Every Friday, The Spinning Lariat brings you Trent Zuberi’s observations on the latest in pro wrestling’s other major national company, TNA.
I’ve seen the future. No, I didn’t somehow come across a DeLorean that travels through time or a phone booth that has the numbers to any year to which I want to go (seriously, if you don’t get these two references, we have a problem), but rather I’ve seen it develop over the last few months right on Spike TV. The future I speak of is that of professional wrestling, and the object of my vision is none other than a gentleman named Magnus.
TNA fans have known Magnus for years now. He initially came in under a gladiator gimmick, calling himself Brutus Magnus. After donning the costume, he quickly morphed the character into a more serious role, forming a tag team called the British Invasion with fellow Brit and wrestling legend Douglas Williams. The two went on to hold the tag team championship and establish themselves as legitimate forces on the roster. As the years went on and his skills grew stronger, Magnus was placed in various programs and became a victim of the dreaded start/stop system where a push comes, lasts a few weeks, minimizes, comes in again, scales back and so on. I’m sure the initial thinking was that he was still so young and not fully polished in his skills, and while that may have been true at the time, you could see the potential. Fans were drawn to Magnus in a special way, but the inconsistencies in his character’s booking made it hard for them to really become invested.
However, last year the shift we were all waiting for occurred, seemingly by accident. With both Samoa Joe and Magnus being in character limbo, the two were teamed up to be a part of a Wild Card Tag Team Tournament. To the best of the viewing audience’s knowledge they had never teamed up before, and put on one of the best performances in tag team wrestling the industry has seen this decade. It was one of those moments where they caught lighting in a bottle and the natural mesh between the two was there. An awesome run and a tag team championship reign later, the two were back on top.
The breakout of the entire run was Magnus. The fans saw it, the industry saw it, and most importantly the creative team saw it. The tag team ended a bit quickly, but its job was done. Joe was back on course and Magnus became a top player. Creative finally saw fit to give him the proper singles push he deserves. The ovation he got in his home country of England earlier this year literally blew the roof off the arena, and to the audience watching at home we knew it was much more than a hometown pop. This guy has it.
This past week I saw the match that completely hit it home. For the weeks leading up to his involvement in the Bound for Glory series he’s been firing on all cylinders, but this week’s match against former World Heavyweight Champion Robert Roode completely established the fact that what we have before us is a future world champion. Mere words can’t describe the enjoyment I felt watching this match. Seeing two of the greatest young talents in the world today have essentially the perfect match set the tone that this is the kind of talent that will not only take TNA Impact Wrestling to the next level, but the wrestling industry as a whole. Magnus looked strong and went over clean. Timing was perfect, moves were crisp and the storytelling was at a high. All the elements needed to make a good match were displayed in pristine fashion.
He has an amazing look, he can talk, he can wrestle, he has confidence, and most of all he connects with an audience like few have. I am also willing to go out on a limb here to say that he also has the best top rope elbow drop I’ve seen since the legendary “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Watch it for yourself if you don’t believe me. He is the future of this business without a doubt. I don’t see the world title for him this year, but I feel that if he can keep this momentum for another year, when he does win it, the pop will be all that much more glorious.
On his tights it says the word “victory.” Truth be told, that’s what his future holds.
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