Tama Tonga comments on what a breakout performance as a singles star would mean to him.
As one of the original members of Bullet Club, Tama Tonga has seen many fellow club members rise through the ranks of the singles competition in New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Now, with the New Japan USA Cup, Tama Tonga feels he is on the verge of singles success in his own right.
"I’ll be honest, after everything that has happened this year, and thinking about everything I’ve accomplished as a tag team wrestler, this tournament has made me think a lot about being a singles competitor. I never gave it that much consideration before," he'd say to Sports Illustrated. "You’ve seen my G1 matches [filled with outside interference] in the past where I’ve thrown a lot of tournaments away, but this year has really made me do a turnaround and reconsider."
He continued, “I’ve accomplished being IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion six times. I think I’ve got my fill of that. I’ve been off for nearly half of the year, and I’m excited to be back. This tournament has given me a taste of being a singles competitor. Do I need to prove something? Maybe. Maybe I do. I’ve proven myself in a tag team. Now I need to see what I can do as a singles competitor.”
Tama Tonga would also speak about Jon Moxley, who is not only the AEW Heavyweight Champion but the IWGP United States Champion as well. For Tonga, he's not too concerned with any championship outside of the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship because if you're not first, you're last.
“I’m not too eager about it. If you’re not the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, then what are you? You’re last. That’s the way I look at it, everything else is second place,” said the son of Haku. “That’s the way I’ve looked at it my whole career. The tag team championship belt, the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, that’s first place among tag teams. Anything else is second place. So if I’m going to be a singles competitor, then my only goal is to be the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. This tournament, to me, is to get my feet wet and start sharpening my skills to go after the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. That is my only goal.”
If you would like to read the full interview, click here.