Jay White’s recent activities in the United States have heightened his overall exposure for professional wrestling fans. Many of those fans may not follow The Switchblade on a full time basis, mostly because they perhaps do not subscribe to New Japan World.
But now they’re getting just a taste of what The Bullet Club leader is capable of when he’s at his best. Jay is 5-0 in singles matches since his July arrival in America and he’s still untouchable on the mic as well. But despite how good White looks, Tama Tonga seems none too happy and may be on his way to taking the power back from King Switch.
The Shadow Leadership
The dynamic of The Bullet Club is intriguing, to say the least. Tama is a founding member of the group, which has become arguably the most dominant in pro wrestling history. Much of that is thanks to his work, both as a character and in the ring. Tama is real. He’s as real as they come and he’s never been shy about reminding everyone of his place in The Bullet Club’s pecking order.
Those reminders come when things with The Bullet Club begin to go south. Most of the time, Tonga seems content to sit back and allow the machine to run as it is. He rarely ever asserts himself in the group, unless the need arises. It’s as if Tama is allowing the man at the head of the table to sit in the big chair. But once that man steps out of line, Tama Tonga steps up.
From Fergal Devitt to AJ Styles to Kenny Omega and Cody Rhodes, Bullet Club leaders have come and gone. Each man brought something different to the faction and each man also brought his own agenda as well. No matter how many times that agenda faltered, Tama showed his support. But when that agenda conflicted with Tama’s, the son of Haku took action.
This begs the question as to where does the real power lay in The Bullet Club? At any given time, the man out in front is the man in charge. But maybe that position is not a power position at all. Perhaps it’s nothing more than a figurehead. The real leader behind the scenes is Tama Tonga, who keeps The Bullet Club’s best interests at heart. So what does this mean for Jay White?
You should of been in this G1 so I can remind you who I am. Keep that Never belt warm while the rest of us go after the IWGP Heavy Weight Championship – The Real Leadership Position https://t.co/E3OjZFLVFH
— Tama Tonga (@Tama_Tonga) October 10, 2021
The verbal sparring between Jay and Tama is passive-aggressive at best, but it exists nonetheless. Jay’s recent promo on NJPW Strong is openly critical of the brotherhood he left behind in New Japan. The rise of EVIL’s new House of Torture sub-faction is on Jay’s radar, as is the recruitment of Sho in The Bullet Club. The Switchblade obviously doesn’t like what he sees.
Now, White is in a posturing spot and it’s one that is not customary for him. Like Tama, Jay’s primary mission has been to strengthen The Bullet Club’s reign in New Japan. The group comes before the individual and that’s a mantra that Jay himself as recited from day one. But now, he’s treading on dangerous ground.
Jay is beginning to sound like every BC leader that came before him. He’s through the looking glass now, as his own vision is taking precedence over the group. Fans have seen this before and they know it doesn’t end well. Tama has also seen it and when the time comes, he will act.
Tonga is the unofficial leader of The Bullet Club and as such, he’s the one who’s actually pulling the strings behind the scenes. He decides who gets the seat of power and that’s how it’s always been. So what does all of this mean for Jay White as the face of the group?
The facf is that eventually, Jay is likely heading back to Japan. When he does, he will come face to face with Tama, EVIL and the rest of The Bullet Club. Then the play for power will once again become the story of the faction. There has been very little unrest in The BC since Omega and The Elite were ousted in October of 2018. The Switchblade has been at the forefront and he’s done a fine job of returning the group to its level of authority in the company. But now it’s all beginning to go south.
Is that a good thing for The Bullet Club? Some fans have complained that while Jay is a great heel and has been a good fit for the group, he’s not really moving them in the right direction. But if so, the question becomes, who replaces him? Is it time for Tama to move up and take the reins? Or is he meant to be the unrecognized leader instead?
The subtlety of the storytelling that’s happening lends itself to a major explosion somewhere down the road. Right now, it’s merely a whisper online and nothing more. But when it does finally erupt, it will be loud and it will once again change the landscape of The Bullet Club. What it means for Jay White and Tama Tonga, is anyone’s guess.
Tom Clark is a Senior Pro Wrestling Analyst and Featured Columnist for Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Audible, Spotify, YouTube and live every Friday on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live