Tama Tonga has been a member of Bullet Club since its founding. That includes several years when Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks were also part of the faction in New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Despite his close association with The Elite, Tonga says he was never offered an opportunity to jump to AEW.
“I think there were some other guys, not me,” Tonga told All Real Wrestling Podcast. “I didn’t get any offer. But I think some other guys have gotten it. But not me, and I’m happy where I’m at.”
Tama Tonga says there are no hard feelings from him about the way The Elite departed New Japan to lay the foundation for AEW. He says he understands the group’s motivations.
“I don’t have any, like, ill will or any kind of, like, animosity towards what they did,” Tonga said. “I think I always respect the hustle, I respect the work that’s put in and I have a lot of respect for them for what they did and still doing.”
The final months of The Elite’s tenure in New Japan included on-camera clashes with Tama Tonga and other members of Bullet Club. Tonga said the subgroups had different visions for the future of the faction.
“I think with any coworkers, people like to do one way, you like to do another way,” Tonga said. “And sometimes you clash. But you always – you overcome, you move forward. I think that’s anybody.”
Tama Tonga made headlines last January when he publically criticized the reunion of Omega, the Young Bucks and the Good Brothers in AEW and Impact Wrestling. On his Tama’s Island podcast, he referred to the group as the “Bootleg Club”. Tonga says fans took his words too seriously.
“I think a lot of people confuse what I do on social media as real,” Tonga explained. “You know, my antics, my s--t-talking, my – you know. And that’s what I love about all this social media, this platform, this Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, even podcasts. Because you’re displaying – no matter what you’re on, you’re displaying a character.
“And so sometimes as a fan, you’re like, ‘Alright, is he being a character or is he being real?’ Which one is it? And I think some of my antics have really taken some people, thinking that I’ve got some kind of…thinking some kind of ill will for somebody. And it’s never that. It’s never that. I think I always wish the best for everybody.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit All Real Wrestling Podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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