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An Open Letter to TNA Wrestling (And/Or The Case For Four Sides)

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First off, happy birthday, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. It's been a dozen years since your first show in Huntsville, Alabama.

But if I can be honest for a moment, your promotion has had issues from minute one. You had to create a diversion tactic because one of your wrestlers...named Cheex (I wish I was making this up)... BROKE THE RING just minutes before your first event went to air (an event, by the way, you made pro wrestling fans pay $10 for. And not just for that one week. Every week. For two years.) I mean, there's an entire page on the Internet dedicated to your many, many blunders. But I give you credit. Through all of that, you're still hanging around, whether it's because of perseverance, incompetence, stupidity, or some combination of the three. For that you should be commended.

At this very moment, however, your company may be hours away from undergoing a significant change, and one not necessarily for the better. You're letting the fans decide whether to use a traditional four-sided ring for the Hammerstein Ballroom tapings or return to the six-sided ring TNA had used for years before Hulk Hogan and friends took over the company in 2010. And this won't be just for the Hammerstein tapings. This will be forever.

I know what some of your fans want. I know what many of your fans want. Hell, until last week, I wanted it. Your fans' hearts want it, sure. But I want to appeal to the head of your fans. Fans, for about five minutes, let's not make this about you. Let's make this about the people you pay your hard earned dollars to watch: you know, the talent. The people that make whatever it is you watch on Thursday and the occasional Sunday possible, but here's a hard truth.

You don't want to go back to six sides.

Easy, easy, put the pitchfork down. You there with the flaming torch, down. And that rock you're thinking about throwing at me, you can put that down too. Why should TNA Wrestling stick to four sides? The answer is a simple one, and you're probably not going to like hearing this since it's more or less has encroached the other sports you've loved in recent years: worker safety.

It really comes down to science. All wrestling bumps are not created equal, but let's just say for a moment that they are. Let's take two wrestlers, one weighing about 220 pounds, another about 260 pounds. Austin Aries and Robert Roode seem to fit this description, so we'll use that.


This, via my poorly used Paint drawing, is more or less what is under a four-sided ring. It's sometimes wooden pallets or something, but these days, it's one big trampoline-like board thing. If one were to take a suplex right in the middle of a square ring, the impact would be the same as if one were to take that same suplex closer to a corner. The boards or trampoline would flex all the same. Basically, the bumps would probably feel the same regardless of where in the ring they occurred. (Before anyone gets on me, I know full well this is not the case. Regular wear and tear and all that.)


This, again via poorly used Paint drawing, is more or less what is under a six-sided ring. Again, they probably use one giant trampoline-like board or something, or they could use wooden pallets. (Hey, I never claimed to be an expert on ring construction.) If one were to take a suplex right in the middle of a hexagonal ring, it would probably feel the same as if it were in the middle of a square ring. But that same suplex just a couple of feet to the left or right or any other direction, and you're getting a different fall. The boards or trampoline just doesn't flex the same in a six-sided ring as it does in a four-sided ring. In fact, a bump that ends in the corner could be (in theory) akin to taking said bump on concrete.

Ok, I'll admit, I'm far from an expert when it comes to these things, so my opinion doesn't matter much on the issue. So let's hear from some people that really matter in this situation: the talent.

Ethan Carter III via Twitter:

Okay, on the surface, that post might be in character. After all, he's a heel.

Austin Aries, a former TNA world heavyweight and X Division champion yesterday had quite a bit to say on the four sides/six sides matter: "For those curious, I find #6sides to be far less forgiving on the body and harder to maneuver around, especially on the top rope." Former TNA Grand Slam and current IWGP heavyweight champion AJ Styles echoed that sentiment during his appearance on the Talk is Jericho podcast earlier this month.

Will the shape of the ring really make the show better? My opinion: no. There are many, many pressing issues within TNA; you know, like how your company still doesn't have a concrete drug testing policy. Or how you can stem the tide of your roster shrinking to little more than a skeleton crew. Or how you can have a show that doesn't feature eight consecutive talking segments, a show so awful, wrestling podcasters have forsaken your product. Or how you cannot be WWE-lite or WCW 2.0 and be a true, competent wrestling alternative that more than a million and a half people will watch every week. Or how you can have more shows like Slammiversary, which by many accounts was better than decent. Or how (and this is a big one Dixie) you can still be on TV when the fall season starts, because as I am writing this, you still don't have a new TV deal.


If you've cast your vote already for whether TNA should keep four sides or go back to six, then pretty much everything I've said doesn't mean a whole lot, but I'm hoping I made you think about it for a moment. If you haven't voted yet, it's not too late. The poll closes at midnight ET tonight. If you truly care for the talent that performs for you, I hope you do the right thing.

It's okay to have four sides.

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