Masato Yoshino (吉野正人 Yoshino Masato, born July 17, 1980 in Higashiōsaka, Osaka, Japan) is a retired Japanese professional wrestler, best known for his work in the Dragon Gate wrestling promotion, where he is a former four times Open the Dream Gate Champion.
Professional Wrestling Career
Masato Yoshino was part of the T2P class, tied with Stevie "brother" Tsujimoto for the second-highest rank of the students, although far behind top ranked Milano Collection AT. He was noted early on for his incredible speed in the ring, earning him the nickname Speed Star. He patterned his look after Tarzan, which involved tights fringed in a pattern to imitate a grass skirt, and the names of several of his moves centered around a jungle theme. He was nicknamed Sexy Tarzan at times by female fans, due to his outfit and muscular physique. He also adopted a "pet gorilla" (really a midget wrestler in a gorilla suit) named Venezia.
Yoshino and Tsujimoto joined Milano Collection A.T.'s Italian Connection stable when it was formed on March 3, 2002, and renamed to YOSSINO and "brother" YASSINI, respectively. While in the Italian Connection, he would hold the UWA World Trios Championship twice, with Milano/YASSINI, and with Milano/Condotti Shuji, and would also hold the NWA World Welterweight Championship once. He would also have several highly acclaimed matches with Darkness Dragon/K-ness that would increase his standing within the federation.
The Italian Connection began splintering in 2003 when Milano and Yossino wished to take the stable in a face direction, while Shuji, YASSINI, Berlinetta Boxer and Bakery Yagi wanted to remain heel. The ItaCon split when Kondo and YASSINI attacked Venezia, then Yossino for trying to stop them, and finally Milano. Kondo and the others went on to form Aagan Iisou, and ItaCon would settle as a face stable, adding Anthony W. Mori as a third member after his former partner Takuya Sugawara joined Aagan Iisou. ItaCon would feud with Aagan Iisou into the birth of Dragon Gate in July 2004.
Dragon Gate (2004–2021)
During the early days of Dragon Gate, Yossino continued to team with his fellow Italian Connection members. Together they would become the first Dragon Gate Open The Triangle Gate Champions. The ItaCon would dissolve in 2005 when Milano left the promotion. Alone as Mori went to create Pos.Hearts with Magnum Tokyo, Super Shisa and the debuting BxB Hulk, Yossino prepared for the tournament to crown the first Dragon Gate Open The Brave Gate champion, which was won by Naruki Doi. He also briefly teamed with his respected rival K-Ness, but shortly afterwards backstabbed him to join the newly formed Blood Generation stable. He also did away with his Tarzan gimmick, cutting his hair short and switching from fringed tights to a singlet, and he returned to using his given name, Masato Yoshino, in the ring. On April 12, 2006, when CIMA kicked Gamma out of the group due to their constantly butting heads, Yoshino - along with Naruki Doi and Naoki Tanizaki - followed Gamma. Eleven days later, after Doi & Gamma won full rights to the Blood Generation name from CIMA & Don Fujii in a tag match, they refused the name and became the Muscle Outlaw'z.
Yoshino began to gain rank within Dragon Gate fast in 2007. He began teaming with stable leader Naruki Doi as Speed Muscle, and together they would win the I-J Heavyweight Tag Team Championship and the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, as well as become the first Open the Twin Gate Champions and Summer Adventure Tag League Tournament winners. He also captured the Open the Brave Gate Championship twice that year.
On January 7, 2008, he made his debut in Hawaii for Action Zone Wrestling at Battleclash III, teaming with Naruki Doi in a Four-Way Elimination Tag Team match for the AZW Tag Team Championships.
During 2008, Yoshino continued to gain rank. In March, he faced CIMA for the Open the Dream Gate Title, losing in just under 30 minutes when Doi threw in the towel. His performance was praised by stablemates and rivals alike, and his team with Doi - which looked for a while like it was going to come apart - was reconciled. By this time, Doi & Yoshino were leaning towards becoming faces again, thus causing tensions to start stirring in MO'z, and the tensions grew more and more as the weeks went on. Finally, on May 5, Doi & Yoshino turned on the other members of MO'z when they attacked stablemate Yasushi Kanda and cost him his hair in a Mascara contra Cabellera (Mask vs. Hair) Cage Survival Six-Way Match. Nine days later, soon after the mega-group Real Hazard was formed, Doi and Yoshino - along with BxB Hulk, Naoki Tanizaki, and m.c.KZ - formed the group WORLD-1.
