty strict provisions of needing full

physicals, blood work and things such as that. So those are

State government requirements, and so we wanted to make sure

that they knew that we could be asking them at any given

time to provide HIV testing and other things that would be

required of us to operate and do business.

Q It is not clear from this that you reserve the right


to conduct random drug tests outside of government

requirements. Was that made clear to the wrestlers?

A I think it is two totally different deals. One is

to conduct random drug tests and then — and other tests in

accordance with government requirements.

Q The other question is — we’re back on this

particular document.

A Which document?

Q The same one.

A Okay.

Q Actually, let’s go back to the testing in the May

31st e-mail. This was testing — again, per your initial

previous request, this was testing that was done to meet

government requirements. Were all your — in this set of

testing, were all your — was all your talent tested?

A Yes, yes, sir. And looking at the dates on this

Q Uh-huh.

A — the OSHA request probably came up -­Q


A between this date and this, and it was — counsel

provided to us that we probably let them know in advance

that they would have do that. That looks like the timing of

that, and that’s why that was added as well.

Q Okay. This — the final version of this policy,

provision 6 of this, this refers to the Florida Department


of Health Bureau of Epidemiology’s request.

A Uh-huh.

Q Is that the — was that the impetus for those May

31st tests?

A Yes, uh-huh.

Q Prior to your — when did you become aware of those


A At this point, that was the first time.

Q And prior to becoming aware of those requirements

and setting up the tests, the June 19th tests, were there

any plans — did TNA have any plans to conduct drug testing

under this drug policy?

A I think it says we have the right to conduct random

drug tests. I believe if I go back and read it, it does say

that if there is any suspicion then we would random drug

test. Is that the question?

Q I’m asking were there any plans to conduct the


A There had not been any suspicions; and, like I said

before, several times when there were suspicions we talked

with the talent and they were dealt with, whether it be

suspended without pay and then termination.

Q Is it your understanding that these provisions allow

you only to conduct testing if there’s suspicion?

A No, this says we can conduct random drug tests; and


that could mean the entire roster or it could mean with


Q Okay. And to clarify, though, there had not been

any plans prior to your becoming aware of —

A To test the entire roster, not at this point.

Q The Florida Department of Health —

A Not back in

Q There were no plans at that time?

A Correct.


Q Is it your understanding or recollection that you

learned of the Florida compliance after you learned of the

wellness policy; do you remember?

A I don’t know. The request did not come in to me. I

just remember hearing about it in that April, May. I would

assume that came in after. That may have been a reaction to

the WWE wellness policy coming out. I believe their

substance policy came out as a reaction to the Eddie

Guerrero death. So I believe when Eddie Guerrero died, I

believe they instituted the wellness policy. I think that

was the driving force behind that.

Q Uh-huh.

A And that may have also been the driving force in us

being requested of this information as well.

Q Okay.


A But I don’t have that information specifically why

they requested that and when.

Mr. Buffone. All right.


Q Since that May of — now moving ahead a little bit

with the policy and where we stand now, have there been any

changes to TNA’s policies and procedures concerning drug use

since May of 2006?

A Yes. Actually, earlier this year, probably second

quarter, we started talking about the desire to do a more

proactive test, not because we felt that there was reason or

doubt but because we felt like, in our desire to distinguish

our company, for us to say certain things it needed to be -­I

needed to be able to walk into a congressional meeting and

say, hey, guys, here’s exactly what you’re looking for. You

don’t have to take my word. For us to come out there and do

some of the proactive ways in which we wanted to position

our company.

We were using the words, “the new face of professional

wrestling”. Quite honestly, our biggest challenge in

staying in business is fighting the perception of wrestling.

It’s a dirty word out there and for good reason. We have

had to go in there and try to convince people we will be

different to work with. You are working with a different

kind of people, organization. So that has been a big


challenge for us. So that was one of the reasons we felt

like earlier this year we were going to do that.

We started talking about it in executive meetings. At

first, it was discussed on starting to put that together and

wanting to institute something by the summer, and we started

talking about it. And then the Chris Benoit tragedy

happened, and we had already begun conversations prior to


Q To get a sense

A probably in the executive meetings.

There’s four people who meet in the executive meeting.

It’s Jeff Jarrett, myself, Dean Broadhead and Andy Barton.

That’s a meeting that we would have once every 2 weeks

depending upon schedules and things such as that just to

talk about every issue out there. We would talk about

talent issues, anything, any kind of staff meeting type of

executive decision.

We started talking about it — again, Andy and I

brought this up and just felt like — you know what?

Because I run more of the marketing side of the company

where I was wanting to go and really hit this new face

professional wrestling and try to be more aggressive with

letting people know we are different, let’s make sure we

have empirical proof to back that up. Let’s — we’re in a

position where we can do it, and we can do it on an ongoing



And so we started talking about that in probably

April — March, April, and then started really looking at

additional documents in May of what it would constitute and

then got very, very aggressive with it in the summer. But

our plans were all along from the September time period what

we had talked about from the beginning.

Mr. Buffone. Just to clarify, that’s pre the Benoit


Ms. Carter. Uh-huh. We had not set that date, but we

wanted to do it before the end of the summer.

Mr. Cohen. I’m going to move to a July 11th e-mail

from Dean Broadhead to Guy Blake. I’m going to mark that

Exhibit 6.

[Carter Exhibit No. 6

was marked for identification.]


Q In that e-mail, Mr. Broadhead had just announced to

TNA talent that TNA will begin drug testing on September


A Urn-hum.

Q Was that announcement ever made?

A Yes, it was.

Q When and how?

A Through Terry Taylor, our director of talent


relations. I don’t remember the exact date, but it was

probably at one of the tapings shortly thereafter. We only

tape every 2 weeks, so it would have been on one of the

subsequent tapings after that.

Q And how was that — in what way did he announce that

those tests would be conducted?

A He communicated verbally with them.

Q And there was no paper, no materials, no documents?

A No. Again, at this time we, you know, were not

prepared, you know, to have a congressional investigation,

but we were trying to do the right thing. And so he

communicated with them —

Q Okay.

A — verbally.

Q Did he indicate specifically that testing would be

conducted on September 1st or what — in what way did he

inform the talent that the tests would be conducted?

A Dean didn’t know the pro — he probably — September

1st I don’t even believe we were taping. That’s why we

chose September 10th, because it was a taping date where we

would have already had to fly in our guys live allover

the country. So, obviously, for an expense reason we wanted

to do it while they were already there. So we just knew

that we wanted to do it by September, and so that’s why he

had put that date there.


Q Okay. So at that point in August of ’07 Mr. Taylor

indicated to the TNA talent that TNA would be conducting

steroid tests in particular?

A Everything, absolutely, steroids, illegal drugs.

Q Your intention was to conduct drug tests for both

steroids and illegal drugs?

A Yes.

Q And who had you been contracted with?

