TJ Perkins On The J Cup Being His ‘WrestleMania Moment’, Hiroshi Tanahashi Being The Babe Ruth Of Wrestling

TJ Perkins is checking some boxes off of his list of big goals this year.

Perkins recently spoke with WrestleZone’s Kevin Kellam about his recent work with IMPACT Wrestling and New Japan Pro-Wrestling, which saw the Cruiserweight Classic winner sharing the ring with The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express and Hiroshi Tanahashi on NJPW’s recent tour of the United States.

Perkins spoke about the prospect of working with Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson, noting how he looked up to them his whole life and now it’s an honor to finally share the ring with them.

“I’ve known Ricky and Robert for a little while now. Obviously I’ve looked up to them my whole life as guys that were legitimate pioneers. It’s so crazy that they’re still around doing it and doing the stuff that we do now. Like I think that’s nuts,” Perkins said, “but it’s an honor to finally get in with them and get a match. They’ve given me enough crap in the locker room over it, so maybe now they’ll lighten up.”

TJ Perkins also took time to praise Hiroshi Tanahashi, who teamed with the Express on February 1 in Atlanta against Perkins, Clark Connors and Alex Zayne. He said New Japan’s “Ace” has a storied career and compared him to what John Cena has been for WWE.

“He was the class right ahead of me when I was a young boy so he was a Young Lion graduating when I came in the dojo. It’s really cool now at this stage to be back a part of the organization,” Perkins said, “and he’s been like their John Cena for so long. He’s been the Babe Ruth over there and arguably the greatest babyface of all time.”

Concerning his goals in NJPW, Perkins said he had a primary one set in his mind and talked about how much of a bucket list goal competing in the J-Cup was for him.

“The Junior division is why I started wrestling in the first place. The J-Cup, that was my WrestleMania moment. I joke with with people, but I’m being serious, I never had a Mania moment. Like when I went to WWE, I never cared when I would see ‘Oh, I’m not on the card this year.’ That was fine, I never cared about a Mania moment but I always thought, ‘Man! I’ll never get the J-Cup. There’s only been like five of them in history,’ so when that came up this year and they were like, ‘We’d like you to be part of it,’ it’s like, ‘Man, this does not come up every year.'”

Perkins continues:

“Being in contention for the Junior Championship and stuff like that is big to me cause I’ve always thought that was with the Intercontinental Title, that was the most important title for like ‘wrestlers’ wrestlers.’ Like if you really think about ‘wrestling wrestling’ – take the prestige out of it, but just like ‘this is what you are at your core’ that’s one of the ones. That’s a pretty big goal of mine.”

(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone)

Related: TJ Perkins Says He’s No Longer Pursuing Bellator Fight