On June 29, he wrestled Gamma for the Open the Brave Gate title (which Gamma had renamed to the "Open the Gamma Gate" title) under the mask of Dr. Muscle, defeating him and restoring the Brave Gate's faceplate to the belt. He then had it vacated, only winning it to see its restoration and for a proper decision match to take place. In August, he and Doi won their second straight Summer Adventure Tag League Tournament, and then the next month, on September 26, they beat Ryo Saito and Susumu Yokosuka to become the Open The Twin Gate Champions for the second time. Though their second reign would only last nine days, for they lost the belts to YAMATO & Cyber Kong, Yoshino rebounded a week later when he captured the Open the Brave Gate Title for a fourth time, besting Genki Horiguchi. He defended it twice before losing it to CIMA on March 22 in another great match between the two.
On June 7, he, BxB Hulk and PAC captured the Triangle Gate titles from CIMA, Gamma & KAGETORA, and they held them for three months before dropping them to Masaaki Mochizuki, Don Fujii & Akebono. On July 11, 2010, Yoshino defeated YAMATO to win the Open the Dream Gate Championship for the first time. On August 14, 2010, Yoshino defeated Tigers Mask to win the Open the Brave Gate Championship for the fifth time, but immediately afterwards vacated the title, due to also holding the Open the Dream Gate Championship. On August 24, 2010, Yoshino and Naruki Doi won their third Summer Adventure Tag League by defeating Genki Horiguchi and Ryo Saito in the finals. On October 13, 2010, Doi, bitter about Yoshino winning the Open the Dream Gate Championship, turned on him and BxB Hulk and joined the former Deep Drunkers and Takuya Sugawara to form a new heel stable. On December 26, 2010, at Final Gate 2010 Yoshino successfully defended the Open the Dream Gate Championship against Doi. On January 30, 2011, Yoshino and PAC defeated Chuck Taylor and Johnny Gargano to become Dragon Gate USA's first ever Open the United Gate Champions. On April 14, 2011, Yoshino lost the Open the Dream Gate Championship to Masaaki Mochizuki. At the same event, World-1 failed to win the Open the Triangle Gate Championship from Blood Warriors and was as a result forced to disband. On April 24 former World-1 members Yoshino, BxB Hulk, PAC, and Susumu Yokosuka agreed to form a new alliance with Masaaki Mochizuki to battle Blood Warriors. On June 8, the new group was named Junction Three in reference to it being a union between the former members of World-1, KAMIKAZE and the Veteran-gun. On June 18, Yoshino, Gamma and YAMATO defeated the Blood Warriors team of CIMA, Naruki Doi and BxB Hulk to win the vacant Open the Triangle Gate Championship. They would go on to lose the title to the Blood Warriors team of Kzy, Naoki Tanizaki, and Naruki Doi on September 2. On September 11, Yoshino and PAC lost the Open the United Gate Championship to Open the Twin Gate Champions, CIMA, and Ricochet, in a title vs. title match. On February 9, 2012, Junction Three was forced to disband, after losing a fourteen-man elimination tag team match to Blood Warriors. Yoshino then reunited with Naruki Doi to form World-1 International. On March 30, 2012, he and Ricochet defeated Ronin's Chuck Taylor and Johnny Gargano at a Dragon Gate USA event in Miami, Florida to win the vacant Open the United Gate Championship. On May 6, Yoshino, Doi, and Pac won the Open the Triangle Gate Championship. On June 21, 2012, Yoshino and Ricochet were stripped of the United Gate Championship due to Yoshino being forced to miss Dragon Gate USA's July 2012 events. On May 5, 2013, Yoshino defeated Dragon Kid to win the Open the Brave Gate Championship for the sixth time. He vacated the title on August 30 after he, Chihiro Tominaga and Ryotsu Shimizu lost to the debuting Millennials (T-Hawk, Eita and U-T), saying he felt the title should be competed for within the new generation. On September 12, Naruki Doi turned on Yoshino, signaling the end of World-1 International. Yoshino quickly formed a new stable named Monster Express with Akira Tozawa, Ricochet, Shachihoko Boy, Shingo Takagi, and Uhaa Nation. On October 10, Yoshino defeated YAMATO to win the Open the Dream Gate Championship for the second time. On March 2, 2014, Yoshino dropped the Open the Dream Gate Championship to Monster Express stablemate Ricochet. On May 30, 2015, Yoshino defeated T-Hawk in the finals to win the 2015 King of Gate tournament. On June 14, Yoshino defeated BxB Hulk to win the Open the Dream Gate Championship for the third time. He lost the title to Shingo Takagi on August 16. On November 23, 2015, Yoshino defeated Mr. Nakagawa via fan decision the Open The Owarai Gate Championship. He was stripped of the title on April 3 due to failure to defend it within the previous three months. On December 5, 2015, Yoshino, T-Hawk and Tozawa defeated VerserK (Naruki Doi, Shingo Takagi, and YAMATO) in a decision match for the vacant Open the Triangle Gate Champions. On September 4 Yoshino, T-Hawk and Tozawa lost the Open the Triangle Gate Champions to Ryo "Jimmy" Saito, Jimmy Kanda and Genki Horiguchi H.A.Gee.Mee!!. On October 12, 2016, Monster Express was forced to disband after losing a Loser Unit disband match against VerserK.
