Teddy James "T.J." Perkins (September 3, 1984) is an American professional wrestler of Filipino descent currently signed to WWE, performing under the Raw brand, where he is the current WWE Cruiserweight Champion in his first reign. He is best known for his work in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), where he is a former TNA X Division Champion. He also is the inaugural champion of WWE's Cruiserweight Classic tournament. Perkins used the ring name Manik, which is based on the Suicide gimmick. He also works on the independent circuit, sometimes under his initials TJP or under a mask as Puma (also stylized as PUMA).
Training and early career (1998–2003)
Perkins first began his training at the age of 13 in Los Angeles, training at a local Lucha Libre school in his hometown of Los Angeles, California. Perkins debuted in January 1999 at the age of 14, under a mask as promoters felt he looked too young to be wrestling. Initially, he wrestled under the ring name T.J. Perkins, utilizing "Pinoy Boy" as a nickname. In order to attend shows, he had to not attend school most Fridays. He wrestled on independent cards in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Mexico during his first two years.
Japan and Mexico (2001–2011)
He began training at the New Japan Dojo in Los Angeles along with friends Ricky Reyes, Rocky Romero, and Bryan Danielson. They all made their debut in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) on the same Korakuen Hall card in October 2002, with Perkins debuting as the maskless "Pinoy Boy" T.J. Perkins. In NJPW, he holds the record of the youngest non-Japanese wrestler to compete for the promotion, at 18 years and 3 weeks old. At the age of 18 in 2003, following his third tour with NJPW, he was given the gimmick (character) of Puma, a masked character with similarities to Tiger Mask, and he began teaming with Tiger Mask IV. Perkins stated the character was created due to perceived similarities between himself and the original Tiger Mask, Satoru Sayama, and the idea was that he would be the American version of Tiger Mask.
In late May and early June 2011, Perkins, under the ring name TJP, took part in NJPW's Best of the Super Juniors tournament. After winning three of his eight matches in the round robin stage of the tournament, TJP finished seventh out of the nine wrestlers in his block and did not advance to the semifinals.
In 2003, Perkins spent time in Mexico with Rocky Romero and Bobby Quance, where the trio trained with and wrestled for Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre.
Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (2003–present)
Perkins first began competing in the Southern California promotion Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) in 2003 as "Pinoy Boy" T.J. Perkins, appearing at Are You Adequately Prepared To Rock?! where he pinned Vito Thomaselli and An Inch Longer Than Average where he was on the losing end of a six-man tag team match. After changing his ring name to Puma in December 2003, he entered the Tango and Cash Invitational Tournament to determine the inaugural PWG World Tag Team Champions with Samoa Joe as his partner. The pair made it to the second round before being eliminated. Throughout the remainder of 2004, Puma competed regularly in singles matches, defeating competitors including Ricky Reyes, Tony Kozina, Brad Bradley, and The UK Kid. In the first half of the following year, he competed sporadically in PWG, mainly in elimination matches.
In July 2005, he changed his ring name to TJ Perkins, and defeated Davey Richards and Hardkore Kidd in successive singles matches, but Perkins and Alex Shelley subsequently lost a tag team match to the duo. Perkins went on to lose a singles match to Shelley at After School Special. Perkins finished out the year in tag team matches with various partners, and began 2006 the same way. He transitioned back into singles competition at Beyond The Thunderdome in March 2006, defeating Mr. Excitement, before embarking on a losing streak that lasted until June, when he defeated Excalibur. His losing streak included a loss to Rocky Romero in singles competition and alongside him in a tag team match. The duo faced off again at Self-Titled in October, which Perkins won, but he lost a rematch that same month. He later developed a feud with Bino Gambino, facing him in several six-man tag team matches in early 2007. In May, Perkins defeated Gambino in a singles match, before they returned to being on opposite sides in tag team matches in mid-2007.
