NJPW wrestler Tama Tonga was a recent guest of the All Real Wrestling Podcast. Here are some highlights.
The Bullet Club member revealed that he had already given his ok to WWE and he was supposed to join alongside AJ Styles, The Good Brothers and Shinsuke Nakamura: “I actually had committed to WWE with AJ and Gallows and all them, I committed also. The one thing I had to do was go back to Japan and do one last tour. So I went back to Japan to finish my tour. I told them I was leaving. That’s when [they made] the offer of, ‘What if we bring in your brother? You guys can be a tag team here.’ OK. Let’s do that. So I had to turn down my other contract with WWE, or my confirmation with WWE, I guess.”
Tama also said that his father Haku never told him and his brothers that wrestling was scripted: “I didn’t know anything about wrestling, I just knew what was on TV. My dad kayfabe’d the hell out of us. For all I knew, the punches were real. I mean, it wasn’t a work. So, chair shots is still real. That’s how much my dad loved the business and protected the business.”
Living in both Japan and USA, Tama Tonga compared the different ways of dealing with kayfabe in both countries: “I think if you’re not kayfabing it, maybe we could get more people to have an appreciation for the art of wrestling, you know, just like the art of acting. And then again, kayfabe can be great because it’s the mystery, you know? It’s the darkness behind closed curtains and you don’t know and that can be a rush too. So, there’s like this give and take because I think kayfabe in America is dead but in Japan, it’s still full-on alive and I appreciate it. So, I live in a world where one is alive and one is dead and I see the benefit of both. So how do you distinguish what’s best?”
H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.