We recently described how “Mega Man” Tom Magee (aka the “Man of Steel”) was expected to take the wrestling world by storm. He had all the physical attributes of a great 80’s wrestler: huge muscles, handsome features, long hair. He was both acrobatic and powerful, a rare combo of breath-taking bulk and amazing agility packed into the skimpiest of bikini briefs.
The mystery behind the Mega Man is why he never achieved the fame and fortune that everyone expected. This wrestling fan is left wondering “Who-dunnit?” Who killed the career of “Mega Man” Tom Magee?
Some have tried to justify the burial of Magee’s hopes and dreams by saying that he was a terrible performer, that he lacked passion and charisma, that he botched too many moves. Let’s take a closer look at these assertions and see if Magee’s wounds were truly self-inflicted…
This wrestling magazine article documents the unique high-flying arsenal of Tom Magee — his use of exciting acrobatic attacks thanks to his gymnastics background which made him possibly “the best of all.” Certainly the Ultimate Warrior — the muscleman who received the push Tom Magee was supposed to receive — could not perform flips and dives. Can we truly argue that Magee was worse at pro wrestling than the Ultimate Warrior?!
The article also mentions Magee’s athletic prowess at other sports: football, track, gymnastics, and judo to name a few. In my experience, any athlete skilled at one sport can easily learn and excel at other sports. It does not make logical sense that a world class athlete like Magee would be pathetic and untrainable at pro wrestling alone…
In 1986, the readers of this magazine voted Magee as third runner up for Rookie of the Year. He won this award thanks to his “incredible physique, well-rounded athletic abilities, and surprising wrestling skills.”
How can people now claim that Magee was one of the worst wrestlers that ever lived if he earned such glowing accolades from the fans of his day?
The winner of the Rookie of the Year honors in ’86 was another newbie named Lex Lugar, a chiseled muscle man with nearly the same size and power, but far less graceful dexterity as Magee. I enjoy Lex Lugar’s torture rack as much as the next wrestling fan, but can we seriously argue that Lex Lugar was a better all-around wrestler than Tom Magee?? I dare say that dog don’t hunt!
Not long after his rookie year, a campaign was launched to bury and forget about Tom Magee. For example, when the same magazine posted their “10 Truly Awesome Physical Specimens” a few years later, they left Magee totally off the list.
Fortunately, an alert fan reminded them of Magee’s amazing physique and the editor conceded that Magee ought to have been counted as a Truly Awesome Physical Specimen.
Was this simply an oversight by the magazine when they forgot to include the most fit, ripped, and muscular wrestler of the time on their list? Or was a conspiracy to bury this Mega Man already in the offing??
Some have argued that Magee’s lack of passion and charisma in the ring left the fans yawning and bored. That statement does not apply to this wrestling fan! Seeing this icon of masculine power repeatedly flex his muscles as he flips around in his black posing strap has me wanting to stand in line for his autograph as these young fans are doing!
Several of Tom Magee’s matches exist on You-Tube (despite the effort to bury his career) so we can see for ourselves if he was truly one of the worst pro wrestlers in history…
Exhibit 1: Tom Magee vs. Terry Gibbs (1987)
In his match against Terry Gibbs, Magee played the High-Flying Rookie Baby-Face, entering the ring by balancing on the top rope and flipping 360 degrees forward to land on his feet, an impressive move which the announcer points out King Kong Bundy could not perform. That’s a good point — can someone seriously argue that King Kong Bundy was a more exciting and entertaining pro wrestler than Tom Magee??!
Magee used power moves like the Gorilla Press as well as several back-flips and a high drop-kick to keep the energy level up and waste Terry Gibbs. If anyone slowed down the pace and excitement of the match, it was the jobber Terry Gibbs, who kept slithering out of the ring to avoid the massive He-Man’s assault. The cheater Terry Gibbs did gain the advantage for a few minutes by attacking Magee’s throat — and Magee suffered nicely, selling the agony and gasping in pain. In the end, Magee broke Gibbs over his shoulder and the crowd went wild when Magee raised his arm in victory. It is hard to now argue that Magee was low-energy and lackluster when you hear this spirited reaction from the excited crowd.
Exhibit 2: Tom Magee vs. Tim Horner
For this match, Magee plays a big, cruel, muscular giant against cutie-pie Tim Horner, our helpless Baby. The Mega Man’s rump seems to be trying to devour his red trunks as he delivers some innovative and impressive moves. He also demonstrates a solid grasp of ring psychology as he “jobs” to pretty-boy Horner now and then to excite the crowd with a ray of possibility that their smaller hero might actually win. Meanwhile, Lord Alfred Hayes (who knows a stud when he sees one) absolutely gushes over the Mega Man:
“He is so well built — look at him. That is power in excelcius there. There is not an ounce of fat on him anywhere.” “He has such power in that body, that spring-steel body, that you can never rule him out.”
At 4:20 into the match, Magee executes a Flying Clothesline that utterly turns Horner inside out. The announcers are sincerely in awe: “Ahh! What a tre-MEND-ous clothesline!” “That’s one of the hardest clotheslines we’ve seen at Boston Garden for a long, long time.” Do these sound like the comments of bored, uninterested viewers? At the 6:12 point in the match, Magee grabs Horner around the waist and muscles him over the ropes to suplex him back into the ring — an impressive feat of strength in this fan’s humble opinion.
The crowd was inspired to jeer and boo as Magee tore poor little Tim Horner limb from limb, dissecting him with an innovative offense and eventually defeating him. The Mega Man has done his job — convincing the fans to love to hate him. Watch this match and hopefully you’ll see that Magee is not an epic failure as some people have claimed.
Exhibit 3: Tom Magee vs. Hiroshi Wajima
Apparently Wajima was so old and decrepit after a long career as a Sumo wrestler that he could barely move without pain. It was Wajima who ruined this match in my opinion, for example refusing to allow Magee to flip him over in the Suplex. Wajima failed to “sell” Magee’s attacks, so the Mega Man followed suit and adopted a less aggressive style.
Wajima was an icon in Japan and had been the 54th Yokozuna (Sumo wrestling champ) so maybe Magee was told to take it easy on the old man.
Despite Wajima’s lack of cooperation, Magee still sold Wajima’s moves, allowing the former Sumo wrestler to apply a Boston Crab to finish him off.
Exhibit 4: Tom Magee vs. “The Boz” Brian Bosworth
When they filmed the movie “Stone Cold” in 1991, they needed someone to beat up the hero, Brain “The Boz” Bosworth. Tom Magee was chosen for the honor, playing a biker whom Boz had to defeat in order to gain entry into the biker gang he was trying to infiltrate.
If the Mega Man was such a boring failure at pro wrestling, why would the producers select him to play the unbeatable brute, to excite and arouse the fans by roughing up the shirtless Boz??
I would’ve liked their wrestling match in jeans and boots to continue for a half hour at least, but what little I saw, I enjoyed. Magee applied classic pro moves like the Back Breaker over his knee, looking smug and arrogant like every muscle-Heel should.
In the end, Boz kicked Magee’s ass (it was his movie after all, and the plot required him to get into the gang), but Mega Man looked good even getting dragged around in the dirt by his long flowing hair.
So it’s hard to swallow the argument that Magee was pathetic and untrainable. Yes, he had some clumsy moments as a Rookie, but at other times, he was absolutely brilliant, inspiring, impressive, innovative, and amazingly dexterous.
There must be more to the story of the Mega Man Mystery, another reason behind the failure of Tom Magee to achieve popularity and success in the ring…
To be continued…