Name: Chris Parsons
Alias: “Magnum CK”
Hometown: Athens, Ohio
Profession: Professional Wrestler
Years in Business: 2004-2008, 2016 to Present
Super No Bueno: When did you first fall in love with wrestling?
Chris Parsons: One of my very first memories is looking at the WWF Magazine results of SummerSlam 1989 in a K-Mart in the Fall of that year– I was 3 years old. I grew up in the middle of nowhere in the hills of West Virginia, so I didn’t have cable and I certainly didn’t have friends. But because my uncle was a wrestler and promoter, I was exposed to wrestling by issues of Pro Wrestling Illustrated he would give me. I was able to amass quite the collection. I even started my own wrestling magazine by cutting out pictures of wrestlers and writing my own reviews and predictions of storylines and matches. At one point, I even made my own table-top RPG (role-playing game) based on the late-80s and early-90s wrestlers and arenas, but I never got to play it with anyone. I remember staying up late with my cousin when he would visit in the summer, we would use a tape recorder I had found and would put on wrestling shows with our wrestling figures and provide the commentary for the incredible, plastic action! Years before Sting or Scott Levy did it, I had a character I would play in my backyard called the Raven, he was a lot like the Crow, but he mainly only wrestled Tonka Wrestling Buddies– he shortly found out how much it hurts to leg drop something on the lawn. My first “oh, this wrestling thing really hurts” moment was when I tried a “Macho Man” elbow off of the swing set. I knocked the wind out of myself so badly that I didn’t try the move again until June of 2017.
Why do you think you took to it like you did?
Wrestling just became my place, man. I mean, I remember meeting Wahoo McDaniel and Ivan Koloff in, like, 1991 and thinking they were superheroes. Chris Hamrick amazed me as a kid, and I also got to know him as a real guy. It blew my mind.
When I was about nine, there was a wrestler that the guys in the back at my uncle’s shows referred to as “Shit-Pants” Buddha. (It turns out there were two wrestlers named Buddha on the local scene, but this one had once inadvertently relieved himself during a match.) Anyway, I remember the wrestlers all lining up at the concession stand after the show because after the crowd left the food was free. Earlier in the night, Buddha told me that every time he heard a ring bell, he went nuts and had to hurt somebody. As Buddha sat down with his hot dogs, I snuck up behind him and clanged the bell. He turned around slowly, squeezed the hot dog until it broke in half and fell to the ground, and started chasing me around the building. Things like that, man, are so much fun. I ALWAYS take extra time for kids at shows and try to make them feel special. This wrestling thing is really all for the kids.
Talk a bit about Rock Parsons…
My Uncle Rock is undoubtedly the reason I not only love wrestling but the reason I am a wrestler. This guy is a wrestling encyclopedia. I was in the back at a show a few months back and I was talking with Jim Cornette for several hours, and even Corny remarked upon my uncle’s wrestling knowledge and tape library. When I visited my uncle, all through my childhood, I would beg him to watch wrestling tapes. I learned about Ox Baker, Ernie Ladd, The Original Shiek, Bruno (Sammartino), and hundreds more. I am certainly not an “Oh man, the old times were the only good times” guy, but we could all learn a lot from guys like Jimmy Valiant. Growing up, Rock was my idol, man. I looked up to him so much and just wanted to be a big-time wrestler like him. I lost my way a few times, but I finally feel like I am making him proud. He recently compared me to Austin Idol in a text message and I absolutely bawled. The acceptance of strangers is nice, but the recognition of peers and family, genuine recognition is invaluable. For my uncle, who is honest as the summer days are long, to tell me,”You got it, kid” is one of my greatest accomplishments.
Magnum CK: Chasing The American Dream
How do you perceive that being a second generation wrestler has shaped your style and philosophy?