A I believe you have that e-mail, again, I believe it

was set up through our doctor, I think Centra Care or — in


Mr. Cohen. Why don’t we introduce — we’ve got -­there

are two e-mails. One is dated August 8th, 2007 — is

this August 8th or August 9th? One is dated August 15th,

2007. Those are Exhibits 7 and 8.

[Carter Exhibits No. 7 and 8

Were marked for identification.]


Q At the first page of the August 9th e-mail, it looks

like it was forwarded, an e-mail from August 8th from Terry

Taylor to Gregg Pond.

A Correct. I would assume he is with the Florida

hospital. Strategic account manager who works with

corporate groups so probably not individual patients.

Q The August 8th e-mail requests testing on ~eptember


10th, 2007, for steroids, cocaine, opiates and amphetamines?

A Uh-huh.

Q Can you describe the testing that was scheduled, and

it indicates it was scheduled for September 10th?

A What had been scheduled, I believe, is what they

call a five-panel drug test, and I don’t know what all these

are, cocaine, cannabinoids, opiates, amphetamines, PCP and

then steroids.

Q How is this testing scheduled? Was your talent

given notification that they would be tested on September


A I’m don’t know if they were told exactly what date

it would be, but they were told that we would begin drug

testing not just with cause but the entire talent roster.

Q Okay. What did you plan do with these test results?

A Act upon them. Hopefully, they would show that

everybody was clean, but if there was a problem we would

have taken care of it.

Q In what way?

A It just depends on what came back. If it was any of

these serious problems, then I mean it would be suspension

or termination.

Q And had you discussed among yourselves what — how

the policy would work?

A As far as what the results would be?


Q As far as what actions you would take depending upon

what the results showed?

A Absolutely. There would be an automatic suspension,

and then determination would be made as to whether there

would be termination as well.

Q Did you have in mind different — give an example of

steroids. How long a suspension did you have in mind for

talent who tested positive for steroids?

A Well, throughout the summer we had been talking

about what needs to — actually, we were also talking about

an administrator and things such as that that will be

providing us a lot of that information to help us put this

in place.

Q Uh-huh.

A So we were moving forward on this quickly because we

knew we wanted to do it.

Q Right.

A And 3 months was the first amount of time, I believe

from memory, that was thrown out for that, but it depended.

If it was prescribed by a doctor, you know what I’m saying,

or was it in a large amount nonprescribed by a doctor, and

we were told we would need to find out all of that

information based upon results of tests.

Q Okay.

A That it wasn’t just as simple as getting a test


result back.

Q Was it your intention — to the extent there were

suspensions, was it your intention to make those suspensions



A Oh, absolutely, absolutely. You have to. People

I mean, I held a talent meeting with my talent in

closed doors and kicked everybody out on Monday, and 1 hour

later it was out on the Internet. So I choose to do things

proactively and publicly versus let somebody else be in

control of what’s said about us.

Q Were there provisions for therapeutic use, for

example, if there were a doctor’s prescription?

A Absolutely, and we laid that out because we knew of

specific guys in our current roster that were under a

doctor’s care for different situations

problems with massive uses of steroids

past injuries,

for some of our

old guys who are in their mid 40s at this point and things

such as that. We were aware of that. We were told if they

were under doctors’ care for legitimate reasons that that

would be an exemption.

Q You laid that out -~

A In this original drug policy. It says it is not a

violation of TNA policy for an independent contractor to use

medications prescribed by a licensed and treating physician


for a legitimate medical purpose, but we had to know about


Q Who is responsible for conducting reviews under that


A Meaning their own doctors?

Q Who makes the decision that it was a legitimate

doctor for a legitimate medical purpose?

A Well, Terry will talk to the talent and find out who

their doctors are and what prescriptions they are taking.

Q And Terry, to my understanding, has no medical

background himself?

A No, he does not, obviously.


Q You said you mentioned a couple of times we were

told we needed to do this. Who was the, person telling you

about what you needed in the testing policy? Or what type

of people were consulting? Were you talking with lawyers


A No, what I was just referring to was an attorney

telling us, well, you cannot not allow somebody to have

you know, you can’t — can’t suspend somebody for using

something if they are under or being treated by an

appropriate doctor for a legitimate condition. So when that

test comes back, you have to make sure that they know that

that is the situation.


Q Was this an attorney who has experience and

background in testing policies?

A No, but I believe he did review several policies and

I’m of the understanding that he contacted some people and

talked about different things.

Q And have you discussed this test or testing in

January with any testing policy experts or people who do

have background in testing policies?

A Well, we’re putting an entire new drug policy in

place. It will be — I don’t know if it will be reflective

of WWE’s, but it will be much more thorough, comprehensive,

and that will be done and have to be done, obviously, by the

time that we do the testing.

Q Are you relying on experts to put that policy in


A We’ve actually contacted a couple of people, one in

particular — oh, it’s the clean sports dot org; You all

probably know the company.

Ms. Despres. Drug Free Sport?

Ms. Carter. Drug Free Sport, uh-huh.

We’ve had at least a couple of conversations with them.

And that’s one thing that I’ll ask Andy to continue to

conduct, you know, to look at. Because we have to make a

decision on an administrator and things such as that. That

is who I believe it was.


Who else do they represent, do you know?

Ms. Despres. I don’t. I mean, their name comes up all

the time in everything, but

Mr. Cohen. I think they work pretty much with high


Ms. Carter. They are pretty stringent.

Ms. Despres. I feel like they are pretty involved in

high school as well.


Q The second one, Exhibit 8, the August 15th e-mail

that cancels the request for testing and states, “We are

complying with a congressional request,” some more

background on why you decided to cancel those tests?

A Well, I think again we did not know, quite honestly,

what this process would entail, if we would be given our

mandated new rules, regulations, et cetera, and wanted to be

sure and comply. And, like I said, when we did not hear

back from you after this original letter back in I don’t

know when it was originally sent to us, but when we did not

hear back for a period of time, we went ahead and decided to

go ahead and put this on the books regardless if it was

acceptable or not by this committee.

Q Okay.

A At least to get the ball rolling on our part. We

didn’t want to delay it anymore.


Q Okay. The congressional request referenced in the

e-mail, do you know who that request was from?

A Yes, sir, actually, we received two.

Q Correct.

A One from Committee on Oversight and Government

Reform, and I believe I have the other one — I may not.

Do you remember?

Mr. Hundley. Uh-huh.

Ms. Carter. Can I ask him?

Mr. Hundley. Commerce.

Ms. Carter. Commerce.

Very similar structured letter -­Mr.

Cohen. Yes.

Ms. Carter. Almost to the word.

Mr. Cohen. All right. We’re going to try to get

ourselves caught up to date. The next exhibit we will call

Exhibit 10 — 9.

Before we walk on to this, let me just ask if anyone

else has questions on anything up from the period from March

of ’07 — when the policy was put into place up through the

congressional request, any questions about what went on in

this time period.


