Magnum T.A.: A Bright Future Cut Short | Smark Out Moment

Magnum T.A.: A Bright Future Cut Short

Posted by Unknown Monday, March 13, 2017
Magnum T.A. is a name in the world of professional wrestling many of you may have not heard of, although he could have very easily shaped the very foundations of the business we have today as he was a pioneer in many aspects.

I discovered him very recently after working through the "100 Greatest Matches to See Before You Die" feature on Ranked fairly highly at #30 was an I Quit Cage Match between Tully Blanchard and Magnum T.A. The first thing that intrigued me to this match was I didn't realize they were doing "I Quit" matches back in 1985. I thought it was more of a '90s gimmick match.

Magnum TA Tully Blanchard I Quit Match
Magnum T.A. V Tully Blanchard - I Quit Cage Match

The second thing that struck me as strange was I had never heard of these names before. Even being ranked so high up on this list, they were not mentioned anywhere else among names like Bret Hart, Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, The Rock, Chris Jericho, Hulk Hogan, Rob Van Dam, Ric Flair (and amusingly, Scotty 2 Hotty).

Despite my unfamiliarity, I gave it a watch and I was blown away. This match was ahead of its time and would have easily fitted in a mid-90s ECW or even an Attitude Era pay-per-view. Both men were screaming down the microphone each time they were asked to give up, which gave a very real feel to the match and sent shivers down my spine each time they were hollering in pain with blood pouring down their face.

It was a fantastic match, especially as Blanchard played the heel role down to a tee. I also could not believe how over Magnum was as a babyface. The fans were shrieking every time he got in some offense. The finish is great too—it takes a stake to get one of the guys to submit. I won't spoil much of the match for you as everyone should go check this one out for themselves.

Magnum T.A. US Title
Magnum T.A. with the U.S. title 
With how over Magnum T.A. was, I thought I would look into a bit of history of him. He had a great look and build, so why had I never heard about him when he was getting the same crowd reaction as '90s babyface Shawn Michaels? Doing some research and asking on a few forums, I found out Magnum did have somewhat of a cult following. He retired a year after this match and many respected him with what he achieved in his short time in wrestling. So why retire so soon, after he was clearly popping the crowd?

First off, let's get a bit of back story of his career. He was part of the NWA territories in the early '80s, eventually winning the United States Tag Team titles. He started getting over with the ladies as well as the men and took up an early heartthrob character, changing his name from Terry Allen to Magnum T.A. Why Magnum T.A. you ask? Well, with his mustache and muscular physique he had a resemblance the '80s icon Tom Selleck, who was famous for his role in Magnum P.I. Andre the Giant suggested Magnum (Terry Allen) should adopt his own initials at the end instead, and so, Magnum T.A. was born!

Dusty Rhodes Magnum TA
Magnum TA & 'The American Dream' Dusty Rhodes
In 1984, he joined Jim Crockett Productions. Here he had his rise to fame. He won the United States Heavyweight Championship in 1985 and successfully defended against Kamala at an early Great American Bash. He then began feuding with a little known wrestling stable known as the Four Horseman! He lost the United States title in a feud with Tully Blanchard and regained it back in the aforementioned I Quit Match at NWA Starrcade 1985.

He was so over he got a title match with Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship for the main event of AWA SuperClash 85, which went well over 20 minutes. Magnum was slowly being groomed for the World Heavyweight Championship picture, but it was not to be.

Unfortunately while driving home in the rain late in 1985, only a few miles away from his home, Terry had a car accident. He was not treated until a witness saw him two hours later. It was a miracle he could even walk again after months of treatment.

That was it for wrestling and Terry, who had a few spells as a manager and commentator over the next few decades. In 2007, he was recognized as a legend and former United States champion in his one and only WWE appearance as Magnum T.A. at Vengeance: Night of Champions. He now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with his family where he builds aircraft parts for a living. He is also godfather to Cody Rhodes after being long term friends with the late and great Dusty Rhodes.

He had a fantastic run and could have easily become one of the biggest names in wrestling history. Because of this, it's about time Terry gets recognized for what he did achieve in the industry. Do yourself a favor and take 20 minutes out of your day to watch an outstanding performer in a revolutionary match. He also had a great "best of seven series" set of matches against Nikita Koloff which you should also try to check out if you get a chance.

What are your thoughts on Magnum T.A. and his contributions to the professional wrestling industry? Be sure to leave a comment below to keep the discussion going on this often overlooked legend!

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