|Manik (photo courtesy of Impact Wrestling)|
By Blake Garris & Ben Morse
Like a Marvel super hero, mild-mannered TJ Perkins dons a mask and flies through the air as Manik, X Division Champion of Impact Wrestling.
This Sunday at Impact’s Bound for Glory event—available on pay-per-view—Manik takes to the skies like never before, defending his title in an Ultimate X match against Jeff Hardy, Austin Aries, Samoa Joe and Chris Sabin. We caught up with the masked man to talk about the challenge he faces as well as his affinity for various Marvel characters and more.
Marvel.com: This Sunday is Bound for Glory and you’re in an Ultimate X match. How does that match challenge you in ways that others can’t?
Manik: The main element that’s different from any other match is there’s a higher risk of losing without actually losing because unlike other matches, it’s not actually formatted to where you have to beat a guy one-on-one, which usually for me, is my forte. I’m able to beat a guy one-on-one. In this case, the elements are different, the rules are different. It’s obviously a very dangerous match, most people can see that. With having the scale, the structure, and having to retrieve the title, but the biggest difference is you can effectively lose without being involved in the finish of the match which is really the tough thing.
Marvel.com: You’ve got four former World Champions challenging you with Jeff Hardy, Austin Aries, Samoa Joe and Chris Sabin. How does this force you to step up your game and do you feel any pressure beyond a normal match?
|Manik (photo courtesy of Impact Wrestling)|
Manik: This might be kind of an unprecedented thing, I don’t know if I’ve tracked the history but being in there with four guys who are all specifically former World Champions is a pretty big position to be in, especially with me coming in as the lead guy, as the titleholder. Of course I feel like I have to step up my game; it’s one of those things where, it’s cliché to say, but rise to the occasion. That’s really not any more apropos than right now.
Marvel.com: Who do you see as the biggest threat among the challengers?
Manik: I used to think it was going to be Samoa Joe but now I wonder if he can even get up the structure. He might endanger my health more so than my title. I would probably say, maybe a guy like Austin Aries, because he’s got such a high IQ and he’s such a crafty guy in the sense of finding ways to get done what he needs to get done and there’s never just one way that he takes to do it.
Marvel.com: What are you looking forward to the most about Bound for Glory in terms of the match, the show, and the weekend itself?
Manik: I like that we have a lot of fan interaction and lot of events going on throughout the weekend. It’s obviously the biggest event of the year for [Impact Wrestling] and I like the atmosphere of that. It reminds me of being a little kid and going to wrestling events, and even just sporting events in general, that had an aura about them with people tailgating in the parking lot, there’s events the day before, and different things to interact. I’m pretty excited for the Hall of Fame ceremony too.
Marvel.com: With your costume and persona it seems like you’re almost a real-life super hero. Do you take any inspiration from comics?
Manik: Yeah, absolutely. My favorite comic book character is Deadpool, maybe just because of the generation that I grew up in. I’m old enough to have gotten into a lot of different characters but I think because I’m still kind of a young guy, and kind of a smart mouth, I fall into the current generation which is very social media integrated and it’s very pop-culture relevant. People are very class-clownish and fourth-wall-ish and I get a kick out of Deadpool personally and any time that I get to express my emotion and my personality, I tend to find the same windows that he does in his various stories because I feel like I have the same kind of attitude and outlook on life.
|Deadpool, Spider-Man & Hit-Monkey|
Marvel.com: That’s awesome. So you read comics when you were a kid?
Manik: Yeah. It was hard for me to come by all of them when I was younger so consistently. I’d get a lot of things out of order and I ended up getting a lot of the X-Men series. I was into Iron Man a lot growing up, but mostly I’d have to find out about [his] story through word of mouth. I’m almost more of a fan of it now because I’m able to procure anything what I want and am able to follow all the individual story-arcs of stuff on pace.
Marvel.com: Are you reading any stories currently?
Manik: Yeah. Let’s see, I think I’m in the middle of, “I Rule, You Suck,” from DEADPOOL. I just downloaded off my Marvel Comics app some new to me Spider-Man stuff. The last Spider-Man stuff I read was the story with him and Deadpool and Hit-Monkey. And also parts of Civil War. My buddy was really into that and recommended it to me.
Marvel.com: So you’re reading digitally right now?
Manik: Yeah. It’s easiest for me because I’m always on the road and I bring my iPad everywhere.
Marvel.com: Let’s say you were asked to join the Avengers. What would Manik bring to the table?
Manik: Good question. I tend to be a very reactive competitor. So I’m sure that I don’t bring very much to the strategic part, so meeting up in the Tower, I probably add nothing to that. I think once the team is in the field, and we’re out and there will be action, I size up with any opponent pretty well. When it comes time to delegate various roles, I think I’m equal opportunity for success across the board. They don’t have to worry about sending me towards a guy who’s bigger, smaller, faster or stronger. I think my reactionary approach to things tends to get the job done and I’m a pretty good acrobat. Not that there’s anybody in the Marvel Universe who isn’t, but I think it definitely keeps me up to speed with everybody else.
Marvel.com: Finally, last question. If you could carry one superpower into the ring, what would it be?
Manik: I wish I could fly. I wish I could fly. I’ve argued this with fans so much, they always ask me if I had my top three favorite abilities or something, and flying is always number one. Every now and then, I’ll put teleporting as two or three and they’ll argue that you don’t need both. I definitely think that there are separate advantages. I’d definitely want to be able to fly. If not fly, then teleport.
Marvel.com: You sort of can fly already for the most part.
Manik: Yeah, I can fly in short bursts. I can fall very appropriately as well.
Tune into Impact Wrestling every Thursday night beginning at 9 PM ET on SpikeTV and watch Bound for Glory on pay-per-view this Sunday, October 20! Visit Impact Wrestling’s official web site for more info!