TJP is dipping his toes back into the waters of the X Division this week but it’s not because he wasn’t clicking with tag team partner Fallah Bahh.
TJP recently spoke with WrestleZone’s Managing Editor Bill Pritchard ahead of his X Division Championship match on night one of IMPACT Wrestling’s Emergence special tonight. TJP was asked about Madison Rayne’s remark on last week’s show about him “pretending” to be a tag team specialist and he said that while she might be halfway right, he’s definitely not pretending to get along with Fallah. He went on to say that they have a bond that some other teams might not and shared a story about how they were recently compared to Owen Hart and Yokozuna.
“Well, she’s definitely half-right, I’m pretending to be a wrestler, but I do think we’ve done pretty well, especially for having been just put together for a year. I think we have a natural chemistry that some of the other teams don’t. I think sometimes it can get lost from a viewer standpoint because there’s a size discrepancy, usually, camaraderie comes from the physical element of it.
“I had been sent a picture in the last week or so of Owen and Yokozuna and [it was used to compare] me and Fallah and I thought that was a good comparison. One, I’m humbled by it because I’ve always been a really big Owen fan and those are two all-time greats, but I thought it was unique because you don’t see a lot of guys, a junior and a heavyweight matched up together. Our camaraderie is there and we’re both Filipino, we’re pretty much brothers in and out of the ring so I think that shines through when we interact in the ring and when we’re outside of it. We have a pretty good connection that’s deeper than some of the other teams for that reason.”
TJP also spoke about wrestling moving in cycles and how it feels like we’re moving towards another period of “what’s old is new again.” He pointed out that some might consider him to be an innovator but there’s times where he’s just using a move he saw decades ago. TJP said that the internet boom closed the gap of how information traveled (or in this case, wrestling appearing nationally) but now we might see more regionalized work and a new cycle.
“I definitely think that what’s old is new again. It’s funny because a lot of guys will see me do my thing and I guess I have a unique style as far as the physical stuff I do. I’m a classically trained wrestler and I’m a ‘90s guy, so I came up at a time that was very ‘old school’. A lot of the things I can do physically, people haven’t seen for 50 years. A lot of people think some things are new, like me standing on my head and giving a guy a headscissors, and it’s like ‘oh man, you have this unique way of doing new moves…’ and I always have to say ‘guys, Santo was doing this in the 1950s!’ Wrestling fans are so young now and they haven’t seen it, but to them the ‘Ruthless Aggression’ is old. It’s like anything that existed before that—and I’m a throwback guy, older Japanese wrestling, I got my start in lucha libre—stylistically you just see stuff that’s been around for 100 years and people don’t realize it.
“I think there’s something to be said about the territory divide, especially with COVID now, where it seems like regional wrestling is going to thrive again. I think that’s going to thrive more than the national independents because a lot of those are going to have a hard time from a business standpoint. The regional independents are going to have a more dedicated fanbase because it has more of a homegrown atmosphere to it. So I think there’s a restart with that, and even when I was starting out, the guys I started with out west didn’t know much about the east coast guys and vice versa.
TJP thinks it’s always been around to an extent but there’s a tipping point where social media took over and now we’re going back to an earlier era where some regional work will be more self-contained. Check out our full interview where TJP discusses wanting to float between the X and Tag Team divisions, Chris Bey and Rohit Raju, his recent comments about being a “quarterback” in his matches, if he sees IMPACT being a permanent home and much more.