Q I have one question about this policy that you

actually read: It is a violation of our policy for anyone


to use prescription drugs illegally. It is not a violation

for an independent contractor prescribed by a licensed and

treating physician.

Then it goes on to say, but the independent contractor

should notify his or her supervisor if the prescribed

medication will affect the independent contractor’s ability

to perform his or her job.

In developing that part of the policy, did you envision

that steroid use, legitimate or let’s say prescribed

steroid use would affect the independent contractor’s

ability to perform his or her job?

A Not if the doctor — that wouldn’t be my decision or

anybody in my company’s, but not if their doctor did not

think it would have any kind of symptoms or — what’s the

word I’m looking for? If by taking any kind of medication

it would cause slurring or —

Q Okay.

A — anything that would potentially injure — that

would potentially injure that talent or put that talent in

harm’s way or another person.

Q So there is no expectation that if the talent is

using steroids that have been prescribed that they have an

obligation under this policy to inform their supervisor of


A We do know of multiple talent that we do have.


Q So talent — are they required to tell you if they

are taking —

A They are not required to. It doesn’t affect that,

but we are aware in multiple situations.

Q And how are you aware?

A Because, again, they tell us. We know when they

have certain injuries and how they are treating them — old

injuries, neck injuries and things such as that so —

Q I’m actually thinking of the steroid use. Do you

know about talent who are currently using steroids

prescribed by doctors?

A I know of one talent specific -­Q


A — and I know of another one that is a form of

regeneration, I believe it is.

Q Uh-huh.

A So that is a form of steroid, but it is not —

Q But they are not required under the policy, — under

the existing policy, they are not required to notify you?

A Under this existing policy, if it does not affect

their work, they are not required to tell us.


Q Do you know what steroids they are using, by any


A I don’t know it off the top of my head.


Q You talk about wrestlers who have been suspended,

wrestlers who have been let go, and wrestlers who have been

sent to rehab because of drug and other problems. How are

they informed? How does that process work?

A Well, most of these guys don’t have an agent,

lawyer, attorney or anybody who you would send an official

letter to. In the case where they have — we have one — I

think it is a document that you have that the names are

blanked out. It is a Hollywood person who has an agent,

attorney so we were able to send them something.

In the past, if it is just the person and they don’t

have representation, we called them up and told them.

Q So it is all done through phone calls? There are no


A No, that will not happen anymore. Everything will

be highly documented.

Q So for all the other times you sent people to

rehab when you say you “sent” people, do you pay for the

rehab or

A It just depends. Sometimes they have had insurance

that has covered a rehab. We offered to continue to pay

them even though they are not on the show. That’s usually

their biggest concern, is I can’t go without money while I

do that. So that’s why these people don’t go. They are in

fear of loss of their job, which is a reality in other


places, and a fear of loss of payment, which is a reality.

So we have tried to remove those two elements to let them

know it’s okay. If something does happen and you relapse,

you need to go get help.

Q So beyond the two letters of this committee there is

no documentation at all that you have suspended wrestlers,

let wrestlers go, sent wrestlers to rehab?

A It would be documented in the Internet because

everything gets out, I would assume, somewhere along the

line. But, no, we try to keep that extremely confidential.

There is one instance in particular where I was the

only person talking — I did not tell a single other person

because of their family situation and things such as that to

help them.



Q In the beginning, it wasn’t necessarily ill will in

terms of drug testing

A III will?

Q It was more or less limited by resources, in talking

about paper and things like that, but now that you have

these attractions and positive cash flow has that opened up

your options in terms of creating this more confidence in

the drug policy?

A It helps tremendously, obviously. But I think we


felt like back then we truly were a television production

company, filming three times a week, putting on a wrestling

show. And we felt like by developing a policy very, very

quickly that no other wrestling organization but the WWE

had, no other television production company had, they don’t

test their people, movie studios are not testing people who

have the chiseled bodies who you know there is a good chance

they may not be real as well. We felt like that was being

proactive in our position.

At that point, we may have been 1 or 2, maybe 2.5

percent of WWE’s revenues and maybe spending four or five or

six, seven times that just to literally pay our guys and

stay alive. So at the time we really felt proud of this

document and felt like it was something that no other

wrestling company, even those that were truly touring and

truly working their guys a lot more than ours were doing,

and we were trying to take a stand at that point.

But when we knew we were going to be signing or hoped

to sign in October a new 2-hour deal, we felt like the

resources would be there. That’s why we decided in the

summer we can bring in a medical doctor to do preventative

stuff and ask him fly him in and ask him to give us his

entire day, which we know would be in the thousands of

dollars for proactive things. We can do full screenings

instead of random screenings to back up what we wanted to

do, and that was the plan.


Q Why don’t you get us caught up to date now. Tell us

what your plans are and what your specific time frames are

for developing the testing program and how the program will

be run and what the penalties will be.

A We are still in development of that program. It has

got to be right. It really does. We have got to make

sure — and that’s why you go through drafts of things, and

this silly little talent policies and procedures probably

went — without the drug part of it probably went through 30

revisions to make sure that we hadn’t left anything out. I

will charge people with making sure that this is a very

tight, proactive document with everything spelled out.

Q When do you intend to put this into effect?

A It has to be in place by the time we do the testing,

which is the January time frame.

Q So you will do your testing in January?

A Uh-huh.

Q The letter to the committee, the August 30th, 2007,

letter to the committee, that also mentions TNA planning to

provide seminar sessions to educate TNA talent and their

families about the use of steroids and other drugs?

A Correct.

Q Have those seminars taken plaGe?

A Not yet.

Q When will they take place?

A We need to schedule them. We have talked about it.

We have talked about — we have been in discussion with a

doctor who we would like to bring in who has agreed to come

in, give us a full day at his practice and conduct such

conversations. So we are hoping within the next couple of


[Carter Exhibit No. 9

was marked for identification.]


Q When did you sign the contract?

A October 4th, for the 2-hour show.

Q If you could, I think it would be helpful to maybe

get back to us with some of the specifics on who you’ve -­you’ve

mentioned the National Center for Drug Free Sport.

A Uh-huh.

Q If you could provide us with a list of the

individuals with whom you consulted in preparing a policy

A Okay.

Q I think that would be helpful to us.

A We have or will consult with, right?

Q Yes. Your plans are to begin testing in January.

That’s coming up pretty quick. We’re at December 5th now?

Mr. Cacheris. Sixth.


Ms. Carter. We have been discussing this and looking

at policies since May.


Q Is there a new draft of a policy in place yet?

A Not anything in writing, no. We just talked about

it, except for the things we listed out and the documents,

the things we wanted to include. It will take this existing

drug policy and it will list out every specific thing on

there, which is, you know much like WWE’s.

Q Have you begun discussing with laboratories how they

would be conducting the testing?

A I would assume so, since we already had one

scheduled for September 10th. So since that had already

been scheduled, I would assume they had talked about it. I

did not actually set that up, so I would not know at any

level exactly the details of how that was done.

Q Okay.

