Britain’s first world wrestling champion can’t wait for homecoming

TNA World Heavyweight Champion Magnus

TNA World Heavyweight Champion Magnus

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TNA Impact Wrestling star Magnus says he can’t wait to return to the UK after becoming the first Brit to win the world title of a major American wrestling organisation.

The 27-year-old, real name Nick Aldis, from King’s Lynn, Norfolk, beat Jeff Hardy for the vacant TNA World Heavyweight Championship in a tournament final last month.

The historic victory was broadcast to millions of people in more than 120 countries, including on Challenge TV in the UK and Ireland on Sunday, December 22, 2013.

Magnus will bring his newly-won championship home when he visits five arenas around Britain and Ireland on the TNA Maximum Impact VI Tour, which begins later this month.

He said: “It is truly an honour and a privilege to be the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion.

“I’m looking forward to bringing the title belt back to where it all started for me. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of doing.

“It’s also important to represent all the people in the UK wrestling business that helped me get to this point, and hopefully show the young British talent that there is no glass ceiling - you can be a top guy!”

Magnus’ title win ends a wait which began when Russian George Hackenschmidt beat American Tom Jenkins on May 4, 1905, to become wrestling’s first widely regarded World Heavyweight Champion.

Wrestling historian and author John Lister said: “While the likes of the legendary British Bulldog, William Regal, Wade Barrett and Doug Williams have all had great success in America, they’ve fallen short in their challenges for the World Heavyweight Championship.

“It’s a great achievement for Magnus to become the No 1 wrestler in a globally televised promotion and also shows how important the British audience is to TNA.

“For decades it seemed impossible that we would ever see a British man win Wimbledon, hold a World Heavyweight Championship for a major wrestling company or lift the World Cup again.

“With two down in the same year, perhaps it’s an omen for this summer in Rio!”

As well as a successful career inside the squared circle, Magnus has also found fame in a variety of different fields - including appearing as Oblivion on Sky One’s Gladiators, as the co-host of hit Challenge TV series UK’s Strongest Man, as a popular Christmas pantomime regular at the Norwich Theatre Royal, and as a columnist for Fighting Spirit Magazine.

Fans can see Magnus as part of the Maximum Impact VI Tour, which will also feature Kurt Angle, Bully Ray, Mr Anderson, Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe, Austin Aries, James Storm, Gunner, Christopher Daniels, Kazarian, Rockstar Spud, Ethan Carter III, Robbie E, Jessie Godderz, Zema Ion, Joseph Park, Eric Young, Chris Sabin, Sam Shaw, Gail Kim, ODB, Velvet Sky, Lei’d Tapa and Madison Rayne.

The tour includes a show at Manchester’s Phones 4u Arena on Friday, January 31, where TNA will hold its first international pay-per-view, and first pay-per-view in the UK, called TNA One Night Only: British Empire Cup.

It will see eight wrestlers battle it out in a one-night tournament, with seven TNA superstars joined by an eighth competitor, the winner of a TNA signature gauntlet battle royal, featuring well-known British and international talent.

The British Empire Cup will then be defended each year on TNA’s UK Tours.

The event will also feature TNA’s Knockouts fighting for their own trophy.

Magnus said: “The UK tour and holding these pay-per-views in the UK is all a testament to the quality of the fanbase here and the quality of the market, and our efforts to continue to strengthen that market and fanbase, who are the best, most receptive fans in the world.

“I expect to be a part of those shows in some capacity, but at this point all I’m focusing on is keeping the world title for as long as possible.”

Tickets are on sale now via www.gigsandtours.com/go/tnafan, www.ticketmaster.co.uk or www.facebook.com/tnawrestlinguk.