Last week, I asked you take take a journey through a hypothetical "What If?" scenario involving Ric Flair signing with WWF, instead of NWA. This week, the Underrated and Under Appreciated Wrestler Series heads back down south to NWA to take a look at the man involved in the biggest "What if?" in the history of professional wrestling: Magnum T.A.
On October 14, 1986, the wrestling world suffered another one of it's great many tragedies. While driving near his home in the rain, Magnum T.A. lost control of his car, subsequently impacting with a telephone pole.
At the age of 26, Magnum's short but illustrious career would come to an end due to the injuries sustained in the accident. As a result of this, he has become not much more than a footnote in the minds of many fans.
Before the accident, Magnum was a star on the precipice of super stardom. Outside of Dusty Rhodes (and he was rivaling even him), there was no bigger face working for NWA than Magnum. If you were to build the ideal professional wrestler from the ground up, you would end up with Magnum. He had the looks (it was the 80's), the charisma, and the in-ring skill to be the South's response to Hulkamania (except more talented).
NWA was well aware of this, and was in the process of booking him to upset Ric Flair and become the NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
Unfortunately for Magnum, the body of work he did leave behind gets lost in all the prognosticating about what could have been. Magnum's career before his accident has more worth and great works within it than 95% of the wrestlers who have made it to the top stages of professional wrestling...despite having very little time to accomplish it in.
Magnum's work in Mid-South Wrestling and NWA consisted of great matches and feuds with the likes of Mr. Wrestling II (his mentor), Tully Blanchard, Ric Flair, and the Koloffs (Ivan and Nikita). Amongst the highlights of this work was a 30-minute Iron Match with Ric Flair (a sign of things that were to come) and the infamous "I Quit" match with Tully Blanchard at Starrcade '85 (that I won't go into again).
The potential that Magnum T.A. possessed was second to none. The sky was truly the limit for him. The missed possibilities of NWA with Magnum T.A. at the top, will forever be one of professional wrestling's great hypothetical questions. It's important though, to recognize the brilliance that was the body of work he left behind.
Matches of Magnum T.A.:
Cagesiders, what are your thoughts on the career and potential of Magnum T.A.?
Next week, Underrated and Under Appreciated is going to have a little fun and look at someone who is significantly overrated.