Fil-American TJ Perkins wins WWE Cruiserweight Championship
ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 15, 2016 01:06 PM
TJ Perkins is the new WWE Cruiserweight Champion (Photo courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/WWECruiserweightClassic)
Filipino-American professional wrestler TJ Perkins went through two tournament favorites in one night to win the win the WWE Cruiserweight Classic, also making him the WWE's new Cruiserweight Champion.
From a pool of 32 of the best cruiserweights representing 16 different countries, Perkins, who proudly represented the Philippines in the tournament, used his high-flying style mixed with a bit of submission grappling prowess to advance into round after round, defeating the likes of Germany's Da Mack, American NXT regular Johnny Gargano, and Rich Swann of the USA to earn a spot in the semifinals against tournament favorite and Japanese superstar Kota Ibushi.
And while Ibushi put up a good fight, Perkins ended up locking in a neck crank to force the New Japan star to tap out. This win set up a finals contest between Perkins and Mexico's Gran Metalik another tournament favorite, who defeated England's Zack Sabre Jr in the semis.
As if it wasn't enough motivation to be crowned as the world's best cruiserweight, WWE Executive Vice President Paul "Triple H" Levesque came out before the final match to announce that the winner would also be crowned as the new WWE Cruiserweight Champion and would make his main roster debut on Monday Night Raw the following week.
Perkins and Gran Metalik put on an amazing back-and-forth contest that had the crowd at the Full Sail University on their feet, chanting for both performers.
In the final moments of the match, Gran Metalik would hit Perkins with the Gran Metalik Driver, but wasn't able to immediately pin the Fil-American due to a knee injury, allowing the kickout.
Gran Metalik would attempt the finishing move again, this time from the top rope, but Perkins would counter and lock in a kneebar on the Mexican luchador's injured knee, eventually forcing the submission.
With the Philippine sun and the colors of the Philippine flag on his ring gear, Perkins hoisted his brand new WWE Cruiserweight Championship as the crowd chanted "You deserve it!"
A 32-year old Los Angeles native, whose mother is a Manileño, Perkins began his wrestling career in 1993, and has showcased his talents all over the world, from New Japan Pro Wrestling to Pro Wrestling Guerilla, Ring of Honor to TNA, and now the WWE. Perkins has always displayed his roots proudly, from his ring gear, to at one point wrestling under the ring name "Pinoy Boy". Now, he gets to represent the Philippines as the WWE Cruiserweight Champion on the WWE's flagship program, Monday Night Raw.