Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Two Sides to TNA Wrestling’s Ring Issue

Appearing on the website seemingly out of nowhere was an article making it clear that fans will decide which ring TNA Wrestling would use going forward, starting with their Impact tapings in New York City. The voting is to end at midnight tonight. TNA is making it clear this will not be a one-off event.

It’s interesting for TNA Wrestling to put this in the hands of the fans. When NWA:TNA first began in 2002, the company used a regular four sided ring. In 2004, the company debuted TNA iMPACT! On Fox Sports, which was the beginning of the six sided ring. It was actually AAA in Mexico that popualrized the six sided ring. In 2010, TNA hired Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff in hopes that they could spark the company into a larger slice of the wrestling audience This included a return to the four sided ring with Hogan saying, “Six sides only got you so far!” to a crowd blasting and deriding Hogan with chants for the six sides, despite Hogan’s expectations of being cheered for such a decision.

When you talk to TNA fans about the six sided ring, the reaction is usually positive. The six sides helped make them stand out to any other product out there. However, it seems like nobody asked the wrestlers.

Soon after the poll, EC3 and Austin Aries took to Twitter to voice their opinion on the poll:


Before reaction, it’s important to accept their stance as the workers. They are discussing their livelihood. They are the ones expected to bump in that right and while pro wrestling still lives on the concept of independent contractors, you still get the right to refuse. But TNA worked in those rings for six years and while injuries happened, I don’t see any real evidence that TNA wrestlers got hurt more often than WWE wrestlers. Or any other promotion with a four sided ring in that matter. That said, I don’t feel the bumps. I don’t wake up the next day after hitting a tighter canvas one hundred times. I don’t know how much harder it is to get out of bed after that.

If TNA didn’t approach the talent first about this, it’s an error on their part. The wrestlers should have at least been informed and been allowed to give their voice on it. If the locker room was adamantly against the six sided ring, TNA should have never posted the poll. If there was simply some dissention, they could confront it and see how they could make things better. TNA could have looked into ways to make the bumping more comfortable or at least try to minimize the shock on the bumps. A little R&D on the matter could go on a long way in the long term safety of the workers.

That said, as much as one wants to listen to the concerns of wrestlers like Austin Aries and EC3, there’s something to be said about product identity. No, the six sided ring isn’t going to draw money. It isn’t the star. But as AJ Styles said on the Chris Jericho podcast, TNA needs to be an alternative. Every opportunity they have to be different without being stupid they need to take. TNA didn’t lose viewers with a six sided ring and they certainly didn’t lose wrestlers either. When they took the ring away, it took away a unique part of their identity. It took a year for someone in TNA to realize that there was a six sided ring in the iMPACT! Logo and it needed to be changed. That’s how identifiable that hexagon was.

TNA will need to come to a compromise on whether or not the six sided ring is best for business going forward. If it makes some wrestlers unhappy but makes the fans more loyal, is it worth it? Is TNA going to lose out on wrestlers in the future? Is the six sided ring safe enough? These are all important questions going forward.

It’s also possible the fans just vote for the four sided ring. I just doubt it.

Contains photo by KnightNephrite

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