A But it was going to be done in Orlando when

everybody was present at one time.

Q I would ask that over the next several weeks that,

as you begin to move towards this January testing date, that

you keep the committee abreast of your plans on a fairly

detailed basis.

A Absolutely.

Q You didn’t need to call us every hour, but to the


extent that you hit benchmarks -­A


Q That when you have a draft policy in place, if you

could send us that policy.

A Absolutely.

Q When you have contracted with someone to run the

program or a lab to conduct the testing, if you could let us

know about that.

A Right.

Q And if you’ve got — when you inform your talent

when testing will begin, that’s another benchmark that I

think we’d like to be informed of. And then when the first

tests are actually conducted, we would appreciate knowing

about that.

A Absolutely. What we will do is, obviously, we will

put everything in writing. And in the past we haven’t had

the necessary need to present reporting to outside people.

It was more a matter of making sure it was done. But it’s

important to me personally, it’s important to my company

that — you talk about we are a different kind of company.

Well, how can you be if — for you to even throw the word

out that we’re a safe haven is offensive, and we need to

make sure that perceptions of people on the outside and

those not with some kind of an agenda who might be talking

about us who have or want to work with us or something along


those lines — so it is important that we now have the


More than anything else, we are now going to start

touring, and w~ have that obligation to do so. We were

trying to give ourselves that obligation, even though we

were with them three times a month.

There are some serious issues in wrestling way beyond

steroids, you know, based upon the number of days these guys

work, pain pills, what’s causing these guys to die. You

know, all of those, you know, would be great if we can begin

working together to change that image, that’s a positive for


Q I’ve asked this question generally, so I apologize

if I’m being a bit redundant —

A Then I’m not answering it properly, obviously.

Q No, I may not have asked the question correctly. I

asked for a specific timeframe about the policy itself.

Again, I think through the fact that if you’re going to

start testing in January, time must be running pretty short.

I assume you feel you are under some sort of pressure to get

this written policy done. Do you have a specific deadline

that you have for the written policy?

A By the time we conduct the test, we need to be able

to hand it to them and let them know.



Q So are you okay with handing the talent the policy

the day of testing?

A Uh-huh. They will be told, obviously, in advance

that we are going to do that. We will tell them what we’ll

test for, but they don’t need — I mean, they can all think

they are being terminated, as far as I’m concerned, if they

fail it. The specifics of it are not as important to me as

it will be to them to know.

Q Some of the specifics of the test, have you

discussed what drugs you are going to test for?

A From my understanding, we are testing the panel 5 or

the 5 panel and steroids.

Q Have you been part of the — I’m guessing you’ve

been a part of the discussions of developing the policy?

A Correct.

Q But do you know of steroids — there are a lot of

different types of steroids. Has there been a discussion of

which steroids you will test for?

A It is my understanding that the steroids we’re

testing for there’s a variety of them, all of them. I

understand Marion Jones went for Olympic medals and still

had that happen. But from my understanding the steroid test

we’re taking is very thorough.

Q Okay.

A I think it is four times the cost of the panel 5


test, so I think it does cover multiple potentials”.

Q Have you discussed collection process of the sample,

how you are actually going to get the sample?

A From my understanding, the way we have done the ones

in the past is they would come to Terry Taylor and only be

discussed within a certain amount of people within the

company, that it is privileged information, but they will

provide it.

Q Do you recall any conversations about who will

collect the sample?

A This outside company in Florida. I believe it was

Centra Care is the name of the company.

Q Okay.

A They have a team who does this for large groups, not

individual patients who come in.

Q Okay.

A They would be collecting the sample, doing the

testing and then providing us the results.

Q You mentioned before that Terry Taylor would look at

the prescriptions. Have you had any discussions about

exactly the process of determining whether a prescription is

by a treating physician for a valid medical purpose?

A What will happen is by this date — what we were

going to do in September is anything that might potentially

show up in this testing they need to provide us their proof


from a doctor under his letterhead and things such as that

and we will check out the doctors to make sure, not us

personally, but have somebody who is a physician check out

the doctors.

Q You do expect a medical physician to check out the


A Absolutely, absolutely. That’s not something that

Terry Taylor or any of us would ever try to handle.


Q Do you have any plans to conduct blood testing to

test for human growth hormone?

A We have done blood testing. I don’t know we’ve

we’ve conducted thorough blood testing, but I don’t know if

it tested for that or not. I don’t believe so.

Mr. Hundley. I don’t think so.



Q Do you plan to do a lot of Internet pharmacy


A I don’t know if that’s been discussed. I know that

out of all the listings of the Internet names that have come

out none of those are on our roster that have been active

with us have ever received any Internet drugs whatsoever,

not even drugs that would be from these pharmacies that

would be legitimate. Again, if that would have been, we


would have immediately had testing on that person and then

reacted based upon that test.


Q Is there plans to conduct continuous testing or is

this a single testing?

A No, this will be ongoing. The word “proactive” is

where we will be. We want this to be — again, we’re not

the industry leader at all, but this is something we can be

an industry leader in. We have talked about having some of

our younger, healthy guys, our good-looking healthy guys do

PSAs about drug abuse and steroids that we could go to Spike

with and see if every network gets a certain amount of PSA

time, that if we provided something like that that that’s

something where we could take a strong leadership position

in. But we would want to make sure that we’ve got all the

documentation in writing to make sure that we don’t open

ourselves up for any questions.

Q Okay.

Do you have a budget figure in mind? It sounds like

you guys watch your budget pretty carefully.

A We can breathe right now, so it’s a lot different.

I’m pretty sure that it will be costly, but it is a cost

that we’re willing to and have the means now to be able to

spend on it. You know, it has to be completely

comprehensive, and I’m sure that we’ll find the right way to


do it.

Q Have you thought through — is there a budget figure

in mind?

A I think on an ongoing basis this is 200, $250 per

person. So you’re talking times 50 or 60 a couple times per

year, and then we will continue if there is a cause to

random drug test. I think now, based upon this hearing and

things such as that, even if we are aware somebody is doing

something, we will probably go to the extent of making sure.

Q Okay. You had mentioned the signature pharmacy

case, the 11 — there has been 11 wrestlers, there has been

any number of professional baseball, football players whose

names have come out in relation to that.

A Uh-huh.

Q Have you been contacted at all by the Albany

District Attorney’s office?

A No.

Q Regarding the signature pharmacy case?

A We’ve had no names on the list. Kurt Angle’s name

was on the list for something I believe in 2004, but that

has been — he didn’t join us until October, November, 2006.

Q Did you make any efforts to reach out to the

signature pharmacy I’m sorry, to the Albany District

Attorney regarding the signature pharmacy case?

A No. I don’t know what reason we would have had to


do so.

Mr. Cohen. I’m going to turn I think to an August

24th, 2007, e-mail from Matt Conway. It is a fax from Matt

Conway to Steve Campbell. We will call that Exhibit 10.

[Carter Exhibit No. 10

Was marked for identification.]


