Magnus talks TNA World title
GREG OLIVER - Producer, SLAM! Wrestling
|This has certainly been Magnus' year. Photo courtesy TNA Impact Wrestling
On the recent conference call with TNA star Magnus, there was a lot of talk about his goal of winning the TNA World title. After the Impact episode has run where he accomplished that feat, his responses can be seen in a very different light.
"I do see myself rolling into the UK tour as the World champion, because you have to look at it that way," he said on the media conference call on November 26th, previewing the tour of the United Kingdom early in 2014. "You have to believe that you're able to hold the title and carry the title, because otherwise you're not going to be able to convey that to an audience."
Magnus won the title in heel fashion, with Dixie Carter's Dixieland posse of her nephew Ethan Carter III and her assistant Rockstar Spud all interfering during the tournament finals bout with Jeff Hardy.
It is the culmination of a career started in Norfolk, England, for Nick Aldis. He learned his trade around England, and got noticed on the UK Sky version of Gladiators, where he was known as Oblivion. In November 2008, he arrived in TNA, debuting in January 2009 as Brutus Magnus.
"The best way I can describe it, 2012 was my milestone year, and then 2013 has been my breakout year," he said, continuing, "2012 was when I was given the opportunity to showcase myself in the team with [Samoa] Joe and then the rivalry with Joe. Then I exited 2012 in controversial fashion, which gave me a great opportunity to come back at the beginning of 2013 with a ton of momentum."
Samoa Joe was a believer in Magnus, praising him in September 2012: "When it comes to Magnus, I think he's a guy that hasn't reached his potential, but has definitely just realized what it could be. He's becoming a very, very good pro wrestler. I think in the next few years, people will be speaking of his work very, very highly."
Throughout 2013, Magnus was really given a chance to shine by TNA.
He did express his pleasure on how 2013 had gone to that point, including a great match with A.J. Styles in the finals of the Bound for Glory Series -- "a match I'm really proud of, that was definitely a professional and personal highlight for me" -- and a Bound for Glory pay-per-view win over Sting -- "that's not the type of thing that comes along every day."
"I will always see it as, not so much Sting passing the torch but Sting giving me his stamp of approval," he said, adding that Sting (Steve Borden) had already done just that privately and on interviews.
Did the praise and the expectations get to him?
"Words like future, potential and breakout and all that sort of thing can quite often lead to unnecessary timeframes and pressures. I try not to think of that sort of stuff too much," he said.
Magnus was nothing if not confident. "If I'm not World champion by the end of 2014, something might have gone wrong, but obviously there are things outside of all of our control at different times."
The behind-the-scenes direction of TNA was brought up during the conference call, and how the roster needs to work as a team to achieve a common goal.
"It's always much better if everybody on the roster, all the talent -- and that's including the announcers, and the ring announcers, and J.B. [Jeremy Borash] and people like that -- we have to all be aware of the overall direction, and the theme, and what the guy steering the ship wants from our product, from what we're putting out there. I think that's as clear as day now, it's more clear now what kind of product they want us to put out there," he said. "You're never going to escape all of the internal discussions and the speculating about what's going on and what's not going on, and this and that, but when it comes down to it, you get your instructions for the day and you go out -- and that's never going to change."
Magnus said that he has put in ideas here and there, as has all of the wrestlers. Talent is "always going to have ideas, and they're always going to contribute," he said. "After all, we were all once doing it in front of 50 people for 20 bucks."
In fact, Magnus admitted that he might push too much sometimes. "I'm thinking about the company and the product all the time. I'm probably driving some of the people insane."
Despite his now-solid heel persona, it is very likely that some of the nationalist fans in the United Kingdom on the TNA tour in early 2014 will be going "insane" for Magnus as well, the local hero returning home a World champion.
Nov. 28, 2013: TNA World Cup PPV about friends and competition for Magnus
Official Magnus Nick Aldis website
Greg Oliver is the Producer of SLAM! Wrestling. He can be emailed at email@example.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @gregmep.