Tama Tonga recently gave an interview to Sports Illustrated where he talked about his new Podcast and how NJPW is dealing with COVID-19, in comparison to other companies.
Tama’s Island will start today, Monday, and its first subject will be the formation of The Bullet Club.
Joining him and co-host Ross Berman will be “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson and Tonga says it will be quite an eye-opening experience;
You’re going to hear how it all started from our viewpoint, behind the scenes, on the bus, in the restaurants—how the name came to be, which names were thrown around, and the ideas we tried that never got to the ring. This is a deep dive into the creation.
And what better guy to kick it off with than the O.G. Karl Anderson? I was close with Karl before Bullet Club. We were the only foreigners, there were only four of us in Japan—it was Prince Devitt, Fale, Karl Anderson and myself. We all spoke English and hung out together all the time. Our booker saw how tight our bond was, and that’s how Bullet Club really became a thing.”
It truly promises to be a fascinating look at one of the greatest factions to ever grace pro-wrestling, with the kind of insider knowledge that we all mark out for.
As for the subject of the handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, Tama had this to say on the difference between the Japanese organization and their American counterparts;
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.
It’s a different culture in Japan, a lot different from ‘the show must go on’ mindset. 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.”
It seems that health and safety come first in Japan and even though I am grateful to any company still putting on shows during this darkest of times, I fully appreciate the way that NJPW, et al, have taken steps to make sure that no-body within their organizations is at risk from this global killer.