Whether it is chocolate and peanut butter or mezcal mixed as a Manhattan, some things go great together. That is especially true of the new tag team making the rounds in the National Wrestling Alliance: Magnum Muscle, Dak Draper and Big Strong Mims.  Since the two men have joined forces in the NWA they are climbing the ranks and are one of twenty-eight teams that are vying to take the coveted Crockett Cup at the double pay-per-view event this June 3rd and 4th in Winston-Salem, NC.

Slamwrestling.net had spoken with Draper two years ago but this was the first time speaking with the other half of Magnum Muscle.  “I was always interested in professional wrestling since I was a kid,” the 5’11”, 244-pound Matthew Mims said, “and just like a lot of other kids around the same age group living through the ‘90s, I think what actually showed me there was an opportunity to do it was actually through my best friend. We met back in middle school. We kind of knew each other throughout high school and we kind of really hit it off towards the end of that during our time, [which] funny enough was amateur wrestling. So, that’s when we kind of got a lot closer he was always the kid that was seen as the weird kid because he loved wrestling so much.”

It was that same friend that really inspired him to pursue that dream after going to one of Chris Jericho’s book signings.  “Chris Jericho gave him the advice if you want to do this and you really want to do it. You need to go all-in. I think he gave him a full list and the main thing on the list was to go to Lance Storm’s Academy in Calgary. So ever since then, everybody knows that about this game. He was the one kid in school everybody knew it about so we got a bit closer to each other. I found out he really did take this seriously for the last six years. He’s been saving up money, getting odd jobs here and there just to go to land storm school for some advice he was given at a random book signing. And so that kind of dedication of being close to a person it kind of makes you think, well, maybe I can actually do this too.”

Of course, the Clarksville, TN native admits it took him longer to get into the groove, but soon found his way into the squared circle.  “My entry into pro wrestling was through Crimson (Anthony Mayweather) so he started a promotion up here in Clarksville, Tennessee called Tried-N-True Pro. Wonderful promotion. They started here with a few shows that were some of the biggest events in Clarksville.”  Mims was offered to work for the promotion as a security guard for the promotion. “So, I quit my job that I had right then and there. Best job I had at that point, at least money-wise.  I quit it on the spot to go work for Crimson,” Mims laughs at the memory.  “I’m gonna go home my job and quit right now to go work for ‘zero dollars’ because I love wrestling that much and I want to be a part of this world.”

But Mims’ hard work didn’t go unnoticed. “So, since then, there’s kind of been this mentorship from Crimson until we got to a point about a year later in 2018,” Mims recalls, “and he tells me the good news before he tells anybody else. ‘We’re starting off with school bids. I want to be a part of it. I want you to be one of my students in school. I know you’ve been waiting for this. You’ve been working for me for a full year now doing whatever I asked.  Here’s your chance for a shot to really get into a professional wrestling world.’”

Mims worked hard for those two years at Tried-N-True Academy around the time NWA Powerrr was beginning to debut on YouTube, and Mims had his breakout moment.  “That very first episode that I was going against one of my current trainers at the time, Thom Latimer, and his tag team partner at the time Royce Isaacs [and] they were the [NWA] Tag Team Champions at that point.”  Since then, Mims steadily worked in the NWA and was even profiled in title matches, such as when he faced off against Tyrus as he was then holding the NWA Television Championship.

This brings Dak Draper to the NWA picture.  The Mile High Magnum had recently been a fixture of ROH up until it shuttered its doors around October of 2021 prior to All Elite Wrestling owner Tony Khan’s purchase of the promotion.  So What has Draper done since that time?  “I moved from Baltimore to Florida,” Draper explained, “and then I moved from Florida to Kansas City, which has been a really good move because the Midwest Indies are way better than the Florida Indies.”

“I’ve been wrestling on a lot of independents, focusing on wrestling the way that I want to wrestle and being portrayed the way that I want to be portrayed,” he continued, “and that’s something that I enjoy about NWA, where I feel like I spent about a year where it’s probably been the longest time in my career where I haven’t been under a wrestling contract, and so that I’m in complete control of what I do and the decisions I make. And it’s been nice to have that control.”

But Draper did make some appearances for ROH and AEW recently.  “I did a couple of AEW Dark tapings. I did one of the Ring of Honor tapings,” he said, “I’ve been there a few times and there haven’t been…I’m not really at liberty to discuss the talks that have happened. But right now, I’m a free agent and I’m focused on the NWA and the Crockett Cup.”

Draper almost did not get to be on the roster for the NWA.  “I sent my stuff and they never messaged me back,” he chuckled, “and then I talked to a friend of mine who actually works for WWE and he asked me why I wasn’t on NWA. I told him and he said, ‘Just send your stuff again.’ And I sent it again and they messaged me back like that day.”

