Joshi Spotlight: The Crush Gals vs. The Jumping Bomb Angels

THE CRUSH GALS vs. THE JUMPING BOMB ANGELS:
* Here’s a collection of three matches featuring the Crush Gals going up against the Jumping Bomb Angels, all uploaded by our very own Evito-X Puro! The first one happily keeps some commercials, but ’80s ones are less wild than the ’90s stuff.

These matches are fascinating because the JB Angels are of course memorable to WWF fans of the ’80s for throwing out the most innovative offense on Earth at the time, in Japan it was the Crush Gals who were more popular and successful, being full-bore teen idols with a fan movement that was a pure phenomenon.

A Refresher:
Chigusa Nagayo: The most wildly popular Joshi probably ever, with legions of teenybopper fans despite honestly coming off like a bully when she’s not fighting the Atrocious Alliance. REALLY good at selling. Plays Ricky Morton. Wears red.
Lioness Asuka: Better worker than Chigusa but only 80% as popular. Comes in to mop up. Wears blue.
Noriyo Tateno: Long hair and the thiccer of the two Angels. Was the bigger star.
Itsuki Yamazaki: Slender and extremely quick- inspired Manami Toyota big-time.

BEST 2 OF 3 FALLS:
WWWA TAG TEAM TITLES:
THE JUMPING BOMB ANGELS vs. THE CRUSH GALS:
(20.03.1986)
* The JB Angels are the present Tag Champions here, with the wildly popular Gals challenging. Tateno has very short hair and a pink & black singlet, while Yamazaki’s in red & black and has long hair. Chigusa’s in a red singlet with leggings, and Asuka’s in blue.

FALL ONE: The Angels pounce and hit stereo dropkicks & dives immediately, but the Gals quickly wrestle them to the mat while the fans are LOUD. Yamazaki sets up a flying kneedrop from Tateno, who does her jumping knees but the second gets her caught in leg stuff. Asuka & Yamazaki brawl, but Asuka outwrestles her with chain-stuff, threading every counter into something else, stopping her jumping around. They work the leg, but Tateno tags in and knocks Asuka around, then goes to Chigusa’s arm. Chigusa grimaces in her “this is a superstar” way while the Angels thump on it for a couple minutes until she rolls out. Asuka comes in and reverses an armbar with a big kick and drops elbows- delayed suplex, and it’s Chigusa/Yamazaki again. Tateno comes in off Bret’s Rope (thanks, OSW) for a lariat, but Chigusa scores a leg lariat on Yamazaki. The Gals hit a Hart Attack, Asuka a Giant Swing, Chigusa a flying cross-body, and Asuka’s Tombstone finishes at (13:00). WELL!

FALL TWO: Yamazaki speedblitzes Asuka and hiptosses her, then Tateno & Asuka get into a slapfight, REALLY getting mean. Tateno hits dropkicks, but Asuka just kips up, no-sells another, and hits her own! Chigusa eats a double-dropkick and Yamazaki cross-bodies her- Tateno missile kick & bridging butterfly suplex get two. Tateno whips Chigusa to the corner, where Yamazaki misses another flying cross-body… but Tateno snaps off a quick Bridging German- three count (2:07)! Good ol’ AJW 2/3 Falls booking.

FALL THREE: All tied up, and good ol’ Chigusa’s selling the German like it was a deathblow, needing to be revived. She’s actually doubled-over while walking across the ring and Tateno just makes like Greg Valentine on that injured neck, dropping the elbows like crazy. Missile kick knocks her into the Gals corner, though… but Asuka walks right into a piledriver! Backdrop & rolling headbutt and it’s off to Tateno, but her kick out of the corner has Asuka kip right back up and whack her with a sidekick. Chigusa hits a karate punch as the fans go berserk, but another Tombstone is met with a “Fuck YOU!” bridge! German for some payback- two! Asuka misses an elbow, but backdrops Yamazaki big-time for another bridge-out. Another German gets two, and a second Giant Swing has a foot in the ropes. She works in a Jackhammer (yes, in 1986), but Tateno stops the pin. Yamazaki’s put up top, but she fights out and hits a backdrop & ax kick- Tateno’s Falling Front Piledriver gets two. Yamazaki does a jacknife pin but gets caught in the sharpshooter as a reversal. Yamazaki just hits an octopus stretch when she gets up, then tags out- Chigusa gets a sunset flip on Tateno, then reverses a front facelock… Tiger Suplex! That’s it at (6:03). New Tag Team Champions! Chigusa keeps collapsing and has to be helped up, and the fans love it.