I really feel like I took to wrestling so incredibly quickly. It’s easy to say, “Yeah, I have watched wrestling forever, I can do that!” But, man, I’ve been IN it. I have been completely consumed with pro wrestling since I was old enough to know what it was. I once wrote my own word-for-word transcript of SummerSlam 1989 just so I could see how commentators talk—it took FOREVER, I had to pause the tape a thousand times. I have played lead roles in 25 plays and musicals, trained at Second City in Chicago, had countless private acting lessons, and I have used all of it for wrestling. But I spent my entire childhood getting an education on the art of wrestling. I think about it constantly. I was just born to be in this business and someday I will be one helluva producer.
When did you meet Jock Samson?
I don’t exactly remember the first time we met, but I remember watching him for the first time. He’s the kind of performer that just pulls your focus as you watch, he just has himself figured out and plays up his strengths to the hilt!
Magnum CK (R) & Jock Samson (L): OG Hellraisers
How did the Mega Plowers come to be?
The Mega Plowers was a throwaway joke I made on a podcast I used to do. We had Jock on as a guest and I said to my partner Michael Rhodes, “Hey, I’m starting a tag team with Jock. We’re gonna be farmers. The Mega Plowers.” But then when I made my return to wrestling, I won’t lie, I was nervous. Jock was willing to team with me so I could get my feet wet again and I could not be more thankful for it.
You see, I go to a great therapist now so I am able to spot negative behaviors. I am much better, but I had this fear, and it is one I had through in regards to my theatre work as well, that people would figure out I am a sham or discover I didn’t know what I was doing. But it was not until recently that I let go of all that and realized that not only do I absolutely know what I am doing, but I respect myself and trust my talent and instincts. And now, it feels like I’m flying, man. I am now, for the first time in my life, on my own team—I did not do it alone either. My wife Alexis changed everything. She was the first person who every truly believed in me. She is everything and I have promised her that I will use wrestling to buy her a house that so rightfully deserves.
Earlier in the year, noted wrestling photographer Wayne Palmer and I ran into you and Jock while you were grabbing lunch before an International Wrestling Cartel show in Elizabeth, Pa. You were both quietly chatting with a local about sports. Two hours later you were raising hell and mayhem in the ring. The metamorphosis is, well, remarkable. What do you do to “flip the switch” to performance mode?
It is easier for some people than others, but theatre has helped me a ton. I am the type of actor who can be chatting it up backstage, laughing, joking, whatever, and can hit my cue, find my mark, and snap into the scene. It’s a learned habit mixed with natural ability, I suppose; probably hard to teach. But I will say that I do have a tradition that I have started before every match: I find a nice, quiet little corner, lean my arms and head against the wall and talk to people I love who have passed. Mostly, my grandparents, I’ll say “Ron, Frank, Roy, Juanita, I know you are watching somehow and I hope you’re proud. I love you,” or something along those lines. I recently, quite sadly, added Chandler Biggins to that list. He was a wonderful man who appreciated great wrestling. But it’s just my little way of feeling like I have something extra, like I’m not alone out there. I started doing it when my step-grandfather passed while I was doing Rocky Horror (Picture Show), and continued it when my grandfather Frank passed while I was doing “Full Monty.” It’s such a peaceful ritual that allows me to relax and actually look, listen, and feel what I’m doing out there. Calm actors are good actors.
Fly High, Freebird
You recently worked a tag bout in Parkersburg, WV. As the match progressed, I noticed that hints of Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan and Dusty Rhodes are peppered throughout your act. What type of traits in your peers and mentors tend to influence you?
Oh, man, I really appreciate you saying that. Well, it’s my wife, oddly enough. See, when I quit wrestling in 2008, it wasn’t really a conscious choice– it just happened. I was depressed and lost. When I came back, I decided that I was going to make wrestling what I wanted it to be my entire life. I wasn’t really doing very well at that and was feeling restless. After the REMIX Pro Wrestling show in April, even though I had just had a GREAT match with my friends, I wasn’t happy with myself. It didn’t feel right. At dinner that night, my wife said ‘Why don’t you just be yourself? Emulate the guys you love, that’s YOU!” It was like a lightbulb, man. Now, I just go with what I know and follow every single instinct that pops into my head, which is Hogan, Dusty, Randy, Piper, all of them. I’m having so much fun, too, and I think the audience feels that. At that show, you actually witnessed my first top rope elbow drop since the swingset!
