This is a short story about a large man with a huge name in the colourful, cultish world of Japanese pro wrestling.

Toks Fale was born Fale Simitaitoko in Tonga, but he's better known as The Underboss or Bad Luck Fale.

His is a curious world: a world of constant losing and great reward; a world where he is the bad guy, yet beloved. More than anything, a curious "sportainment" world where reality is a concept scripted well in advance.

While New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) mirrors US giant WWE in that it is a tightly choreographed travelling show, there are some subtle differences. WWE's biggest stars, like John Cena and Roman Reigns, spend a lot of time using monologues for dramatic effect, while "in Japan it's more about telling the story in a physical way", Fale says.


In wrestling, there are heels and faces. Fale is a heel. They are the villains, the arch antagonists who bend the rules and act deviously inside and outside the ring. They are there to whip the crowd into a frenzy of support for the face.

It is a theme as old and unsubtle as the Book of Revelation – it is the battle between good and evil.

So Fale goes from venue to venue, playing up his "big, ugly heel" persona, knowing he's going to get beaten, but knowing and the end of the week there's a big cheque with his name on it.

"I'm the only Japanese wrestler who flies first class, so I guess being the bad guy has its perks," he says.

Fale will fight about 250 times a year, though this is increasing as NJPW's outlook has gone global.

"On average I'd say I win 25-30 of those matches," he says with a smile that indicates he knows which side his bread is buttered on.

An astute businessman, Fale also has a bar in Tokyo and runs a wrestling faction called The Bullet Club, which by his reckoning is the largest faction outside of WWE.

He's also used his money and notoriety to give back to South Auckland, founding the Fale Dojo in Wiri. It is here he hopes to train the next wave of Pasifika talent.

"I'm from here. I know how much talent there is and wasted talent there is," he says. "A lot of kids aspire to be All Blacks but not many make it. But they have these bodies and these looks… I can help with that.

"Not only good-looking pretty boys can make a lot of money," he says, as a laugh rumbles up through his imposing 160kg frame.

The product of Tonga, who turned 36 on January 8, is in a unique position to comment. A student De La Salle College, an all boys Catholic school in Mangere that has churned out rugby and league talent by the bushel load, Fale's sporting career was headed in a tried-and-true direction.

He played rugby for eight years at Tokuyama University and then Fukuoka Sanix Blues, alongside All Black Isitolo Maka and Maori All Black Deon Muir. It was a comfortable, though limited, career, with higher honours out of reach and a finite time to build a financial nest egg.

"My first couple of years in Japan I was almost recruited to wrestling," Fale says, "but at the time I… was concentrating on my rugby. It wasn't until after my rugby career ended that another friend of mine gave me the idea again.

"It just made sense: why not try it?"

He wants others to follow his path, hence the dojo in the middle of an industrial suburb in New Zealand's most densely populated region.

"I want to give the South Auckland kids, or anybody in New Zealand, another chance, another opportunity to get out. To find another life."

Because when you're a fulltime loser with a Mafia-inspired name, life can be pretty good.