Former WWE Cruiserweight Champion TJP has given his opinion on when he feels Vince McMahon stopped caring about 205 Live and “checked out” on what was once a cruiserweight-only show.
TJP, using the name TJ Perkins, won the WWE Cruiserweight Classic tournament in 2016 when he defeated Gran Metalik in the finals. After the tournament, several cruiserweight wrestlers signed with WWE to be part of the new WWE show called 205 Live that was dedicated to the cruiserweight division. In addition to 205 Live, some of them appeared on Raw as well.
The 37-year-old TJP had a three-year run in WWE following a successful career in Ring of Honor, TNA/Impact Wrestling as an X-Division Champion and other places including MLW now. TJP was released by WWE in 2019.
During their interview, TJP spoke about the perception of 205 Live and why WWE got behind it at first. When asked if he agreed with Asher Hale saying the show existed purely as “filler,” TJP wasn’t sure about that assessment:
“Not initially No. In fact, it was kind of the opposite the I don’t know that they knew or thought that it was going to be a standalone show when we were doing the tournament but when that became apparent I think and it’s funny this in is sort of a side thing like the tournament ended up being sort of this like gateway in a lot of different directions I think for the company and one of the ways as far as content goes like what you’re saying I think that it turned out so well that when they were creating the show it became like it was really more of Vince’s show like the first year or two.”
At some point, Vince McMahon lost interest in the 205 Live brand and TJP offered his opinion on when that was:
“I want to say he probably checked out like maybe part of the way through PAC’s run [as Cruiserweight Champion] and he was like over it. I don’t know but it seemed like that’s when it sort of changed. But initially, it was almost like this is more than just filler, like I really want to make this work sort of thing. Like I really liked this it’s like it became this commodity that he was maybe excited to play with I don’t know. I definitely saw maybe the evolution of it or rather the devolution so maybe towards what like Asher [Hale] was talking about.”
When TJP felt that Vince McMahon was not as interested in 205 Live, he felt like it was time to get out of WWE and now he has a lot more freedom in one of his new homes, Major League Wrestling:
“That’s for me personally that’s kind of what sparked my decision after three years of that to want to chase other projects and to kind of express that I wasn’t really that happy and maybe I’d like to get out because of stuff like MLW for example where it’s the complete opposite. Court [Bauer] has no handcuffs for anybody and creatively everybody’s on the same level. Everything is seen as ‘yeah we can make that work’ whereas [in WWE] the mindset is if you don’t see how it will work immediately it’s not going to work. It’s like well maybe it could you know and that’s sort of what I enjoy being where I am now. In the number of places that I am and you know MLW is becoming primary just because of how much freedom there is in that regard.”
205 Live continues to air on WWE Network/Peacock although it is no longer a cruiserweight only show.
You can see TJP face off against fellow IMPACT veteran Alex Shelly as part of MLW’s Opera Cup at MLW Fightland available to watch October 7th on Vice TV!
H/T Inside The Ropes for the transcript