After the disbanding of Monster Express Yoshino would form an alliance with Kotoka (who wanted payback from VerserK) and his longtime partner Naruki Doi (who was kicked out of VerserK) were three fought in losing effort VerserK on December 1 at the Korakuen Hall. Later Yoshino and Kotoka formed an alliance with Ben-K and unsuccessfully failed to win Open The Triangle Gate Championship after losing to Jimmyz (Ryo "Jimmy" Saito, Jimmy Susumu and Jimmy Kanda), the match included VerserK (Cyber Kong, El Lindaman and Mondai Ryu). On January 18, 2017, Yoshino, Kotoka and Ben-K participated at the New Years Unit War 6 Man Tag Team Tournament and they came all the way into the finals. At the finals, they were defeated by VerserK (T-Hawk, Shingo Takagi and El Lindaman) after the interference from the rest of the members of VerserK. After the match, Verserk attacked Yoshino, Kotoka and Ben-K until Dr. Muscle who was later revealed to be Yoshino's longtime partner Naruki Doi made the save and the four made an alliance against VerserK. On April 7 Yoshino formed a new unit with Doi, Ben-K and Big R Shimizu. Later Kotoka would join them naming the unit MaxiMuM. On December 23 at Final Gate, Yoshino, Doi, and MaxiMuM newest member, Jason Lee defeated Tribe Vanguard (YAMATO, BxB Hulk and Kzy) to win the Open The Triangle Gate Championship. They lost the titles to Natural Vibes (Kzy, Genki Horiguchi and Susumu Yokosuka) on May 6, 2018, at Dead or Alive. Following the Dead or Alive, Yoshino finished the tournament with a record of two wins, one loss, and one draw, advancing to the semifinals of the tournament. On June 1, Yoshino defeated Takashi Yoshida to advance to the finals of the tournament. On June 9, Yoshino defeated YAMATO in the finals to become the first wrestler to win the King of Gate for a second time. The following day, Yoshino defeated Masaaki Mochizuki to win the Open the Dream Gate Championship for the fourth time. On December 4, Yoshino lost the Open the Dream Gate Championship to PAC in his fifth title defense. On December 23, Yoshino and Doi attempted to win the Open the Twin Gate Championships. In May, Yoshino took part in the 2019 King of Gate, finishing the tournament with a record of three wins and two losses, failing to advance to the semifinals of the tournament.
In December, Yoshino and Doi became involved in a feud R.E.D, after helping their mentor Último Drágon them. Later that month, Yoshino and Doi suspended MaxiMuM to form the Toryumon stable, as part of a "Generation War" against Dragon Gate and R.E.D. On December 26, it was announced that Yoshino would retire in 2020, due to the lingering effects of the neck injury he suffered in 2017. Over the following year, Yoshino began a year long feud with R.E.D, with Eita continuously mocking Yoshino's retirement, while also targetting his neck. On September 21, 2020, at Dangerous Gate, Yoshino took part in the six-way steel cage survival match. The match ended with Yoshino, and R.E.D's Big R Shimizu and Eita still in the steel cage. After Eita retreived the fourth flag, Yoshino defeated Shimizu, after he retrieved the last flag of the match, following the help from Ultimo Dragon. Afterwards, the members of Toryumon convinced Yoshino to postpone his retirement due to circuntances created by the COVID-19, leading him to accept. On November 15, during 2020 Kobe Pro-Wrestling Festival, Yoshino announced that he was going to retire at second night of 2021 Kobe Pro-Wrestling Festival. On December 20, at Final Gate, Toryumon was forced to disband, after losing to R.E.D in No Disqualification Losing Unit Disbands match. Over the course to his retirement match, Yoshino began passing his wrestling moves to the younger generation of Dragon Gate wrestlers. As part of his feud with R.E.D, Yoshino requested Eita and Hulk to team with him and Naruki Doi in a match at Dead or Alive, as an experience of teaming with wrestlers, whose match wouldn't be possible, before his retirement. Eita and Hulk accepted under the condition that Doi and Yoshino would be wearing red ring gear, which they accepted. In the match, Eita and Hulk ended up turning on Doi and Yoshino causing them to lose their match.
