During the interview, Perkins talked about the moment after he’d pinned Gran Metalik and was waiting for them to announce him as champion.
“It’s crazy,” He said, “For me, it’s been such a long road. The bell rings and it’s like this weight lifted off your shoulders. You just think about all the things that you went through to get there. And I think it’s the same for a lot of athletes in that position. Then the ceremony starts and, for me, I thought about a lot of my heroes when they had their first big one. I thought about (Muhammad) Ali when he won his first world title against (Sonny) Liston and I thought about Shawn Michaels when he won his first world title. Eddie Guerrero, same thing. I could replay those celebrations in my head, like, I remember everything they did. I remember how the crowd looked, how the atmosphere felt, all those different things. Shawn Michaels, for example, I was there live, which was pretty cool for me. So¬†before you know it, yours has unraveled and there’s other people watching yours and you’re like, wow, it’s hard to believe it’s real.”
Perkins went on to discuss the idea that professional athletes tend to remember the down times more than the good times on their way to success.
“People ask me all the time, ‘Do you have a favorite road story for all this?’,” He said, “I have a ton and I don’t think I’m old and senile yet. I’ve been hit in the head a lot but I don’t think I have any problems but I can’t, for the life of me, remember a lot of my road stories and good times. When times are bad enough, that’s all you can ever think about. Even when you get away with it, you still think about it because you never want to go back there. What I said after one of the matches in the ring was very real. I thought about that key to the apartment I was evicted from for years and I still had it for a reason. It used to remind me of a place I could never go back to. Now, it’s like I can finally throw that stupid thing in the garbage because all it does is remind of a place I don’t have to go back to because I’ve come so far. It’s true, you really do think about the tough times.
Perkins reflected on his expectations coming into the tournament and the importance of focusing on the here and now.
“I came into all of this without any expectations,” He said, “I’m very big about staying in the moment and after my first match I quoted a Zen proverb: “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” There’s a lot of interpretations for it but a big lesson to be taken away from that is stay in the moment. Things will happen, things will come and go. Sometimes your life will change but at the end of the day, there’s certain things that are constant and you have to stay in the moment and still do those things. For me, as big as this moment is, God willing, I’m going to have thousands more. I have to remember to take each moment as it comes.”
He would go on to give his perspective on his new peers in WWE.
“I’m in such incredible company being there,” Perkins said, “I’m going to Memphis Monday night and with the locker room that “Raw” has and so many of them are my friends from before and people that I came up with. Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, these guys ‚ÄĒ they’re so incredibly talented. I think that adding the Cruiserweight Division to that, it’s kind of overkill. I don’t know that there’s ever too much of a good thing but if there is, we’re getting pretty close to it because that’s incredible to have all of that. And to be at the forefront of representing this on a show like that, that I grew up watching, it’s incredible. I don’t even know what to expect even if I was about expectations.”
He the talked about what his intentions are moving forward.
“I think the goal is still the same but you have to take it to another level,” Perkins said, “I still want to inspire Filipino people. All we have is Manny (Pacquiao) and, as of right now, I’m no Manny but there’s an opportunity to get there and I want to keep pursuing that until I reach as many people as possible. And if this is to be the benchmark of a new generation for the Cruiserweights, I want to be that. Same with everybody else that’s representing what they’re doing proudly. We had a Women’s Revolution and they have aspirations to main-event WrestleMania and I think that’s amazing and that’s great. I honestly think that’s something we’ll see. And the tag teams are going through a renaissance. I would love for it to be a perceivable idea that Cruiserweights might main-event WrestleMania. Cruiserweights will represent in a bigger way than they had been in the past.”
He concluded, “For me, that’s my goal going forward is to represent this division and this culture, my people, in a bigger way than ever before and hopefully create new heroes for other people, people that will inspire me back.”