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#MustWatchMonday (9/19/16): TJP's Final Indie Match



In case you've been living under a rock, this happened a couple of days ago.


TJP, short for TJ Perkins, won WWE's inaugural Cruiserweight Classic, and will be bringing the Cruiserweight division with him to RAW as the first WWE Cruiserweight Champion (well at least for this lineage of the title). 

Why is this special? Well other than the fact that he won a universally well-received tournament, he did it representing the three stars and a sun. One of TJP's motivations coming into this tournament was to represent the land of his ancestry, the Philippines, and to inspire the people of this country. TJP faced trials and adversity during his wrestling career, including sinking into homelessness at one point. What makes him special and such an inspiration is that he was able to bounce back using wrestling, and now he'll be performing for wrestling's biggest platform: the WWE.

TJP was confirmed to be coming into the WWE a few weeks ago on RAW when they advertised the arrival of the Cruiserweights. One of the really good things about WWE is that they allow newly contracted talent to wrap up all their independent bookings before they start with the company, and TJP was no exception.

Perkins' last match on the independents was on Gabe Sapolsky's EVOLVE 69, where he went up against up-and-comer Matt Riddle, whose skill in the ring is way beyond his one year of experience in it. (This iPPV is also Johnny Gargano's farewell to the independents as well, so be sure to check his match out, too.)


To celebrate Perkins' win, and at the same time promote his iPPVs, Gabe Sapolsky gave this match away for free on YouTube, and this author is thrilled that he did.

The match focuses on mat and submission-based wrestling, but not to the point where you're basically watching two men roll around a mat for 15 minutes. In between holds they lace in great athleticism, feats of strength, and kicks. Lots of kicks. Perkins targets the knee of Riddle for a good chunk of the match, preparing him for the kneebar that would become deadly during the Cruiserweight Classic.

The closing stretch comes in the form of Matt Riddle coming up with counter after counter to TJP's kneebar, and eventually placing Perkins in a submission of his own, forcing Perkins to tap out.  As Perkins was about to leave the company, this loss was perfectly understandable: wrestlers departing a territory normally leave on their back. Perkins goes out and gets his emotional farewell to a promotion whose first event he was on, and Matt Riddle continues his rise through the roster, and looks like a star.

Are you looking forward to Perkins in the WWE? Leave a comment!

*****

Brandon Sy is a PhD student in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics currently based in Sydney. Since he wasn't allowed to watch wrestling as a kid, he's been overcompensating ever since. Despite being a huge fan of Japanese wrestling, he still holds a soft spot in his heart for WWE's Kane. He's good for recommending matches from pretty much anywhere, whether it be Japan, Europe, the US or Mexico. He'd be ecstatic if you watched Dragon Gate though.

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