Courtesy of Alan J. Wojcik and http://alanwojcik.com
In May 2003 IPW Hardcore promoters created the JEFF PETERSON MEMORIAL CUP in tribute to the fallen cruiserweight star who passed in 2001 after a long battle with cancer. Since then the event has garnered a list of international stars who supported the event and honored Jeff’s memory by putting on five star caliber bouts. The previous winners were “Reckless Youth” Tom Carter, Justice, Chris Sabin, Milano Collection AT, Chris Hero & Erick Stevens. On November 20-21 sixteen men will come to Brooksville & Crystal River, Florida to try and join those names. Could this year’s winner be:
Height: 5 Ft 10 in
Hometown: Riverside, CA
Pro Debut: August 1999
Tournament History: 2004 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup (lost to Mikey Tenderfoot in 1st round) 2005 ECWA Super 8 (lost to Petey Williams in finals) 2005 Ted Petty Invitational (lost in 1st round to Skayde)
Where have you seen him: TNA, PWG, Full Impact Pro, CMLL, APW, Ring of Honor, IWA Mid-South, NWA Pro (Inoki Dojo), NWA Empire Wrestling Federation
Championships held: APW World Internet champion, UIWA Lightheavyweight champion, UWA Hardcore Wrestling Canadian champion.
Alan Wojcik: All sixteen men involved will be asked this question: what were your feelings when you were told you’re going to be part of the Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup?
TJ Perkins: Well I was pleased since I had a few offers for other events around the same time. I was approached for Hulk Hogan’s Australian tour and also PWG has the Battle of Los Angeles the same dates. FIP and those involved in the JPC offered me a great opportunity and I accepted and am honored to be part of it again after my 2004 appearance. I am aware that Jeff was both very involved as a wrestler and referee and also I knew of his relation to Jim Kettner whom I also have a ton of respect for and previously competed in his super 8 tourney in 2005. I’m more than excited to be part of the JPC this year.
Alan Wojcik: Who trained you for wrestling and which came first, wrestling as TJ Perkins or Puma? Where did the Puma character come from? Do you prefer to wrestle in the mask or without it?
TJ Perkins: I first began in 1999 under Bill Anderson and Jesse Hernandez. I was very young though, about 14, so I moved around alot so I really had alot of coaches and mentors. I debut under a mask in 1999 and had random matches until I was 15 when the work became steady and weekly. All of this was as TJ Perkins with the nickname Pinoy Boy. I split my time between socal and border shows in Mexico. Puma came about after my third tour of New Japan when the office decided to outfit me with a character similar to Tiger Mask due to the similarities between myself and the original. My technical skills and striking ability inspired them to create a new character. That was in 2003, I was 18. I dont particularly enjoy the character as I see it as incumbering in charismatic freedom. Once I ditched the mask I learned to be myself and have become quite charismatic which is a complete 180 from my early public criticism.
Alan Wojcik: According to your Myspace blog you spent part of 2003 working for the Mexican CMLL promotion sharing a room with Rocky Romero and Bobby Quance. Please expand on the blog I read if you can about the CMLL experience.
TJ Perkins: Well at the time I was scared, I mean I was shipped off to a foreign country for a year at 18. The conditions were tough because it was a long summer and the 3 of us shared one hotel room for most of the time. It was, however, fruitful as we had a full tv and house show schedule and worked 5-6 times a week all in different cities. So it was a good introduction to a WWE style of travel which is inevitably my goal and I would imagine most people’s as well. Docker and Negro Casas really took me in and trained me hard at practice between shows and on off days. It grinded a habit of repetition until perfection which I believe is why I have a very sound and graceful style now.
Alan Wojck: Your resume lists working for NWA Pro and the Inoki Dojo. Talk about working out of the Dojo and did it influence your ring style you use today?
TJ Perkins: Same as CMLL, I worked out everyday either in Tokyo or LA. every tour I went on I went a few weeks early and stayed in the dorms in Tokyo and practiced everyday. When I was home in Los Angeles practice was noon till dark everyday. I did alot of MMA training in this time. Raw Jiu Jitsu and raw Thai boxing. I also credit this repetition to my spotless graceful movements now. I was on that schedule from 2002-2007 and my technical wrestling and MMA inspired style flourished at this time. I started adopting moves like the flying armbar and knee bar and a predominantly ground game which wasnt common before 2003-2004.
Alan Wojcik: You have worked for TNA Wrestling over the past few years. How did you come to work for them and what was it like to be part of the World X Cup series of matches?
TJ Perkins: Well when I was about 18 or 19 I started really being concerned with career growth. I switched from Wild Thing from Major League 1 to Rick Vaughn from Major League 2 you might say. I just networked and got an offer for one match a few weeks before TNA’s first real PPV. I was then invited back for that PPV (Victory Road where he was in the gauntlet won by Hector Garza) and have been in and out intermittently since then. The X Cups are alot of fun but personally I think its an example of too much of a good thing. To me, there’s no art in putting on a car wreck like that. The X Cups are guilty pleasures, but they’re always fun.
Alan Wojcik: Pro Wrestling Guerrilla has been represented in the Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup by Human Tornado, Joey Ryan and others. The promotion has been successful for years through DVD sales and some catchy show names. Talk about the PWG experience and are there differences working for a promotion run by wrestlers or one run by businessmen?
TJ Perkins: PWG is tough because its a very sink or swim atmosphere. Everyone has artistic freedom there so it can be truly competitive. Personally I prefer a businessman as a boss than a wrestler because products controlled by the users tend to hit many dead ends due to short sightedness. PWG though has survived by carving a nitch and are more like businessmen than people think.
Alan Wojcik: Your bio shows working a dark match for the short lived MTV Wrestling Society X (working with Human Tornado/Altar Boy Luke.) What were your thoughts when you saw the finished product, a 30 minute heavily edited wrestling show.
TJ Perkins: I asked to be released and stop negotiations as soon as my match was over. I like the guys on the administrative side of that project but lets call a spade a spade…and call WSX terrible.
Alan Wojcik: For the past few years you have been a regular with Full Impact Pro. Like PWG they are a successful in DVD sales. What makes FIP a success in your opinion?
TJ Perkins: I think FIP works because they have good businessmen at the helm. They are very private and think smart for the financial and artistic direction of the company. Plus they have a very formatted show, guys don’t have an infinite amount of freedom in that lockerroom or in their matches. Everyone is given directions and thats the way it should be. As well, they also have a very appreciative fan base which is something neither PWG or even Ring Of Honor has.