During a recent edition of Grilling JR, Jim Ross and Conrad Thompson discussed Magnum TA’s car accident in 1986. Ross also discussed whether the Two-Time NWA United States Heavyweight Champion would’ve signed with WWE or not, and more. Check out what Good Ole’ JR had to say.
On plans for Magnum TA to face Flair for the NWA title at Starrcade:
“To me, it was just a no-brainer. He was over, he was on a roll, he was young, and it wasn’t so much about Ric [Flair]. It was just about giving a different perspective to the championship. Because as long as Ric could perform at any level, he was gonna be in the picture. So, it wasn’t about Ric. You want to build new stars, and what better way to build a star than to anoint him at your biggest event of the year to beat the No. 1 guy in the entire world? That’s how you get somebody over. He beats him, and he’s the new champion. Now, you run with that.”
On receiving the news of Magnum’s car accident in ‘86:
“It was horrible. I wanted to think it couldn’t be accurate. It was one of those rumors. You wanted to think it can’t be true. It can’t be as tragic as been reported. We had heard about the vertebrae and him being in danger of not being able to walk at all. There was a time there early on where it was kind of touch-and-go. You just didn’t want to believe it. I think something special was taken out of the business that night. It just seemed like we had lost something we couldn’t replace. If you go back and look at it, here’s what he had accomplished, and he was 27. It was scary. I believe he would’ve been the NWA Champion, and unless politics or some other crazy thing reared its ugly head, he would be the NWA Champion for a long time to come. I just didn’t want to believe what happened. I remember the first time I saw him, I don’t remember where it was. You see this guy who’s this bigger-than-life character – tall and strong and smiling, and he just didn’t look like the same human being. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, and you never know when you’re gonna get a bad hand dealt to you. That’s what Terry Allen did – he got an awfully bad hand handed to him.”
On why he believes Magnum would’ve signed with WWE:
“It would’ve been very challenging to keep him away from Vince. My senses are that Magnum TA would’ve ended up in the WWF simply because of the mathematics involved. Vince would’ve paid him a tremendous amount of money to sign. He would’ve been a combination of Bret Hart and maybe Bob Backlund – a babyface champion that could wrestle. And he had those fiery promos. He was big size-wise, so he checked Vince’s boxes there. I don’t think it’s something he would’ve wanted to do, but it’s something he would’ve been compelled to do because of the money. Again, he would’ve been NWA Champion at 27. So, yeah, I think he would’ve been there and been a Hall of Famer.”
(H/T and transcribed by 411Mania)