Posts Tagged ‘Magnum T.A.’

Magnum T.A. was one of the NWA’s biggest stars in the mid-1980s and was a two-time United States Champion. He was also NWA booker Dusty Rhodes’ best friend and is the godfather to Cody Rhodes.

Magnum talked about Cody and AEW as well as his relationship with Dusty on The Payoff Podcast.

“Well, Dusty is my best friend in life. We were tied at the hip. We met down in Florida, and when I was on the underneath-to-the-middle of the card and we traveled together and sang and talked about our dreams and things we wanted to do. We just formed this crazy bond. When he had the book for the Crockett’s [promotion] and had this opportunity there, I mean, I left when my territory was on fire,” Magnum said of leaving Mid-South shortly after a Heavyweight Title reign.

“I was this top star and I left to go help my friend Dusty turn the Mid-Atlantic around and the NWA into what we did with it. I believed in him and I believed in what he and I could do together. So, I was there when Cody was born, and I’m Cody’s real godfather. I was there when he was christened. We just had a really, really special thing that I’ve never had in any other setting with someone that wasn’t family.”

While Dusty was booking for JCP, the promotion continued its national expansion and developed into what would become WCW. Now Cody is helping run his own promotion in AEW and Magnum believes Dusty would be very proud with his son following in his footsteps.

“[Dusty] would be so proud of him, because he mentored his son and invested so much into him that Cody has just been groomed to be where he’s at, do what he’s doing. He’s got a brilliant mind. His talent as a performer is amazing, but more amazing is that entrepreneurial spirit that he has and his ability to be a visionary and see things like his dad did through a different set of lenses,” stated Magnum.

“So, he’s got that unique touch that’s so special. I can’t wait to see what they do. I mean, they made a lot of noise. I’ve been to their first two big events; one in Chicago and the one in Vegas, and the events were amazing. I’m just really interested to see what kind of product they’re able to produce when they start doing episodic television on the Turner station every week and see what that looks like, because it’s going to be a challenge. Doing a big show and putting together a great big production is exciting and bringing all that talent together. Then going out there and doing it week after week with storylines and lots of different folks and the things that can go wrong and people can get hurt and all those kind of things is a real big challenge. So, I’m very excited to see what they do.”

Another way Cody is following in his father’s footsteps is by competing with WWE and Vince McMahon. Dusty did it in the 1980s as a part of JCP and now Cody will be doing the same with AEW. Magnum was asked if Dusty would be happy with his son competing with McMahon.

“I think he would because – It’s funny. For Dusty and I, it was always a war; we had this mentality. It was like The North against The South kind of thing. Vince is up there in the ivory towers and we down there in North Cackalacky [Carolina] with the Crocketts and going toe-to-toe with all these major cities. Dusty loved that competition. He loved it when we’d go to Baltimore or Philly, and they’d be in the same town the same night and we’d be head-to-head going after it,” said Magnum.

“So, yeah, I think he would be loving it. It’s good for the business. Back in the day, Dusty was a huge Boston Celtics fan and we used to just get round and round with Ric [Flair] as he was a Lakers fan, and we just loved that competition. We viewed the WWE kind of like the same thing. It wasn’t that they were bad. It wasn’t a bad organization. It was just competition.”


Impact Wrestling superstar Tessa Blanchard recently spoke with Wrestling Inc. president Raj Giri. As the daughter of wrestling legend Tully Blanchard, Tessa was asked about her experiences growing up in a wrestling household. Blanchard told Giri that her father retired before she was born, but she did see him wrestle once and admitted it was a scary experience. She also had the opportunity to meet other wrestlers when she attended WWE shows.

“Well, I’m 22 years old now. My dad was out of wrestling before I was even born. Then, when I was younger my dad had come out of retirement so I was present for one of his matches. We were in New Bern, North Carolina, and I don’t even remember how old I was, but I was a little girl,” Blanchard said. “I remember being scared because my dad had bled in that match and that was my first–I think that was my first experience to see my dad in the ring, which scared me considering I was a little girl, but I also remember going backstage to a RAW and SmackDown meeting Hulk Hogan and Triple H. I didn’t really understand because I was so young, but looking back now, those were amazing memories.”

Blanchard revealed that she initially didn’t tell her father or any of her family that she planned on pursuing a professional wrestling career. She was estranged from them at the time and admits that she wasn’t in a good place in her life. Finding a wrestling school to join was her outlet, and she instantly fell in love. Her stepfather Magnum T.A. was the first to see her wrestle and he gave her advice that she still follows to this day.

