Impact Wrestling Superstar TJP was recently interviewed by the All Real Wrestling Podcast and discussed transitioning from playing the Suicide character to the role of Manik during his initial run with TNA/Impact Wrestling several years ago. He said,
“Well, I mean, originally I based the transformation from Suicide to Manik off of the Aswang monster in Filipino Folklore. So, the Aswang is a shapeshifter and they’re sneaky and they hunt at night, theoretically, and they’re opportunists. So, it’s a rare occasion. They’re mythological things and they always come in different forms. So it’s always gonna be different every time you see them, and they’re problem solvers, and etc., etc. So that was really what I was kind of building it on.
I had always been a big, big fan of The Great Muta. Especially later on when he evolved into where he had all these different forms and all these different things he can do, and you didn’t always see him, you know? I guess in a way, it’s kind of funny because in the early days, Muta was an everyday character, and then it became rare. He was more Keiji Muto, and then he would be Great Muta sometimes. I ended up doing the same thing kind of on accident, but really, what I was trying to build, was — Another person I’m a big fan of is Prince Devitt; Finn Balor. Finn’s a guy I’ve known for a long time. We were in Japan together and in different places together at the same time. The way that he created this Demon character was what I was trying to create with Manik, actually, even before he created the Demon character. They had unmasked me, so I thought it would be great to play a character that was myself most of the time, and then sometimes Manik would appear. The character TJ didn’t have control over that and vice versa, like you never knew, it was very random. So it’s, you know, like a mystery character on Mortal Kombat that shows up when just the right circumstances trigger it, you know, and so that’s what it was always meant to be. So in the beginning, you know, there’s a lot of trial and error with creating what it was and finding an identity for it. I think finally, recently, the most recent stuff is getting a lot more close to what it was always intended to be.“