TJ Perkins

Theodore James Perkins is a Filipino American professional wrestler and entertainer.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri to two airline workers, Perkins grew up in sunny Southern California. At an early age, Perkins has already set his sights on wrestling and finally got around to it fresh at thirteen years old, just as he was in his first week of high school. Having been so young and so small when he started, Perkins really had to fight to stay afloat in the hysterical world of professional wrestling. His wrestling inspirations include Eddie Guerrero, Shawn Michaels and Tiger Mask.

Perkins’ whirlwind of a career sparked at sixteen years old when he entered UPW, formerly a WWE developmental in which he attended the same class as the likes of John Cena and Victoria. From there on, it was an uphill snowball of opportunities for Perkins, from New Japan, circuits in Mexico, Europe and Canada, Ring of Honor, and even a few appearances in WWE. He sporadically settled for a few years in TNA, taking on a variety of different personas, from Puma, to Suicide – later renamed Manik. For Perkins, every character, every style he puts out there, and every name he takes on, he gives to it a little piece of himself.

TJ Perkins

Of course, not everything has been an easy stride for Perkins. He’s had opportunities he had to turn away from because of the ridiculous demands they entailed such as speaking Spanish, opportunities he had to give up to chase other opportunities that didn’t quite work out, and in his mid-twenties, amidst the recession, he found himself homeless and jobless without an education. But he got back up with the heart and resilience he’s learned from his father and grandfather growing up.

“You don’t want to be the one to defeat yourself. Let the world try and do it, and trust me, the world won’t be able to.”

In 2016 Perkins made history by winning the Cruiserweight Classic, a 32-man wrestling tournament held by WWE. He was crowned the inaugural WWE Cruiserweight Champion for a new era, adding to the long list of his ever-growing accolades. But more importantly than that, he spent the next three years in WWE celebrating and representing Filipinos and Asian Americans all over the world. His hard work and dedication to put Filipinos and Asians alike on the map is due to the lack of Asian representation in mainstream wrestling media, and his passion to give back to his community.

Perkins has been all over the world, but his heart and home stays with him everywhere he goes, and he carries with him the same hopes and aims to open doors for Filipinos and Asians.