He’s convinced that getting the opportunity to fight for the World Heavyweight Title was just as much about the importance of the British market to TNA as it was about him.
“It’s just as much about British fans as it is about me because they’ve provided the market,” he says. “They’ve provided the strongest live event market we have in the world, which means that they actively look for more British talent. By actively looking for that talent they found me and others, and I’ve been the one who’s been able to take the opportunity and run with it, and because of that they’re able to consider me as someone who’s ready for the upper echelon.”
And now he’s got the belt, he also has the heavy burden – literally and figuratively – of looking after it, which means carrying it around in his hand luggage on every flight he takes.
“You can’t check it. What if the airline lost your luggage?” he asks rhetorically with mock horror.
Unsurprisingly, having a title belt in your bags triggers a lot of questions from airport security staff.
“The first time, you leave it in your bag and they go, ‘We need to check your bag.’ They go, ‘Whooooooa, who are YOU supposed to be? Look at ME!’ I’m like, ‘That’s MINE. You wouldn’t do that if someone had underwear with metal on it!’ You wouldn’t pull it out and go, ‘Hey, look at me!’ For some reason because it’s a pro wrestling belt everyone thinks they can handle your personal property.”
Now, though, he has a plan.
“What I do now is I take it out and put it in a separate bin, like you would with a laptop or whatever, because then they don’t have a reason to touch it. When I flew out of Tampa to come back [to the UK], I put it in a separate bin. All the TSA guys there know me, so they were like, ‘Hey,congrats,champ!’ but the guy behind me, I could see him looking, and he eventually says, ‘Hey man, what’s that belt? It’s so cool!’ I said, ‘Oh, it’s just a way to hold up my trousers.’”
Magnus has been defending the belt on house shows in the US, and he’s looking forward to showing it off in front of some home fans.
“It’ll be fun to walk out with the world title!” he says. “I’m excited about where we go next – and who I’m going to work with. Let’s get stuck into something. Let’s sink our teeth into a really good rivalry, a competition for the title.”