Former WWE Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins was recently interviewed by Wrestling Epicenter to talk about several professional wrestling topics. Perkins discussed how indy wrestling has become much more profitable than it was 10 years ago, his thoughts on All Elite Wrestling (AEW) Double Or Nothing, and AEW being compared to WCW.
Here are the highlights:
Indy wrestling being much more profitable than it was 10 years ago:
For one, and it is not just outside WWE because for the last 10 years or so, I’ve been locked up one place or another. Like, I spent a few seasons at Lucha Libre USA which was a MTV Lucha Libre show – For a few seasons, I was there. From there, I moved to Ring of Honor for a couple years. Then to TNA (Impact Wrestling) for the next 3 or 4, then WWE. So, it is not since about 2010 that I have wrestled outside of a major company.
Wrestling, at that time, was almost like the dark ages compared to now! (laughs) The social connectivity was so different because of the way distribution is with on-demand and all kinds of streaming services. Now, there’s all of that, but there’s a lot more tent pole like promotions I’ve noticed. Places like a SMASH Wrestling, DEFY, Prestige, PWG… There didnt used to be anything like that even during the original indy boom back in 2004 or so.
When I started back in 1998, there was none of this stuff! There was no Google, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook… Most people didnt even have cell phones. DVDs weren’t even being produced for wrestling. Maybe it was on VHS if they even taped it! So, it is so different from what I was brought into and from what I last remember. But, it is a breath of fresh air! People are full-on entrepreneurs now and fully in control of their brand. It is great!
AEW Double Or Nothing:
I thought it was great, I thought it was amazing! I’m really excited for everybody involved and all for different reasons. Nick and Matt (Jackson, The Young Bucks) 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!
AEW being compared to WCW:
I do think they’ve given us WCW back but in reverse. (laughs) In this case, they (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! And 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. But, yeah, they (AEW) really did give us that dynamic back! (laughs)