Q Who is Matt Conway?

A Matt Conway works for Andy. And again when these

multiple lists of all of these wrestlers have come out they

have been listed anywhere from 60 to 120, I believe. And I

don’t know if there is a definitive list. They are not

all — there is a lot of multitude of reasons for death

besides drug on this list. But Andy had asked Matt to go

back and look at every single show line-up that we had, and

if anybody even made an appearance on our show who — if any

of those would have been on the most extensive of lists that

are public —

Q What was your response to this list? Was this

passed up to you?

A Oh, absolutely, absolutely.

Q What’s your response?

A Well, I went through and reviewed each talent and

what the individual situation was per person; and I would be

happy to lead you through that.


Q No, that’s okay. I’m just curious.

Have you spoken to your wrestlers? Are they

concerned about — there has been a lot of talk in the

media. To what extent has it filtered down to the wrestlers

themselves? Are they saying we have a real problem here

that we need to fix? Do they not want to talk about it?

What is the sense you get from your talent regarding the

concerns about the lifestyle —

A That’s a very good question.

Q — and what causes it?

A That’s a very good question. I think that you would

have a different answer for the guys in their 40s than you

would for the 20 somethings, the newer guys who are in the

business. The 40 somethings are those that some of them do

have baggage and who have experienced — I think the ’80s

was a time of great indulgence of drugs and of steroids.

Almost every talent to a fault was of the cartoonish

physique, and it was pretty much expected that that’s how

you got your place in the business at that time, so I think

it ran rampant.

A majority of people on that list, in the talents’

perception, were mid — very few really, really top names

like Eddie Guerrero or Chris Benoit, and they believed that

these guys didn’t make a lot of money.

If you think I’m paying guys 400 today now, that’s like


big potatoes compared to what they made back then, and they

worked 300 — crazy amount of days just to stay by. They

were all in a tremendous amount of physical pain, that there

was a cycle that is common that they are aware of, that is,

the pain medicines to be able to wrestle, the Somas, which I

believe are the muscle relaxers for afterwards and then the

Vicodin or something to be able to sleep. And it is that

trifecta when combined with alcohol or some other things

that have caused the majority of these deaths.

If you ask them almost to the personnel today is

absolutely night and day difference from what these guys who

are dying so young went through. And I have had — with our

new talent, it is just a breath of fresh air, because this

is foreign to them.

But the guys who are in their 40s who knew a lot of

these guys and actually worked with them, and many of them

had problems themselves, that’s what they say. And that’s

what they feel like the real travesty is, this schedule. It

creates a perpetual problem that puts these guys in a

tailspin. And then you combine it when their 15 minutes of

fame is over, they weren’t that famous to begin with, they

didn’t save any money, they are depressed as hell, and it is

a sad existence. It really is. It is tragic.

Q This is probably a question that probably affects

your younger wrestlers at TNA more than almost anyone. With


baseball, when we looked at the stars of Major League

Baseball you hear that the most — kind of the saddest

stories we heard were the players who didn’t quite make it,

who were clean and didn’t quite make it and got stuck in

triple A and looked and saw their peers and their colleagues

who they were clean and they were just as good or better

than, and they saw those ~eople cheat and they saw them get

a leg up.

In some ways, it seems like TNA — some of the TNA

wrestlers might be in the same position. They haven’t made

it to the big time yet. They want to get there, and they

see and have the sense that there’s people who aren’t as

good as them, aren’t as talented as them, who are making it

because they are cheating or they are using steroids. Have

you heard from your wrestlers or is there a concern for some

of them that there needs to be a policy so that they — to

protect the good guys?

A I think you just drew the perfect distinction that,

in baseball, steroids is a performance enhancer; in

wrestling, it has nothing to do with your performance and,

in fact, it inhibits your performance. Because you are so

bulked up you can’t get out there and move in the ring. So

then it becomes one of a purely physical desire on their


Q Right.


A And they are working for a company who, if you were to go down — and I would invite all of you to come down to Orlando and come look at every one of our talent and see, and you can look at them to a fault — I don’t know if you want me to do that, but my point is they are told you don’t have to be a certain way. I have chubby, I have very chubby, I have downright fat guys that work for me, and they are accepted and they are pushed as hard as anybody else.

Their appearance in my company — and I can only speak for my company because I know I have a different perception of these guys. But, you know, there’s Shark Boy, he’s pudgy. And here is my number one brand new talent, very muscularly built not, but he is the fastest, most amazing guy in the ring that you can imagine. And he wears his drawers up to there and that’s who he is and we’re not going to change him and that’s who he was.

One of the newest guys that we signed he could stand to do some sit-ups, but he does not have to use steroids to participate.

Mr. Cacheris. The point being if there was use of steroids —

Ms. Carter. They would not look like this. We have a group called the X Division. They are young, 20 somethings guys who are — this guy went to George Mason, is a graduate student there, and he is a professional wrestler at night.

They guys don’t have to look the part. They have to be great in the ring. And that is the way that we run this company.

Even some of the famous guys, they are big and bulky

and have to wear shirts like that to cover their guts. But

he is the best talker in the business.

Mr. Cacheris. Don’t use names.

Ms. Carter. And people will know exactly who I am

talking about, just putting those two comments together.

It is an attitude and the way you run your company and

the tone you set from the ,very top to let people know that

is not not only not accepted, it’s not wanted, it is not

a part of what you have to be successful in this company.

And it is, you know, to a T, you know, and I could have

brought many more. Let me tell you these type of people

would never be successful in any other wrestling



Q Do you feel that — I’m going to put you on the spot

a little bit.

A Yes, sir.

Q I had told you that we had some interviewees who had

stated that TNA was a haven for drug users. Do you think

that WWE is a haven for drug users? You seem to be drawing

a distinction between the types of athletes and talent you


have and the body type and the talents and body type of the

WWE wrestlers.

A Uh-huh.

Q Do you think that WWE has a situation where, because

of either their steroid policy is failing or because it is

not tough enough or because they are looking the other way,

does — do you have to use steroids to make it in the WWE?

Do you have to create the superhuman body and superhuman

physique and cartoonish figure that’s not going to happen


A It has been more prevalent in that company, there is

no doubt. And I think history has proved that’s there’s a

lot of athletes out there who have beat the stringent drug

testing system.

I can’t really comment on the effectiveness of theirs.

All I can say is that you have to — you have to back up

what you’re saying.

If I said, guys, no steroids, no steroids, we want to

be a clean company, okay. Get rid of that gut. If you

don’t put on 40 pounds, your ass is off.

You run your company like that and that’s wrong. You

say, guys, we want to be clean. We want you to be healthy.

You are fine the way you are.

I have one guy that is so upset because he is just so

chubby and can’t quit eating, but he is a wonderful guy, and


I cannot tell him any more than I have, you are okay, don’t

worry about it.

