The WWE announced that their new cruiserweight division debuts on WWE Monday Night Raw tonight, and at the front of the division is the new WWE Cruiserweight Champion, T.J. Perkins. For many WWE fans, T.J. Perkins is a brand new face in the company, and there is little to know about him. So, who is T.J. Perkins?
While most WWE fans learned of T.J. Perkins thanks to the WWE Cruiserweight Classic, many other American wrestling fans met T.J. Perkins in TNA Impact Wrestling. However, the career of T.J. Perkins started years before that when he started training to become a professional wrestler at the age of 13.
Who is T.J. Perkins? The new WWE cruiserweight champion got his start in Los Angeles where he learned Lucha Libre wrestling at the age of 13. He wanted to wrestle, so he put on a mask to wrestle at the age of 14, so no one would know his age. It was illegal, but it gave T.J. Perkins the chance to learn his craft early in life as Pinoy Boy.
The new WWE champion then moved on to Japan to train at the New Japan dojo with his friend Ricky Reyes, Rocky Romero, and none other than the former WWE world champion, Daniel Bryan. He made his debut in New Japan at the age of 18 years old. He started out as “Pinoy Boy” T.J. Perkins before he changed his name and gimmick to the masked wrestler, PUMA.
Not many people could answer the question of who is T.J. Perkins because in Japan and Mexico masked wrestlers remain masked and unknown, and he lived his role. He moved on to Mexico to wrestle in 2003, and then Perkins made his way to Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG).
It was while T.J. Perkins was in PWG that he started working with names like Samoa Joe, Davey Richards, the Young Bucks and more. Many PWG wrestlers have ended up in both the WWE and TNA Impact Wrestling, and T.J. Perkins wrestled there for years, but he never won a title in the promotion.
From there, T.J. Perkins moved on to Ring of Honor as PUMA and later under this real name as well. That was also when TNA Impact Wrestling learned about T.J. Perkins and brought him in to work both as a jobber under his real name and as PUMA under the mask.
The American wrestling world really learned the answer to who is T.J. Perkins when TNA Impact Wrestling promoted the fact that he was homeless at the time and living in a car when Dixie Carter offered him a contract with the company, allowing him to get back on his feet again.
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Despite wrestling under a mask for much of his career, it was starting to frustrate him that no one knew the answer to the question of who is T.J. Perkins. As the Inquisitr reported, he was responsible for turning the video game character Suicide into a successful real life wrestler, and T.J. Perkins won the X-Division title before changing his name to Manik and finishing his run.
It was when T.J. Perkins asked for permission to wrestle as himself and made his dissatisfaction public that TNA Impact Wrestling released him. It turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to him because T.J. Perkins is now in the WWE.
Favorites from the WWE Cruiserweight Classic were names like Zack Sabre Jr., Brian Kendrick, Johnny Gargano, and Kota Ibushi. However, T.J. Perkins won the first WWE Cruiserweight Championship and will make his WWE Monday Night Raw debut tonight. Soon, everyone will know the answer to the question of who is T.J. Perkins.
[Featured Image by WWE]