The Latest Episodes of INSIGHT with Chris Van Vliet
Aug. 11, 2022

TJP's Newborn Baby Crashes Our Interview!

TJP's Newborn Baby Crashes Our Interview!

TJ Perkins (@megatjp) is better known as simply TJP. He is a professional wrestler who has worked for WWE, IMPACT Wrestling and he is currently signed to New Japan Pro Wrestling where is one half of the current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions. He joins Chris Van Vliet inside the Blue Wire Studios at the Wynn Las Vegas with his 1-year-old son James to talk about what has changed since the last time he was on the show in 2019, his fiancée Aria Blake, working with NJPW, his favorite memories from Impact Wrestling, he tells a great story about Hulk Hogan on a Southwest flight, how William Regal convinced him to be part of the first ever WWE Cruiserweight Classic and much more!


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On becoming a father:

“Everything that I kind of expected is all of the big changes. I obviously want to spend all of my time with the family. I have always been a bit of a homebody but just without the family. I think people have the outside perception that I love socialising, a lot of people think that I am an asshole. But honestly I have always been, what is it called when you leave a party without announcing it? The Irish goodbye? I am the king of that. If I go out with everybody, I am usually the first to get back to the room. I just want to pick up a video game controller or call my family.” 

On wrestling with New Japan:

“So it is tough being away, but I will tell the younger guys on tour, especially when it is their first tour. I would tell them that when I first started, and this going to age me real bad, but when I first started touring on these long tours in 2002, I couldn’t Facetime the kid and stuff. Now I can do that and it’s great. But there was no wi-fi, you had to go to an internet café and reserve an hour or buy a phone card from a Seven Eleven and walk to a strange payphone on the street in the middle of the night. There is a 100% chance you will get yelled at by your girlfriend on the 15 minutes you bought, so you have to buy another one and get yelled at for another 15 minutes.”   

On being away from his family:

“It is like being a military dad in that it feels like I am being deployed. It’s not like if I was in WWE, but on that note I prefer it because when I am home I am home. If I get 2 months off, I can work if I want to, but otherwise I am home. It’s not like I leave every Friday and am not back until Tuesday, that sucks.”

On making more money after leaving WWE:

“I remember us talking about that. And fans, give them any bit of information and they will fight over anything. I was talking with some of the guys this past week at Starrcast, New Japan had a show there. When I see that, I didn't look at it as a validation for me, I don’t look at a lot of the stuff and how I am connected to it. But what I got out of that experience, what people can do in and out of WWE, AEW or anywhere, just the importance of people to understands business 101 and the basic building blocks of capitalism, how to be a responsible adult. A lot of people, and you hear it mostly in a critical way, and I hate to say it this way as I don’t want it to take it as critical, but there is validity in the statement of people playing wrestler. People play a lot of things in life, people play doctor and play a lot of professions in life where they don’t maximize it to what it is meant to be. They are just happy to call themselves whatever that is, an architect, anything. No you don’t just have to be an architect, you can be an architect that creates other things, and then you become an entrepreneur. I would tell guys now having experienced it making more money than before is that you have to find ways to create that business, you have to become a businessperson. It is kind of sad but a lot of wrestling companies don’t know what to do with their business, which is why you see a lot of companies rise and fall and die out of nowhere, because they don’t know what they are doing. I tell guys to keep themselves valuable and to be valuable to those around them is to find the little things that create money generation for everybody, it’s not just a personal thing. I saw it as me going back to school, it wasn’t ‘Look at how much money I am making.’ It was ‘Look at how much I have figured out about life.’”

On beginning to wrestle at 13 years old:

“I remember because I was starting high school, I thought I would try to join the amateur wrestling team, but the school didn’t have one, so that accelerated me to go ‘Well I guess I will see.’ [what happens]. There was a kid there that had a local wrestling school’s shirt, you have to remember that there was no real internet then unless you were really savvy. A lot of people didn’t know, so when I saw that I was like what is that? He explained that it was a local gym that you can go to and I was like I can’t amateur wrestle so I will try that [professional wrestling].”   

On TJP wrestling longer than John Cena:

“I think someone tweeted about this. I think somebody said ‘You know he has been wrestling longer than Cena?’ I don’t reply to a lot of people but in my head it was ‘That’s not the flex that you think it is.’ They said fun fact, I said it’s not that fun. He is so successful and I am nowhere near John Cena.”    

On the Cruiserweight Classic:

“The Cruiserweight tournament was interesting for me. I remember telling some of the guys, for a lot of those guys it was their first wrestling job. Some were personal trainers, some worked at Best Buy, [Mustafa] Ali was a cop. Some of these guys have no experience, are nervous and don’t know how to fit in. I was telling those guys that I am so old that I could have been in the first Cruiserweight division [in WCW]. That was my goal, I wanted to be like Jericho and Malenko and Guerrero, all these guys that were putting these building blocks down. That is what I wanted to be, I wanted to wrestle Chavo on Nitro.”

On TJP being interested in acting:

“Not especially. I was an actor when I was a kid, I still have my headshot. My mom got Hulk Hogan to sign it, she would keep some of them [spare]. She is a flight attendant and she sometimes likes to brag about her son. She had Hulk Hogan on her flight and she went into first class and asked him to sign it. So I have a Hulk Hogan signed headshot, of my own headshot.”

On William Regal repeatedly asking TJP to compete in The Cruiserweight Classic:

“He just kept asking me to do it [laughs]. I was doing motion capture for the WWE video game at the time. [Chris asks if LA Knight was also there] I don’t know if he was there that day, but I have done it a lot with him, I might have got him on the crew there. Low Ki got me on, and from that point whenever they asked I would try to get other guys on. They look for certain body types or movements, so I try to spread the wealth. So I was doing the motion capture and he [Regal] had left me a voicemail, then he called me back again and I answered it. I didn’t turn it down, I didn’t have a reason to not necessarily want to do it. But what I didn’t think was that I was going to sign and stay with the company. But when he asked me I was liek this could be a generational thing, this could be like the new J Cup. I don’t care about legacies, I don’t care about my own legacy at all. If I retired today and my Wiki disappeared I wouldn’t care. I enjoy it and I love it, but with flagpole moments I don’t really care about that. But this is something in history that 20 years from now some kid will go ‘Man that Cruiserweight Classic.’ WWE were not doing these types of things at the time, it was still at the tail end of the FCW era. I thought that this company only likes big dudes and models, so that’s it. But things were changing, so I decided to do this one thing but I didn’t think that I would stay. But he [Regal] called me a couple of times and then he called me a couple more times, and then a few more times. It was then that he needed help to fill out the rest of the field. He said to me ‘Do you know guys from different parts of the world? What are we missing?’ I don’t know who I got on board, a lot of guys may have already been on their radar, but I did recommend people like Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik. But I did it and it was after that second round match with [Johnny] Gargano that they put us all in a room and giving us offers one by one. I kept turning them down, I turned them down three times.”

On competing in WWE without a contract:

“I didn’t sign until Clash of the Champions. I had some time between the final and Clash agreed to sign, but I didn’t sign. So I could have left.”

On what TJP is grateful for:

“I just usually say Aryia and James 3 times.”