TJ Perkins regrets leaving New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2005.
At 18, Perkins was touring Japan and as a "young boy" in the New Japan Pro Wresting Dojo. He talked with Chris Jericho on his podcast Talk is Jericho about being in Japan. Some of his classmates were wrestlers with which WWE fans may be familiar.
"I had a really interesting class, because Yoshi Tatsu was in (it), and so was Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura, literally, from day 1, was Nakamura, like, he wasn't even a young boy with us. He was in our class, but we never saw him. He was going to be a superstar from day 1. He was just too good to be with us," said Perkins.
While in Japan, he competed in the tag division with some singles matches. Perkins says when he left, his spot was filled by a future superstar.
"I was doing less and less around the time (Finn Balor/Prince Devitt) was coming in, so it was almost like he took over the opportunity I was leaving on the table. In retrospect, I wish I never left.I think it was more like he did what I didn't do because he came in and did an amazing job. I don't think I flourished in a way. I think they were hoping that I would stick around and do that sort of thing," said Perkins.
After Perkins left Japan, Finn Balor went on to singles and tag-team championships in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Balor was then signed to WWE two years before TJ Perkins.