Thursday, June 19, 2014

Four Sides Good, Six Sides Bad?

C'mon now
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TNA has had a big week, what with a well-reviewed pay-per-view, some high profile returns in Matt Hardy and Tommy Dreamer, and an angle with TNA Hall Of Fame members Team 3D (Bully Ray and the returning Brother Devon) and Dreamer that has had the Internet as buzzed as the Internet can be about the company. Now it seems like they're capping that off with one of the weirdest angles I've seen a promotion run - a campaign for fans to vote to bring back the old six-sided ring for a series of shows in New York. The vote is tallied using the hashtags #6sides or #4sides.

The call to return to the six-sided ring, banished around the time that Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff were brought in as creative consultants, comes at a weird time for the company publically. Only a few weeks ago was AJ Styles, TNA original and recent IGWP Heavyweight Champion, on Chris Jericho's podcast talking about how terrible the six-sided ring is for working. It seems like a few current and former members of the TNA roster have taken to twitter to reiterate Styles' words and protest TNA management's decision to put the move back to the six-sided ring up to a fan vote.

Most notable among the anti-six-sided ring contingent is Austin Aries, who posted a lengthy rant on Twitter yesterday both repeating AJ Styles. He said how hard it is to take a bump in the six-sided ring, and he stated how silly it is that fans are given the power to make this decision when they have no experience in a wrestling ring. He argued that the fans shouldn't be allowed to dictate what wrestlers have to put their bodies through. Also among the wrestlers coming out against the six-sided ring and the campaign itself are former TNA competitor Trent Barretta and current TNA roster member Ethan Carter III, the (kayfabe) nephew of current TNA President Dixie Carter.

That EC3 is among those discussing this is interesting and isn't something that many people are talking about when they've discussed this angle. EC3's twitter is mostly in character, discussing events on television and referring to Carter as “Aunt D” much like how he refers to her on the show. If the campaign is something cooked up by the TNA Board Of Directors presumably Carter would have signed off on it. EC3 has not been critical of her decisions either on TV or on Twitter. Is the fan campaign and subsequent uproar a legitimate thing, or another manufactured event milked for ratings and reactions?

TNA is certainly no stranger to the “worked shoot”, a wrestling storyline designed to seem real and borrow from real world events inside the promotion and wrestling world. Their hot angle last year revolved around the contract dispute Styles had with management, and Bully Ray's fictional feud with Dixie Carter has spilled into the real world recently, after Mr. Ray was pulled from a House Of Hardcore (Tommy Dreamer's wrestling promotion) card. This event lead to Dreamer having some untoward words for Carter on Twitter, and for Carter to ask him to come on TNA for an upcoming taping, which he agreed to.

Could the #6sides campaign be another worked-shoot designed to get people talking about, and interested in, TNA programming? Or is the campaign just another grasp at relevancy that has led to a legitimate roster revolt? TNA's track record with handling wrestler safety isn't exactly spotless, as a quick Google search of the careers of Daffney and Jesse Sorenson can prove, among other horror stories passed around wrestling message boards. Time will tell as we head close to TNA's NYC tapings, where presumably this will all come to a head.