Haku is one of the most feared and respected men in the history of pro wrestling, and of course in his own house.
With three sons in the pro wrestling business, it's clear the eventual Meng has a strong influence on all of them. As it turns out, he wasn't completely forthcoming with Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, and Hikuleo about how exactly his day job went down.
"There were just be times he would show up and then be like, “Oh, I got these(title belts).” “Oh, that’s awesome.” Yeah, for the longest time we were shut out from it. I think it was one of the times I had seen a match and our dad lost and I was practically in tears. My mom turned off the TV and she said, “Alright, that’s it.” From then on our focus was education. Then sports and pro wrestling not until we were in middle school," Tanga Loa told Fightful.
Beyond that, Loa's brother Tama Tonga said that Haku went above and beyond to keep them as detached from the realities of professional wrestling as he possibly could. This stretched to the point of him not letting them know about some of the wild road stories you hear about Haku today.
"Alright, be honest with you, I’ve said this to a lot of people—my pop, he kayfabed us," Tama Tonga told Fightful. "I didn’t know shit until I started wrestling at 27. Then, that’s when I filled in with everything. Then once I started traveling the world, everybody had stories and that’s how I got to know my pop beside the family man that I knew at home as a father. I got to know him as a wrestler and I was like, “Holy shit.” So, those are a lot of new things that were brought to my attention once I started wrestling.
Tama got a late start in pro wrestling, but both he and Tanga grew up in an internet age. With Haku/Meng being an internet pheneomenon with lore of his ass kicking stories, those somehow all escaped the two brothers.
"When we were kids, back then we didn’t have social media," Loa said. "So anything that ever happened, only the wrestlers knew. The company knew. Nothing ever got outside of that unless you were there in that city or that particular [hotel] and the cops that showed up. They knew the story. If anyone had a [phone] back, yeah, maybe kids would have found out and then they would have asked about that. But, we’re all good about hush-hush about the business and thought for a long time our dad was a truck driver. To everybody else that’s how we explained his job. ‘Cause our parents were real keen about making sure we had friends because they wanted to be our friends. They didn’t want have our dad’s job play an influence on whether or not we would be liked."
Things came full circle for the brothers, as in New Japan Pro Wrestling years later, they worked with their legendary father. It was a moment that they never forgot, and one that they got to re-live at the Cow Palace -- a venue that he worked in for AWA, WWF, and WCW.
"Oh, it was awesome," Tanga told us. "The first time we worked together was in New Zealand, I think it was. Man, time flies. That was like four years ago. It was amazing. What was so special about that too, and I think we said it before, we were in New Zealand and a lot of our dad’s siblings live in New Zealand. They had never seen our dad wrestle live. So, for them to actually see him wrestle live and then us with him, it was a very special moment. It was awesome. Just remembering it now I’m getting chills about it, processing the memories about that. That was awesome just to come out. There’s a photo of us when we come out someone took from that event and it’s still engraved in my mind ‘cause it’s awesome. Dad up front, if you’re looking at it, Tama’s to the left and I’m just coming out on the right. It was pretty cool.
Today, Haku is still active, occasionally teaming with his longtime tag partner Barbarian on the independents.
You can see our full interview with Tanga Loa at the top of the page, and you can check him out on NJPW Strong, which airs every Friday on New Japan World. You can see our talk with Tama Tonga below.