Following on from my previous article, read here, concerning British Boot Camp I thought it would be nice to keep a Britannia vibe going. Hey, maybe I could copy Bill Bryson and call it Wrestlers From A Small Island. Joking aside I realize a lot has already been wrote about Magnus in regards to his title reign allegedly being a flop etc. Whether that be true or not and I will be covering it, I am thinking more long term for the man from Norfolk because the rise of Magnus has only just begun.
When Magnus debuted on 5th February 2009 Impact I like most people were fairly nonplussed by his debut. Sporting the whole modern day gladiator gimmick and entrancing to what sounded like Trytan’s, remember him?, old music one was left rather underwhelmed by the debut of “Brutus” Magnus. Thankfully they dropped the Brutus part in time. Aesthetically Magnus ticked all the boxes one looks for in a pro wrestler. Tall, muscular, handsome and athletic but in the ring he was still very much new to the TNA style.
From around Spring 2009 until 2011 TNA smartly paired Magnus with the far more experienced Doug Williams and along with Rob Terry formed the British Invasion. It was during this period that Magnus was able to gain more ring time without having to carry the burden of all the match. Having an experienced hand like Williams around saw Magnus not only grow in the ring but also grow as a character as by 2011, in a wildcard tournament, TNA teamed him with Samoa Joe. Showing real charisma whilst teaming with Joe it wasn’t long before a split and feud occurred between the 2 taking in choice efforts at Bound For Glory and a No DQ match at Turning Point.
An ill advised face turn upon a 2 month hiatus due to injury held Magnus in the middle of the pack until some vented anger lead to a match with Sting at Bound For Glory 2013. The match itself was decent and tried to tell the story of the young and old lion…..much like Flair and Sting 20+ years before them. Unfortunately the shock finish on the night, Sting tapped cleanly to the Kings Lynn Cloverleaf, stunned fans into silence which lead to an odd atmosphere as Magnus celebrated and refused to properly acknowledge Sting…….the seeds for a heel turn were being sewn.
Indeed following Bound For Glory Magnus defeated Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle before finally beating Jeff Hardy, on the Impact Final Resolution special, to capture the vacant TNA World Title. In the process Magnus aligned himself with Team Dixie, why does TNA always do that?, fully completing the heel turn. Unifying the titles after beating AJ Styles, in what would be Styles last match in TNA, in a bout which aired on January 9th, Magnus was officially TNA’s top dog.
As I wrote earlier lots has been wrote/said about Magnus title run being a failure but I simply just don’t think it was. Was TNA different under Magnus’ reign? Of course it was…..name any promotion that can lose star names like Hulk Hogan, Sting and AJ Styles while remaining the same on TV? TNA was in a transition period and Magnus held the fort while TNA tried to establish new acts. More importantly ratings for Impact held steady most weeks around the 1 million mark and even hitting the 1.5 million number in January. Add to that a well received match with Samoa Joe at Lockdown, no you can’t blame Magnus for the booking of the Abyss coming through the ring ending, and it’s hard to see why people deem Magnus title run a failure. When the time came, Magnus lost the title cleanly to Eric Young on the April 10th Impact and put Young over cleanly again in a choice match at Sacrifice. Far more important on the night was Magnus promo, in which he predicted with real self belief that Magnus genuinely thought he was going to win. In leaving the world title picture Magnus could not have done anymore to put the new champ over. TNA had made the transition from the Sting/Hogan era and Magnus had done is job to perfection in helping keep TNA afloat while creative chose a new direction.
Moving into a tag team with new partner/old friend Bram has seen Magnus revert to his old British Invasion fighter gimmick and a possible run at the tag titles. The thought of a match between the Wolves and Magnus/Bram has 5 star wrote all over it. Further down the line a potential split and feud with Bram will be amazing viewing. These 2 have real chemistry together and while Bram plays flat out crazy well it contrasts beautifully with the more reserved nature of Magnus. Some have suggested Bound For Glory as a possible target but ideally I would like it to be next year. Let the combo flourish and explore all avenues before breaking them up…..it’s a tried and tested formula that works.
At only 26 years old Magnus has plenty of years ahead of him and TNA thus have no need to rush him. They already know he can hold the title well if need be but I would like to see his next reign be more of a permanent stay at the top. Obviously no one can be champion all the time, wrestling just doesn’t work like that, but I would like to see Magnus become a staple of the TNA headline crew.
TNA are on to a good thing with Magnus and just need to let him grow as a performer. Outside of the ring, the real life Nick Aldis is intelligent and articulate and carries himself with real aplomb during interviews. With looks and youth on his side he could easily be the face on which TNA builds its brand upon, especially with such a huge following in the UK. Magnus is a perfect example of a pro wrestler and all TNA has to do is just book him accordingly and the rest will naturally evolve. In a profession where the almighty $ rules Magnus = money.
Please comment below
Follow me on Twitter @mcnm1981