After 14 years, Tama Tonga has said goodbye to NJPW.

At today’s New Beginning in Nagoya event Tonga defended his newly-won NEVER Openweight Championship for the first time and the last time. He wanted to leave NJPW as a champion.

T0nga has stated that growing up with his father Haku on the road so much he wanted to spend more time with his own family. He lives with them in Orlando, Florida.

Tonga’s departure is one of several NJPW has experienced in the new year. Will Ospreay has announced he is leaving NJPW for AEW and NJPW’s franchise player, Kazuchika Okada, is also exiting the promotion. Last year, commentator Kevin Kelly left NJPW for a job with AEW.

Tonga was one of the founding members of Bullet Club and was one of the most successful tag teams in NJPW his brother Tanga Loa as the Guerrillas of Destiny (G.O.D). They won the IWGP Tag Team Championships seven times and World Tag League in 2020.

Tonga has also been NEVER Openweight Champion four times.

Evil came down to the ring with Dick Togo who was carrying a sign which read: UR Fired! The sign had some of Tama Tonga’s hair that Evil had cut off stuck to it. Evil was carrying the NEVER Openweight Championship that he stole from Tonga.

Tonga wasted no time. He ran into the ring raining haymakers down on Evil. On the floor Tonga threw Evil into the ringside barricade over and over again.

Tonga took a pair of scissors out of his trunks. He was stopped by all the other members of the House of Torture before he could give Evil a new haircut. El Desperado, ELP, Shota Umino and Hikuleo ran into the ring to even the odds and back-up Tonga. Jado brought a kendo stick to the ring. The brawl goes on for so long that official Red Shoes calls the match. Red Shoes gives the belt to Tonga who doesn’t want to retain it that way.

“You son of a bitch! You have your people. I have my people. Let’s make this a Lumberjack match!” proclaimed Tonga.

Red Shoes agrees and makes the match right on the spot. An elbow sends Evil to the floor. The faces throw Evil right back into the ring allowing him no escape. As Tonga was thrown to the floor by Evil, the House of Torture swarmed him. Both the heels and faces started brawling on the floor.

Kanemaru and Togo ripped up the mat, exposed the concrete floor and double-suplexed Tonga onto it. Evil ran Tonga’s back into the ringside barricade. It knocked over the announce table and the ring announcer.

“Tama, you are fired!” screamed Evil on the house microphone.

Evil strangled Tonga with a House of Torture shirts as Tonga’s allies argued with the Red Shoes.

Evil grabbed the NEVER Openweight Championship trying to flee the scene. Hikuleo put a stop to that retreat. ELP tossed Evil back into the ring. Evil kicked out of Tonga’s Supreme Flow.

Yujiro gave Tonga the Pimp Juice DDT on the floor. Back in the ring Evil got a two count with Darkness Falls. Evil pulls Red Shoes into Tonga’s Stinger Splash. Shoto Umino cuts off Ren Narita’s interference. Desperado ducks Sho’s wrench slamming him to the mat. Hikuleo double clotheslines Kanemaru and Yujiro. Hikuleo assists ELP to the top rope. He moonsaults onto the House of Torture. That just leaves Tonga and Evil in the ring. Evil runs at Tonga with the title belt. Tonga kicks the belt into his face. Evil pushes Red Shoes into Tonga. Tonga leaps over him hitting Evil with a Gun Stun. Evil kicks out.

Tonga has Evil covered after executing his piledriver but Togo pulls Red Shoes out of the ring before he can make his count. Togo enters the ring strangling Tonga with his garotte. Jado hits Togo in the back with his kendo stick. Tonga Gun Stuns Togo. Narita hits Tonga in the back of the head with his push-up bar. Evil pins Tonga with Everything is Evil becoming the new NEVER Openweight Champion.

Tonga received a round of applause as he addressed the crowd in attendance.

“New Japan fans, thank you! Thank you for everything. Thank you for taking care of me. Thank you for giving me a home. Thank you for giving me a chance to know you. I love you,” said Tonga with tears in his eyes.

The faces including Tonga’s brother Hikuleo all gave him a hug.

Tonga’s friends say goodbye. Courtesy: NJPW.

Tonga then saluted the crowd on the way to the back.

Tonga waves to the NJPW crowd one last time. Courtesy: NJPW.

In their KOPW 10 Minute Ring Fit match, champion Taiji Ishimori and challenger Great-O-Khan had to wrestle in three minute intervals. Between those intervals are 30 seconds of high-intensity fitness training. If there are no pinfalls or submissions at the 10 minute mark, Ishimori will retain. They also make the rule that the last person holding the title can also win the match.

Khan starts the match by chopping Ishimori down to the mat and stomping on him. Ishimori regains the advantage by poking Khan in the eyes.  Kahn though puts Ishimori into claw, choke submission on the mat. Ishimori escaped, leaped out of the ring, gathered up the KOPW belts and began running around the ring with Kahn right behind him. Ishimori jumped over the barricade running into the crowd until the first three minutes was over. Back in the ring, both men had to exercise for 30 seconds.