In January 2008 Perkins formed a regular tag team with Hook Bomberry, and the pairing competed in the Dynamite Duumvirate Tag Team Title Tournament round robin qualifier series. At Pearl Habra the team defeated The Young Bucks (Nick and Matt Jackson), but lost their next match to Los Luchas (Phoenix Star and Zokre) at ¡Dia de los Dangerous!. At Scared Straight they defeated Scorpio Sky and Ronin by disqualification, and later in the night Perkins and Bomberry interrupted the match between the Young Bucks and Los Luchas, causing a no contest. This led to a four-way elimination tag team match taking place at 1.21 Gigawatts, which was won by Los Luchas. After the qualifier series Perkins and Bomberry got one last chance to enter the DDT4, facing Scorpio Sky and Ronin once again at It's a Gift.... and a Curse, in a losing effort. Perkins went on to defeat Charles Mercury and Mikey Nicholls and Mark Davis and Ash Riot in tag team matches, before Perkins returned to singles competition. In November, Perkins participated in PWG's Battle of Los Angeles for the first time. He defeated Chuck Taylor in the first round, but was eliminated from the tournament after losing to Bryan Danielson in the second. In January and February 2009, Perkins lost singles matches to both Austin Aries and B-Boy. After moving to Florida in early 2009, Perkins stopped appearing for PWG.
Following a hiatus lasting longer than eighteen months, Perkins returned to PWG at The Perils of Rock N' Roll Decadence in September 2011, losing to Eddie Edwards. He competed regularly for the promotion in 2012 with mixed results. In September, he entered the 2012 Battle of Los Angeles, defeating Joey Ryan in the first round before losing to Sami Callihan in the quarter-finals.
Ring of Honor (2003–2012)
Perkins debuted in Ring of Honor (ROH) in December 2003, using the name Puma, and lost to Josh Daniels. Puma returned to ROH in February 2005, losing to Homicide and James Gibson in successive singles matches. His next appearances were in August 2005, where he was on the losing end of a tag team match alongside Jimmy Rave and a singles match against Ricky Reyes. In his next appearance at ROH's Fifth Year Festival: Philly show in February 2007, saw Perkins compete under his real name and lose to Nigel McGuinness. Further losses followed in October 2007, before he gained his first victory in ROH by defeating Kyle O'Reilly at Tag Title Classic II in December 2010. Perkins faced off against Colt Cabana at the Final Battle 2010 internet pay-per-view on December 18, 2010 in which he lost.
In January 2011, Perkins appeared for ROH at their WrestleReunion show Showdown in the Sun II, where he lost to Davey Richards. In March, he lost to Chris Hero and El Generico, before ROH announced that Perkins had signed a contract with the promotion on October 6. He accrued further losses to Jay Briscoe, Jay Lethal, and Mike Bennett in November and December. At the Final Battle 2011 pay-per-view, Perkins lost to Michael Elgin. In March 2012 he appeared at the ROH pay-per-views 10th Anniversary Show, suffering a tag team loss, and Showdown in the Sun, where as part of the Chikara vs. ROH rivalry he defeated Fire Ant. At Unity, Fire Ant and his allies from The Colony defeated Perkins, Jay Lethal, and Adam Cole in a six-man tag team match. In April, Perkins began a feud with Mike Mondo, defeating him in a singles match before teaming with the All Night Express of Kenny King and Rhett Titus to defeat Mondo and The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) at Border Wars. On September 9, 2012, Perkins was released from his ROH contract. He asked for his release, as his felt his ROH contract was restricting other opportunities for him.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
Sporadic appearances (2004–2013)
Perkins has also made appearances as Puma with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, debuting in 2004, when he worked as a jobber in several TNA Xplosion tapings. He was also the first man eliminated in the 2004 Super X-Cup. He participated in a 20-man X-Division gauntlet battle royal at Victory Road, but he was the first man eliminated. Two years later, he returned to TNA as a representative of Japan in an International X-Division Showcase match at Destination X, facing Petey Williams, Chris Sabin, and Sonjay Dutt. The match was ultimately won by Sabin. He also competed in an Xscape match at the following month's Lockdown. Puma was later a member of Team Mexico in the 2006 World X-Cup, alongside Incognito, Magno and Shocker. In that tournament, he lost a second round match to Team USA captain Chris Sabin. Puma was the last man eliminated in the third round gauntlet match, by Team Canada captain Petey Williams. Team Mexico finished third, with four points. In July 2007, Perkins returned to TNA as Puma, wrestling in a 10-man Ultimate X Gauntlet at Victory Road, but was the first man eliminated. He returned at the 2008 Victory Road pay-per-view, representing Team Japan in an elimination match, where he was the second one eliminated.
