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Exclusive: TJP on why it was so important to represent the Philippines in WWE

  • Perkins opened up on training with Manny Pacquaio and representing the Philippines.
Gary Cassidy
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 23:04 IST

TJP got to represent the Philippines in WWE
TJP got to represent the Philippines in WWE

The WWE Universe was shocked earlier this year when former WWE Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins left the company.

The winner of WWE's first ever Cruiserweight Classic, and former TNA X-Division Champion would go on to seemingly becoming a mainstay of WWE's 205 Live brand - before disappearing late last year and then being released from the company earlier in 2019.

But how much does TJP earn now in comparison to his time in WWE? Well, in a conversation with myself, Perkins revealed all.

Elaborating on his 55 appearances confirmed for this year between May and November, TJP told us he's now earning double what he did in WWE.

Originally I was just billed as a Los Angeles wrestler with the American flag. I requested to represent the Philippines and Hunter [Triple H] said it was cool. For the first time, I was able to do that. It was huge for me because I’ve been the subject of a lot of inconsiderate decisions or passive prejudice when it comes to being Asian. I’ve been places where I was told the only way I could earn a contract is if I spoke Spanish and was presented as Mexican.
I have been labeled as Japanese or Mexican or Canadian underneath a mask. When I’ve asked about openly representing my culture, I was always turned down because it was considered insignificant by many companies I worked for previously. And on top of that, Asian targeted racism is still wildly tolerated in just about every locker room. No-one shuts it down.
So for the first time, being able to be myself and openly represent my people and to go all the way and win a major title in such historic fashion was a huge deal for me. Because now, forever, there is a major moment in WWE history that is linked to Filipinos. Hopefully more people will follow suit and cross my bridge and build more for themselves and others to represent Southeast Asians. 

TJP also spoke of how his identity was lost upon moving to RAW, and how he wanted it to be an integral part of his character.

Moving to Raw, they separated me from that. Vince was interested in the change and asked me how we could use me better and I said I would show him. I spent the year making my own appearances with Filipino events, doing my own red carpet interviews and news and media appearances for Filipino media outlets and publications. Met with Pacquiao and trained with him. Did some research in Filipino demographics so he could see the effect my community can have. I brought this all back to Vince around Survivor Series 2018. He loved it and wanted to find me a spot on Raw and suggested we brainstorm creative ideas.

Sadly, though, it wasn't to be. You can check out our entire interview with TJP here.

A huge thanks to TJ Perkins for taking the time to speak with us. You can follow TJP here, and check out his Detonation Kick here.

Published 15 May 2019, 21:55 IST
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