I’m certainly not stealing from anyone, and I’m not “playing the hits”, I’m just doing what I know and what I love.
Based on your social media postings, you clearly have a love for mid-80s wrestling. What about that era of the business makes it special to you?
I think everyone usually prefers what they grew up watching. I was a pre-teen during the Attitude Era and I loved it too, but I was always the dorkiest wrestling fan, even when wrestling was cool, who was asking if anyone had heard of Ivan Putski or if they knew that Stone Cold’s real name was Steve Williams and that there was also another Steve Williams who was also Dr. Death, etc, etc. I took a pride in loving 80s wrestling. Everyone had such a clear character. Even if you weren’t exactly sure who or what Randy Savage was, you remembered him and he was very, very uniquely specific. But I can find things I love nowadays, too. I certainly prefer things from 20+ years ago, but I am not naive or shortsighted enough to believe that that’s all there is.
Sun's Out, Guns Out
You are a big boy. What is your diet and workout regime like?
Genetic gifts! Haha! Actually, I just lost about 30 pounds of fat (depression is a helluva drug), and am hovering around 269 pounds. But I am blessed to be 6’4″ as well. I lift 3 days a week, fill in with elliptical or Stairmaster cardio on the other days, get lots of protein, and count calories on an app my wife and sister-in-law showed me. It works! I was a personal trainer from 2007 until late 2016, so the key is finding the balance between what works for you and what challenges you. I am probably in the best shape of my life, as a big man at least. I once dropped down to 191 pounds to play Frank N. Furter on the stage, coincidentally on the show where I met my wife. But as a big man, I can still go! I just busted out the leg lariat last weekend for the first time in 10 years.
Not to peel back the curtain too far, but you mentioned earlier that you are also involved in theater. How have your experiences in the ring influenced your work as an actor/director?
Wrestling is theatre. Theatre is wrestling. They are art forms with very different techniques, requirements, and tricks– but they are cut from the same cloth and are more similar than different. You shouldn’t let your blocking or stage movements look choreographed, just like your wrestling spots shouldn’t look choreographed. The keys to being a strong actor and being a strong wrestler are the same: do things that make sense (or at least make them make sense), act like it was spontaneous, and cheat out (HARDCAM). Just entertain. Give ’em the ol’ razzle dazzle. BUT, you have to learn the basics. Even the Harlem Globetrotters had to learn to be good basketball players first. Respect the art, the audience, and yourself.
What are your goals in wrestling?
Goal number one is to have fun and do good work. I really have no desire for some big, famous contract with a company who won’t let me be creative. I love the indies. I want to go to Japan without a doubt, at least once. But I just want to be someone’s favorite wrestler. I have a lot of weird, little goals like an action figure and stuff like that, but more than anything I want to make memories for myself and others and just make my matches and stories feel important. I’d like in the PWI 500 some day, but a lot of goals like that just sound superficial when I say them out loud. More than anything, I want to make my wife proud. I want to keep learning and keep curing myself of all the negative emotions that a less-than-stellar childhood home life can bring you. I want to keep making impressions on people, keep making friends, and keep people smiling. People who entertain just have something in them that wants to help people pass their time– to make people laugh, smile, gasp, and remember. I guess I just want to keep doing that. Even something like this, being interviewed, I just appreciate it so much because, really, we are all just people. And the fact that anyone would care enough to ask me questions or read about me is already a dream come true.
I will continue to make my brand of wrestling unique, fun, and what I want it to be.
Magnum CK is…?
Thankful. Thankful for every fan, friend, promoter, peer, supporter. All of it.
MCK is my dream character. It is the personification of sage advice from my wife and my vehicle to fulfilling the pro wrestling dream I was born with. I was a poor, shaggy-haired, mostly friendless, little boy for a long, long time. But I think if I could see myself as I am now, I would have been a big fan.