Tama Tonga is the son of maybe the toughest guy in wrestling history in Haku/Meng. But Tonga didn't initially follow in his dad's footsteps as he joined the military before getting into wrestling.
Tonga revealed why he served when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
"I couldn't make it anywhere in sports and I had put all my bets on sports and it didn't pan out. I didn't put my mind into education and I just rode on sports because I thought I was talented. But it turned out I wasn't that talented, so that's what happened," stated Tonga.
"I didn't wanna stay at home with my parents. I was trying to figure out how to get out into the world and travel. At the time, military was the best option because they were willing to pay me, pay for my education and I get to travel. So, who wouldn't want that? At the time I didn't think we were going to war because it had been 10 years. So, I'm thinking, 'Oh, we won't go to war' but little did I know."
Haku is Tonga's adoptive father and also his uncle. Tonga discussed what it was like having Haku as his dad.
"To me it was normal but I guess to everybody else it wasn't. When we grew up we were kayfabed from the business, so I don't know much," revealed Tonga. "We were never smartened up. Kids knew that my dad was a wrestler but when they asked us, the answer that my mom would tell us to tell them was that he was a truck driver. So, that's how we grew up."
He added that his mom told them to say that to keep them humble as she didn't want them to grow up to be wrestlers.
"She knew about life on the road. She's been with my dad since day one and the traveling that was done and she didn't want that life for us. Once we settled down in Florida, she had it in her mind that she was gonna bring up her kids not to be a wrestler. Little did she know," Tonga said before being asked when his dad finally smartened him up on the wrestling business.
"It was 2008 when I decided to be a wrestler [laughs]. I didn't know wrestling was fake until then."
Tonga recently launched a new podcast called Tama's Island and he explained why now is the right time to do so.
"I tried before but the hard part was finding time to do it and the help to get the vision out. So, I put it on the backburner but because of what's happened in the world, I've got the time. This is the perfect time to create that vision and go through with it," stated Tonga.
"With Tama's Island, I wanted to create a community – a share of love of anything – wrestling, comedy and beauty. I feel this is the platform to not only tell about myself but to enjoy the beauty of life."
Tonga is very interactive and likes to conncect with his fans via Zoom sessions. He's dubbed them Tama's Island Happy Hours as they occur on Fridays over on Patreon and he talked more about them.
"It's great. I didn't have to throw the block party but I did because I enjoy talking with people. It's the same thing with Tama's Island. I don't have to but I enjoy interacting with fans and getting to know people," said Tonga. "I'm interested in people and their stories and the motivation that drives them."
He revealed that the Zoom sessions started when they had to cancel their beach party and some of the ticket buyers donated their money back to them, as opposed to getting refunds.
"I asked my manager to contact everyone that donated and to have them meet me up on a Zoom so I can thank them personally. We came on and for an hour just talked. From there it just kinda grew. We came back on the following week and the following week after that and Tama's Island was born," stated Tonga.
"I gotta keep it spontaneous because I know they'll get old of me real quick," Tonga said before acknowledging that spontaneity is one of his best qualities.
I go with the moment and how I feel and I adjust accordingly."
Tama Tonga's new podcast, Tama's Island, drops every Monday afternoon and can be found on iTunes HERE. For early access to Tama's Island content, and more, please visit the Tama's Island Patreon page HERE.
Tama's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.