June 24, 2014
As most of you should know by now TNA is going back to their 6 Sided ring. A lot has been said about the 4 vs. 6 side debate but most of that has been about opinion and preference. There are a lot of solid practical facts about the debate that can be looked at but unfortunately nobody seems to have put much thought into this debate so no one is talking about the facts. Because of this I thought I would take a look at those here and not only give you my opinion on why going back to the 6 Sides is a mistake but point out some solid practical reasons on why this is in fact a bad idea.
The first and obvious fact is that the 6 sided ring is stiffer. Now granted I've never worked in a 6 Sided ring but I've spoke to many who have and they say unanimously that when they switched from the hexagon to the square ring the ring was significantly softer. Creating a 6 sided ring is more mechanically challenging and constructing a floor that gives well is much easily accomplished with only 4 sides. A stiffer ring means 1 of 2 things are going to happen, the boys will either have to tone down their style taking either fewer or less dramatic bumps, or they are going to have to put up with increased damage to their bodies which will eventually lead to more injuries and potentially increased dependency on pain killers. Neither of these options are a good thing and this alone illustrates how this particular decision should not be made by people in the company who don't have to work in it.
Another factor that no one seems to be aware of is that the 6 Sided ring doesn't shoot as well for television, and TNA Impact Wrestling is becoming more and more a Television wrestling company. Why doesn't is shoot well for TV you ask? Well it's quite obvious if you sit down and think about it a little. When you set the ring up for TV you need to have a clear view from the Hard Camera (the stationary camera used for most if not all distance shoots). To get the best view you have to put a flat side of the ring facing the hard camera. In a square ring you then have flat sides along the right and left side of your TV screen. This allows the majority of your running spots etc. to run side to side on your screen, which is the best angle to shoot most spots.
Taking back drops, doing drop kicks, running ropes etc look best with a side angle view. In a 6 sided ring, you do not have side to side action on your screen. At the right and left side of your TV screen you have ring posts, which means running spots either have to run front to back (a terrible angle most times) or diagonally across your screen. When running spots front to back or diagonally, you have a foreground vs. background issue which changes you perspective a little and it isn't as pleasing to watch because of the constant changing of perspective. In a square ring, things run at right angle, in a 6 sided ring nothing runs at right angles and everything just seems a little of kilter.
This also creates addition issues in tag matches because the tag corners end up being the points most to the side so that heroic baby face we are wanting to see get that hot tag is now standing in profile to the side of the screen instead of facing the hard camera in that standard back right corner. In addition to that disadvantage, with 6 sides each individual side is considerably shorter, so running the middle of the rope still has you considerably closer to the corner post. This eliminates the 2 sides attached to each tag corner for running rope spots because you don't want the guy you are trying to keep from tagging running the ropes 2 feet from his tag corner. Because of this you are now limited to the front and back side running into and away from the hard camera which as I mentioned is the least desirable angle.
If all of that isn't enough there is one more greatly increased danger to the set up of the 6 sided ring vs. the 4. When wrestlers dive out of the ring (a very popular part of wrestling now) where do they usually do it? They usually do it out the side of the ring towards the entrance way. They do this because there is no barricade on that side and the catcher and the diver have so much more room to land safely away from fans and away from the guard rails. It's also the best camera angle to shoot all running type dives. With the 6 sided ring you will remember on the side, where the entrance ramp always is, there is a corner post. Most dives don't go over the corner posts they go over the ropes.
This leaves you 2 options, diving diagonally (in relation to the hard camera) or straight out the front. Neither is as good of a camera angle as that hard camera side view, and because you can't go out the entrance side you now have the barricade around the ring to deal with and a lot less room. Maybe people don't remember all of the crashing into the guard rails we used to see in TNA before they switched to the standard ring, but I sure do. I remember catchers slamming their backs and the backs of their heads into the rails and divers landing with either their shins (on moonsaults) or the back of their knees (on flip dives) hard against the rails. So going back to the 6 sided ring is going to increase the number of bad camera angles we have to shoot the action and increasing the risk of injury to those providing the action.
I guarantee you no one is going to start watching TNA because they got rid of the standard 4 sided ring and went back to the old 6 sided one. Conversely I doubt anyone will stop watching it because of it either. So in the end it won't change business at all, but it will be a stiffer more dangerous ring for the talent to work in and it will make a lot of the action harder to shoot and slightly less appealing to watch. I doubt that was the goal.
P.S. If anyone wants to start bitching that I'm just a TNA basher you need to get your facts straight. I put the X Division over strong when they first started it. I thought giving it the X label rather than a smaller weight class was brilliant. When it was filled with great talent, and featured as the trade mark division in TNA I thought it was awesome. When they had Kevin Nash "running it" and making guys do pogo stick contests in the back I buried it.
When they launched their Knockouts division, with Gail Kim, and Awesome Kong etc. and were kicking the WWE Diva's asses with great matches I put that over and was a big supporter. When they gave us never ending backstage skits where the girls just called each other skanks and whores I hated it. I've always raved about the great talent they've had in their locker room, guys like Chris Daniels, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Bobby Roode, Gail Kim, Mickey James, Awesome Kong etc.
When they debuted Joe as a monster and the crowd was chanting "Joe is going to kill you" I thought it was awesome and stated so. When they booked him in Ultimate X with the story being he was too fat and out of shape to climb the cables I shook my head in disbelief. I raved about how the build to the big Joe vs. Angle matches were some of the best things done in the industry (They tripled buy rates), and conversely I pointed out how ungodly stupid reverse Battle Royals were.
I always call it like I see it; I give credit where credit is due and criticism where criticism is due. Labelling someone as a Hater or Basher does not invalidate their statements, it is just an easy way to ignore what they are saying enabling you to keep your head in the sand.
Check out "Storm Front" & "Storm Warning" my two eBooks for the Kindle. Available at Amazon.com.
If you don't have a Kindle there are free apps for PC, Mac, iPad, iPod, Android, you name it.
Click the Book cover to buy at Amazon.com.
Lance Storm on Twitter!