• Carlos Astorga

TJP Talks Returning To IMPACT

TJP recently appeared on Excuse Me: The Vickie Guerrero Show and looked back on his well-traveled career, including when he got a chance to work with wrestling legend Jushin “Thunder” Liger. TJ explained how Liger took him in on his first tour of Japan and taught him along the way. Earlier in the interview, TJP explained how Eddie Guerrero was an influence on his career and he reiterated it here by explaining he understood the message Liger was communicating later in his career.

“What I like to share with people regarding that is when I first started in New Japan, I was literally like a baby, I mean they recruited me at 17. I think my first tour, I was just barely 18 years old and Liger was there, and that was their generation’s prime, the Eddie, Benoit, Liger, Jericho generation. They were still in their prime and around the early 2000s, and that was his ring when I got there, completely. And he took me and the other guys in so well. When I was 18, when we showed up, I remember myself, Bryan Danielson, guy’s known as Daniel Bryan now, Rocky Romero and his partner Ricky Reye,s when we showed up together, and I was staying in the dojo, I was the youngest so they kind of were harder on me. Like I lived in the dojo and did what Benoit did. In fact they gave me Benoit’s old dorm room when I was there.”

“But I remember Liger at that time kind of pulling us aside because I would ask him, I would always pick his brain about stuff. And he told us, I remember it’s like putting a monkey on my back at the time, he was like, yeah we came in and we did these things, and we meaning Chris and Eddie and Dean and all the guys, and he’s like, and now you guys are coming in and now it’s your role to do this, this and this. And I’m like, woah dude, you can’t be comparing me to these guys. But the older I got the more, I had the perspective of like, that’s what these guys are doing because Eddie and Chris weren’t Eddie and Chris yet when they got there, that’s how they became who they were.”

TJ also spoke about his return to IMPACT Wrestling last year, explaining that while he had been there before, he’d been playing other characters with restrictions. Now, he feels like he’s learned so much from his other experiences that he’s bringing back more weapons and diversity as TJP.

“For me, it’s nice because I’m coming back I would say without restrictions. But I mean, that’s sort of a creative thing, it’s not a restriction, I’m able to come back as myself, you know? I was there previously as Suicide and before that I was Puma, which was like my Tiger Mask/Black Tiger character New Japan had given me and I had for years before shedding it. And so that’s how I was there before. Now getting to come back as myself is really nice and you know, I’m also coming back with, I mean, it’s like in wrestling, your elders will teach you, you start out as a good guy, then you become a bad guy. And when you become a good guy again, you get to keep all those bad guy toys and now you get to be a good guy and still use the bad guy toys. So in a way, it’s like now having gone to all these other places and coming back to IMPACT, I kinda bring with me all these things that I built in other places so to speak, so it’s kind of nice coming back in that way.”

The full interview is available below: