Founding member of Bullet Club, Tama Tonga, was recently interviewed by SI.com. During the discussion, Tonga noted the differences between Japanese and American wrestling companies during the pandemic. According to Tonga, there is more unity in Japan and concern for the safety of fans and wrestlers.
“There is a different sense of unity in Japan,” said Tonga. “Here in America, the show must go on. Money needs to come in, so the wrestlers are still wrestling. New Japan stopped holding shows. That’s not just for the safety of the fans, but it’s also for the health of the wrestlers.”
Tonga continued to talk about how New Japan Pro Wrestling has assured staff and wrestlers that nobody will be let go. He noted that the company is more of a family.
“It’s a different culture in Japan, a lot different from ‘the show must go on’ mindset,” said Tonga. “The majority of our income comes from live shows, which has been cut out, but the company has held onto the staff and reassured us that no one will be let go. The company is more of a family in Japan.”
Tama Tonga is one of the most decorated tag team wrestlers in NJPW history. The Guerrillas of Destiny rank 5th all-time in IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team title defenses with 9. Their 6 reigns with the titles is tied for 1st all-time with Tencozy. They rank 4th all-time with 607 combined days with the belts. The team also made it to the finals of World Tag League 3x in a row from 2016-2018. They’ve never won the tournament, however.
The full interview with Tama Tonga can be read here.