TJ Perkins is in the semifinals of the WWE Cruiserweight Classic, which concludes with a two hour finale next Wednesday, September 14 on WWE Network. Prior to that huge event as well as his future in the Cruiserweight division on Raw, Perkins took some time of out of his busy schedule to talk to us on the TJRWrestling.net Podcast for one hour. They sent us these highlights:
Choosing to represent the Philippines in the Cruiserweight Classic:
"They asked me what I wanted to do. Everybody knows I grew up in Los Angeles and my family came from the Philippines. It was about giving back to a culture that doesn't have a lot of inspiration. We have Manny (Pacquaio), but he's hanging them up soon. It just felt like the right thing to do. It feels like it is bigger than me and isn't about me at all. It's about other people, demographics and an entire culture that goes largely unrepresented."
The freedom wrestlers have in the Cruiserweight Classic that he felt after his first CWC match with Da Mack:
"It felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. In 18 years, I had never been put in the ring and basically told just be yourself. It was the first time in two decades that's ever happened. It was cool to go in there and what people got to see was just very raw, like pure, organic me. It showed because you can tell I'm having fun and it just felt a lot different. It opened up a lot of people's perception of me."
Getting to work with WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels at the last CWC tapings:
"It was good to be able to spend some time with him in a working environment where I could work with him on stuff from a philosophical point of view. It was great to get advice from him, to see how he operates and it's incredible. It's also encouraging because there's a lot of like-minded philosophy and when that comes about, you get to a point where there's no advice to be given because you guys are thinking on the same rhythm, then it encourages you because your education is better than you think it was. It was awesome to be in that environment. I wanted to tell him the whole time that my Mount Rushmore is your face four times (laughs)... or maybe three times and then Eddie (Guerrero) on the end. There's not a lot of people that I would hold in the same regard. It was so cool that he's in that environment and doing that. If you were to put people in tiers, he's above every tier."
His matchup with Kota Ibushi in the Cruiserweight Classic finals and how big of a night it will be:
"We've never wrestled before and he's amazing. He's world class - an elite guy. It is the biggest situation I've ever been in mostly because it just seems unwinnable for a guy like me because he is who he is. It's the biggest match I've been able to be a part of because of the social significance among wrestling fans."
Perkins also discussed what's it like working with Triple H, who he'd like to work with on WWE's roster, his weekend shows with Evolve that are his last bookings with the organization, some of the NBA style taunts he does in the ring and plenty more. You can listen to the full podcast at TJRWrestling.net or by searching "TJRWrestling" on iTunes.