02 April 2015

TNAMecca Exclusive: Q&A with Magnus

Tomorrow night on a special "Bell to Bell" edition of Impact, Magnus is scheduled to fight Bram in a Falls Count Anywhere match. It's been a clash months in the making and it promises to be a violent affair in which its two competitors have one thing in mind: to hurt the other. I'm happy to say that Magnus, a former TNA world heavyweight champion, just a day before his match, took the time to answer some questions exclusively for TNAMecca. Below is our exchange: 

Magnus, firstly, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for us. And secondly, on behalf of everyone at TNAMecca, I'd like to congratulate you and Mickie on your beautiful baby boy. Let's begin with what so many fans are talking about right now and that's your feud with Bram. I think I can speak for many TNA fans when I say that this story has absolutely captivated us. How has the experience been for you? 

"Thank you for the congratulations; Donovan is six months old now and the response from peers, friends and fans in the business has been very touching since he was born."

"I've enjoyed every second of the feud with Bram, there are so many real elements to it: We are legitimately friends and have been for a long time, I did help facilitate his hiring at TNA. Mickie and I are legitimately together and have a son so the ability for the audience to suspend their disbelief is there. It's an intense personal issue that people can relate to and I'm glad the fans have been compelled by the story. We have all worked hard with the creative team to make this special."

Many fans feel that the addition of Mickie James has truly made your feud with Bram feel much more personal. It's brought a human element to it that's evoked quite an emotional reaction from the fans. How has it been working with Mickie? 

"That's the key to her involvement, making it an issue that hits people in a real way. Working with her has been great. I have always been a fan of her work, even before we became an item. To me, she's the most well-rounded female performer ever. Her work in the ring is strong and believable, her promos are great and she has charisma and a strong connection with her fans. We have resisted doing stuff together in the past because we didn't feel it benefited both of us. This time we felt it was the right time to do it and it has paid off."

Your story with Bram began about a year ago and we watched as he tried to awaken in you a violent side. We watched you struggle with this for several months and you never quite seemed to fully embrace this part of you. Interestingly enough, some have noticed that what Bram couldn't trigger in you as an ally, he did so as an enemy. The violent side of you has finally come out. Is this something you are conscious of? And is it something that you feel Magnus needed to go through in order to evolve as a character, take him to the next level? 

"That was a deliberate move, yes. It was a layered angle that was designed to introduce Bram and to also allow me to evolve. My character's legitimacy had been a little questionable following the World Title run, so you can't just say 'OK, now he's a badass'. There has to be a journey that the audience takes with you."

One last thing about your feud with Bram before we move on, how good did it feel to powerbomb him in front of thousands of your hometown fans in the UK? I must say, it looked like it had some extra oomph behind it. 

"A lot of people have said that, but truthfully it was not performed with any extra force as that would have been unprofessional. He's a big guy, the important thing is to get him up and around safely to land him flat. Especially on a stage, you have to commit. His selling was perfect on that. It was a great moment."

This ordeal with Bram began as a result of you grabbing one of the Feast or Fired briefcases earlier this year. You ended up with the briefcase that contained the tag team title shot. Now that Bram is out of the question as a potential tag team partner, could you perhaps give us a clue on whom it might be? Is there someone in the current UK wrestling scene whom you'd like to see be the next to join the Impact Wrestling roster? Or perhaps someone currently on the roster you'd like to work with? 

"I don't know what the plan is for the Tag Title shot. I have more of a view to trying to get the World Title back. But I recently teamed with Mr. Anderson for a One Night Only special, and we gelled very well, that would be fun to do again."

Let's discuss your world title reign for a bit. Based on our readers' feedback, I'd say that the "Reign of Magnus" got mixed reactions. With that in mind, from your perspective, what would you say were the best and the worst parts of your title reign? 

"The best parts were the fact that while I had the strap the ratings were the healthiest they had been in a year and the live events were up in almost every town we ran during that time. The worst part was the unfortunate timing, coinciding with AJ's [Styles] departure and then Sting's, I got associated with an unhappy period in the fans' eyes and I didn't deal with it very well."

One of my favorite parts of your title reign were your promos, which I'd say are one of your biggest strengths as a performer. Tell us, what would you say is your favorite or the most memorable promo in your TNA career (or non-wrestling segment)? And what stood out about it?  

"Many people like to go back to the promo I cut in Wembley while I was tagging with Samoa Joe (the 'This is England' promo) which was definitely a great moment for me because it made the people in charge at that time take notice and showed them that I could match anyone on the mic in terms of reaction. I loved my first promo as champion, with the throne and the coronation. This was actually taken from a segment I had done in Ring Ka King in India when I won the World Title there. I also loved the backstage promo I did immediately following the title win, which was only shown online."

Let's talk about the annual UK tour, which has become a highly anticipated event for many TNA fans. Firstly, could you share with us how it feels, for you personally, to compete in front of the UK fans? And secondly, how does it feel to see your countrymen embrace the company you work for the way they have? 

"It's our strongest market, so everyone looks forward to it and our storylines tend to peak at these shows. Personally, I'm proud that the fans, many of whom are my generation, are still real, pure, wrestling fans and appreciate what we do. I'm glad they have embraced TNA, it's well deserved. The company goes above and beyond for the UK fans. It's a two way street."

Do you personally feel that TNA should tour the UK more than once a year?  

"In terms of creating great television content, yes. But there are a lot of elements to it that aren't as simple as saying 'let's do more shows over there'. I would like to see TNA experiment with a longer tour running smaller venues in the 2,000-3,000 capacity range and getting more TV in the can. I think the added expense could be countered by stronger merchandise sales in less saturated markets and a long term benefit of better television which in the long run, increases revenue by hopefully gaining viewers and driving live event ticket sales."

Coming off the UK shows, there's quite a bit of excitement among TNA fans for the current product. I wonder, is this something that you and your colleagues in the locker room have sensed?  

"Yeah for sure, but I get frustrated that some people have just written the company off and haven't seen what we've done on Destination America. But in the long run, quality speaks for itself, so we all just have to continue to tell great stories in the ring with compelling characters and interesting story arcs. Let the talent both in front and behind the curtain shine through."

And lastly, before I let you go, it seems like you've used a few finishers in the last year or so. I'm curious, is there a reason why? It seems that a lot of wrestlers struggle with this, but is it hard, nowadays, to find and settle on a finisher that's impactful yet believable and at the same time memorable?  

"Yes, most of it is my fault. But also, many times you come up with something and then next week, 3 other people use it so now you can't use it as a finish. It's something WWE are very good at doing; creating that package for each superstar and making sure the announcers, producers etc. are all on the same page. We could work on that I admit. It's funny you mention finishers, because I was happy with my new move, the Spineshanker, which to my knowledge, I invented (if it's already been done, I haven't seen it) and then after 'that' powerbomb, Al Snow said 'ya know, nobody is using a powerbomb any more, make it your finish.' And I was like 'Damn you Al!' So now I'm torn. Who knows..."

Magnus, this has been great. I'd like to thank you once again for taking the time to answer our questions. We truly appreciate it. 

"Any time."

If you haven't already, you can follow Magnus on Twitter at @MagnusOfficial. Also, please make sure to tune in to Impact Wrestling on Destination America tomorrow night at 9/8c for his much-anticipated Falls Count Anywhere match against Bram. It promises to be a memorable event so make sure you set your DVR if you can not tune in.

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