The synthesis of a new series of free-base, NiII and ZnII 2,3,12,13-tetra(ethynyl)-5,10,15,20-tetraphenyl porphyrins is described. Upon heating, two of the four ethynyl moieties undergo Bergman cyclization to afford the monocyclized 2,3-diethynyl-5,20-diphenylpiceno[10,11,12,13,14,15-jklmn]porphyrin in 30 %, 10 %, and trace yields, respectively. The structures of all products were investigated by using quantum chemical calculations and the free-base analogue was isolated and crystallized; all compounds show significant deviation from the idealized planar structure. No fully-cyclized bispiceno[20,1,2,3,4,5,10,11,12,13,14,15-fghij]porphyrin was isolated from the reaction mixture. To understand why only two of the four enthynyl groups undergo Bergman cyclization, the reaction coordinates were examined by using DFT at the PWPW91/cc-pVTZ(-f) level coupled to a continuum solvation model. The barrier to cyclization of the second pair of ethynyl groups was found to be 5.5 kcal mol−1 higher than the first, suggesting a negative cooperative effect and significantly slower rate for the second cyclization. Cyclization reactions for model porphyrin–enediynes with ethene- and H-functionality substitutions at the meso-phenyl rings were also examined, and found to have a similar barrier to diradical formation for the second cyclization event as for the first in these highly planar molecules. By enforcing an artificial 30° cant in two of the pyrrole rings of the porphyrin, the second barrier was increased by 2 kcal mol−1 in the ethene model system; this suggests that the disruption of the π conjugation of the extended porphyrin structure is the cause of the increased barrier to the second cyclization event.