That is a difference. And I don’t have it all in

writing and I don’t have that, but that is how we run this

company, and that is very, very important to me. We’re a

close-knit group, and we are family, and we don’t want nor

desire to be that kind of company.

Q Does WWE — do your wrestlers ever move from TNA up

to WWE?

A We’ve had a few that have wanted to, and the main

reason is the money. We just cannot pay them

pay our guys a fraction of what they would pay.

I mean, we


actuality, to keep us out of the business

Mr. Cacheris. He’s asking from TNA. Would WWE —

Ms. Carter. Yes, that’s what I’m talking about. In

actuality, they would like to hire everyone of our talent

away from us and just pay them a lot of money and put them

in obscure places, never put them on television just to put

us out of business. And every chance they get when a

contract comes up they dangle a lot of money in front of

them. A few have taken it. Not one has seen success. They

are doing it for another reason, not to build that talent.

Competition is healthy, but some people don’t see it that




Q Do you have a sense that any of your wrestlers think

that they need to take performance-enhancing drugs to make

it in the WWE?

A Any of my —

Q Any of your wrestlers, if they want to move over to

WWE and get the big paychecks?

A No, I think — you know, I couldn’t answer for them.

If they felt like they’d make more money, would they cross

that line? I don’t know. I would hope that they wouldn’t.

Mr. Cohen. Okay. We’re getting to the home stretch

here. I have — see if there is anybody else.


Q I would going to say, spin it into a positive thing,

as a safe haven. Maybe you can consider yourself a safe

haven to save those guys from that lifestyle, that you

embrace this natural, positive, healthy type of wrestling?

A Absolutely. Everything I do is try to do that for

this company. And I do get defensive if somebody does feel

that in a negative way.

We are a place for second chances. We are a place for

people who have been kicked out on the street. There are a

couple of these people who begged us for a job who passed

away that they just didn’t have the talent or whatever,

didn’t have anything to do. They weren’t doing drugs at the

time or anything else. And, you know, a guy commits suicide


afterwards, that’s horrific and terrible.

But we want to be a place where people do have that

opportunity, a place where they can bring their kids. I

bring my kids everywhere I go. They are encouraged to bring

their kids. They don’t travel a lot. We go to one

location, it is just a different environment.

And I can’t talk and I’ve never been a part of anybody

else’s company. All I know is to create the kind of company

that I would want myself or my kids to work for.




[3:00 p.m.]


Q Do you think the expectations that wrestlers feel

the need to make it in the WWE affects the talent pool that

you have to draw from, that there are wrestlers that would

be good talent who might engage in activities that you

wouldn’t accept in TNA to potentially make WWE and therefore

you wouldn’t hire them in TNA?

A Oh, absolutely. Those that can’t abide by our rules

or whatever. And there are those out there. I mean, there

are some good talent that would be great roster additions

for us, but they couldn’t be. You know what I’m saying?

And so we wouldn’t — we wouldn’t want them to be a part of

our team.

Q So that image of what a wrestler is supposed to be

right now that you’re trying to work against is hurting even

wrestlers who aren’t with WWE but are just in the

independent circles, is hurting the talent pool —

A I don’t think so. I think what you are looking at

these days — all my young guys, all those came from the

independent circles and that’s what they look like. They’re

allowed to be themselves. And I’m sure there are some that

since they were a boy dreamed of being like Hulk Hogan and


looking like him and becoming a WWE wrestler. And it has

been their dream and now all the sudden here is this TNA

company and, you know, they have a choice now. And there

are a lot of WWE talent that contact us on an ongoing basis

who are in contracts, want to get out of contract because

they just cannot — it is a lifestyle. They can’t live that

lifestyle any more or they choose not to. And sometimes

they learn money is not everything. Money is not· worth a

lot of things. And that is my biggest pitch to people, is

that I can’t give you the money one day, I pray that we’ll

all be successful and be able to make more money, but I can

give you a completely different environment and a different

existence. And I don’t ask for a lot. I don’t think this

is asking for a lot, to be clean, to show up, to, you know,

be a part of a team, to be good in the ring. That’s not

asking for a lot. I’m not asking them to leave their

families or to be out on the road or, you know, to do all

those other things. This is — this is an easy existence

compared to what some of them are used to. And I would

encourage you instead of just talking to wrestlers who are

no longer with companies, who have potential disgruntled

feelings, perceptions, et cetera, to maybe talk to existing

wrestlers, any of my people. Like I said, come down, et

cetera. So, you know —

Mr. Cohen. All right. We are getting to the home


stretch. Do you want to take a break?

Ms. Carter. I’m fine.


Q This next set questions with regard to your general

approach to wrestlers’ health and safety and activity in the

ring. First question is actually not on wrestlers but on

referees. Where are your referees from?

A They are from allover. We — allover the country.

They’re usually referees for high school basketball, college

sports, things such as that.

Q What kind of training do they receive?

A Just the same training that you would to be a, you

know, college basketball coach or high school soccer, you

know — excuse me — referee or things such as that.

Referee, not coach.

Q Do they have any specific medical training?

A No, absolutely not. They are part of the show.

They are players in the show. They know when the guy is

going to bump, they tell them how many more minutes is left

in the match. They tell them we are running short, cut it

out a minute. They wear an earpiece and they are part of

the show.

Q Okay. Do they have the authority to end a match to

the extent there is an injury?

A Oh, absolutely. The second person right here, Chris


Candido, this was a first match on a pay-per-view. He broke

his ankle, which was obviously a serious injury and we

had — he called it. So we knew immediately that it was

real and that sometimes they even fool me. I don’t know if

somebody is really injured or if they’re just playing it up.

And, you know, the trainers were in that fast and took him


Q And do you have a ringside doctor?

A Yes, we do. We have an orthopedic surgeon who is at

every event and we have two licensed trainers that are there

as well. And we work with the guys on the preventative

stuff in advance of the show and then they are there in case

there is any kind of serious issue and then to work with

them afterwards.

Q Okay. Do they conduct physical exams of any kind

before the show or after the show?

A No.

Q Okay. So can you walk quickly — their authorities

and their responsibilities at a match.

A What–

Q The doctors.

A — the doctors would do? They don’t have any

responsibilities in the match. They’re there to make sure

the talent would go in there, I’ve got a strained knee, I’ve

got — the big guy has sciatica problems, you know. And we


have a masseuse also that is there, a sports masseuse and

you know, so we just try to — you know, if they have any

little aches or pains going in, tape them up properly, et

cetera. And the doctor is there in case there is any kind

of serious injury and then obviously we have EMT on location

as well.

Q Is — to the extent they feel a match is

legitimately becoming dangerous and it is, do they have the

authority or the ability to stop a match? The example is

the ringside — ringside doctors in boxing who have some

authority that goes beyond what the referee in a boxing

match has to stop a match. Do your ringside doctors have

any of that authority, the ability to communicate with the

individuals inside the ring?

