Magnum TA: NWA Legend and Future WWE Hall of Famer?

Tom ClarkFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2011

“What can I say abut this man that hasn’t already been said? He’s one of the best this industry has ever known, and the best friend I’ve ever had. We traveled the roads for so many years, back when he fist came to Jim Crockett Promotions he was young, good lookin’, had all the talent and charisma in the world.

It’s been said amongst the fans, that I took him under my wing, and taught him the business. But make no mistake about it, he taught me more, gave me more, during those days, than I ever gave him. He was built, inside and out, for this business. And when he won his first of five NWA World Heavyweight Championships, he proved to the rest of the world that he is truly one of the all time greats.

Add to that his four WWE World Titles, and being the first Undisputed World Champion, and his legacy in our sport is solidified. His name will not go down in history next to the name of Dusty Rhodes, The American Dream—he is so much better, and occupies a level all his own. He deserves this great honor, and I am blessed to be the one to give it to him.

He is the godfather of my son, Cody, and he is my best friend. For everything he has done, and means, to this business, it is with pride and joy that I induct him into the Hall Of Fame. Ladies and gentlemen, Magnum TA.”

As we all know, this Hall Of Fame induction speech never happened. Magnum TA’s career, unfortunately, came to an abrupt end very early on.

But the question of “what if” has been discussed in pro wrestling fan circles for years. “What if” Magnum had never crashed his 911 Porsche that day in Charlotte? “What if” it had not been Nikita Koloff that then received the push for Ric Flair’s NWA World Title, but Magnum, who was, by all rights, the next in line? It’s a compelling debate, and one that continues today.

The thing I remember most about Magnum during those days was his intensity. While the female fans were looking into his eyes and melting from his Tom Selleck good looks, I saw a determination in his eyes, an intense aggression that fueled his character.

He was young, hungry and had everything that it takes to be a success in the business. He had the look, he had the in ring skills, and fans could relate to him. He was down to earth, a blue collar wrestler who rode a Harley Davidson and dressed in denim jeans and a t-shirt. He was a fan favorite not just because he said all the right things on the mic, but also because of his all-out never back down attitude.

All of this; his image, his look, his work ethic, all of these things were magnified thanks to the man who was his tag team partner from the moment he set foot in the NWA, Dusty Rhodes.

Dusty Rhodes was the epitome of what hard work and huge charisma means in this business. Fans loved Dusty because when they looked at him, they saw a normal guy who was tough as nails, and told it like it was.

When the corporate entity of The Four Horsemen began its “takeover” of Jim Crockett Promotions, Dusty was the one who took the fight to them, leading to arguably the greatest feud in pro wrestling history.

Pairing Dusty with Magnum as America’s Team, was a prime example of the right move at the right time. Dusty’s charisma and fierce determination rubbed off on Magnum and it wasn’t long before Magnum’s talent in the ring began to shine through, propelling him to the top of the NWA.

Of course, you are only as good as the talent you’re in the ring with, and Magnum shared the squared circle with some of the best the NWA had to offer, like Tully Blanchard.

Tully was one of the most cocky, arrogant heels this business has ever seen, and his attitude was the perfect opposite of Magnum TA. When fans talk about the bloodiest, most hard fought matches of all time, Magnum and Tully’s I Quit match at Starrcade 85 is most definitely on the list. The hatred between these two was palpable, every time they were in the ring, it was nothing short of war.

But as intense and brutal as this feud was, another battle soon began with another polar opposite--a Russian tank named Nikita Koloff.

The Cold War was fought in a wrestling ring in 1985, and did big business. Magnum’s best of seven series with The Russian Nightmare for the United States Heavyweight Championship is another classic moment in the sport. Nikita represented the scary threat of nuclear war and Magnum was the lone American hero who stood up and faced the red menace one on one.

But all of this—all of it—would never have been if not for the man who put Magnum TA on the map, the man who made the fans believe that not only was he a contender, but that he was on his way to becoming “The Man.”

If Magnum TA was one side of the coin, then Ric Flair was the other.

Ric Flair. The NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion. The greatest of all time. Dressed to the hilt in his custom made three piece suit, gold Rolex watch and alligator shoes, Ric was Magnum’s perfect opponent. Their contrast in lifestyles and attitude provided more than enough heat to carry their feud to the forefront of anything else any other promotion could run at the time. Ric made a career out of making guys look better than they ever could with anyone else, and Magnum more than stepped up to carry his part.

Anyone who followed Magnum during those days knew that he was on his way to the top. He was the next in line for World Title glory. It was no secret, Magnum had arrived, and had done everything asked of him. He had the talent. He had the charisma. He had the fans and he had the push.

Magnum TA was everything in the ring, and out of it, that Hogan was not. With Magnum as World Champion, Hogan’s days as being the most marketable face of this business were over.

But as we all know that came to an end on October 14, 1986.

It was a terrible moment for Jim Crockett Promotions, the demise of one of its top stars. Imagine if Michael Jordan had a career ending injury a week before he won his first NBA Championship. What would have happened to the NBA afterward?

Magnum’s accident hurt business in the NWA and caused all of the storylines to shift in another direction. Nikita turned baby and took Magnum’s spot next to Dusty as The Superpowers. Ric went on to doing what he did best, carrying the banner of the NWA, a banner that was supposed to be shared with a man who was, for all intents and purposes, the heir apparent.

What could have been? A question that has plagued fans like myself for years. I was 13 when Magnum nearly lost his life, and as a fan I feel the same sadness today that I felt on that day. Thankfully, he did survive and hopefully has made peace with “what if” and has had a good life since then. He was one of the best I’ve ever seen, and I will always remember those days as being the greatest time of my life as a fan.

This stroll down memory lane is done in humble tribute to the man who not only carved out his own place in pro wrestling, but who also possibly deserves another place--in The Hall Of Fame?

Whether or not Magnum’s career was long enough to even warrant consideration is up for debate. Then again, if a guy like Pete Rose, who never had a career in wrestling, can get in, publicity stunt or not, perhaps that question has already been answered.

As for myself, I’m ready for Dusty’s induction speech. And if the day comes that I finally hear it, I will be the first on my feet to applaud the man who gave so much to the business and his fans. So, Magnum Terry Allen, here’s to you, my friend. And though you’ve undoubtedly heard it a million times…thanks for the memories.