On September 22, 2009, Perkins, under his Puma gimmick, returned to TNA to wrestle in a dark match, in which he was defeated by Colt Cabana. Perkins worked two more dark matches under the ring name T.J. Perkins during the January 10–12, 2011, tapings of TNA Impact! losing to Shannon Moore and El Generico. In September 2012, Perkins competed as Puma against Zema Ion in a dark match main event of a September taping of Impact!. On January 12, 2013, Perkins, as Puma, took part in the tapings of TNA's One Night Only: X-Travaganza special, wrestling in a seven-man Xscape match, which was won by Christian York.
Return as Suicide (2013–present)
On May 23, 2013, Perkins wrestled on an episode of Impact Wrestling as Suicide, defeating Petey Williams and Joey Ryan. The win earned him an X-Division Title shot against Kenny King and Chris Sabin at Slammiversary in an Ultimate X match, losing to Chris Sabin. On June 27, on Impact, Perkins (as Suicide) was scheduled to face the X-Division Champion Sabin and fellow challenger Kenny King. However, an imposter wrestled as Suicide and went on to defeat Kenny King for the championship. Then Perkins appeared with Hulk Hogan who demanded to know the identity of the masked imposter. The newly crowned champion fled the ring and left Perkins, Hogan and the audience with the puzzling question of who was wrestling as Suicide. Perkins later that night was questioned by Bully Ray who believed Perkins was angling for a possible shot at Bully's Heavyweight Championship. It was revealed later that same night that the imposter behind the Suicide costume was in fact Austin Aries. The following week during the July 4 episode of Impact, it was announced during the Hulk Hogan/Austin Aries opening segment, that Perkins would wrestle under the name of Manik set to face Aries and Chris Sabin for the X-Division Championship. On July 25, during the opening hour of Impact, Manik faced Sonjay Dutt and Greg Marasciulo in a three-way match for the vacant X-Division title. After being taken out early in the match by Marasciulo, Manik returned just in time to remove the title hanging above the ring, becoming the newest champion.
Following a hiatus lasting several months, Manik returned to the promotion at Lockdown losing to Tigre Uno in a steel cage match. On the September 17 episode of Impact Wrestling, Manik turned heel and joined forces with James Storm and Sanada, and the trio attacked Samoa Joe and Homicide.
Other promotions (2004–present)
In January 2004, the masked Puma wrestled on two Major League Wrestling television tapings, teaming with Bobby Quance in a loss to The Stampede Bulldogs (Harry Smith and TJ Wilson). The following night, Puma lost a four-way match featuring Jack Evans, Chasyn Rance and MLW Junior Heavyweight Champion Sonjay Dutt. In December 2004, Puma won the All Pro Wrestling (APW) Worldwide Internet Championship by defeating J.J. Perez. He held the championship until July 2005, when he lost it back to Perez.
In January 2005, Perkins as Puma debuted in Full Impact (FIP) by defeating Azrieal. At Unfinished Business, Puma was attacked by Azrieal and his ally CM Punk, and at the following show Puma lost a singles match to Punk. On February 12, Puma won a four-way match against Azrieal, Jerrelle Clark, and Eddie Vegas. Four years later, he returned to FIP as T.J. Perkins, in a loss to Davey Richards on March 28, 2009. He developed a winning streak, defeating Jay Bradley, Nigel McGuinness, and Sal Rinauro. In November 2009, Perkins entered the 2009 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup, defeating Arik Cannon and Shane Hollister en route to the semi-finals, where he lost to Richards. In April 2010 at Southern Stampede, he returned to FIP using the ring name TJP, where he participated in a battle royal before he defeated Chasyn Rance.
Puma wrestled in the 2005 edition of the East Coast Wrestling Association'a Super 8 tournament and made it to the final by defeating Eric Matlock and J.J. Perez, before losing to Petey Williams. He also competed in Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling's Pacific Cup in 2005, where he faced Aaron Idol and Bryan Danielson in a three-way match in the final, which was won by Idol.
In August 2005, Perkins debuted in UWA Hardcore Wrestling as Puma, in a loss to Ricky Reyes. In May 2006, Puma defeated M-Dogg 20 to win the UWA Canadian Championship. He successfully defended the championship against Petey Williams the following month, before losing the championship back to M-Dogg 20 in July. In October, Puma participated in UWA's Grand Prix Tournament, where he defeated Kazuchika Okada and Dan Paysan en route to the final, where he lost to Sonjay Dutt. He continued wrestling for UWA throughout 2007, competing against wrestlers including Último Dragón and Daisuke Hanaoka.
