Karl Anderson texted Triple H after NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17 to let him know Tama Tonga’s contract would be coming up

Photo Courtesy: New Japan Pro-Wrestling

Details about Tama Tonga’s WWE debut via Karl Anderson. 

This past Friday on SmackDown, seven-time IWGP Tag Team Champion Tama Tonga made his WWE debut. He ambushed Jimmy Uso from behind and aligned himself with Solo Sikoa. Tama later relayed to Paul Heyman that he did what he did by orders of the ‘Tribal Chief’. 

Tonga’s longtime friend and former BULLET CLUB stablemate, Karl Anderson, spoke about him on Busted Open. At Wrestle Kingdom 17, they clashed over the NEVER Openweight Championship and Anderson was under contract to WWE at the time. He shared that after the match, he texted Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque to let him know Tama’s contract would be coming up.

After my Tokyo Dome match in 2023, which Triple H let me do, because we signed back with WWE and I was still a champion in New Japan and he still allowed me to go do two more dates with New Japan Pro-Wrestling with no issue at all. But I remember texting Triple H and telling him, ‘Tama Tonga’s contract is coming up and I think Tama’s a full-blown can’t-miss if you ask me’ and he wrote back right away and it took a year to get it done but, like I said, I’m a big believer in stuff happening for a reason and now he’s here and yeah, the changes and being able — I think Vic (Joseph) called me ‘The Machine Gun’ on NXT recently and even just hearing that, kind of, still kind of crazy…

Circling back to Tama’s arrival to WWE, he thinks sky is the limit for him. Anderson said Tama told him beforehand that he’d be coming to Detroit, Michigan for SmackDown, but Tama did not know he was going to be debuting until that day. He stated that he’s glad Tama is in The Bloodline storyline because he’s in the mix with top guys. 

Yes, yes (I think Tama Tonga is a perfect fit for WWE) and look at him, I think he’s got the perfect look. I think he’s got exactly what WWE needs, wants and I think it’s great. To go back to what we were talking about with the college kids coming in straight to the WWE and not having any independent experience. I think it’s great that Tama’s had 15 or 16 years all in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, to come into WWE and to show them that experience and that he is ready for primetime. I think that it’s unlimited right now for what Tama Tonga can pull off in the WWE and I’m excited to watch. Just knowing he was coming last Friday, he had texted me and told me he was gonna show up in the city. He had no clue he was gonna debut that night either which is kind of WWE style. They’ll bring you in, then you gotta debut and they told him he was debuting and it was pretty fun to see — just watch my friend and my brother go through the fact that he knows he’s about to go on live national television for the first time ever really and I’m proud of him. I thought he knocked it out of the park. He looked amazing which he always does and I think he’s ready and I think the world’s ready for Tama and I think it’s added to the way he is. He’s an opinionated guy, he’s a charismatic guy, he’s a bit insane, which is part of, kind of what we all need and I can’t wait to see where he’s at. I’m so glad he’s in that Bloodline storyline because now he’s involved with the tippy top guys. He’s got Paul Heyman right there who’s always creatively the genius that he is. It doesn’t get much cooler, especially if you’re a BULLET CLUB fan and have followed for so long.

Over the last month, Anderson and Luke Gallows have been working in NXT. Anderson was asked what was going through his head when he was informed of the move.

When they got the message, they were excited and would not have minded if it was a longer stay. 

That was fun (Anderson said about return to NXT). Having the opportunity to go down there and seeing guys that are truly new to professional wrestling and a couple of the kids that we worked about a month ago that we wrestled with were — they’re only two years in pro wrestling and only two years into training and so, being able to talk with them about talking through a match and talking inside the ring about a match and then after the match and talking to them about the match, it just was kind of fun to be able to talk to legitimate kids that are 23, 24, 25 years old that are hungry and they’re really hungry too because they’re passionate about the business. It’s been cool to go down there and see that. 

To answer the first (part of Bully Ray’s question), I don’t know if it’s so much that it’s not being used the way we think we should be used… WWE, sometimes, you gotta sit and you gotta take your time, you gotta be patient and you gotta wait. We’re competitive guys, right? So we always wanna be used, we always wanna be on TV, we’re always ready and willing to and we wanna be on Raw, we wanna be on SmackDown, we wanna be on all the PLE’s but sometimes, you gotta take a step back because there’s a lot of guys there, a lot of girls there, there’s a lot of stuff going on, especially with the last year, the last couple of years, just the way it’s been. So you gotta be patient. And also, getting the call to go to NXT, zero negative. If anything, we got the text as I believe we were actually driving to SmackDown that day. We got the group text about going to NXT from one of the writers and it just excited us. We’ve been doing this for a long time, right? Over 20 years so, just for us to get in the ring, talk wrestling, talk about promos, talk about storyline, physically get in the ring and do it, it still excites us. That’s the only thing that really gets me going anymore in the world besides watching my kids at home run or something but, and so being able to go to NXT, feeling positive. We did for about a month, I think it was a month or five weeks or whatever it was and I wouldn’t mind it being more. Any chance we get to be in a pro wrestling ring, we’re just ready. 

Back in 2016, Tama Tonga and WWE came to a verbal agreement after he met with Paul Levesque. He opted to return to New Japan Pro-Wrestling after they presented him with an offer that he viewed as the better option. 

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit Busted Open with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcription.

About Andrew Thompson 8478 Articles
A Washington D.C. native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.