TJP recently appeared on Excuse Me: The Vickie Guerrero Show and looked back on his well-traveled career, including his current run with IMPACT Wrestling. During the interview, he responded to Vickie’s comparison of his career path compared to Eddie Guerrero’s.
“I’m honored that you’d say that, and it’s by design, and to be honest, in a way, I mean starting with, you said the Super J-Cup, like I’ve always been adamant that that to me was like my WrestleMania moment. I mean I grew up a WWF kid like everybody and all that, you know, and I liked Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior and everything, but you know, when I started all this, I started it because I wanted to go to New Japan and I wanted to be in the Super J-Cup. I mean, there had only ever been…two at the time I started, there was only two of them and then they had one around the time I started as well. And to know there’s not many and that was always my dream. A lot of my friends and people, they wanted the big stadium WrestleMania entrance and all that, and to have the big winged eagle belt, and that’s cool, that’s awesome, that’s a big thing for me, too. But to do the things that, the stuff that Eddie, Dean [Malenko], Chris [Benoit], the stuff that these guys were doing is the only thing that gave me hope that I could do it.”
“So a lot of it is by design. I’ve followed Eddie’s career, Eddie was always like my guiding light, like as far as what I saw as like, ‘Okay, these are the things, the hurdles he ran into, here’s how he got over them. Here’s times where he failed, here’s times he succeeded and these are the things that I’m probably going to see,’ and I always looked at that. And so I watched him go from CMLL and like his tryout matches in NWA, and getting into ECW and New Japan or rather New Japan and getting into ECW, and then getting that, that leading into WCW and when I started in 1998, Eddie and a lot of the guys were cruiserweights, and that’s what I wanted to be.”
“Eventually I became a cruiserweight for a different generation, I guess. But I’m honored because being able to do the Super J-Cup last year, that’s really what went through my head is that 20 something years, this is all I really wanted to do and I finally got to do it.”
The full interview is available below:
TJP also recently spoke with WrestleZone 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.”