Very good match! The first fall was all solid chain-wrestling- good but kinda weird how they’d work a limb and then the person would just roll out and tag. Joshi was iffy about “hot tags” sometimes, and the momentum shifts oddly because of it. And then it’s like BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! Five impact moves in a row and we’re done. Fall Two is your classic “they sneak out a quick one”, with Chigusa selling the shock huge, and after that it’s pretty much all action, as the Gals try everything to keep the Angels down, almost overwhelming them. I got the impression they were just way more advanced than the Angels at this point, who were flashy and quick but didn’t have much “oomph” to them, getting only mini-comebacks, mostly thanks to Tateno. So the last fall came off like plucky babyfaces going up against power wrestlers, even though the Gals were the ones who were over.

Rating: ***3/4 (started solid, and turned in to a really fun match- they hit a lot of good, solid ’80s offense and some advanced stuff for 20+ minutes of action)

TAG LEAGUE THE BEST 1987:
THE CRUSH GALS vs. THE JUMPING BOMB ANGELS:
(14.09.1987)
* One year later, we get another match, with the Gals phenomenon even MORE in swing, as there’s a line of girls encircling the seating area, swinging pom-poms, while the Angels get only polite applause. The Gals are in matching black Rookie Swimsuit-esque things, Chigusa with red highlights and Asuka with blue. Tateno’s in black with a pink back and is now more built like Molly Holly, and Yamazaki (with long hair now) is in black with pink highlights. A very black-themed match, really.

Yamazaki eats a short-arm clothesline right away as the pom-pom circle is united in tandem, then the Sandwich Lariat (a Gals finisher) gets two-counts. Asuka Samoan drops Tateno, who bridges up and refuses to drop down in a unique bit. She ducks a kick sandwich and Chigusa takes a dropkick from each, then a double one for two. They work her over a while so the crowd can get way into a comeback, Tateno pasting her with elbows, but they switch off to prevent her armbar from doing anything- Asuka comes off the top on Yamazaki and hits a kick & belly-to-belly for two. She works the arm, then they do a double-team Flying Kneedrop, but Yamazaki “Fuck YOU!” bridges out at one and won’t stay down. Chigusa hits a belly-to-belly of her own, but gets hauled down from a sharpshooter and the Angels work her leg, Tateno actually doing the Earthquake Splash onto the outstretched leg. Well that’s one way to do it. Chigusa does agonized faces as the teenyboppers keep the “CHI-GU-SA!” chant going for minutes at a time, and she escapes a good Perfect Plex at 2, tagging out, but Asuka runs straight into the jumping knees and a Hart Attack Missile Dropkick (in 1987!) for two. She gets her leg worked a while, but escapes- Chigusa Germans Tateno for two, but Tateno does the same as the fans lose it.

Butterfly suplex & Hart Attack get one and Yamazaki’s jumping attacks get two. She has to stuff a Dragon Suplex attempt and gets caught by Asuka’s flying clothesline for two- Giant Swing! I’m loving how everyone’s responding to kick-outs by trying for a pin again- Joshi doesn’t normally do that. Piledriver gets another bridge-out, so Chigusa piledrives Tateno while Asuka hits a backdrop suplex. Stereo Flying Back Elbows! But AGAIN Yamazaki bridges out, so they hit her with Sandwich Spinkicks this time- she rolls into tagging position, but Tateno just eats a Dragon Suplex for two. Bridging suplex gets two for Chigusa, but she hits a Northern Lights suplex & Tateno just kicks her in the ribs anyways. That earns her a sharpshooter & Asuka’s scoop-powerslam. Yamazaki runs in and is whipped to the corner- she leaps to the top and misses a cross-body. She & Tateno get their assed kick at-will, and a Hart Attack-style Flying Clothesline flattens Tateno, who STILL bridges out! They look to finish her off with the Sandwich Lariats… but hit each other! The crowd shrieks in horror as the Angels climb- Stereo Missile Dropkicks! Yamazaki with a Flying Headbutt, and Tateno comes off… Flying Splash gets the three (16:32), Asuka failing to pull her off in time! Comeback win for the Angels! A girl on the hard camera is literally shaking she’s crying so hard while the Gals pound the mat in frustration, but they eventually congratulate their opponents and we’re off.

Oh man, this one was REALLY good, full of completely insane stuff for ’87- can you imagine this match ending up around WrestleMania III, full of like eight different kinds of bridging suplex, multiple sandwich-style moves and two unique takes on the Hart Attack? This stuff was on another world for the time. Interesting layout, with the Angels dominating to start and making sure to torture the Gals in holds so the crowds can plead for comebacks, then the Gals get their shit in and start crushing the Angels with stuff. I liked the story of everyone trying for pins again after every kickout- it really broadcasts how much they WANT it. But holy god did the Gals just eat them alive in the end, hitting almost ten straight minutes of stuff and then just letting an Angel tag out or deliberately tossing her to the corner for a tag. But ooh, that cost them, as they get cocky and try to finish off an opponent with too much fight in them, clotheslining each other and the Angels hitting some big comeback moves for the win on a vulnerable opponent.

