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LaBar: End of TNA Wrestling is near

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Thursday, June 19, 2014, 10:57 p.m.
 

TNA Impact Wrestling on Spike TV is at it again.

It is polling fans to see if they would prefer to keep the traditional four-sided wrestling ring, or switch to the six-sided ring the company made famous.

Poll the fans? Just get the two dozen of them in a room and say, “Hey, what size ring do you guys want?”

Seriously, why ask the fans?

Any fan who has stuck with TNA will watch, regardless if matches are in a wrestling ring or an empty roller-skating rink.

I've heard stories from those who worked for an independent wrestling promotion that couldn't get the ring transported to the venue. It had its matches in an empty roller-skating rink instead. Talk about rock bottom. TNA doesn't seem far from that kind of debacle.

TNA asking fans about which ring to use is counter-productive to their brand, and an issue in which none of the fans should have input.

TNA president Dixie Carter tweeted that the four-sided ring is losing by a landslide in the voting. It's no surprise that those who are voting want the six sides back. Voters will watch TNA until it folds. They're the same fans who chant “TNA, TNA, TNA” during any aerial moves.

When was the last time WWE fans chanted “WWE, WWE, WWE?” They don't, because WWE aims to build individual talent, not have its fans chant the letters while they drink the Kool-Aid.

TNA used a six-sided ring for years. It eventually switched to the standard four sides. The six people flicking through the channels who stumble upon this don't know how to interpret it.

Is this professional wrestling? Is it MMA? Is it something I haven't heard of?

Think of what it's like for someone who isn't a regular pro wrestling viewer that TNA might want to appeal to. It's a sight fans have never seen, which is intimidating. They could watch ESPN or one of several hundred other channels.

TNA was trying to draw new fans. It was trying to be an alternative to what WWE was or wasn't doing. Trouble was, it went beyond the line of being an alternative. People didn't know how to accept it.

Fans shouldn't be allowed to vote on this. The six-sided ring does no favors to the performers. I have been in one before. I'm nowhere near fully trained, but I've learned enough psychology, experienced enough physicality and talked to enough wrestlers to know that a six-sided ring is unnecessary.

Timing in a six-sided ring is much harder. It would be like making an NFL football field a triangle. It changes the angles and speed of the sport. That's not what you want in a genre built on being fluid, and being in communication with others and staying safe. Maintaining balance while standing on the ropes is altered by the structure of the ring.

TNA is beyond saving. Its television deal is up later this year. No new deal has been announced. It had regressed since the last deal was signed.

There are some good people who work for TNA who I like, and I'm glad they can get a paycheck. Sadly, it's a lost cause, and the clock is ticking on its financial survival and relevance.

In some ways, it seems appropriate TNA would bring the six-sided ring back. It would bring back the image of the original company just in time for it to fade away.

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