I first stumbled across The Jumping Bomb Angels watching OSW Review back in the day. With the Hulkamania Era being uncharted territory for me, the last thing I expected to see amongst the oiled-up muscle men at Survivor Series 1987 was two Japanese women. What I expected even less was how good they were.
Tearing down the house, Noriyo Tateno and Itsuki Yamazaki were the stars of the 10-woman elimination team match. Busting out top rope arm drags, butterfly suplexes, and top robe double missile drop-kicks. These moves in 1987 were having me mark out over two decades later.
The polar opposite to the old school 70s wrestling style of Moolah, Laylani Kaye, and Judy Martin. The Jumping Bomb Angels were energetic and unlike anything I had seen. The duo was my first glimpse of Joshi wrestling, a style I now love due to its frantic pace and spectacle.
But The Jumping Bomb Angels’ time in the States was short-lived. The tag team vanished from WWF programming after capturing the WWF Women’s Tag Team Championships from the Glamour Girls at the 1988 Royal Rumble.
WWF would dissolve their tag team championships, eventually deactivating the Women’s Championship in 1990. It would take three years and the advent of Alundra Blayze for the WWF to return to women’s wrestling.
Before their time in the States, Tateno and Yamazaki were an outstanding tag team. They were popular in All Japan Women’s Wrestling from the mid-80s through the early-90s. The scene was a hotbed for some of the best women wrestlers.
Most notably, The Jumping Bomb Angels faced off against the Crush Gals, Lioness Asuka, and Chigusa Nagayo. They also captured the World Women’s Wrestling Association (WWWA) World Tag Team Championship for Bull Nakano and her partner Condor Saito.
Sadly, because of their brief WWF presence, The Jumping Bomb Angles are unlikely to be inducted. The footage is scarce. Except for their two WWE encounters, The Jumping Bombs Angels’ history is mostly confined to grainy YouTube and Dailymotion uploads.
However, with skills far beyond women at the time, both Tateno and Yamazaki are trailblazers, keystones of the Joshi style. They deserve far more credit than they currently get.