Rating: ****1/4 (almost complete action from bell to bell- almost no resting and a TON of great offense)

THE CRUSH GALS vs. THE JUMPING BOMB ANGELS:
(15.05.1988)
* The Gals are wearing Rambo gear tonight for some reason, revealing striped singlets that match- red & blue. Tateno’s in pink, and Yamazaki’s in yellow- matching designs with ’80s flare on them.

The Gals pounce immediately, and Asuka Giant Swings Yamazaki like nuts & Chigusa lariats her. Chigusa gets a huge reaction as she tags in properly, but gets hung up on the ropes trying a kick and Tateno pounces on her while Asuka & Yamazaki slug it out in the ring. Asuka gets knocked around (she didn’t tag in…), and Chigusa’s back in- they chainwrestle her down for a while, Yamazaki getting backdropped while holding an armbar, but hanging onto the wrist and yanking her right back into it. Tateno drops running elbows on it while Yamazaki has the hold, and we get a great camera angle as it zooms out while Yamazaki stares at the “Chigusa Ring” of chanting fans, still holding the wrist. Tateno does a WHOOPIE CUSHION onto the outstretched arm, which is a new one for me- if you got a donk, use it, I guess. The Angels heel it up with dirty looks to the fans and booting Asuka on the apron and Yamazaki climbs- JB Angels Armdrag! She keeps on the arm, but Tateno whips her to the ropes… leg lariat from Chigusa! Asuka gets the hot tag and missile dropkicks Tateno right in the face for two. Spinkick to the back of the head, and she’s in the ropes. Chigusa adds a piledriver, but Asuka misses a back elbow on Yamazaki- just got too cute trying a revenge beating.

The Gals dump them for a brawl, but Asuka knees the post! The Gals barely make it in the ring and get steamrolled, but Asuka finally comes back with a backdrop suplex, and holds Yamazaki for a flying kneedrop from Chigusa. German gets two, but Yamazaki fights out of another for her own- missile kick gets two, but she gets caught in a Northern Lights suplex for the same. Chigusa’s exhausted, so she’s caught- Hart Attack for two! Asuka tags in but gets killed immediately with a flying clothesline. She wins some chainwrestling and hits a huge lariat, setting up the Sandwich Lariat, adding a kick- Yamazaki saves. Spike Piledriver! Flying Cross-Body! Tateno kicks out of both, and Yamazaki is wrestled into a Dragon Suplex when she tags in- another two-count. Flying Lariat from Asuka gets two. Delayed vertical suplex, but Tateno makes a blind tag and Asuka gets caught in a backdrop, then a Falling Front Piledriver. Stereo Flying Headbutts! Asuka bridges out! Chigusa’s in (again, no tag), but gets caught trying a sunset flip- Asuka flies off Bret’s Rope for her own, but Tateno adds a 2nd-rope elbow into THAT. Chigusa enzuigiris her and we have a four-way sell as the crowd senses the end, going crazy. Finally, Asuka recovers, and catches Yamazaki with a Leg-locked Backdrop Hold for three (15:16)! The Gals win it!

Damn, now THIS was a sprint! Almost no downtime, and the JBA really tore into the Gals, ripping Chigusa’s arm apart and even kicking Asuka’s ass, despite this being near the peak of the cred for both! Chigusa’s selling was great, as even her comebacks came off like she was fading fast, so she’d often get hammered even after scoring her own moves. This all finally built up to the Gals comeback, and they start hitting big move after big move, crushing the Angels- I wonder if these were considered Spotfests back in the day? I mean, in WWF you’d never seen multiple bridging suplexes puncuated by a half-dozen moves off the top in a five-minute span. The match had a pretty good flow until the end, where it was essentially “we throw moves until someone’s out of HP”, ending with everyone running in without tags and a random move from Asuka winning it.

Rating: **** (very fun match, with tons of great selling and stretching in the first half, then ending in the ’80s version of a spotfest, as everyone whips out the top-tier offense of the era.

The Gals & JB Angels were the apex of innovation in the 1980s wrestling industry, I think- this stuff was incredibly advanced for the time, with everyone flying off the ropes, hitting bridging suplexes, and more. While it seems like the JBA never had the Gals’ level of credibility, damn they were close, and the fan reactions to the Gals enhance every match.