Perkins debuted in the Empire Wrestling Federation (EWF) on September 22, 2005 at Chaos, teaming with Dan Kobrick to defeat Big Ugly and Vinnie Massaro. On December 23, at EWF's Holiday Fear Perkins challenged EWF Cruiserweight Champion Joey Harder in a Triple Threat Championship match, which also involved Rocky Romero and was won by the defending champion Harder. Perkins continued to challenge Harder for the Cruiserweight Championship. In a match on February 12, 2006, Harder defeated Perkins by submission. On September 8, Perkins faced EWF World Champion Bino Gambino, defeating him by countout. When the match was restarted, they wrestled to a draw. On November 21, Perkins again failed to win the EWF Cruiserweight Championship, when he was defeated by new champion Ryan Taylor. In November 2006, Perkins entered the EWF's Inland Title Series Tournament. His first match against Harder ended in a draw, before he defeated Hook Bomberry in the second round and Jason King in the third round. He faced Harder in the final on January 5, 2007, but lost via submission. On June 27, 2008 at Knockdown Dragout 2, the team of Perkins and Liger Rivera (collectively known as Famous For Fearless) challenged La Ola Del Mal for the EWF Tag Team Championship, and were successful.
In 2006, Puma wrestled as part of MTV's inaugural television taping for the Wrestling Society X (WSX) promotion, participating in a battle royal but being eliminated by Vampiro and competing in dark matches against Altar Boy Luke and Human Tornado. In a 2009 interview, Perkins stated he asked to be released from his contract with WSX, calling the promotion "terrible". Over the next two years, perkins compteed for several different National Wrestling Alliance promotions, and on June 1, 2008, he won a battle royal to become the NWA Heritage Champion.
On the October 19, 2009, episode of WWE Raw, Perkins appeared and was scheduled to face The Miz, but ended up being replaced by Marty Jannetty before the match got under way. The following day Perkins, under the name J.T. Quinn, appeared on ECW on Syfy in a match against Sheamus. The match resulted in a disqualification after Shelton Benjamin attacked Sheamus. Matt Striker mentioned Perkins' Puma name during commentary for the match, relating to his speed and agility. He also appeared at Florida Championship Wrestling, WWE's developmental territory, in 2009.
He began working for Dragon Gate USA and Evolve in 2010 as TJP. On Evolve's first show he faced Munenori Sawa in a losing effort, before defeating Kyle O'Reilly at Evolve 3. In Dragon Gate USA, he defeated Gran Akuma at the DGUSA Fearless pay-per-view.In March 2010, Perkins made his debut for Westside Xtreme Wrestling at their debut show in the United States, losing to Zack Sabre, Jr.. He also travelled to Germany to wrestle for the promotion in July 2010.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) (2016)
Perkins joined the WWE in 2016 and competed in a series of matches in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic to determine a new Cruiserweight Championship after the title was reinstated. On September 14 in the match final of the Cruiserweight Classic, Perkins defeated luchador Gran Metalik to win the vacant Cruiserweight Championship.
Perkins was born in Los Angeles to two airline workers. At the age of 18, he began training in boxing, mixed martial arts and catch wrestling. By the age of 21, Perkins had earned enough money to buy his own house.
- Finishing and signature moves
- 520° Springboard DDT
- Figure Four Deathlock (Leglock Cloverleaf)
- Tilt-a-whirl belly to belly piledriver
- Backyard Suplex
- Tag teams and stables
- Wrestlers trained
- Theme music
- "Going Under" by Evanescence (ROH)
- "No Reason" by Sum 41 (ROH)
- "Pretty Handsome Awkward" by The Used (ROH)
- "The Empire Strikes First" by Bad Religion (ROH)
- "Jane" by The Loved Ones (EWF)
- "Coming Alive" by Dale Oliver (TNA)
- "Inner Villain" by Dale Oliver (TNA)
- "Cut You Down" by Dale Oliver (TNA; used while part of The Revolution)
Championships and accomplishments
- APW Worldwide Internet Champion (1 time)
- AWS LA Light Heavyweight Champion (1 time)
- NWA Heritage Championship (1 time)
- TNA X-Division Championship (1 time)
- TNA X-Division Championship Tournament (2013)
- 3PW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- UWA Canadian Championship (1 time)
- World Wrestling Entertainment