TJP is world traveled and started from the bottom of the food chain.
Former WWE Cruiserweight Champion TJP has traveled the globe as a professional wrestler throughout his 21 years in the business. In 2003, TJP began training at New Japan Pro Wrestling's dojo in Los Angeles under former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Antonio Inoki. TJP went through the young boy system along with Rocky Romero and current WWE Champion Daniel Bryan.
TJP spoke about some of the experiences he's had in both the Los Angeles and Japan dojos when he joined the 'Wrassle Rap' podcast. TJP stated that he was trained under styles such as Karl Gotch's and he and the other young lions were basically fighting everyday.
“We had a lot of different guys coming in and teaching us stuff, which was really cool and then you know, [Antonio] Inoki himself, [Tatsumi] Fujinami and guys from early New Japan days. Like year one. They were [teaching] all the Karl Gotch stuff. The way that the Tokyo dojo is built on. They were showing us what they learned and how they were brought up so we probably got a more authentic New Japan young boy training. At least I did, because the other guys were a little older so I got the young boy treatment but we probably got more authentic lessons than a lot of actual New Japan guys have had for generations because a lot of that started to get lost in Tokyo but Inoki really grinded the year one stuff into us." TJP recalled. "So were basically just fighting everyday."
TJP described the dojos and shared that he slept in Chris Benoit's bed, washed the backs of veterans, swept the floors, cooked and lived his life in the dojo for months at a time.
“Yeah I did [sleep in the dojo]. They also shipped me off to Tokyo whereas the other guys, they may have spent another night or two in the dojo in Tokyo just if they arrived the day before a tour and they didn’t go to a hotel or something like that, but I actually had to go and be in the dorm rooms in Tokyo. I slept in Chris Benoit’s bed." TJP said. "I was in those dorm rooms and I would sweep the floors and help cook the meals. Thankfully, one of the young boys in my class, [Inzowa] was his name. He wanted to be chef. He didn’t really want to be a wrestler, he was just wrestling. So thankfully he cooked most of the meals because he loved cooking so I didn’t have to do that. But I’d sweep floors and wash Nakanishi’s back, Liger’s back, carry their bags. I did all that stuff. The other guys really didn’t have to do that sort of thing. If I had to go on tour, they would ship me out a month early, two weeks early and I would live in the dojo. Sometimes I would stay there between tours. I’d be there for three months at a time or something like that."
TJP has represented WWE's Cruiserweight division as champion and tonight, Buddy Murphy looks to continue doing the same when he defends the title against Akira Tozawa at 'Elimination Chamber'.
If the quote in this article are used, please credit the 'Wrassle Rap' podcast with an H/T to Fightful for the transcriptions.