TJP joined the Wrestling Epicenter to discuss the formation of AEW, the idea of AEW being compared to WCW, and how he wanted to work for WCW in the late 90s.
In regards to the birth of AEW, TJP can’t believe how far The Young Bucks have come since their backyard wrestling days, where he once wrestled with them. The former WWE Cruiserweight Champion also noted how he once received some big opportunities during his younger days and the same thing is happening for some of the wrestlers on the AEW roster.
“I thought it was great, I thought it was amazing! I’m really excited for everybody involved and all for different reasons,” TJP said. “Nick and Matt [Jackson] I’ve known for a long time. We come from the same place. I was a part of?and you probably have seen them reference it?back when they were doing their High Desert backyard/indy promotion that they had going when they were young. I was one of their guys!
“So, I’ve seen them go from that to this! I’m incredibly happy for them and proud. And, of course, Cody [Rhodes], it is kind of a birth right to be able to work in this capacity as more than just a performer and work administratively and offer that to the wrestling world. And, the performers! Some of them have been around a long time and finally are getting the platform they deserve and then there are some who are brand new and this is their first shot and they’re getting it pretty early and that is pretty exciting because I know what that was like! [Laughs]
“It is weird to say that I was young once. But, at this point, it is true! I was young once! I remember being 17, 18 years old and getting recruited by New Japan and doing the Dome at an early age, working Arena Mexico at an early age, headlining CMLL shows at an early age, getting the opportunity to do Impact pay-per-views and live TV at like 18, 19 years old. Now, you’ve got a lot of these young kids and this is their first shot, I’ve been in their shoes and that is really incredible to see!”
With WWE getting some of its biggest competition since WCW was around, TJP felt like comparisons between AEW and WCW should be more like AEW and WWE when it was trying to topple WCW in the ratings.
“I do think they’ve given us WCW back, but in reverse,” TJP laughed. “In this case, [AEW] are like the WWF where they have this exciting product where you want to see their talent and how they’re going to develop. It is exciting?and partially unknown, and that is part of what makes it exciting! WWE, they’re sort of like WCW in that they have the deep pockets and the huge roster, but they’re the old guard in this case. [AEW] really did give us that dynamic back!”
Speaking of WCW, TJP noted when he started in 1998, WCW was on his radar due to their focus on cruiserweight wrestling.
“I’m old enough where that was a reachable goal.” TJP said. “I started in 1998. And, I was always a WWF guy growing up. But, that was never on my bucket list of a place to go. WCW was kind of my jam at that time because [cruiserweight wrestling] is what they were doing at the time.”
You can listen to TJP’s full comments in the video above.