Jim Ross has discussed the car accident that claimed the career of Magnum TA, saying the wrestling business lost something special the day Magnum could no longer compete in the ring.
Magnum TA was the NWA’s hottest prospect in 1986. Over the summer he had taken part in a best of seven series against rival Nikita Koloff for the vacant NWA United States Championship. Koloff came out on top in the seventh and final match to claim the title but bigger things were on the horizon for Magnum TA. Talk of facing Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Title swirled and many saw the 27-year-old Magnum as the perfect man to take the gold off the Nature Boy’s hands.
Unfortunately, fate intervened in the cruelest of ways. On a rainy October night, Magnum TA smashed his Porsche into a telephone pole. On impact, two of his vertebrae exploded and the chances of the real-life Terry Allen walking again looked slim.
Speaking on his Grilling JR podcast, a man who was immersed in the wrestling scene at the time, Jim Ross, recalled finding out from his mentor what had happened to wrestling’s top prospect.
“Cowboy [Bill Watts], somebody, maybe Dusty, I think probably Dusty told Cowboy. It was horrible, I wanted to think it couldn’t be accurate, it was one of those goddamn rumours. You know, telephone, telegram, tell a wrestler deal or your world-famous rumour and innuendo. […] It was horrible, you wanted to think seriously, all joking aside, it can’t be true. It can’t be as tragic as been reported. We heard about the vertebrae and he was in danger of not being able to walk at all. There was some time there early on where the phone calls going back and forth said it was kinda touch and go – overall living or dying. You just didn’t wanna believe it.”
Thankfully Magnum TA kept his life in the dreadful crash but with his back injured so severely and the risk of paralysis great, Jim Ross says the wrestling world was worse off without Magnum in it.
Jim Ross continued:
“I think something special was taken out of the business that day. It just seemed like we’ve lost something we can’t replace. If you go back and look at it through all the teaching, and the coaching, and the mentoring, and the men in Magnum’s life that helped get him ready for this opportunity, and here’s what he’s accomplished and he’s 27. It was scary, all I’m saying is 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. A long reign.”
“I know the first time I saw him, I can’t remember where it was but you see this guy who was this bigger-than-life character, tall, and strong, smiling, had the world by the short hairs. And it just didn’t look like the same human being.”
During the conversation about Magnum TA, Jim Ross compared the star to one iconic WWE legend as well as one current AEW star.