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NJPW’s Tama Tonga Calls AEW A “Mid-Card Company”

Tama Tonga

The war of words between NJPW’s Tama Tonga and the AEW/IMPACT incarnation of Bullet Club continues to rage on, with the former claiming Kenny Omega is in a “mid card” company.

Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks and The Good Brothers have been grabbing wrestling headlines in recent times, with their formation of a new Bullet Club style stable.

Flanked by IMPACT Wrestling’s Vice President Don Callis, Omega, Gallows and Anderson even took to the ring at IMPACT Wrestling: Hard to Kill dressed in Bullet Club merchandise and most recently Bullet Club member Kenta appeared in AEW, teaming with ‘The Cleaner.’

Tama Tonga, a founding member of Bullet Club who continues to represent the group in New Japan Pro Wrestling, had some choice words for Omega and Callis during a recent episode of his podcast, ‘Tama’s Island’:

“Omega got to where he’s at, it’s because of New Japan. Not because of Don Callis. Omega, New Japan put you on that pedestal. Frickin’ flew you out to the moon. And what did you do? S**t on everything. Yeah Omega, I’m talking about you. Look at you. You and your little cheerleader Don Callis talking that s**t. I seen that little promo you guys threw out. I seen that.”

The promo in question took place following night one of AEW: New Year’s Smash. Callis claimed to feel bad for performers in New Japan now that Omega and The Good Brothers were no longer a part of their roster:

“I feel a little bad because I think the bottom line is, when the three brothers here left the Bullet Club, it actually was a good thing because it created an opportunity for some mid-card guys to move up the chain and fly the flag. Do you know what I’m saying? It’s kind of like when baseball had a work stoppage and they had replacement players. The scabs came in, they got an opportunity. It’s like a ‘mark’ fantasy camp, almost. You get to play that you’re part of the big group.

I think we’ve done something really good here, this is a nice thing that we’ve done. We’ve created opportunity. Those guys are good guys, but you don’t replace Michael Jordan. You don’t replace Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird. You can try, but this is what happens. So I think the Bullet Club guys in Japan are great. I’m not familiar with what the names are, but they’re flying the flag.”

Rumours surrounding the relationship between IMPACT, AEW and NJPW have been running rampant for weeks amongst the pro wrestling community with Tony Khan stating that the ‘forbidden door is open’ and appearances of NJPW performers on both aforementioned promotions.

Tama would continue his scathing assessment on Kenny Omega, claiming AEW to be a “mid-card” company:

“You got a press conference, set up with a background like New Japan, that’s cute. You guys do a little press conference and nobody’s talking except for Don Callis. You got The Good Brothers staying silent, you got Kenny Omega slouched over like a little child, like he’s lost. Poor ‘Machine Gun’ [Karl Anderson] had to put his arm around him to comfort the little baby, make sure that he’s ok […] If I was the Bootleg Club, I’d curl up too. The defeat in Kenny Omega’s eyes. I’m glad ‘Machine Gun’ stayed silent. The other hoot, calling us scabs and mid-cards. Kenny Omega is in a mid-card company. Wednesday Night Wars. It’s AEW and NXT. It’s a minor league war. Raw vs. Nitro was on a different level. This ain’t that.”

Tama Tonga, who has been a part of Bullet Club since it’s inception and a staple in New Japan for a number of years, has been openly critical of this new Bullet Club style stable since it’s origin. In January 2021, Tama claimed the IMPCT/AEW union were yet another failed attempt to capture the magic of the Japanese original:

“How can it be a reunion if Bullet Club is still here [in NJPW]? We ain’t never went nowhere. They should have called it something else, like the ‘Ex Members’, right, the ex members reunion. Because all of y’all have gone, and when I say all of y’all, every single one that was in that different company, was indifferent other companies trying to do the same thing with Bullet Club. But they called it ‘The Club’, ‘The OC’, ‘Balor Club’. I mean, no matter what you guys try to do, you’re just not Bullet Club.”

With crossover action between AEW, IMPACT and NJPW many fans have questioned if WWE could be a possible next step in cross promotion partnership. Both Cody Rhodes and Tony Khan have expressed interest in the move.

Credit for the interview: Tama’s Island