TJP wonders what would've happened had he stayed in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
The early stages of the 2004 American Young Lions Cup tournament winner TJP's career were spent in New Japan Pro Wrestling. TJP trained in both the Los Angeles and Japan dojos. After a few years in New Japan, TJP decided to depart from the company and carve his own path in the business. When he joined the 'Wrassle Rap' podcast, he touched on his departure from New Japan and accredited that to his issues with former two-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Kendo Kashin who was appointed as lead instructor of the foreign Junior Heavyweights.
"Actually, that’s kind of how I got sent home. Because I was living there -- I decided I just wasn’t gonna come home and they’re like cool, they’re happy with commitment and you’ll be there and all that, and it’s funny because I was doing that, and Fergal Devitt was in L.A. and he was not even getting a shot at going to Japan, and he was just wasting away in Los Angeles and so was Machine Gun Karl Anderson. They weren’t even giving them a chance." TJP shared. "They were just there training, wasting away and I was living in the dojo and then they had a switch in regime. I can’t remember [if this] was when Simon [Kelly Inoki] was coming in or going out. One of the two, and they were like, ‘Okay, you’re gonna have to go home but we’re gonna bring you right back -- it’s just because the office is changing so there’s just... it’s kind of hitting a reset button’. Then when I went home, I actually clashed a lot with Kendo Kashin, which Inoki had kind of put him in charge of the foreign juniors. It sucks because I actually really like Kashin as a wrestler and I understand him as a person but he’s just kind of a clown. He likes to push people’s buttons and he clashed with me a lot and I think he just picked on me because I was the youngest." TJP said. "So, there’s just a big disconnect and kind of a falling out so I quit New Japan and moved on because I was like, ‘I’ve had my feel here now’."
TJP mentioned that Finn Balor and Karl Anderson were "wasting" away in the L.A. dojo. When TJP departed, Finn Balor got the call and TJP questioned had he not left Japan, would Finn Balor go on to have the career that he had there.
"Not that I wanted to leave, I always considered it home, but if it was going to be that difficult, I just wanted to move on because I didn’t want to deal with the personal issues, and so then Finn went to Japan and lived there and the rest is history for him. So maybe I made a mistake. I don’t know." TJP laughed. "Maybe I should’ve stayed, but he might not have been given that chance if I didn’t leave and he really needed the chance because he’s insanely talented so I’m glad he ran with the ball that I was not going to run with.”
Finn Balor was in action last night at WWE's 'Elimination Chamber' pay-per-view and to read about how he fared in his bout, check out Fightful's 'Elimination Chamber' results article.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit the 'Wrassle Rap' podcast with an H/T to Fightful for the transcriptions.