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 - Sean Rowland

Magnum T.A. debuted in the Mid-South area in late spring or early summer of 1983. There wasn't a tremendous amount of fanfare when he debuted. He came in as pretty much what he had been everywhere else he had wrestled…a solid mid-card worker. He was the type of wrestler who beat the guys he was supposed to beat, and hung on a little longer with the guys he wasn't supposed to beat than was expected. He definitely had the look of a future star. He was big, had a good wrestling build, and was good looking enough to drive the young girls crazy. But, there were a lot of guys like that in wrestling that never made it past the level of gifted jobber. However, there was just some quality that Magnum had that made you think he might make it big someday. While working under his real name, Terry Allen, he had kicked around the Southwest region for Joe Blanchard and then spent some time in Florida, where he was even a tag-team champ with Scott McGhee. But, even though he had a championship reign under his belt, he still hadn't managed to really break out. So, with things in Florida apparently having run their course, T.A.'s next stop was the Mid-South area.

In retrospect, this was probably the perfect move for Magnum. Bill Watts had a history for taking raw, unproven young grapplers and turning them into major stars. Some of the young guys who had really blossomed in the Mid-South area under Watts' guidance were Ted DiBiase, Paul Orndorff, The Junkyard Dog, Butch Reed, Jim Duggan, The Freebirds and many, many more. Watts and his bookers had a knack for seeing what a wrestler's true talents were, and showcasing them. Watts had taken some pure babyfaces in Orndorff, DiBiase, and Reed, and really let them take it to the next level by turning them heel. And, he had taken a couple of guys who started as heels in JYD and Jim Duggan, and pushed them toward stardom by turning them face. He had seen the value of Michael Hayes not as a wrestler, but as a talker, and brought in Buddy Roberts to handle the tag-team wrestling with Terry Gordy, and turned Michael Hayes loose on the mic. And, Magnum was a friend of Dusty Rhodes who was an old friend of Bill Watts. So, he probably got a little consideration there as well. I remember Dusty made quite a few appearances in the area once Magnum showed up. And I have to wonder now if he wasn't there to help keep an eye on his young protégé. But, without some talent of his own, Magnum still wouldn't have made it in Watts' area. Bill Watts was a stern taskmaster and a man who valued the guys who respected the wrestling business in general, and Mid-South wrestling in particular.  More...

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