TJP did an interview with Eric Novak from ARWP “ALL Real Wrestling Podcast.” The following highlights were sent to us:
How did your journey in Pro wrestling start:
"When I was growing up I mean obviously I was a big WWF fan and of all the wrestling I was a huge WWF kid you know, so it’s not to say like like I wasn't in regards to wanting to be a wrestler I never thought like being at Wrestlemania was not my goal. So when I was starting and even now like what would be wrestlemania moments for other people for me it was like I want to go to Arena Mexico or I want to go to the Tokyo dome or like Korakuen Hall and all things like that because a lot of what was really capturing my imagination was a lot of stuff from around the world and like NJPW & CMLL were two of the primary things which the craziest thing is that was like what ended up being the first two things that I ended up doing is when I kind of got out of Los Angeles so I mean that’s really what kind of guided my decision but honestly I mean the path kind of just took shape on its own like I wanted those things I wasn’t really aiming for them because at the time you got a remember this is 21 years ago 22 years ago like social media and all kinds of things like that like Google & YouTube all the stuff was not around you know the Internet was like barely a thing yet so there wasn’t really a way to kind of formulate a plan to get to like a NJPW or CMLL, you kind of either had to happen or not it was like really rare to get to those places that’s why like at the time it was like you only heard of guys doing that like there’s only a handful of guys that you would hear that really did all that sort of stuff you know like Your Owen Harts and your Jericho’s your Benoit’s your Guerrero’s your Malenko’s like there wasn’t like a lot of guys that were like going to all these places because it wasn’t an easy thing to do you almost had to just be really lucky and in my opinion I was just really lucky ”
First experience in NJPW:
“I think the best way to describe that was like Kobe Bryant getting drafted into the NBA right out high school cuz it was just felt like that cause I was 17 and finishing my last year of high school in that summer I started being recruited by NJPW so I became a young boy in the gym that they had in LA. They set up the first NJPW dojo in LA that was in 2002 and so I was finishing up my last year of high school while starting to go there and then you know I graduated and spent the summer going there every day and then right when I turned 18 at the end of the summer in September they said okay we process a visa for you and send you over so it was just crazy cuz its like I’m sitting on this business class flight going to over to NJPW and wrestling at Korakuen Hall & the Tokyo Dome and them handing me the tour contract like for me it’s a big deal and it’s a huge change of speeds because you know like just a few months before that I was literally sitting in English class and I was very much a kid and now fast forward just like weeks and months later and now i’m going to do this thing and so it’s like kind of a culture shock cuz you land and they hand you like a thousand dollars in Japanese cash and then they’re taking you to your hotel and checking you in getting all this paperwork process putting you out on these big shows and it kind of comes real fast and then you’re hopping tour buses and checking into hotels and it’s really crazy. I obviously have been wrestling for three or four years at that point already but it’s still not the same thing because now it's like you’re at the tippy-top now like you moved up a level. It’s kind of crazy to go from that to that so I like to compare it to that because if you’re a guy like Kobe or something like that or Lebron you’re playing basketball in high school gyms in front of 50 people one day then the next day you’re at Staples Center and it’s a great restaurant form and its totally different. It took a while and for me I'm kind of a late bloomer so it took me a while to kind of mature to grow into being an adult."
Were you supposed to be apart of BOTSJ 2020:
"Yeah I would have been, I know they announced the cancellation so I was hoping that maybe when everything starts opening up that they might still try to do like the G1 and the BOTSJ like the bigger more notable tournaments like they might jump back into those just to kind of still have those but who knows it might be canceled like totally for this year which would be a bummer because that would be a lot of fun and same thing with the MSG show like I was looking forward to that but, obviously there already having a contingency plan for that so that’ll eventually kind of come about but, yeah."
(Now knowing NJPW is going to continue with BOTSJ 2020 but, nobody from the US can participate thats why TJP isn’t there that also explains why there is far less people in it this year. The only people that are in it are the ones that live in Japan maybe TJP will be in it in 2021)
What made you want to leave WWE:
"I was wanting to leave WWE, I had told them like a year before that, that was my primary note well my primary note was that I felt like I was A) Unhappy but, like I wasn’t contributing anymore. I didn't want to waste resources to Vince and to the company and I told him I said look I'm wasting your money. I don't want to waste your time like I'm not happy and I'm not the type of person that is complacent that way. You know that kind of goes back to your first question like what motivated me to go to NJPW or CMLL it's because I have a hard time being complacent like that so I always want to go somewhere else if I can or I want to be able to contribute and make a difference you know so my primary thing was if I can't be a commodity here and if i’m wasting your time and money then I want to be able to go do things things that for me is near and dear to my heart. I feel like WWE is a family and it is a place that instantly became a home for me and probably will always be a home for me in some regards like I’ll always feel like if i go back it would feel like I was going home .”
How did you sign with WWE:
“When I was leaving TNA previously I almost didn't stay with WWE after the CWC because my plan after TNA was to have a few years where I can just be free and go back to NJPW or CMLL and all that and I kind of started laying the groundwork for going back to these places and I kind of was developing a plan and what I wanted to do and I mean WWE just fell on my lap and I didn't intend for that and I kind of fought it a little bit like they made an offer during the CWC and I turned it down and it was William Regal that really kind of talked me into it.”
When did you first debut in TNA as Suicide/Manik:
“I think it was 2012 or 2013 I was definitely suicide by 2013 maybe the springtime somewhere around there it was when they brought it back and it was a three-way match with Joey Ryan and Petey Williams on Impact and I’ll never forget it because life works in mysterious ways I had spent all those years being at rock bottom and it was in Tampa at the time like the homeless stuff all that stuff and it was a long process trying to get back on my feet and getting back to LA and then going to lucha libre USA which lead to ROH which lead back to TNA and I remember getting back to TNA was kind of where I was before kind of like I got knocked all the way down and I’ll never forget it becausee it was like one of my last shows was in ROH one of my last shows was in Tampa area was in St. Pete and my first show in TNA was in Tampa that was the match Pete Williams and Joey Ryan and Suicide was kind of like re-debuting it was like had been on a hiatus for a little bit there were bumpers for weeks saying Suicdes coming. I was sitting at home I had done a PPV that week I see these bumpers on Tv and I called them and I said I would love to do it and I kind of gave it that spider-man/ Deadpool type of feel and I just remember from the first show they were like this is what we had always envisioned it being and from that point on I just hit the ground running.”