Magnum T.A. : Forecasting an Epic Career

Magnum T.A. : Forecasting an Epic Career

A massive star that burns bright but explodes at a relatively young age is called a Super Giant. The term for this occurrence is a Supernova. And if this star is big enough, its energy implodes with such intensity, the resulting explosion creates a black hole, with an unrelenting gravitational force pull. Nothing can resist it. Not sound, light, or mass. Terry Allen, aka, Magnum T.A. was a Super Giant star.

On that fateful October night when Allen’s Porsche lost control in the rain causing the vertebrae in his back to explode, a black hole was opened in the pro wrestling universe. The talented and charismatic 27-year-old’s career was over in a flash. Blessed with All-American blue collar, hardworking good looks, a Tom Selleck mustache, and fiery ring technician skills, he was on the precipice of taking the wrestling world by storm. He was steadily being groomed to become the NWA World Heavyweight Champion. The man to dethrone The Nature Boy Ric Flair and become the anti-Hulk Hogan for Crockett Country.  The handsome tough guy, who shot you straight, and wouldn’t take any shit from the bad guys.

Instead of jumping into this black hole, let’s jump into the Doc Brown DeLorean and divert Magnum’s accident to examine what his career might have looked like.

(*SPOILER at the end of this article find out what would happen to your body if it was hurled into a black hole)


Let's never forget Magnum T.A. and Dusty Rhodes cutting promos on national tv in full length fur coats.


Late 1980's

After cutting his teeth for Cowboy Bill Watts in Mid-South, Allen’s career jumped behind the wheel of a Ferrari, like the private investigator of his namesake moniker, and punched it to 160mph. T.A. joined Jim Crockett Promotions in 1984, and steadily worked up the talent ladder in two years. His first push came after defeating Wahoo McDaniel for the United States championship in 1985. Shortly after, he was teamed up with Dusty Rhodes to help give him that extra “Stardust Shine” if you w’heel.

The two would begin to battle with what would eventually become the Four Horseman. Later at Starrcade ’85, T.A. and Tully Blanchard would see their explosive, months long feud have one of the most iconic cage/“I Quit” matches ever. The passion, the hatred, the swerves, the crowd reaction, it was electric as an exhausted Allen got Tully to scream “I Quit” into the hard-wired ring microphone.

He then took on the Russians and formidable heel, Nikita Koloff. This made for great theater during the Cold War Era, when booking All American babyfaces against bad foreign heels was the recipe for printing money in the wrasslin’ business. They would go on to have the first memorable Best of 7 series over the United States Championship, which Nikita would end up winning in Match 7. This was solely to build Nikita’s profile while priming Magnum to move towards his feud with Flair. To get a little taste of it, Allen and Flair had 30-minute banger on September, 28th 1986. This was supposed to kickoff their build toward Starrcade “Night of the Skywalkers”, where it was presumed Magnum would beat Flair for the title. The stage was set for an epic rivalry, reminiscent of Harley Race vs Flair.  A couple of weeks later tragedy struck, and we’d never see Magnum T.A perform again. But F that. Let’s jump down the “What If?” rabbit hole.

If Magnum T.A. becomes the NWA Heavyweight champion at 27 in late 1986, we can assume he would have been the flagbearer for the company while Hogan was white hot in his upcoming feud with Andre the Giant (who is credited for helping Allen come up with the Magnum name.) The WWF was a juggernaut going into 1987, so T.A. vs. Flair and the Horsemen would have been the storyline to counter Vince and Co.  The way Dusty booked, you always had a stable of tag teams mixed with single wrestlers that could have interchangeable storylines, so it would have been interesting to see how he would have booked Magnum T.A.  They would move the belts around frequently in the NWA, whereas, Vince built Hogan to be the true face of the franchise with a lengthy 4-year run. I sense Dusty preferred the alternative, which was to create more competition and trading belts around. At that time, they could have re-ran the Dusty vs. Flair and the Horseman rivalry with new ways to torture and screw over T.A., with him getting his revenge on the PPVs.

However, if Magnum was really over throughout Crockett Country as the champ, aside from the Horseman, we could have gotten Rick Rude, Big Bubba, The Barbarian, and Lex Luger lined up for him to knock down. It would have been interesting if they had booked T.A. like Hogan, in order to capitalize on that model for southern wrestling fans, who identified much more to Terry Allen than Terry Bollea. However, behind the scenes, Crockett was spending money like a drunken sailor, got in too deep of debt, and eventually sold to Ted Turner in 1988. 

When WCW debuted, along with the influx of UWF talent like Dr. Death, The Freebirds, Eddie Gilbert, and a young upstart by the name of Sting, there was new clay to mold with Magnum T.A at the forefront. Sting is an interesting case, as he’s only a few months older than T.A. but got off to a later start and still had to earn his stripes. He entered WCW, at the stage of where Magnum did in 84’ and needed that signature “Wahoo Win”. How they would have molded the two of them as friends/allies would have made for an interesting long-term storyline. The way they structured their PPV’s during this time would have looked dramatically different too with a super-hot babyface champion. Flair pretty much had a stranglehold on that belt aside from the non-memorable, short lived Ron Garvin reign. As the 80’s came to a close, with Dusty, Arn, Tully, and more venturing up North to the WWF, Magnum T.A would have likely been standing on the mountaintop with Flair, Luger, Windham, Sting, The Road Warriors, Hayes, and Steiner all ready to take him down.

The 1990's

1990 was a pivotal year in wrestling, as it finally saw Hulkamania be put on pause after a wildly successful 6-year run. It's not hard to imagine if Magnum T.A. had won his first NWA World title in 1986, that by 1990, there would have been a little fatigue of him at the top. Especially since WCW’s branding and marketing never held a candle to The McMahon Machine. Enter Sting, who won his first World Title from Flair at The Great American Bash 1990. Sting was ready to take that next step, and similar to how Vince went babyface vs. babyface with Hogan and Warrior, WCW could have made Magnum T.A. vs Sting a box office draw. However, it would have made sense to turn T.A. heel against Sting. It would have elevated the importance of their title bout, and it would have been a natural way to infuse the Four Horseman with some much-needed new energy by having T.A. align with Flair, Arn, Windham, and Luger. You could have done some interesting things with him and an up and coming Sid Vicious as well. I’m not sure how much of a heel run you could have gotten out of Magnum T.A. but 1990-91 would have been the time to try it out. I think he eventually would turn back to a face before leaving to the WWF.


It’s hard to speculate if Magnum T.A would have held a similar loyalty to the company as Sting did, but given that every other major WCW talent ended up being seduced by Vince, I’m confident that Allen would have followed suit. Especially if he would have gone with Flair in 1992. If McMahon couldn’t have gotten Sting as his Hogan replacement, then he’d surely want a 33-year-old who had proven he was a southern version of Hulk. This is where it gets muddied because we know how Vince likes to tweak big stars coming in from other promotions to make them his own. Flair was about the only one who was immune to it. If T.A. had a long run as their world champion, McMahon may have also left his character alone. Or he might have forced him into the Widowmaker, Ron Bass, Blackjack Mulligan, Terry Funk stereotypical cowboy role. Creating another milquetoast Texas Tornado who had an Intercontinental Championship ceiling is another possibility.

I want to believe Vince would have wisely used Magnum T.A. to be the foil for Flair, as they were coming off a successful run down South, and many of WWF’s fans hadn’t seen it yet. But along the way, we could have seen him in escalating programs with The Mountie (a natural feud) and Papa Shango, before tangling with The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels. That feud would have really elevated both guys as a core heel and babyface for the Next Generation.

As we approach the mid 90’s there’s so much meat on the bone for Magnum T.A. to take on the likes of Razor Ramon, Yokozuna, Diesel, The Undertaker, and eventually Bret Hart. If Vince had a few years to mold T.A. into the character that matched his vision, there’s no doubt he would have thrived in the main event scene. Given his track record coming from NWA/WCW, and having great feuds with the aforementioned wrestlers, it's quite possible he would have worn the Winged Eagle at some point.

Or Vince could have used him as a whipping boy as a direct slap in the face to his competition and buried him. It’s hard to say what his level of success could have been in the WWF, because Vince’s motives are tightly held within his inner circle only. However, this is the man who looked at Lex Luger and attempted to push him to the moon. Unfortunately, his jet pack was filled with popcorn farts.  If Magnum T.A could have drawn money as “More Realistic, Southern Version of Hulk Hogan, With Hair and No Steroids”, he would have gone to the top, which would have majorly impacted the careers of Shawn and Bret. I’m confident we wouldn’t be talking about their careers today without Magnum T.A. in the discussion for how he shaped them had he jumped to the WWF.

Having said all that, something tells me Magnum T.A. would have eventually found himself back in WCW. And that is where things really get interesting. He could have been the one NWA/WCW guy who left for the WWF and came back better for it. If he could have had a 2-3 year main event run with an IC and World Title reign, he would be coming back a made man, as the business was changing and the NWO debuted. There would have been no better face to have represent WCW in their fight against Hollywood Hogan’s Crips. Magnum T.A. had never faced Hogan or Savage (post early 80’s) either, so dolla dolla bill y’all.

He could have been “The one to run Hall and Nash out of the WWF, and now he’s here to finish the job.” He aligns naturally with Sting, DDP, Booker T, and Goldberg in the good guy fight. Sting turning on T.A. as payback for turning on him in 1990, and now going Crow/NWO would have been a MASSIVE angle! And if we eventually got to a Magnum T.A vs Goldberg situation, that could have been electric somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Eventually, however, WCW was going to collapse and that could only mean one thing…

The 2000's

Magnum T.A. is inserted into the Attitude Era. Now he’s 40-42, and still considered in his prime. Take your pick…Have him align with or fight Stone Cold? They’d make a helluva tag team, or as two gunfighters who needed to meet at High Noon to determine who was the best. As more of an old school veteran, he might have finally fallen out of favor with the modern wrestling fan. His old school “beat up the bad guys because they are really bad and good guys don’t finish last” gimmick might not supercede a pimp walking down to the ring with a bunch of scantily clad heauxs.  He would be beloved, but he might need to be paired up like how Flair was put with Evolution. T.A. could have had a prominent role, but likely not as a top singles performer. They had their core that was on fire, so he would have needed to adapt around that. He’s a natural opponent for Triple H. I think Kurt Angle would have put on some great matches that would make T.A. appear to have turned back the clock. T.A. versus The Undertaker during the Attitude Era would have been a lot of fun too. He just fits like a glove around so many great performers. Magnum T.A might have supernova’d out early, but his star easily would have shined with the best of them.

At the end of this mock career, nothing would have been cooler than to see Magnum T.A. ride off into the sunset like the Steve McQueen/Chuck Norris of pro wrestling.

I want to give an early birthday shout out to Terry Allen who’s turning 64 on June 11th

Oh, and if you jumped into a black hole, your body would go through a process called “Spaghettification.” Essentially the gravity force is so strong that you are compressed from head to toe, while simultaneously being stretched apart. Suddenly taking a Yokozuna “Banzai Drop” doesn’t sound so bad, huh?

Till next time, thanks for stopping by!

Matthew McMahon

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