I had the chance to speak to former TNA World Champion Magnus recently about his plans now that he's left the company. He spoke at length about NXT, Ring of Honor, Global Force, and the infamous TNA conference call that happened after Ring of Honor signed with Destination America.
You can also check out part one of our interview at this link.
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Is NXT an option for you?
"I don't know. Currently, I guess not. I'd like to. I think they're doing some of the best job anywhere in wrestling. I think they've done a great job in creating their own version of an alternative brand. You can't fault them, they are the business. The rest of us are fighting over the remains of the pie. I'm okay with that. I'm looking forward to any and all opportunities that come along.
"I've said openly how big of a fan I am of Lucha Underground. I haven't had serious conversations with them, but I've certainly made them aware that's absolutely something I'd love to get involved with. I think that I could surprise a lot of people if I went somewhere like that and did something completely new. I've got a lot more range than people realize. I tend to try to work smart. When it means something and the time is right, I'll do the crazy stuff and do things they don't associate with a 6'4 'body guy.'
"I've been in the business over ten years, I eat, sleep, breathe the business. I didn't just wake up and decide I was going to be a wrestler. You've gotta be in shape if you want to do this. Sometimes I feel like because of this alternative culture that exists now, it's almost a hindrance now, because people automatically associate you as a person who didn't work as hard or was handed things. The way Dixie spoke publicly about me, I would say 'please, that's harming me, not helping me.' I appreciate it, but it almost negates my own hard work. When I got to TNA, I was the s--ts, and I knew it. I hadn't worked with anyone but Doug Williams and some other name guys on the independents before getting the gladiator gig. I didn't have the experience, but what do you do, turn down a contract? I can tell you, that's why I didn't go after WWE at that stage. I just thought I wasn't ready, and didn't want to go until I was ready, if I ever go."
Is that something you always had in the back of your mind, getting to the WWE after getting experience, but were still young?
"Yes, absolutely. I always tried to follow the career path of those who I consider the best. Like Triple H, Jericho, Austin, even Undertaker worked other places before he got to WWE. Obviously they worked in different time periods, so it's easy to forget that. Guys like Eddie Guerrero who had been everywhere, so when they got to the Big Show, they were the cream of the crop. That's always been the way I envisioned my journey. In the late 70's, the WWE didn't exist as it does today. Guys like Hulk Hogan didn't have to pin all their hopes and dreams on making it to the WWE, he just wanted to be the man. By hook or crook, he put himself in those different positions. Then Vince McMahon was putting things in place for his global vision, and they intertwined. So who knows how things are going to go? I can just do the best I can and put out qualities that I think are good for this business and keep my ear to the ground.
"Honestly, media is changing. TV is dying. Everything is going to be on its head in a few years anyway. Who's to say where everyone will be and what options will come out of that?
There were rumors that WWE wasn't interested in Nationally exposed TNA talents. Was that something that concerned you or other talents?
"There were certainly discussions, but I never really gave it much thought. Some of those things are perpetuated by those who have a passive fear of taking the plunge and being rejected. I also remember hearing they weren't hiring anyone over the age of 30, or under six feet tall. Next week it'll be that they only want people with blonde hair or brown eyes. Talent is talent, and if you keep working and proving that you're the best talent, a business will utilize it."
Why do you think this mass exodus happened from TNA?
"I don't know if it was a mass exodus. I think you'll find there were periods at WWE or NJPW where large groups of people are released or have their contracts expire at one time. I think because that some of these were higher profile, it has that internet microscope on it. Really, everything TNA does has the internet microscope on it. It's the blessing and the curse of being #2.
"I understand social media dominates our lives, but I have also made the point before that I need to see proof that there's any correlation between the emphasis on social media and business, whether it's PPV's, live events, anything. Obviously WWE has the WWE Network and subscribers, so that's a good indicator. But I am firmly of the belief that trying to use social media as an advertising platform has been detrimental to TNA, because too much time has been spent thinking about that instead of boots on the ground work. That's just my take on it, but year after year it's been more "tweet, tweet more, tweet about tweeting, tweet every minute" and every year business has gone down. It's not about tweeting, is it? Not to say that it's useless, but it's just a small piece. Promoting is hard, from my limited experience, but it certainly just get done on Twitter."
How did you feel about the TNA cancellation rumors, and ROH signing with Destination America?
"I reacted the same way as most people, it's not exactly a confidence booster as it pertains to security. That was one of the main reasons I opted to venture off in a new direction. I was getting a little worn out with the constant massive concern whether there was going to be anything to go back to next week. After a while that wears you down. When the ROH thing came about, it's my understanding it blindsided everybody, and I mean everybody in the business. "
What was the conference call after ROH's announcement like?
"It was chaotic. I don't know whether that was a knee jerk thing or a reaction to that specific event. A lot of guys very nervous about their security, and I could understand it. I have a nine month old son. I may have said one thing, just focusing on practical business stuff. There were people sort of irrational like 'we demand answers!, We have a right to know this and that!' and I'm thinking we don't really. We're independent contractors, nobody owes us a living. I can only speak for my deal, but you have to take a step back and see we make a living pretending to fight. If someone can't keep paying us to do that, we've been living in the bonus round. We could be digging ditches."
Who do you consider the number two company in America right now, independent of international deals?
"In America, I guess it'd be pretty close. I don't know the Ring of Honor ratings. I think the ratings are really archaic. I have a friend that works at Nielsen, and it's so variable and sporadic and not viable. ROH obviously has better live event business, because they have live event business period at this point, TNA doesn't. TNA has two hours on TV, ROH has one. In certain markets, ROH's brand recognition is probably comparable to TNA, but then I'd say in the south, TNA probably has slightly better brand recognition. I will say this, ROH's operating cost is significantly lower. If I was looking at the two as an investor, that's a factor. TNA's international business is very good, though."
There were rumors of Jeff Jarrett & Toby Keith buying the company, but it ended because of the condition that Dixie would have to remain an on-air character. Had you all heard about that?
"I've never heard that version of it. There's always something about Jeff and Toby Keith. I know they're close, and Toby was involved in the early days of GFW, but I don't know what his involvement it now. It sounds farfetched because Dixie hasn't been an on-air character in ages anyway."
What are your plans with Global Force?
"The same as any company that gives me workóbust my ass and give them as much value as I can. Whether it's as a a wrestler or a speaker, or an ambassador in the UK market. I want to help build the brand. You'll see more of that in the coming days and weeks, and going to perform at these upcoming live events. I'm working with Tommaso Ciampa soon. He's a good talent, and not something I expected to be doing right off the bat. I'm also working with Kongo Kong. All fresh new matches for me.
"I'm really excited to see how the Vegas shows go, because I've worked at the Orleans before. I know they're working with a lighting company that does some really cool stuff. Eventually how they're seen, they will be seen and they'll be good."
Do you have any other upcoming projects?
"My fitness book is due for release any day now. It's written and edited and ready to go. It's called A Superstar Body. It's published in London, so it's initial hard copy release will be in the UK, but it will be available instantly on Amazon all over the world."
Where can the fans follow you on social media?