Tama Tonga recently spoke with WrestlingINC.com owner Raj Giri, where he offered interesting insights on behind-the-scenes happenings in New Japan Pro Wrestling. One topic Tonga touched on was backstage morale in NJPW a couple years ago when WWE was targeting their top talent.
"It's frightening to lose your top guys," Tonga recalled.
"The guys that have been bringing a lot of success to the company. Your go-to guys. Not just the top guys, but the middle guys, the pillars of the company. 'Machine Gun' Karl Anderson, Gallows, those guys were pillars of the company. They were my mentors," Tama said. "They taught us the game and it was frightening, but at the same time it opened up doors for us to step up and use the talents and wisdom that was bestowed on us from the young mentors so this is where we are at right now."
"At the time it was crazy and hectic, but we came through it and we're doing alright I would say."
Tonga is someone that has had an opportunity come his way as he is now a three-time IWGP Tag Team Champion after beating Hanson and Raymond Rowe with his tag team partner Tanga Loa earlier this month at NJPW Dominion. Kenny Omega has transformed into one of pro wrestling's biggest stars, something Raj asked Tonga for his thoughts on.
"He's one of the best wrestlers in the world," Tonga said of Omega. "I'm glad to have him on the team."
New Japan Pro Wrestling is coming to the United States for the first time with shows in California next month. Both shows are legitimate sell-outs.
"About damn time," Tonga said of NJPW running shows in the US. "It's time to expand, time to move forward and grow and time to expand and have more job opportunities for the boys. We can't just have one company run the whole world with like 60 people out of the millions trying to become wrestlers. You need variety, you need more jobs for guys that really want to do this and can provide a living so this is great. More job opportunities for everybody, it's great."
WrestlingINC.com's exclusive interview with Tama Tonga will be online in its entirely next week.