“I actually got into pro wrestling without even telling my dad or anyone in my family for that matter. It was probably around 2012, the year that my dad was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. I think that trip to Miami, Florida planted the seed that perhaps this is the thing that I wanted to do. My brothers and sisters all went to Miami with my dad, but they were all interested in checking out the beaches, or cool restaurants, but I was like, Dad, can I wake up at 5 a.m. and go check out WWE Axxess with you? That stuff intrigued me and being around people that work for WWE at the time, and being around people who are part of the roster, just being exposed to that was very unique for me. That was the trip that planted the seed,” Blanchard said. “Fast forward to when I turned 18 and I got kicked out of my house and I lived on my own for a year and during that year I didn’t speak to my family too often – in fact, I did not speak to them at all. I was probably heading down to a not-so-awesome path. I remember waking up and I asked myself what I was doing. I don’t know what it was exactly, I don’t really remember but something made me look up a wrestling school. I found out that Highspots was about 20-25 minutes to where I was living at the time. I went there and spoke with the owner of Highspots, and I told them that I wanted to be a pro wrestler. They had me watch a training that day with Cedric Alexander and George South were all in the ring, and they ended up pulling me into the ring and had me run the ropes and taking bumps. I remember it hurt so bad but I loved it, I loved it so much.

“I remember it was like three or four months in they came back and said that I couldn’t train here anymore because I know who your dad is and that he doesn’t know you were training,” she continued. “I didn’t want him to think that we were hiding something from him, so I was like, no, I will handle it, don’t worry about it. I remember calling my dad and my stepdad [Magnum T.A.]. I remember telling my step-dad because he lived in Charlotte, North Carolina–well, they still live there, but I told him, ‘hey, I am training to wrestle. It’s about 20 minutes to where you guys live and I wanted him to come and check it out.’ That week he didn’t come, but the week after that he did, and I got super excited to when he came in, as well as my brother. I told Cedric [Alexander] that let’s do our thing, to get in the ring and train and to do our spots. I remember my step-dad coming through the turnbuckle and we were talking for a moment; he was like, ‘Okay Tessa, you are not good, but you have got it. You just have to go out there and become undeniable.’ That is where my #Undeniable hashtag came along, but also that was how I told my family that I was wrestling.”

Giri also asked Blanchard about whether coming from such a rich wrestling pedigree raises expectations for her. She explained that while she embraces the pressure of living up to her family name, she also wants create her own legacy.

“Yes and no. I always say that it is a blessing and a curse. I am very–I feel very honored and blessed to carry on our family name and legacy in the business, but also, I want to forge my own path at the same time,” she said. “I always say, it does add pressure and that extra weight on my shoulders to be the best to do my grandpa [Joe Blanchard], my dad and stepdad proud. That type of pressure is what drives me. It drives me toward my purpose if that makes sense.”

Magnum TA was recently a guest on The Ross Report podcast and he spoke about his stepdaughter Tessa Blanchard. TA had a feud with her father and Four Horsemen member Tully Blanchard in the 1980’s when they wrestled in NWA and said the best quality Tessa shares with him is her positive attitude.

“Tully [Blanchard] and I can sit together in front of a crowd, doing a Q&A today and just be right back in synch to where we were 30 years ago. He is such a professional and we just had great chemistry all around,” TA said. “Tessa [Blanchard] inherited that quality, that intangible thing that you either have or don’t, and she also has a passion for this thing called wrestling that her Dad, Grandfather and I are in love with and she is destined for great things. She really tries to stay positive, focused and always tries to be the best that she can be and bring out the best in others. I am just really proud of her as well as her mother is too.”

Tessa Blanchard wrestled in the Mae Young Classic over the summer, losing to eventual winner Kairi Sane in the first round. TA said he was very proud of how well she performed in the tournament. He believes she will only continue to get better as she moves forward in her wrestling career.

“The match I saw her do at the Mae Young Classic was the best piece of work that I had seen her do to date. I know the person she was in the ring with was a seasoned pro, but I know Tessa was assertive, believable and charismatic that I always want to see come together for her,” TA said. “She comes from the right sheet of cloth and I think that she has her days when it is hard with her patience because she looks around and is hungry, but she just continues to fine tune this machine. She also knows that she can get much better than she is today. She knows that she will only improve with time, she is just anxious for it.”

Blanchard is currently dating widely-popular indie wrestler Ricochet. TA said the use of social media is one of the biggest differences between wrestling today and wrestling in the 1980’s. Ricochet has successfully used social media to grow his popularity among wrestling fans to allow him to make a good living while working the independent circuit.

“Ricochet is doing well, I can tell you, he is doing really well. He is probably on top of the indie scene on the pay scale of what he is able to yield,” TA said. “Tessa, for the length of time she has been in the industry, makes a living, and she doesn’t have to go out seven days a week like we were having to do back in the day, but it’s such a different era with social media and social networking and being able to market yourself and using these tools that they have available to them is genius, and if you don’t believe it’s mainstream, that is one of the reasons why The Rock is one of the most popular actors in the industry because of his ongoing push of the projects he is involved in, he is networking it all around the world because of his social media and everything that he works on is the golden touch before the studio advertises it.”