TJ Perkins Comments on His Interaction with Vince McMahon, and Lots More

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During a new Reddit AMA, former WWE Superstar and Cruiserweight champion TJ “TJP” Perkins commented on his interactions with Vince McMahon, the producers he liked working with, and more. You can check out some highlights from the interview below:

On how your matches are micromanaged in WWE: “Early in the day your producer sits down with you and a sheet of paper and insists you tell them every single move you will do and what part of the ring you will do it in. I’ve asked constantly, especially as a 20 year guy from an older generation with a lot of experience at every level, why that’s necessary and why do they ask us to be able to “feel it out there” or etc when they don’t want that at all. They never have a real answer for that. Personally I guess I don’t care because I was taught to make it as I go in there. I prefer that. Like a QB running the no huddle offense, or a point guard in basketball. But I’m fine with tons of details too. But you get sent thru the curtain and the first thing that happens is the ramp camera man meets you at the top. He tells you to stop or go…so your entrance isn’t necessarily up to you either. Once you get to the ring the referee relays from the back how to finish your entrance and where to stand. And as I do my match, at least with the producer we had for 205(not Hunter) I’m being told by the ref, “they’re saying slam him and grab a headlock….they’re saying get on top of him and lay in some punches….they’re saying send him into the turnbuckle and dan at the crowd…” and then afterward it’s the same thing as your entrance just in reverse. Stay in the ring, or hurry up and exit, stop at the top of the ramp etc. Your match just isn’t your match there for many guys. Some guys they play favorites with and will sit down more creatively and have more fun. Others your basically an ant collecting crumbs with another ant in a line full of ants.”

On producers he liked working with in WWE: “There were some I loved working with. Malenko was the best, D-Von Dudley and Rotunda as well. They never asked me for any details and I think they knew I would rather go in the ring with very little details anyway. The best art is created that way. It should be reactionary with just a few parameters in place. But there’s definitely a lot of producers/agents that seemed to just treat you the way they were treated and if they had to deal with unfair creative hurdles they force you to deal with it as well.”

On his thoughts on what 205 Live was missing: “There’s no consequence to it. That’s why it’s not must see tv. You can’t do it on content alone. Great wrestling doesn’t keep anyone’s attention, there needs to be a fear of loss of you miss it. CWC worked because every week someone got sent home. You had to keep up with it, there were consequences, and potential for what it would look like integrated into RAW/SD. Then 205 started and there was no integration nor consequences to our matches. That’s also why I think viewership continued to get worse during the Neville period. We all loved Neville because he’s incredible. But building a brand new group of guys around one person doesn’t work because it sets the bar that we are all losers except for him. And great matches won’t overcome that. In the beginning we had 4-5 of us that could all beat each other. Myself, Brian, Swann, all seemed equal footing and then behind us there was a tier of Cedric, Nese, Jack etc that ppl wanted to see move up and challenge. At best that made us interesting if you were into the concept. But being separate from the WWE main characters tells the audience that we aren’t as good as them, and once they started focusing the division around one guy at a time, Neville, Enzo, etc it became harder to keep ppls attention because there was little consequence to the results. I pitched a tag team title tournament once to play out weekly so we could spark investment. But nothing changes on that show because the company doesn’t care about it. That’s just the truth of it, it’s their investment and they don’t care. That’s their call.”


On the rumor WWE changed his name to TJP because Vince McMahon didn’t like the restaurant Perkins: “Hahaha not true at all. They didn’t approach me, I approached them. One day in Boston I went to Vince’s office before raw and asked for 2 things. To use TJP as a nickname(it was previously a nickname fans gave me on the Indys back in 2010) and also me and Summer Rae pitched a wrestler/valet combo like Shawn/Sherri. Since I was turning into a bad guy. Vince said sure no problem to the nickname, but the valet thing never stuck. Summer and I tried pitching it a few times but it didn’t take.”


On getting the tattoos on his arms: “Umm well it wasn’t about changing my appearance necessarily. I didn’t do this because I think it looks cool. Tbh I have no thoughts on how it looks to anyone else. I actually wanted to start like 10 years ago when I was in my early 20’s. All my tattoos have a specific meaning to them, my right arm/chest is landmarks of my life and career and the left arm/chest is personal inspirations. But way back in Lucha Libre USA in 2010 they were making a mainstream product with toys etc for mtv and asked me to not change my appearance. Then ROH was the same and starting to become more mainstream, then TNA was the same and after taking the sleeves off the Suicide costume they didn’t want any crazy changes. So finally in WWE it was like 10 years went by and I finally asked if I could be a grown man and control my own life and they said sure. So I started getting them during my last year there, you can tell on tv because I would wear a sleeve over fresh ones while they healed. Orton gave me good advice and said if I ever have time off for injury or otherwise to just get as much ink done as you can so you’re not worried about them healing on the job. So that’s why I did it so much so fast, and also because I knew what I wanted after 10 years of waiting. Everyone was fine with it. Hayes would always ask which ones were new and check them out etc. during this time I met with Vince almost weekly to pitch stuff back and forth so he would see them and ask which was new and what certain ones meant etc. I think fans read too much into it and write their own history on it from the outside because you guys wouldn’t always see me on tv every week. But that didn’t mean I wasn’t there…so it’s not like I magically showed up out of nowhere with tattoos. I was there every week and the office would see each new piece whenever I got one. No one was shocked.”

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