NWA legend Magnum T.A. sat down with hosts Bill Apter and Josh Shernoff of The Apter Chat and opened up about a number of professional wrestling related topics. The former NWA U.S. Champion chatted about his stepdaughter Tessa Blanchard, the NWA, Billy Corgan, Roman Reigns & even talks about how he may have fit in during the Attitude Era.
On His Stepdaughter Tessa Blanchard:
Tessa is, as I told her many many years ago – it’s been almost five years since she started, Tessa has had that ‘it’ factor since she was young and that special intangible about a young woman that you just see something special in and until she found wrestling, she didn’t really have something to put that whole package together with, but when she found something that she loved and that she had a passion for and then combined that untapped charisma of hers, I knew that it was gonna be something that was gonna take on a life of her own. She’s worked her rear end off. She’s got as good a work ethic as her dad, either one [he and Tully Blanchard] had, and we prided ourselves working as hard or harder than anyone else we were surrounded by and that has done nothing but take her, in giant steps, up to the front of the class where she’s gotten recognition that’s really unheralded for someone with the amount of matches she’s had.
On Tessa Blanchard One Day Being Seen As The Front Runner Of Women’s Evolution:
I think that if she stays on the track that she’s on now, that within two to three years that she could be the hottest commodity outside of the WWE Universe going, much like Kenny Omega is viewed today on the male side of that. I really see that in her future. There’s only two things that can keep that from happening and they both involve her: if she somehow lost her passion and her love and her burning desire to be the best then she might not realize all that she can be. Secondly, and the one thing we all hope and pray never happens to anyone, is that she remains injury free because you’ve got to be durable in this industry. You’ve got to be able to take the grind and continue to improve yourself and recover and heal and go on and give the next five star performance and that’s a tough gig, but she’s only 23 years old. She’s got youth on her side….I told her, ‘Make yourself so good, that they can’t deny what you should be and not because of your name, not because of anything anybody else says, but because you’re just recognized as being that doggone good that they can’t deny it.’ She’s using that and dug into that. She doesn’t come from an easy silver spoon in her mouth kind of background. She’s worked hard since she was a young girl and has always had this great work ethic. I support her. I support anyone that follows their dreams and has a love and a passion for something they can make their mark and make a mark in the industry and make a living and make money because at the end of the day, you can’t do something for free. It’s gotta be something that pays the bills and brings home the bacon; but, really, the sky is the limit. She’s 5’4, 5’5. She’s not a giant, but neither is Rey Mysterio. Does she fly like Rey Mysterio now? No, but she hadn’t lifted the first weight in her life until she was 19 years old and what she’s done and built herself into now with squats at 225 pounds and handles weights that a lot of men can’t handle. She’s got absolutely everything in the world going for her in that regard. The sky is really the limit….the only person that can take Tessa out of this game and out of this ride that she’s on, is her and she’s not gonna do that because she’s got that iron will determination just like we all had to have back in the day to be successful and she’s implementing that. It’s not just the talk. She’s walking the walk and talking the talk.
On Attending NWA 70:
It was really special, kinda like a homecoming of sorts. There was lots of other faces I would have loved to have seen there and shared stories with, but being there with Dory Funk, Jr and Mil Mascaras and Road Warrior Animal and Cody, of course, there to defend the NWA World Title, it was just a really special event all the way around. It was just by pure chance that I got to be a part of it at the last minute. J.J. Dillon was slated to be there and had an untimely incident take place that made it impossible for him to attend and it opened the door and I made the trip and got to be there and the fans were so gracious and kind and made me feel like they remembered from thirty something years ago what my part is in the game back then. It was nice because there’s so much heritage that we were so rich and adamant in defending and building up and protecting that back in the late 70s and the 80s into the 90s.
On Billy Corgan:
I think Billy Corgan is a smart man and he’s gonna think outside the box. I don’t think he’s got any delusions with going out there and trying to compete with the big machine that the WWE Universe is. That’s not even remotely in his thought process. It doesn’t have to be and honestly, I would go and get with Triple H and see if he didn’t want to support the grassroots and I wouldn’t be so surprised if he wouldn’t embrace trying to formulate it. Maybe he’d want a say so in getting it all done, but use it in a way to bridge all those gaps together, so the WWE would have even greater opportunity to use that talent down the road.
On Advice He Would Give Billy Corgan:
Someone’s got to build bridges between all these independent organizations and that’s what I see, potentially, the NWA to be. Where once we had all these territories that all had their own champion and then the NWA Champion would make the loop and come around work in your territory or go to Japan or go to New Zealand or go to wherever and wrestle their top guy….today somebody has got to be strategic enough to make everybody together feel like they’ve got a piece of the pie and they’re not gonna be undermined and there’s not gonna be some type of tom foolery where someone trying to create a power struggle that somehow get back in the environment where the champion can somehow go to Ring of Honor, make appearances on IMPACT and Japan and over here, go all these places like they did without it being a threat, where it’s a value added and not something they have to pay for like the old days with the NWA getting 10% of the gate. Not making it a money monster. Get the brand back to where it makes money in and of itself, just the name. Then everybody makes money when you create this perception of the governing body and the heritage of it and all these things….that’s the only way it would ever work…..If I were Billy, I would be trying to form relationships with folks frankly that probably aren’t that easy to form relationships with. It may take a team of people. It may take several years for it to grow where it has the potential to be, but it’s got to start somewhere.
On How He Would Have Fit In During The Attitude Era:
The Attitude Era would have started earlier [had he continued wrestling]. I can tell you write now. We were blazing down that trail….if Jimmy hadn’t lost control of that ship. If you think about the violent confrontations and the things we were portraying…hands down, not even question had the tide not go the way it did and we could would have, should have, could have ourselves to death. The fact is the Crockett’s had the whole world built around me and they didn’t have a plan B. I was gonna be their champion. They wanted Flair to be their Jack Nicklaus, their Golden Bear. Those were the words right out of Jimmy Crockett’s mouth. They wanted him to be the elder spokesperson because he was 10 years older than me and they wanted a completely different new look to the champion. So when Magnum, untimely 27 years old gets laid out and out of the game completely, they went – we had great momentum going, we were doing sell out business – and they went bazoody buying all these guys with the big ticket contracts to keep it all going. Well, if that was the direction things had gone, I would have hands down wanted to be involved with Vince’s organization. Steve Austin‘s character was nothing more than a modern version of me with no hair and drinking beer in public instead of in the cars and airplanes going down the road. Seriously, he just got to have a ball and I would have absolutely loved that. I would have loved to work with him and Triple H and Shawn Michaels and that whole crew of people and that would have been right in my time to do it.
On Roman Reigns’ Leukemia Announcement:
So sad the announcement with Roman Reigns just choked me up. Somebody was saying, ‘What does it make you feel like?’ I know exactly what it feels like. I’ve been right there and this kid’s in a fight for his life. My heart goes out to him. My prayers go out for him and his family and it’s become real real quick. I can tell you like I posted today online and no kidding – the hero that he portrayed was bigger than life, but the speech he made on RAW made him the biggest hero on the planet to me because he stepped up and he was a man. He handled that better than anybody could ever be asked to handle such a task and I just hope that he’s able to make a comeback from it like he did 11 years ago when he had his first bout with it, that he can overcome it again.
(Transcription Credit: Michael McClead, WrestleZone)
Readers can listen to the Magnum T.A. interview in its entirety below: