MANILA -- Philippine Wrestling Revolution: Homecoming was done. The roster of professional wrestlers had gone to the back to shower or to grab some food.
But one wrestler stayed behind. It was Filipino-American wrestler Theodore James “TJ” Perkins who headlined perhaps the greatest non-World Wrestling Entertainment pro wrestling event in Philippine history.
The 35-year old Perkins, acknowledged as one of the world’s best technical wrestlers and a cruiserweight star, hung out with the fans who hoped for a selfie, an autograph, or to chat some. He just figured in a grueling match against “Mr. Philippine Wrestling” Jake de Leon that ended when he reversed a submission hold to defeat the homegrown hero, and yet, here he was spending time with the fans.
“Remember, I was a fan once upon a time,” Perkins made sure to underscore. “So, this means a lot to these fans. It isn’t like I am always here so the fans spent money and took the time to watch me so I can do no less.”
“The reception was everything I expected and more,” said a tuckered out Perkins whose body was covered in the confetti that rained down at the close of the event.
“When I started out wrestling, I used the nickname ‘Pinoy Boy’ which is something another Filipino-American friend of mine used between ourselves. But as I climbed the ladder of pro wrestling, I had to play different personas including Japanese and Mexican wrestlers. But every chance I got, I used ‘Pinoy Boy.’ I know in pro wrestling, the characters and storylines are big, but I try to push my Filipino ethnicity as much as I can.”
Even while Perkins was with the WWE, he always took the time to follow the nascent PWR. “I think between that old Pinoy Wrestling Federation in the 1980s and the PWR, there was nothing so you can imagine the excitement that PWR was generating,” observed Perkins.
“From afar, I have been proud of their efforts. After my release from WWE earlier this year (February 2019), this homecoming was firmly in my radar. I had to do this not only for my family but for Filipino wrestling, if my presence here along with Jeff Cobb helps ignite the local wrestling scene then this trip is a winner in many ways.”
Even before the main event against Jake de Leon, Perkins would steal peeks at the ring action and listened to the crowd’s roar.
“The scene here is definitely growing and it is fun being a part of this I felt like a kid all over again when I first got into wrestling around the time I was 18 or 19 years of age,” he said.
For now, Perkins is back with New Japan Pro-Wrestling which is where he first started out in 2001.
Said the 5-foot-10 wrestler: “I think the one thing I have learned since I began wrestling professionally is you will never know where you will go. I am just grateful for the opportunity to do something I loved as a kid for a living.”
Is there going to be a repeat performance in a PWR event?
“I sure hope so,” smiled Perkins. “We’ve got a revolution to continue.”
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