Magnum T.A. on “I Never Quit: The Magnum T.A. Story”

Nov 15, 2016 - by Steve Gerweck

filed to GERWECK.NET:

Recap of Magnum T.A. on In Your Head Wrestling Radio, 11/08/2016

by Vic Schiavone

Host Jack E. Jones welcomed wrestling legend Magnum T.A. to IYH Wrestling Radio
to discuss the new HighSpots documentary “I Never Quit – The Magnum T.A. story.”

Highlights included the following:

 “I Never Quit: The Magnum T.A. Story”: How did the project come about?

“They (HighSpots) just came to me and said it’s going to be 30 years after the fact;
we want to see where you’re at today and what life’s been like. It’s a continuation of
the story, because so many people don’t know what’s going on in my life or anything
else, and I said well that’s cool. We can do that if you want to spend the time and
invest to do that and they did, so that’s how it ended up happening.”

 Was there any particular message that you yourself wanted to say in this

“It wasn’t so much a message as it was a health check for the world, to say hey, I
have not just maintained but I’ve had a good life. The cards that I was dealt and the things that I went through, some people would have considered just really overwhelming and life would’ve just taken on a very sour note, kind of lackluster, and oh poor, pitiful me, think what should have been, and all that kind of good stuff. I didn’t want to have that kind of message. I was wanting to put something positive out there as a word of encouragement and a giving back of thanks to the fans that have supported me so much over the years.”

 Was it hard at all to have the documentary showing your physical problems?

“Well, you know, that’s my everyday life. 30 years ago, looking at that and portraying that to the world, yeah, that would have been hard. But, 30 years of dealing with it and that being the reality of what I am faced with is really more of a…look, it’s not easy. But life’s not easy. You’ve got to take the best that you can do with the hand that you’ve been dealt no matter what it is in life. Everybody can relate to hard times, tough adversities and challenges, and things that don’t have the classical storybook ending, so to speak. That is the realism and the reality of it that I wanted them to see. Because we can live in the magic and the glitz and the glamour of the things we portrayed in the ring and the things we did that were so memorable and so much fun to do and so entertaining, but if you don’t apply the same work ethic that we did to try to be the best of the best at what we did in your everyday life and in your everyday challenges, then it’s all a bunch of fufu stuff. I didn’t want them to think that the things that I said early on after my accident and the perseverance and the things that I spoke to and of and my commitment to being the best that I could be had ever been anything less than that. You really can’t tell that until you’ve been through the test of time. The rubber has met the asphalt, and were you able to walk the walk or did you just talk the talk.”

 Do you think that your street-smart education helped your wrestling character personality-wise and to connect with the audience?

“Well yeah it did, because it gave me a more well-roundedness to add to all the other experiences I had already had; amateur sports and other things I’d done growing up and things that made me really diversified. But when you combine being educated and then having that worldly understanding of the seedier side of things and the street side and what it takes in that world and you put it all together, it’s a real good recipe for a wrestling character to say the least and it was something that I was able to draw from because everything that I did I was very comfortable in my own skin doing. It wasn’t like I was having to be some stretch or trying to be some flamboyant over-the- top personality that I wasn’t comfortable being in real life. We lived the gimmick 24/7 back then. If the folks really understood how much of your time was really invested in these characters that we portrayed on television…I mean, who would ever have been as dedicated to do something like Nikita (Koloff) did, to not speak any English to anybody outside the little inner sanctum of the wrestling guys for over a year? He worked out in a Gold’s Gym and never said a word to anybody; just walked around like this monster. That was the time that we came from, when it was such a prestigious thing to be brought into the inner circle and when you got there you treated it like you were a member of the blooming secret service or something. You really took care of the business and were glad to be part of it and treated it with a respect that’s probably unheard of today. It can’t ever be like that again because kayfabe will never be back; nobody’s ever going to rewind and pull this all back in and try to portray it to be anything besides just great entertainment, which is what it is and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it was a different time. There were people that would throw down in the middle of the street and fight over it in a second to defend it, and that’s the way it was.”

 On wrestling matches in Magnum’s era being more like a fight instead of a performance.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for the guys that can do that routine-type performance, because frankly I’d have really been a fish out of water. You might tell me if we get the opportunity we might try this little spot somewhere in the match, but for somebody to tell me that I’ve got to sit down and choreograph what I’m going to do for 20 or 30 minutes out there in the ring and tell you every step of it, I would’ve told somebody to take a flying leap. You’re supposed to be an artist; you’re not supposed to be somebody who just follows a routine. Now don’t get me wrong; there’s some people that do that and do it so well that they mesmerize you…but you couldn’t sit and watch six matches all doing that exact same thing even if they’re all doing it well and get the same feeling you do seeing somebody that’s portraying a struggle and a contest…You’re just wanting to reach out there and help them, because they’re trying so hard to get out of a move or overcome and fight their way from the bottom up. That’s the thing to me that’s missing. Now there’s guys out there that can do it, there’s plenty of guys out there that can do it, it’s just they don’t get as much opportunity as we had the good fortune of having I think.”

Other topics discussed included:

 What is it about the “I Quit” match with him and Tully Blanchard that still stands the test of time?

 How was it different during his program with Nikita Koloff since for the first time he was the veteran leading a “greener” guy?

 What current wrestlers does he enjoy watching?

 Would MMA have been something he would have been interested in if it had been around when he had been wrestling?

The documentary “I Never Quit: The Magnum T.A. Story” is available on DVD from or is available for viewing as part of their streaming network

This interview is available for listening at or

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