FEATURE: Josh Boutwell on six sides or four sides in TNA

Six Sides vs. Four Sides?
June 19, 2014
By: Josh Boutwell of Wrestleview.com

This week TNA Wrestling decided to allow fans to let their voices be heard and decide if TNA will return to the popular six sided ring or continue on with the four sided ring that TNA has been using since 2010. If this is a legit fan vote, I don’t think there is much question as to what the fans will choose here. This has been one of the loudest things TNA fans have been calling for since they did away with it. On the surface that doesn’t seem very controversial, but former TNA World Champion Austin Aries let his opinion on the matter be known which has sparked a lot of conversation over the six sided ring.

First let me be clear in saying that I never understood the love or hate from either side for the six sided ring. Maybe that had a lot to do with the fact that when TNA instituted it in 2004. I was already used to seeing it because of my love for lucha libre. AAA has been using a six sided ring since the early 2000’s so the only thing I thought when I first saw the ring in TNA was that they had blatantly stolen the idea from Mexico. I also think that Ultimo Dragon’s Toryumon promotion used the six sided ring at one time as well. To me it was just a unique look that really didn’t have any bearing on whether or not a match was good so I didn’t really care.

Some fans absolutely loved the unique and to them original look because let’s face it not many American fans even know AAA exists let alone watches it religiously like me and other lucha fans so they had never seen this sort of ring. Other fans called it “bush league” and just another gimmick that TNA was trying. They really didn’t have many complaints that seemed very logical but the hatred from some was pretty strong. TNA claimed that it wasn’t just a unique look for the promotion, that it gave X-Division wrestlers more angles to fly from. That’s really just BS to be honest, but it was about making them stand out from the rest of the pack, which is a good thing in my opinion whether you liked the ring or not.

Apparently Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff hated the six sided ring so when they came into TNA doing away with the ring was one of the many changes TNA implemented. Longtime TNA fans hated the idea and even chanted “we want six sides” after the ring was done away with. Since then TNA has brought the six sided ring back a couple of times, at X-Division themed events like “Destination X” but has been using the four sided ring for the most part ever since.

Now that TNA wants to let the fans decide whether the six sides returns or not, that is if this is a legit fan vote of course, Austin Aries took exception to this. He ranted on Twitter this week over the issue saying, “So the people who don’t wrestle are letting people who don’t wrestle decide what I have to wrestle in? Great idea. My body, my vote.” He continued, “What’s wrong with wrestling? Letting people who’ve never done it, and never put their bodies on the line, run the show. Please understand, I DO think the fans voices should be heard, and I’m all for an interactive experience, BUT I’m not sure this is the appropriate place for it, nor do I feel the potential risk outweighs the potential benefit for the wrestlers.”

Regarding the risks that he mentioned Aries further explained, “For those curious, I find 6 sides to be far less forgiving on the body and harder to maneuver around, especially on the top rope.” Though he did specify that he isn’t saying that the six sided ring is dangerous to work in as well, “Please don’t misinterpret 6 sides as unsafe or dangerous. Decision makers at (TNA) would never put us in that position.”

Whether I like it or you don’t like it or really anyone else does or doesn’t like it, I think opinions like Austin Aries should really make the difference. While his argument that it’s not right that people that don’t wrestle run the business is a little ridiculous, this is Pro Wrestling it’s always been like that, his argument about putting the decision of where he puts his body on the line up to the fans holds much more merit in my opinion. Yes, fans want to see it but if these guys that are going out there and putting their bodies on the line each week have to do it in a ring that hurts that much more is it really worth it?

I will be honest and say that I’ve never heard that comment about the six sided ring being less forgiving than other rings before, and I really don’t understand how that would work. I mean I would assume the ring is pretty much the same except it has more ring posts and is a different shape but I obviously know very little about the design of a wrestling ring. Austin Aries has been in that ring and he has taken those bumps so I will take his word for it. I have heard comments from other current and former TNA wrestlers about the six sided ring being a little more difficult to maneuver around in, and even disorienting at first with their being more corner turnbuckles than a typical ring. Let’s also not forget that many on the current TNA roster have never even been inside a six sided ring before so this would certainly be a bit of a shock at first for them.

I know a lot of fans like the six sided ring and want to see its return and honestly I wouldn’t mind it either. It brings back a nostalgic feeling and some of my favorite TNA matches happened inside that six sided ring, but I also believe that at the very least the wrestlers voices should be heard in decisions like this. That may be a naïve opinion and it may have been a naïve opinion coming from Aries as well, but I also believe it’s the right opinion. We aren’t the ones out there being suplexed or powerbombed in that ring.

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