A Really it is us communicating to them that we have

an injury. Because if a guy goes down, whether it be a

sprained ankle, broken leg, we’ve had very, very few

injuries. Our guys — their biggest propensity to be hurt

is when they’re working independent shows against guys who

do not know how to protect them in the ring. But if there

is something, they will communicate to the referee, the

referee communicates it backstage and they’re out there, you

know, they’re right there. They just sit kind of off camera

right in the back and then they’d come in.

Q Okay. If — did they have the authority do your


doctors or do your trainers, do they have the authority — I

imagine this is pretty macho business. If someone comes in

that has got a sprained ankle, a sprained knee, you know,

they’re hurting one way or another, they probably don’t want

to admit it. Is there a procedure in place by which one of

your ringside doctors can —

A Absolutely.

Q They can say I’m looking at you and you can’t go, no

way? Can you require a wrestler to take a medical leave?

A Can you require — oh, absolutely. Just a couple of

weeks ago at a pay-per-view, the first guy I showed you, the

bigger guy injured his foot. He saw the ortho guy right

afterwards. And before we would allow him to be on the show

the next day, he had to go and get an MRI on his foot and

get a doctor clearance at the hospital.

Q Okay.

A But obviously they are not there with those kind of

equipment, so we had to send them on to the hospital.

Q Okay. Chair shots have been a big issue for WWE.

Do TNA wrestlers take chair shots to the head?

A They do, uh-huh.

Q Are they scripted?

A Yes, they are.


Q Are these chair shots where they are putting their


arms up or are these chair shots directly to the head?

A It is a little of both. I mean, they know how to

protect themselves. You know what I’m saying? They know

how to make it look — when they slap somebody, that big

thumping slap sound that sounds like it hurts like heck, the

guys are hitting their own thighs. They know how to do

that. Like, you won’t even see and notice it. But I do

notice a few dummies that just sit there and take it and

then we have to tell them backstage you have to, you know,

put your hands up.


Q How about pile drivers, unpadded surfaces are again

something that has been an issue for WWE. Are those kind of

moves scripted into TNA?

A All the moves that are done are I mean, we would

not allow any talent to do anything that is going to

jeopardize that cannot be protected. I don’t think that

there is a move if properly executed that you and I could

not potentially take. I know it sounds — I mean, we’ve had

people with absolutely no experience get in there and take

things and you just — there is a trust issue that if you

can get past that, which I can’t personally, but if you did,

you could be protected in every move out there. But you

have to know what you are doing. That is why it is very

important that these people have a clear mind in doing so.


Q How much control do you have over the matches? Is

it a case where you’re telling people we need a 6-minute

match here, you’re going to be the winner, go to work? Or

are you — do you control the entire script of a match?

A There is a psychology to the match. And it is,

okay, you’re going over on him in 6 minutes, to use your

example, and that you need to come out and. you’re trying to

get your character over. So you’re — you’re the bad guy,

so you’re beating on her and she makes a superman comeback

and then she takes you out and the audience is hooked the

whole time. That is all scripted. We have what we call

agents to help the talent, for them to articulate the script

of it into the physical movements of it and the guys and the

agents come in, they lay that out and then the agents

communicate that to more the senior executives on the

creative committee and the television production committee

to let them know where they are going to be at what time.

They are going to be out of the ring at this point, about 3

minutes into the match, and then they’ll go back in, there

will be a big spot with a ladder and he is going to jump off

and that is going to happen about 5 minutes in the match.

Q So it is fair to say that you may not control every

single move, but you control the script of the match?

A Correct.

Q And the — and you’re able to — you specify the



A Absolutely. The direction. And then they put

together — they each have a kind of roster of signature

moves that they all use.

Q Okay. Concussions, have you ever diagnosed

wrestlers with concussions?

A Oh, man.

Q Not you specifically?

A ,Right, no. Absolutely not is the answer then. We

have had, I believe, some people who have had mild

concussions who have been checked out and then we have to go

in and rewrite the show. Let’s say it happens on a first

taping, then we have to go back and rewrite the show. If it

happens on a first taping, ,the we have to go back in and

rewrite it where they can be there ringside or something

potentially if they’re able to or capable with a doctor -­with

a doctor’s permission but then they would have to be

pulled out of the actual match, the physical matches



Q And it is the ringside doctors that diagnose that


A You can’t, I don’t believe. I mean, he can say I

think it is mild. But if they think it is anything more

than just very, very mild, they have to go to the hospital.



Q With concussions, if they in an individual match,

they’re taken out and taken to the hospital. Is there a

period of time that they then have to layoff if they’ve had

a concussion?

A The doctor would dictate that to us, not us to them.

Q Okay. So the doctor — you follow doctor’s orders

on that?

A Absolutely.

Q And

A And these are all independent doctors who are the

doctor on staff at the local hospital. They have no vested

interest in us, don’t know who we are or anything.

Q You tape three times a week and pay your wrestlers

on a per appearance?

A Correct.

Q If you have a scenario where someone gets a

concussion and the doctor says he needs 2 weeks off, would

they still be paid for the time they —

A It depends. Most of the times, they are all cleared

to stand there, but they’re not cleared for physical

activity with a concussion. So in that case, we’d have to

scramble, rewrite the script, either put somebody in

their write in the injury into the script and they’d

still be on the show, they’d get paid but they are not


there. Those that we actually sent home because of problems

with, you know, drugs and all lately, we have paid for that

time off.

Q The script — the way the matches are scripted,

could you script things on a move-by-move basis if you

wanted? I mean, do you have the contractual right

A These guys are like golfers. I mean, if you have

ever seen a golfer go, oh, you remember 4 years ago on that

fourth tee shot I hit off 13 at Master’s. I mean, they

remember all of these moves. So, I mean, when they are

sitting there that afternoon in a 2 or 3-hour period, they

will layout in their minds and then they talk to each other

where you don’t see it hopefully. But they talk to each

other through the matches and they have to adjust. If

somebody does tweak a knee or do whatever, then they have to

adjust and he’ll start holding his knee and they have to

adjust to that in the ring and almost make it a part of the

story line.

Is that what you were asking.

Q I was just wondering about your ability to control

what happens in the ring. If you — I guess part of my

thinking is that again, I think wrestlers — you’re

right, it sounds like they have a way of doing things. You

know, if you were interested in preventing concussions and

preventing some of these chair shots, it might not be enough


to tell them — to give them just — to give them — you

might have to dictate move by move this is what you are

going to do here, this is what you are going to db here,

basically in an effort to keep them from not doing X, Y and

Z. If you needed to script an entire match, move by move,

could you do that?

A Potentially. But you can only script what these

guys do best. If she has her 10 best moves, I’m not going

to make her do his moves that are easier to say something

because she is going to hurt somebody doing his moves

because she doesn’t do them. So I think, you know, they

each have their stable, their roster, their repertoire that

they pull from that is safe and, you know, and some of them

look like they have a higher degree. Some of the most

difficult degree of difficulties we have are the safest

moves in the ring.

