Im very proud of the interview Tales From the Turnbuckle has for you fans today. I have a Japanese female Wrestler. She was a big superstar back in the 80’s. She competed for All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling and even won the AJPW Women’s Championship. She later formed a tag team in Japan with partner Noriyo Tateno called The Jumping Bomb Angels. They would win championships in Japan. They were so popular in Japan that Vince McMahon wanted them. He signed them to WWE. The Jumping Bomb Angels had classic tag matches in WWE. The most famous feud was against the Glamour Girls. The Jumping Bomb Angels won the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship from The Glamour Girls and held it for an impressive 136 Days. In 1991 she decided to call it quits and focus on her family. My guest today is the Japanese Legend herself, from The Jumping Bomb Angels, Itzuki Yamazaki. Welcome!
TFTT: What made you decide you wanted to become a professional wrestler and what were you doing before you became a wrestler?
IY: I was from a small island in Japan Hyogo. Ever since I was a little girl I always wanted to go to the big city Tokyo, and one time on TV I saw the women’s wrestling, so at that moment I knew that was my ticket out. I was only 15 years old when I started training so prior to wrestling I was just like any ordinary girl.
TFTT: Who were some of your favorite wrestlers to watch before you were involved in wrestling?
IY: I was not really a super fan before I began my career, so to be honest I did not have a favorite wrestler.
TFTT: Who trained you to become a wrestler?
IY: I was mainly trained by my older peers in the dojo. But one person who really trained me well was Miyuki Yanagi.
TFTT: Who was your first match against and what wrestling promotion did you have your first match at?
IY: My first match was against someone who had the same experience as me, but she quit very quickly. The wrestling promotion was all Japan women’s wrestling.
TFTT: In All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling, you started out as a singles wrestler. Who did you have the most fun working with as a singles wrestler and who was your greatest opponent as a singles wrestler?
IY: The person who I had the most fun was with the clash gals. They were so fun to compete against because they were only one year older then me and we trained together. So we had really good chemistry in the ring. The greatest opponent has to be Jaguar Yokota. She was such a great wrestler because she was so experienced so I was able to learn a lot from her. Also another honorable mention is Devil Masami.
TFTT: You defeated Noriyo Tateno for the All Japan Women’s Championship. How did it feel to win the championship?
IY: I felt great because I was finally able to make a name for my self in the business. Another reason why I felt great was because she has defeated me before for the junior championship, so finally defeating her for the All Japan women championship was a feeling I truly cannot describe.
TFTT: Who’s idea was it to team you up with Noriyo Tateno to form the Jumping Bomb Angels in Japan?
IY: It was actually CBS Sony record company idea because they wanted to produce music with me and Noriyo.
TFTT: Jumping Bomb Angels won the WWWA World Tag Team Championship from Bull Nakano and Condor Saito. How did it feel to win the tag team championships and what are your thoughts on working a great Japanese legend like Bull Nakano?
IY: I felt like it was such a honor to win because Nakano and Saito were two amazing wrestlers, so to win it from them was such a great feeling. Bull Nakano was so talented, so working with her was a fun experience.
TFTT: Jumping Bomb Angels had to drop the championships to the tag team of Lioness Asuka and Chigusa Nagayo. What were your thoughts on the match and working with Chigusa Nagayo? I heard that Chigusa Nagayo was a great worker but hit very hard in the ring, is that true?
IY: The match was really tough both physically and mentally. Working with Nagayo can be tough at times but that’s her style in the ring and we have to respect that. Nagayo was indeed a very great worker but she never hit me to get me hurt because she’s a great person.
TFTT: In 1987 the Jumping Bomb Angels signed with the WWE. What are your feelings and thoughts on working with Vince McMahon and the McMahon family?
IY: My thoughts about Vince McMahon is he’s a really a good guy but he did command a lot of things, but I respect that because he has to run such a big company and keeping it successful.
TFTT: At the 1987 Survivor Series, the Jumping Bomb Angels competed in the traditional survivor series match. You were in the ring with such legends as Sherri Martel and Fabulous Moolah. How did it feel being the only Survivors for your team and winning the Survivor Series match?
IY: It almost felt like a dream winning that match. I was working with some really great legends in the ring at that time so winning it all is just amazing.
TFTT: What are your thoughts on working with some great Woman icons like Sherri Martel and Fabulous Moolah?
IY: I personally wasn’t as close with Martel and Moolah. But they were both great people.
TFTT: At the 1998 Royal Rumble, Jumping Bomb Angels had an amazing 2 out of 3 falls match against the Glamour Girls Leilani Kai and Judy Martin with Jimmy Hart. You won the WWE Women’s Tag Team championship. What were your feelings winning the WWE Women’s tag team championship?
IY: It was such a great feeling because no one would’ve thought the two small Japanese girls would beat the Glamour Girls. So proving the doubters wrong was even a better feeling.
TFTT: What are your thoughts on your amazing feud with The Glamour Girls (Leilani Kai and Judy Martin) and your personal dealings with both ladies and your dealings and feelings towards Jimmy Hart?
IY: I was personally great friends with Leilani and Judy, they were two great human beings. Even to this day we still talk and keep contacted. I was also good friends with Jimmy, he was a great guy, but we do not keep in touch anymore.
TFTT: After your departure from WWE. In 1991, you decided to retire from pro wrestling after a 10 year career. What made you make your decision to retire?
IY: I decided to retire because I didn’t get that feeling I used to have in the ring. I was also dealing with some personal things as well like getting married and starting a family. So I just thought it was time to hang up those boots.
TFTT: Did you ever work with Madusa and if so what are your thoughts on your dealings with Madusa?
IY: Yes, I have worked with Madusa in Japan. She was a very talented wrestler and a very good person as well. She was so unique and different which made me like her so much.
TFTT: I read online that after your retired you moved to New York and opened up a Sushi Restaruant. Do you still have the restaruant and live in New York or did you move back to Japan?
IY: The restaurant was very successful for over 20 years but unfortunately we do not own that restaurant anymore. We have moved on and moved to a small town in Bergen County in New Jersey. My dream now is to open a new restaurant with my husband again.
TFTT: You made appearances for Ladies Legend Pro-Wrestling in 2008 and Oz Academy in 2012. Did you wrestle on those shows or just make appearances?
IY: In 2008 when I visited I wrestled in a match. But in 2012 I did not I was just visiting Manami Toyota.
TFTT: What have you been up to since your retirement from wrestling?
IY: I am now involved with Japanese education. I also love spending time with my kids, husband, dog, and cat.
TFTT: Do you currently watch wrestling and if so who are some of your current favorite female wrestlers to watch, USA or Japan?
IY: Yes, I watch wrestling but really not crazy about it. I really just watch it when my son is watching Raw. As of right now I really don’t have a favorite female wrestler. The styles of wrestling from my time to now is very different. I believe during my time the women had a lot better technique then now.
TFTT: Does your kids or husband ever look up your matches online to see you in action?
IY: I wouldn’t say all the time but my son does bring some classic clips he finds on YouTube from time to time.
TFTT: Is there anything else you would like to discuss or promote?
IY: Right now I am 50 years old but I will like to challenge my self and promote the wrestlers from Japan and bring them to America. But that is just a dream Of mine. I will also be visiting Japan in December 2016 to be visiting Dynamite Kansai for her retirement ceremony.
TFTT: Thank you so much for being a guest today on Tales From the Turnbuckle. Good Luck with everything.
IY: Thanks again!