In a recent interview with SI.com, NJPWs Tama Tonga discusses a number of different topics. Among those were the current climate and the treatment of wrestling promotions in North America in comparison to Japan. Tonga discussed how the countries decision takes into consideration all involved. As a former US Air Force veteran, Tonga has traveled back and forth from country to country to gauge the outlook from a different perspective.
There is a different sense of unity in Japan…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.
The argument Tonga makes is crucial in the wake of the global pandemic. For one of the largest promotions in the world to stop their shows outright certainly sets precedence. As fans have seen promotions in North America have offered programming weekly for a television audience. Tonga’s perspective considers, not only the well-being of the talent but those in attendance as well.
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 is interesting that Tonga points out the typical culture of the company has shifted. It isn’t a case of profit over well-being. This situation is stressful for those all around. As a result, for New Japan to begin to cut ties with their staff is counterproductive and wouldn’t reflect Tama’s comments.
Tama Tonga discusses the difference between Japanese and American Promotions Today
New Japan does its best to look out for the entire wrestling scene in Japan…Even Tanahashi going in front of government, that may surprise people in wrestling, but it doesn’t surprise us. He really is our leader. You can see that unity in our roster, too. Our guys go from young to old. This isn’t a factory of young guys that get chopped up and spit out. The mindset around wrestling is different in Japan.
By setting the standard for other promotions, New Japan is thinking bigger picture. As a result, in doing so they are confident that greater things are ahead for the company.
Tama Tonga also has a new podcast that readers are encouraged to visit as well here.