Q Okay. Do you have the right to tell your wrestlers

they cannot do X, Y and Z?

A Absolutely.

Q That they have to do specific things? Can you tell

them they have to do this in the ring and they cannot do

that in the ring?

A You have the right, absolutely. There have been

moves that we’ve seen without permission given or discussion

in advance that we can’t say anything about because it


happens before you can do it and then you say don’t you ever

do that again, I didn’t tell you because I knew you wouldn’t

let me do it, don’t ever do it again.

Q You can tell them I want you to do these five moves

in the ring, I do not want you to do these three moves in

the ring?

A I do not tell them what moves to do, you know.

These guys know better than I and everybody else what they

can and cannot do safely. And, you know, they have been

doing this a long time. And we haven’t had any — we’ve

been doing this 5-1/2 years. We’ve had one broken bone and

that is it. And he died because of a blood clot because the

hospital didn’t tell him he could fly, that he shouldn’t fly

within a period of time, and that’s what happened and it was

a horrible tragedy. But we’ve never had any more injuries

than that. These guys are very, very good at what they do.

Lots of stitches.

Q Multiple concussions?

A We haven’t had — we haven’t had a serious

concussion and we’ve had a few mild concussions, but not -­not

one single serious concussion from my memory.


Q How many people have you sent to the hospital for

concussions? Do you have any recollection of the number?

A I don’t know off the top of my head. If they don’t


pass the — it is a mild from the doctor backstage, then

they would have to go. But like I’m saying, it has been

very few and I don’t know if any of them even checked out to

be a serious concussion. I do know that I have some guys on

my roster that have had serious concussions from previous

jobs. But under TNA I don’t believe so from memory.


Q Physicals. Your letter indicates that Dr. Jason

Pirozzolodo conducts the physicals. Is this correct?

A I believe that’s correct.

Q When you conduct a physical, what do you screen for?

What do you ask Dr. Pirozzolodo to do with the physicals?

A These are based on governing bodies of State

regulations and they would layout that a full physical

that X, Y and Z has to be under certain labs have to be

run, et cetera. And that is — the doctor would be provided

that and asked to comply with the tests that we need.

Q So you’re under State authority in Florida?

A Correct. But if we were to tour to Missouri by

chance, they have one of the most stringent athletic codes

and regulations. And actually the Missouri State regulator

is the President of the entire body and, you know, we have

again out there a stellar reputation of trying to go above

and beyond any of these requests that people do.

Q And despite — you do fall under the authority of


State athletic commissions?

A Absolutely. Every State you run in, you have to

file the paperwork, you have to determine what their — and

there is a lot of talk on the State level right now on

should there be broader restrictions. You know, some States

you don’t have to have anything. You write a check and you

get the deal. I mean, you get the license. Other States

have tremendously rigid ones and, you know, we follow

whatever the State regulatory is. But I do know that there

is discussions on there to look at more stringent


Q Okay. You may not know the answer to this. Are you

set up in such a way with regard to — I know with WWE there

was a big deal over their disclosure that they were not

sport, they were entertainment, which released them from a

fair amount of regulation of State regulatory authority. Do

you do things differently such that you’re — you continue

to fall under those State regulatory authorities or

is scripted and it is more like, you know, we’re

A We’re not considered sport. It is more wrestling

Jackie Chan

action sequence a lot during that. But we don’t fall under

the same rules and regulations as other sport maybe coming

into coming into a State.

Q Okay. So generally you’re falling under the

Florida — because you’re primarily in Orlando and don’t do


much touring yet, but you fall under Florida

A But the States we have, you contact each one of them

and determine their regulations.

Q Okay. So how often — under the Florida regs now -­how

often does Dr. Pirozzolodo conduct the physicals?

A We’ve had physicals I believe with the entire talent

roster in December at the end of last year, March or April

of this year and then we were going to do it again this

summer. We’ll do it probably one more time during, you

know we’ll look to do those probably twice a year.

Q Okay. Have you ever had a talent fail a physical?

A No. We’ve had a few who have had elevated heart

rates that we made get cleared before they went in there.

We had a man with an elevated liver problem. He was an

older gentleman and almost 60. Anybody who has had little

pieces, we made them go to the doctor and come back to us

and show us that, you know, their problem was solved. And

on the heart stuff, we’ve also — if anybody has had

elevated even day of show, we have also taken you know with

a heart monitor to make sure that it is double checked.

Q And has Dr. Pirozzolodo ever communicated any

concerns about drug abuse generally or steroid or painkiller

use specifically among your wrestlers?

A No. And from my understanding, the elevated levels

that you’d look for for certain drugs, they were not present


as well.

Mr. Cohen. I’m done.


Q I have one quick question. You described to us that

since wrestling — it was known that wrestling has been

fake, it has become a much more dangerous sport.

A That it has become more dangerous?

Q Yes. That now that people think that it is not

real, they do more dangerous moves and do more actions that

really are more dangerous and do potentially get hurt

because people believe that they aren’t real. Is it your

understanding that all TNA moves pretty much are safe and

that really that is not true, that these are trained

professionals doing safe moves?

A I would disagree because the curtain has been pulled

back and they see that the wizard is back there. I think it

is because we live in a day and age of the X games and you

see 7 and 8-year-old boys doing freaky flips off of a

mountain with their little two-wheelers. And you’ve got,

you know, video games now that these guys are playing that

are showing superhuman moves and things such as that. So I

think that has been more the reason that things have become

elevated and people try to top different moves ‘really

because it is just the nature of our generation right now

and where we are at in television and sport than anything


else. I don’t believe it is just because they believe it is

not real.

Does that answer your question?

Q I guess it is not really that it is not real. But

because it is not real, they’ve been allowed to do more and

more extreme things —

A They are not doing anything now that they didn’t do

before. People just maybe now know that, God, that

person — there are still some that choose to believe. And

really what it is, it is no different for a movie. For a

period of time you sit there and you suspend disbelief. You

suspend disbelief that Tom Cruise is married to Katie Holmes

and he divorced Nicole Kidman and that he really is this

person in Mission Impossible. It is the same thing here.

You suspend disbelief that this guy is Abyss the Monster and

he is a 6 foot 8, 300-pound man that canceled a date to come

be at my daughter’s birth and hold her in his hand from here

to here. That is my Monster Abyss. You know so people know

in real life that he is not a real monster that wears a mask

and has this kind of crazy thing. I think they’ve just came

to realize that that — it is a movie, it is television, it

is scripted. And I think for a while professional wrestling

wanted people to believe it was real. But I think Vince

made the decision single handedly and was in a position to

pull the curtain back, and I don’t know if he did it for


selfish reasons because, oh, this protects me from having to

comply with this, that or the other or if it was some other

strategic move. I don’t know.


Q Do you know Mr. McMahon? Do you know him


A No. I’ve never talked to him.

Mr. Cacheris. Are we done?

Mr. Cohen. We’re done.

[Whereupon, at 3:30 p.m., the interview was concluded.]

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