wrestling / News

Tama Tonga Likes NJPW’s Change in Direction Under Harold Meij, Reveals His Thoughts on KUSHIDA Leaving NJPW for WWE

February 18, 2019 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
NJPW Tama Tonga

WrestlingInc.com and Nick Hausman recently interviewed NJPW talent Tama Tonga on a number of topics. Below are some highlights.

Tama Tonga on Harold Meij becoming NJPW President: “From my understanding, he was brought in to help us expand and I think he’s working hard towards that. I want us to expand, so I’m on the same boat. Anybody who’s trying to help the company expand and do better for us, that’s best for business for us. It might be a little too soon to notice a whole big difference. I think it takes a little time to see the changes really take an effect. But it’s happening, but I don’t see the whole huge difference yet. Ask me in another year.”

Tama Tonga on unfinished business in the tag team division: “I’m in a tag team called Guerrillas of Destiny so we’re gonna be going after the IWGP heavyweight tag team belts. I don’t feel we were done justice in this three-way at Wrestle Kingdom. I think we need to go toe-to-toe… It will be against EVIL and SANADA. I don’t think they’re a proper tag team, I think they’re two individuals put together. We need to go after that and expose them for what they are: singles competitors, not a tag team.”

His thoughts on KUSHIDA leaving NJPW: “It’s gonna be a huge gap, but I know we’ve got guys to step up and fill that gap. But KUSHIDA and I made our debut together on the same day here in New Japan in 2010 for the Best of the Super Juniors, and we always remembered that. I worked with him a lot for the first couple of years, and then when I went heel we shared a lot of memories going against each other. He’s just an all-around great dude. He just had his child last year, and so did I, and I feel like his story and my story kind of intertwine here and there, which is nice and unique. He’s been great for the company, he held the junior division very, very tight and held it up very high, set standards for everybody to come up to. He’s gonna be really missed out here. He’s a good friend of mine, and he’s gonna be really missed. But since I live in Florida, if that’s where he’s going, I’ll see him out there.”

Tama Tonga on his initial reaction: “I first initial reaction was I was surprised, but I wasn’t at the same time because we had an understanding from the beginning that we always want to grow and keep going… So when he told me about this, I was really happy for him, but he was sad because he felt that he was leaving something great behind. I was like, ‘Look, just do it! Just do it, man. Go and grow, New Japan will always be here. That’s what I give New Japan, is the loyalty for those that have sacrificed themselves for the company. So thank you, and we’ll always be here when you want to come back.”