So far, season four of Dark Side of the Ring is showing a more subdued take on wrestling stories, with less focus on the controversial storytelling that had become the trademark of the series in its first years. In fact, it’s a little bit like Dark Side mixed with the more straightfoward historical re-tellings of Tales from the Territories — with both shows produced by Evan Husney and Jason Eisener, of course.

So it is that this week’s episode, “Shattered: The Magnum T.A. Story” brings us the well-known, unfortunate story of the man whose meteoric rise in Jim Crockett Promotions was cut short by a car crash that changed the direction of his life.

The show positions Jim Crockett Promotions as the only remaining viable alternative to the exploding WWF in the 1980s, with Jim Cornette calling it the last place for the biggest wrestlers not already in the WWF to gather and put up a fight. David Crockett, Jim’s son, talks about Buzz Sawyer finding Terry Allen (before he was Magnum T.A.) working security for nightclubs and bars, and making the pitch to Allen’s parents by telling them that a wrestling licence would cost ten thousand dollars. Allen gets the money, but after paying Sawyer for the ticket to his future, Buzz had left the region, with Allen never seeing any of it again.

However, Allen does have a connection with Jimmy Garvin, and he helps Allen meet up with Sawyer again – this time for some training. Allen gets a call from Eddie Graham and heads to Championship Wrestling from Florida, wrestling under his own name. Dusty Rhodes was booking for Florida at the time and pushed Allen to a top spot, and not long after André the Giant, according to Bill Apter, took inspiration from Allen’s resemblance to Tom Selleck and suggested the name Magnum T.A., combining his initials with the title of Selleck’s hit show Magnum, P.I.

Magnum moves to Mid-South Wrestling, then Jim Crockett Promotions, and we meet and hear from Tamara Howell, who was married to Allen from 1981 until 1988. She says that she knew he was a popular man when a store clerk fainted just seeing him, but when it got to the point that she found pictures in his bags of him with a woman who was definitely not her — their marriage was in deep trouble early on.

Nikita Koloff walks us through his best of 7 series for the United States Championship, which Koloff won from Magnum to set Allen up for a run at the World Heavyweight Championship. This is where the story turns, though, as Allen is on the road in his new Porsche in North Carolina when, only five minutes from home, he skids out in the rain, hitting a telephone pole. Suffering from paralysis, Allen reflects on how it not only changed his life in obvious ways, but all of those connected to him.

There’s plenty of original news footage on TV and in papers as it was a buzz-worthy news story. Jimmy Garvin acknowledges that neither he nor any of the heels could go to the hospital in plain sight, but they were snuck in under cover to visit their friend.

After a little bit of time spent on the re-packaging of Koloff into a babyface to fill the void, the coda of Magnum’s wrestling career came acting as a colour commentator, and as Howell reveals that there was infidelity on Allen’s part even after the accident, she can’t stand for it anymore and their marriage dissolves. Not long after, Jim Crockett Promotions folds and transforms into World Championship Wrestling, as the effects of Allen’s accident continue to reveal themselves.

Allen remarries Courtney Blanchard (née Shattuck), ex-wife of Tully Blanchard, and concludes the episode exuding positivity, refusing to look back on his life with a singular “What if” view, because the other “What if” would have been what if he had never woken up after the crash, and he’s so thankful that he did.

There isn’t much new here for anyone with a passing knowledge of the story, but with more and more time passing, it’s always worth re-visiting to theorize what impact the car crash may have had on the wrestling business on the whole. For those that don’t know the story, of course, it’s well worth the watch for a look at one of the great stars who still never reached his full potential.

Stay with for reviews of future episodes of Dark Side of the Ring.