TJP discusses returning to Impact Wrestling and NJPW, a potential MMA career and WWE (Exclusive)

Gary Cassidy
Modified 18 Oct 2019
TJP got to represent the Philippines in WWE
TJP got to represent the Philippines in WWE

Definitely, that's a match made in heaven right there. We spoke earlier about you now wrestling unmasked, one of the things that I had the pleasure of speaking to you about last time was representing the Philippines. I know it's a hugely important thing for you, I know you really pushed for that in WWE.

Do you feel like wrestling unmasked as may be important for you representing the Philippines as well and with Fallah Bahh, is that something you can bring forward a bit more ?

Yeah, definitely. I never really knew whether I needed to be masked or not be masked, or whatever, if it would help. I do think it helps that a lot of people are interested in, I guess just my life story. A lot of people I think, it's like a single element thing. They really worry about cultivating and telling their story as far as a character in the ring but it just turns out over the last 20 years my career trajectory has become kind of a character of its own and a story to tell, and it's been inspiring to a lot of people.

When I was at WWE, I remember the first month I was there, the Performance Center for NXT, they would have mail that was allotted for everybody that was kind of coming in and they would have bins for me, just dump these bins with millions of letters and boxes, packages of people sending me things, and a lot just from people sending me letters and telling me their life story because they were depressed or suicidal, or bullied or something like that and they were like, "Man, you've been through so many things," that they felt they could relate to, so they would write these letters and reach out to me.

I came to realise that maybe being myself and being unmasked was more of a social commodity than I realised - and not a commodity in terms of making money but a commodity in terms of being able to reach people and to help people, so being able to do that for my people is pretty incredible and part of my bridge was.... I wanted to build this bridge so it is not just for fans but for people like me inside not just this business but any business to represent your heritage proudly, even if you're not necessarily Filipino, if you're just any kind of... Asian-American, or South-East Asian or something like that, because there's a lot of... Not a lot of Filipinos wrestling, but there are others who are not claiming it and I feel like either they don't feel safe claiming it, it's not something that would be advantageous for them, it would hurt them, or they just feel like it's not something to be proud of.

The reason I slung the flag on my back and put everybody on my shoulders at least for that one was because I was like, "Look, be proud, proud of what you're doing, be proud of who you are", there's a lot of us that don't and I wanted to inspire them to be open about it because it can lead to good things.

It's been almost one full year since you left WWE. Last time we spoke, you opened up about how great your relationship was with Vince McMahon and Triple H, but maybe not so much the people in between. Looking back, do you have any regrets?

No, I mean, I don't have any regrets at all. I look at it more as it was nice to be given the chance on one of the teams that I grew up watching, I guess is the best way to put it.

We joked but I don't think I had bad relationships with anyone in the middle or anything like that, a lot of that is kind of blown out of proportion. I think people asked me my take on stuff and I'll explain certain things that made me unhappy but being unhappy doesn't mean that I'm kicking trash cans over or throwing a fit or anything. Or even that I make it necessarily overly known.

I might just ask a question or something if I think something can be done better or whatever and most of my unhappiness I just kept to myself, so it wasn't like I had issues with people, it's more just that I was unhappy with the culture of where I was and I felt like maybe I just didn't fit in there because of that.

Some people enjoy certain atmospheres. Some people enjoy political atmospheres and they enjoy blue collar, hard-working but may be underappreciated atmospheres, or some people enjoy whatever atmosphere it is and whatever the case is whereas for me, how that was, my personal experience, I just wasn't that happy.

But I think they gave me a chance to do some really good things and I made a little bit of history, help some people along the way and I'm really proud of the group that I kind of lead in the door because now they've been able to do all these different things and they all have personal goals that they've now been able to start to chase those. Before we did that tournament, nobody like us had an opportunity to do that so I'm very, very happy with what I was able to do in the few years I was there.

Next: Friends in WWE

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Published 18 Oct 2019
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