Filipino-American wrestler TJ Perkins was declared the winner of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Cruiserweight Classic tournament on Wednesday, September 14 (Thursday, September 15, Manila time). The event — which was held at Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida — featured 31 other competitors from 16 different countries.
Here are some facts about the Fil-Am wrestling star.
1. He's "flashy." The 32-year-old Perkins goes by the nickname, "The Fil-Am Flash."
2. His win was unexpected. Ultimately, he ended up defeating tournament favorite Kota Ibushi in the semi-final match. He went on to beat the Gran Metalik in the final match and became the first WWE Cruiserweight Champion.
3. He loves his grandmother. In a Fox Sports interview, Perkins revealed, "I grew up kind of self-supported, that kind of environment, because my parents both worked for airlines. I was used to them being gone a couple weeks at a time, and then my Filipino grandmother [took care] of me. We call [her] Lola in Filipino culture, that's my grandma."
4. He learned to do chores when he was a kid. "I didn't really have my parents around a lot, so I learned to do laundry and cook food and stuff when I was like 10," Perkins added in his Fox Sports interview.
5. He has lived in several countries. Wrestling has made it possible for Perkins to live in countries like Japan, Mexico, and Canada. He has also been around Europe.
6. He has been homeless. When the recession hit and he was down on his luck sometime in 2009 to 2010, Perkins was basically homeless. He would even join wrestling matches in out-of-the-way venues that only had 10 people watching. "Little by little I started to get back to bigger and bigger places and got everything back on track. I never thought I'd find myself back here so soon.," he related.
7. He embraces being Pinoy. In a WWE feature, Perkins declared, "I'd like to represent my Filipino fans and heritage. We don't have a lot of heroes. We have Manny Pacquiao, and I look up to Batista a whole lot, because of our shared roots. I'd like to represent my heritage because they're such passionate people. I want to give them a hero that they can look up to on a platform they've never seen."