Tama Tonga doesn’t know when New Japan Pro-Wrestling will finally hit the road again, but he’s sure their roster can make a comeback again.
Tama and his “Tama’s Island” co-host Ross Berman recently spoke with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard and talked about the creation of the podcast as well as New Japan’s current state. It was noted that New Japan, NWA and Ring Of Honor are just a few of the promotions that shut down during the pandemic and should be applauded without it counting against the companies that are still active. Tama says he can relate it to his time in the military and just said it’s all about adapting to the current situation and creating a bridge for fans until they can return to work.
“I applaud New Japan and NWA and Ring Of Honor for holding back. Money is important but the health of your co-workers and fans is very important and if there’s none of that [element], there’s no money. It gives us this situation right now where, and I’ll bring up my time in the military,” Tama said, “one thing they taught us was that you can have a set plan but when you go to war and you land on the [opposition’s] land, you’re going to have to adapt to the situation and then you overcome it.
“I look at it like that right now. We’re staying at home; how can I help keep eyes and ears on our company that’s on another continent? So what job am I doing from home? That’s what I’m doing right now,” Tama said, “just adapting to the situation and creating something that’s giving the fans a bridge to New Japan. And that right now is creating content that we can from home, right now it’s talking about me. All about me.”
It’s a glass-half-full situation Tama says he’s having a blast and brainstorming and collaborating on ideas. Tama joked that’s he’s taking all of those ideas from the Tama’s Island Happy Hour sessions, but he’s ready to get out of the house and back to work. When asked if he has an update on when or how New Japan will open back up, Tama said the current plan is to operate at 25 percent capacity with fans and grow from there as long as things go according to plan.
When asked if he thinks the crowd sizes could change the energy at events, Tama said he really doesn’t know but he is very eager to get back to work.
“I don’t know. I can take a guess. I’m just so eager to get back in that fuckin’ ring,” Tama said, “I’m ready to get back into work and bust some heads and that’s really it. I hope that our energy shows and it can really pull in the people again. We’re at ground level again. I’ve been there at ground level with New Japan in 2009, 2010. We’ve been at ground level. We can do this again, that’s no problem.”
The Watch List takes a look at what matches you should be watching while you’re at home and they come recommended by your favorite professional wrestling stars.
WrestleZone recently spoke with Tama Tonga and Ross Berman, hosts of the new “Tama’s Island” podcast. The New Japan Pro-Wrestling star called back to a run of matches shortly after Bullet Club formed, and seeing so many important names involved is a reason why that time—specifically a match in Fukuoka—was so memorable.
“I think it was down in the city of Fukuoka, that’s all the details that I know. It might have been a year after [Bullet Club] formed, so maybe 2014,” Tama said. “Prince Devitt was going against Tanahashi, and me, Karl Anderson, Rey Bucanero were seconding him. Captain New Japan and Tiger Mask were on Tanahashi’s side and just because I was right there to watch it is probably why it’s one of my favorite matches.”
Ross Berman’s pick was Tama’s run in the G1 Climax 28 tournament in 2018, noting that it was a great run in Tama’s career.
“Off the top of my head, Tama’s G1 run in 2018. He’s trying to burn down those buildings some of the time. That legitimately is one of my favorite runs in the G1 Climax,” Berman said. “[Tama] tweeted it out earlier and I was like ‘yeah, that’s the one.’”
We added some free-to-watch recommendations to the list and selected a good mix of bouts from Tama’s career, including two bouts with Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa as the Guerrillas Of Destiny, as well as one of Tama’s matches with DEFY.
Guerrillas of Destiny (c) vs. Roppongi Vice (Big Top Tag Team Championship Match)
WrestleCircus Dive Hard With A Vengeance — June 24, 2017
Tama Tonga vs. Ethan HD
DEFY Super 8XGP Tournament — July 26, 2019
Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs. Guerrillas Of Destiny
New Japan Pro-Wrestling The New Beginning in Atlanta — February 1, 2020
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