Pinoy wrestler TJ Perkins qualifies for WWE Cruiserweight Classic

MANILA, Philippines - Filipino wrestler TJ Perkins will be returning to World Wrestling Entertainment programming.

The Fil-Am performer from Los Angeles was included in the field of 32 who will compete in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic, which begins July 13 at Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida and will be televised on the WWE Network.

Perkins, who competed in Total Nonstop Action (TNA) as Manik before being released earlier this year, qualified by virtue of defeating Fred Yehi at an event promoted by EVOLVE Wrestling in Queens, N.Y. on Saturday, May 7. Drew Gulak also qualified at the same event, joining Zack Sabre Jr., Jack Gallagher, Noam Dar, Rich Swann, Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Akira Tozawa, Ho Ho Lun and Lince Dorado.

#CRUISERWEIGHTCLASSIC qualifier from EVOLVE (they need a twitter handle): TJ Perkins ( @MaskaraManik) vs. @FredYehi https://t.co/OPZ5z2cEBX — Joey Styles (@JoeyStyles) May 12, 2016

Perkins, a former TNA X-Division champion, spent time at WWE's developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (the pre-cursor to NXT) in 2009, and wrestled one match as J.T. Quinn against Sheamus on WWE's ECW revival brand that same year.

Perkins had also wrestled in New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla.

The Cruiserweight Classic will highlight wrestlers under 205 pounds from around the world. A WWE statement describes the tournament as performers from various promotions colliding "to earn the right to call themselves the best cruiserweight in the world." – Rappler.com