Draper was quickly brought in for the NWA National Title tournament, where he reached the finals between Chris Adonis and “Thrillbilly” Silas Mason, and that, too almost didn’t happen.  “I had just wrestled on like a ten-day little tour in the Upper Midwest, and I broke my wrist when I was coming right into the National title tournament.  I was really scared that they were going to pull me from the National title tournament, and I was really, really excited about wrestling for [the] NWA and debuting for NWA, so I hid it from them,” Draper recalled. “I did my wrist tape job which was a real athletic training tape job for a broken wrist, but I didn’t want to make it too obvious. I was like, covertly taping my broken wrist and it was intense, intense pain, but if I could go back again, it was totally worth it.”

As for how both Mims and Draper formed a tag team in the NWA, that part came about during a signature moment of NWA Powerrr.  “The Champions Series brought us together where we were randomly put in the same team,” Draper said, “and we naturally got along and I feel like we just we noticed we had a good chemistry, and even in the back, we enjoyed being around each other. I feel like we were both in a better mood when we were together versus being on other teams. And it kind of organically formed from there. We didn’t have to force it.”

“Oh, yeah, it was a very easy connection there,” Mims agreed with his tag partner as they were paired up as part of Team Rock n’ Roll. “I would say that in The Champions Series on my end, the teams on paper and see who was on my team; I was already excited not just because of the level of talent that we have, but also because I knew I would gel really well with this group.”  Mims even felt that he and Draper would work well together.  “He was like the first person that I was drawn to it because it felt like I was talking to a kindred spirit.”

Draper tagged in and pointed out how Magnum Muscle has the upper hand as a tag team.  “I think we got a great boost of energy, something that I don’t think we’ve ever talked about. We had a great advantage; we got jumpstarted out of The Champions Series because our first matches [were] where we’re tagging together. We’re on Team Rock ‘N Roll, we have tag team legend Ricky Morton as the coach of our team,” Draper explained, “And so being a new tag team and you have a legend like that that just giving you these little trinkets [that] he doesn’t even know that he’s giving you before you go out there as a team and like it’s stuff that he doesn’t even think about is helping you, but it’s just the way that he talks and just…he’s forgotten more about wrestling and more about tag team wrestling that we will probably ever know.”

“I would say when it comes to us coming together,” Mims concluded, “it’s two guys that were always on the cusp of something great; like that Draper coming in and with a broken wrist (as we found out) getting all the way to the end of the National title tournament. And just being about this close to possibly getting that prize [The NWA Television Title] in the same way for me, fighting with Tyrus back and forth for at least six months.”

“So, you kind of see that we were able to push, pull, or drag ourselves to the cusp of the greatest possible achievements we’ve had at our careers separately,” Mims continued, “and then kind of have the idea, ‘Okay, well, we get along really well. We obviously wrestle really well or at least well enough to get to fighting for these championships to where the only thing that stopped us is an injury.’  The guy [Draper] had a broken wrist. I had a concussion. That’s the only thing that stopped us there. We can’t say, ‘Oh, yeah, it was just our lack of ability.’ No, we’re the guys; we’re the future! That’s what Magnum Muscle is all about.”

And the future lies in other tag teams standing in their way, specifically the current NWA Tag Team Champions, La Rebelion, who they recently faced off for the tag straps at NWA 312.  “These guys are obviously a bit smaller than we are,” Mims said, “but they are the top dogs. They have the belts, they’ve beaten everybody. Anybody you can name off in the NWA probably already beat them or they probably easily could because of their status right now. So, I got to go with him for the toughest opponents. But again, we’re not at our peak. One loss is not exactly determined exactly how great they are compared to us. We’re still growing. We’re still getting to that point.”

Big Strong Mims giving the boot to Mecha Wolf in the NWA. Credit: Hiban Huerta.

They almost won the tag team belts on a recent episode of NWA Powerrr, only for NWA Owner William Patrick Corgan to reverse the decision on a technicality.  For now, they are focused on The Crockett Cup as the number 14th seed, and they are staring across the bracket at another tag team rival that had cost them their first chance at the tag belts, Blunt Force Trauma.  “If I had my choice, we’d face Blunt Force Trauma in the first round because [they] came out and caused disruptions during our world tag team title match, and I would like to just get them out of the way,” Draper stated emphatically.  “I would love to pull the band-aid off and get rid of those guys early so that they can’t rear their ugly, ugly heads; heads so ugly you have to cover with a mask to ruin our chances at the Crockett Cup.”

As for what’s the endgame for Mims and Draper, neither man hesitated with an answer.  “It’s being the most decorated tag team in professional wrestling, to follow in the footsteps of other great tag teams who’ve been incredibly dedicated,” Mims said.  “Dedicated to the business and also incredibly decorated in the business. We can talk Hardy Boys. We can talk The Dudleys. We can talk any of the tag teams you can pull out of The Bullet Club. I want to be on the same level, if not better, and where does it start? It starts in the greatest company and professional wrestling right now. It starts in the NWA.”

“I agree with it 100 percent,” Draper concurred with his tag partner.  “We want to elevate ourselves to be the Crockett Cup champions to do the tag team champions, and then elevate the Tag Team Championship where we got guys from all over the world…the best tag teams all over the world where we want them to come to wrestle us. So, we want to elevate the titles to that status. And then with that, that would elevate the NWA in general to…we want to bring everything up, we want to rise all tides Magnum Muscle; we’re rising all tides.”