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Magnus Discusses TNA Departure, Turbulent Times In Locker Room, Guys Undercutting Each Other

Aaron Oster interviewed Magnus on his podcast and transcribed it on RollingStone.com. Magnus, who worked for Global Force Wrestling last night (results here), had a lot of interesting things to say. Below are the highlights:

Decision to leave TNA:

I've been with TNA for six-and-a-half years, which has been incredible for me. I've seen a lot of changes in that time, just like you would with any company. I've seen a lot of resets, and all the while I've always somehow managed to stay the course and develop and grow as a talent. I reached what I thought was the pinnacle of my career at the end of 2013 [when he won the TNA World Title].

I came to the decision, if I'm honest with myself, about six months ago, maybe a bit before that, that I would leave the company when my contract was up. I've done everything that I can do, and I appreciated everything. It's just time for me now, at 28 years old, to do something else to renew my focus and my energy. I just feel like I maxed out what I can do at TNA. Some people call it the seven-year itch, and I can totally relate to that.

Not leaving TNA for GFW:

There is something I have to clear up. It's not so much that I'm leaving TNA for GFW, that's just a coincidence that I'm going there immediately. I had let TNA know that I was going to leave on June 30, and we left on good terms. We agreed to wrap things up the right way, and I loved the way that we did. Then Jeff showed up on TV, and I looked at him and just said, "What the hell?" I was backstage at the TV tapings, and little Kody [Angle] came running up to me and gave me a big hug. I didn't put two-and-two together, because I thought maybe Kurt had the kids. Then I saw Jeff's kids, and then I saw this SUV. Suddenly the window rolls down and Jeff is there. I just told him, "I don't even want to know." I had no idea he was going to show up, and I'm still not sure what is going on completely.

Turbulent times in the TNA locker room:

To be honest, it was very turbulent. I'm sure you're aware of the conference call that took place not too long ago. There were things said in that conference call that were a long time coming. I'm not about to throw any talent under the bus, but there were certain things that I heard in that conference call, like talent saying, "I'm disgusted by this" or, "We have a right to know." Anyone that's been involved with TNA knows that at times, I've been very outspoken. There was a point where I just sat there and thought that what everyone has to remember is that as an independent contractor in wrestling, nobody owes you a living. You don't have a right to be guaranteed a living just because you signed a contract somewhere. Most contracts, with exceptions, can just be canceled anyways. I just kind of went, "Nobody owes you a living." Every day that I get to put on a pair of tights and boots and get to feed my son, that's a good day.

TNA after Jeff Jarrett left:

I think the balance left. From a creative standpoint, and from a philosophy standpoint, Jeff provided the balance of a traditional wrestling booker. He knew that there are certain things in pro wrestling that will always work, and he knows that there are some fundamental reasons that people enjoy pro wrestling. As long as you provide those elements, you'll retain an audience. And I'm not talking about good guys and bad guys. I'm talking about the fundamental nature of booking and what makes a good worker. It's not just saying, "This guy is the top guy." OK, but what if his work isn't that great? Have you thought about what you're going to do when he's responsible for a 20-minute match? You can't just say that you'll think of it later. When Jeff left, there was a constant struggle that he would have nipped in the bud. He would've said, "This is fine, but we have to do it in this certain way." I think that without that balance of the wrestling guy, there were some fundamental issues in what was being produced.

Guys undercutting each other:

There's a fundamental problem in the wrestling business. This extends from the independents all the way up at the very top companies, WWE or New Japan or anyone else. Guys are undercutting each other. There's less money being distributed where it needs to be distributed. There are too many people willing to come in and take the same spot for a lot less money. I've been a victim of it. I was one of those people that always said, "Hey, I'm in this spot now, I think we need to talk about my compensation." Unfortunately, there are a lot of guys who have come in who were just happy to have the spot and the opportunity. They'll do all these extra things for free. That might be great for the company, and you might be the big babyface to the office, but you're screwing all the boys over because you're doing it for nothing, or you're doing it for way too cheap. Now it's really hard for the rest of us to justify our pay. There were certain guys being given a lot of TV time because they signed ridiculously low contracts. It's not the right thing to do, because you've made it hard for all of us. You can't blame the guys paying the money, because that's their job, getting the best services for the lowest possible price. The fact is though, you get what you pay for. And I think that's another thing TNA is experiencing and understanding at this point. You can't just tell people that someone is worthy of the spot, and will draw the house. You can't just disregard years of building a relationship with the audience.

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  • If Jeff knew so well what worked, TNA wouldn’t have sold itself out to the Carters and GFW would have a TV deal. Jeff has NEVER known what works. He was a mid card guy who started a little promotion that didn’t make it on it’s own. Somehow, he then ended up being allowed to try again. He’s certainly no savant booker or incredible wrestling mind. Gotta love revisionist history.

    • BlazeKing

      But….

      TNA *was* better when Jeff was there. That can not be denied. He had faith in a lot of stuff Vince would scoff at (while the “Universe” scoffs at Vince) and actually had a clue about the business. Dixie by herself was not getting the job done.

      “TNA wouldn’t have sold itself out to the Carters and GFW would have a TV deal.”

      You literally have to sell the company out to get a TV deal. You can’t get to mainstream level without investors. It just doesn’t work at that scale. Even Ring of Honor sold out!

      And the GFW situation: They’re just taping “pilot” episodes to shop around to *get* the TV deal. You can’t ask for a deal with nothing tangible in hand to show. TNA could switch networks from Spike to Destination America and get a deal because it already had an established library. But the company definitely didn’t start out with a TV deal. People had to buy the show each week in a PPV format. It was after a couple of years that TNA had enough in their library to shop it around. That’s when Fox SportsNet picked up the show and “iMPACT” was created in Universal Studios.

      GFW not having a tv deal at this stage is a non-issue.

      • While I totally agree with you, Jeff sold out to the Carters because he was going out of business, not because of a TV deal. His dad and he weren’t able to keep the company going on their own. Had the Carters not shown up, TNA would have gone out of business years before. As for creativity, Jeff really didn’t have much. He brought in a six-sided ring. That’s really about it. I watched before the Carters showed up but it never held my attention because I didn’t care about anyone. While the ring work was excellent, the characters lacked dimension. That problem dogs many of the workers there to this day so it’s not like Dixie fixed it or anything.

        GFW has been little more than a phantom promotion – running shows at minor league ballparks. As for them, I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m cool to give it a chance but I haven’t a clue why Jeff is being given a second change at a promotion when he blew it with the first.