Magnum TA was a popular wrestler in NWA in the 1980's, winning the United States Championship and engaging in high-profile feuds with the Four Horsemen and others. TA recently joined The Ross Report and discussed the use of performance-enhancing drugs in wrestling during his era.
"There was two schools of thoughts on the performance enhancing deal. There was guys, and this was the category that I was in, that I would use something twice a year, say for six weeks, twice a year, to keep from completely tearing my body up into nothing, because I was working seven days a week year round, and found a happy medium with a physique and a body that I can maintain throughout that off period year round," TA said. "If you saw me wrestling anytime twelve months out of the year, it wasn't like you saw me as a 280-pound monster and then the next time I was 240 and lost 40 pounds of muscle. I was heading down that path when I was in San Antonio, TX when Ray 'Hercules' Hernandez was there; he was a young and up and coming guy, and had a bag of performance enhancing drugs that were very accessible, and when he came in he was 218 pounds, and Ray became around 280 pounds, and I was 270 pounds, and we were in our minds thinking about being 300 pounds and being like the Road Warriors."
TA said it was advice from a veteran wrestler who made him reconsider his habits. He decided he was going to learn how to use other means to maintain his weight year-round.
"I can never forget when we went to Corpus Christie and walking into the dressing room, there is Bruiser Brody with his boots on, and he said to me, 'Kid, you are looking great. I want to tell you a little secret though; if you ever become a star based solely what you look like and you have to do this to maintain your look, then you are ruining your own epitaph,' and the light switch went off my head right that minute, and I decided that I was going to perfect my craft and find my happy medium that I can support year round," TA said. "And that I wasn't going to be Tony Atlas, or Ivan Putski, but to be the best that I can be. I found that place and can maintain that 240 pounds weight class and the thing was I trained real heavy with weights. I wasn't a bodybuilder or anything, but I was always lifting heavy weights so my body and joints can be accustomed to handle that, which made me durable, and that is why I can go into the ring with Doc (Doctor Death Steve Williams) when he was 320 pounds, and even though he was clumsy and smashing around, he didn't break me up because I was pretty sturdy."
TA also discussed why he never made it to the WWE. His lone appearance with the company came in 2007 when he was in the audience for the Vengeance pay-per-view. TA said he never had plans of joining the WWE. He said Andre the Giant was planning on putting in a good word for him with the company, but he was eventually signed by an NWA territory.
"No, that conversation never took place. I never met Vince McMahon in person until I worked that pay per view show for him like 10 years ago or so (WWE Vengeance 2007) and we spoke for a few minutes, and he made me feel really good," TA said. "He did say to me that we could have made a lot of money together. The ironic part about it is that that is where Andre [the Giant] wanted me to go. When Andre named me 'Magnum TA,' and before he would get in with Vince McMahon Sr, he was still living and getting the plate for me to go there, Ernie [Ladd] swept me up and pulled me into Mid-South Wrestling."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Ross Report with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Ross Report
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.