Although winded by the exercise Khan levels Ishimori with a punch in the face. Ishimori springboards off the ropes. Khan catches him and suplexes him. Both men lay on the mat winded.

Once the second workout session is over Kahn is huffing and puffing. Ishimori goes to throw Khan into the ropes. Kahn falls to the mat. That gives Ishimori time to remove a turnbuckle pad. Ishimori whips Khan’s shoulder into a steel post. Ishimori put Khan in the Bone Lock. Khan managed to get his foot on the bottom rope.

During the third exercise session Khan muddles his way through it all. When the buzzer sounds Ishimori argues that Khan didn’t complete the set properly. Kahn is forced to do another 30 seconds of the workout. The crowd counts along this time as Ishimori mocks Khan by kicking him. Kahn gives Ishimori a double finger salute.

Khan is your new KPOW Provisional Champion. Courtesy: NJPW.

The final round begins with Ishimori grabbin the KOPW belt and shoving the official out of the way. Kahn punches Ishimori in the stomach. Ishimori puts Khan in another Bone Lock. Khan slams Ishimori down but cannot pin him as he is exausted. He falls down landing on the KPOW belt thus making him the new KPOW provisional champion.

New Beginning in Nagoya Results

Shoma Kato vs Katsuya Murashima

Murashima made Kato submit via a Boston crab.

Winner: Katsuya Murashima

Tomoaki Honma & Shota Umino vs HOUSE OF TORTURE (Ren Narita & Yujiro Takahashi)

Shota Umino makes his way from the “nose bleed” seats in the arena to the ring. Narita is now wearing a cloak of some sort and carrying that exercise push-up bar. Narita and Shota take turns throwing each other into the ringside barricade. Honma gives Narita two head butts and a flying Kokoshi for a two count. Narita shoves Honma into the official. He attempts to punch Honma in the “lower abdomen” from behind but the official stops him. While Narita is tied up with the official Yujiro hits Honma in the head with his cane. Narita pins Honma with Double Cross.

Winners: HOUSE OF TORTURE (Ren Narita & Yujiro Takahashi)

United Empire (Callum Newman, Francesco Akira, TJP, HENARE & Jeff Cobb) vs BULLET CLUB War Dogs (Drilla Moloney, Clark Connors, Gabe Kidd, Alex Coughlin & David Finlay) 

Before the bell can even sound both teams are pairing up and brawling on the floor. The action heads back into the ring until things break down again. In all the confusion, Finlay pins Newman with a powerbomb.

Winners: BULLET CLUB War Dogs (Drilla Moloney, Clark Connors, Gabe Kidd, Alex Coughlin & David Finlay) 

El DespeWato (Master Wato & El Desperado) vs HOUSE OF TORTURE (SHO & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) 

Desperado and Kanemaru get into each other’s faces before the match can even begin. Desperado gets sent over the top rope and into the steel barricade. Kanemaru spits whiskey into Wato’s eyes after he pushes the official out of the way. Sho hits Wato in the head with his wrench and pins him with Shock Arrow.

Winners: HOUSE OF TORTURE (SHO & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) 

Togi Makabe, Tomohiro Ishii, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kazuchika Okada vs TMDK (Kosei Fujita, Shane Haste, Mikey Nicholls & Zack Sabre Jr.)

Okada gets a massive cheer when he comes through the curtain. The crowd starts cheering his name as the match starts. Zack Sabre Jr. wins the match though with a leg lock on Makabe.

Winners: TMDK (Kosei Fujita, Shane Haste, Mikey Nicholls & Zack Sabre Jr.)

Los Ingobernables De Japon (BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi, Yota Tsuji, Shingo Takagi & Testuya Naito) vs Just Five Guys (TAKA Michinoku, DOUKI, Yuya Uemura, Taichi & SANADA)

As everyone is held back Sanada makes Bushi submit to Skulls End. Tsuji and Uemura brawled after the match.

Winners: Just Five Guys (TAKA Michinoku, DOUKI, Yuya Uemura, Taichi & SANADA)

Taiji Ishimori vs Great-O-Khan – KOPW 2024- 10 Minute Ishimori Ring Fit Match 

Winner: …and new KPOW Provisional Champion, The Great-O-Khan.

Guerrillas of Destiny (Hikuleo & El Phantasmo) vs BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens & KENTA)

Bullet Club ends up losing the match because Kenta mistakenly clobbers Owens with a double stomp from the top rope. Hikuleo chokeslams Kenta as ELP pins Owens with the CR2.

Winners: Guerrillas of Destiny (Hikuleo & El Phantasmo)

Tama Tonga vs EVIL – NEVER Openweight Championship Match

Winner: Match Thrown Out. Tama Tonga retains.

Tama Tonga vs EVIL – NEVER Openweight Championship Lumberjack Match

Winner: …and new champion, Evil.