On July 31, 2021, during the first night of 2021 Kobe Pro-Wrestling Festival, Yoshino took part of his first retirement match teaming with "brother" YASSHI, Toru Owashi, Shuji Kondo and Takuya Sugawara in a losing effort against Último Dragón, Naruki Doi, YAMATO, Dragon Kid and Kagetora. The following day, Yoshino teamed with Naruki Doi for the last time facing R.E.D's (Eita and BxB Hulk) in a losing effort, for his retirement match. After the match, Yoshino shook hands with his opponents and roster of Dragon Gate, who came in to celebrate his retirement.
Other Promotions (2006–2008)
Wrestling Society X (2006)
Yoshino competed for the MTV-based wrestling promotion Wrestling Society X, where he teamed up with Genki Horiguchi to form "Team Dragon Gate". At the time they were teaming together in WSX, Yoshino and Horiguchi were in rival stables, although Horiguchi would eventually turn heel and join the Muscle Outlaw'z himself.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2008)
Yoshino and Naruki Doi came to TNA in June 2008 in order to participate in that year's World X Cup, representing Team Japan as heels. They competed in various tag team matches against members of the other teams in the weeks leading up to the World X Cup, but they lost every one of them. In the World X Cup 12 Man Elimination Tag Match at TNA Victory Road, he represented Team Japan alongside Puma and Milano Collection AT As the last surviving member of his team, he overcame numerous obstacles to become one of the last two men in the match, before succumbing to Alex Shelley in the loss.
- Italian Connection (2002–2005)
- Blood Generation (2005–2006)
- Muscle Outlaw'z (2006–2008)
- WORLD-1 (2008–2011)
- Junction Three (2011–2012)
- WORLD-1 International (2012–2013)
- Monster Express (2013–2016)
- MaxiMuM (2017–2019)
- Toryumon (2019–2020)
- Finishing moves
- 15th Anniversary (Wrist-clutch cradle roll into a grounded hammerlock octopus stretch) – 2015; used rarely
- Lightning Spiral (Swinging leg hook fireman's carry slam, sometimes from the top rope)
- Sol Naciente (Straight jacket triangle choke)
- Sol Naciente Kai (Straight jacket triangle choke while trapping the opponent's legs)
- Signature moves
- Another Space (Spin-out side powerbomb)
- Back Home (Lariat)
- Coumori (Rope hung figure four necklock)
- Diving somersault leg drop
- From Jungle (Spinning headscissors takedown twisted into an octopus stretch)
- Lightning in the Jungle (Front missile dropkick)
- Riverina Special (Hammerlock small package)
- Sling Blade (Spinning sitout sleeper slam, sometimes from the top rope)
- Speed Star (Spinning headscissors takedown twisted into a crucifix)
- Tarzan Heart (Cross-legged STF)
- Torbellino (Spinning headscissors takedown twisted into a single arm DDT)
- Ude Yoshino (Spinning headscissors takedown twisted into a crucifix armbar takedown)
- With Naruki Doi
- Assisted double stomp to the arm (Yoshino)
- Assisted missile dropkick into a senton on another opponent (Yoshino)
- Assisted rope hung senton bomb (Doi)
- Drop toe hold (Doi) / Sliding kick (Yoshino) combination
- Flapjack (Doi) / One-handed bulldog (Yoshino) combination
- Front missile dropkick (Yoshino) / Doi 555 (Doi) combination
- Poetry in Motion corner elbow (Yoshino)
- Springboard spinning sleeper slam (Yoshino) / Powerbomb (Doi) combination
- Entrance themes
- "Welcome to Jungle" by Dragon Gate
- "SPEED STAR" by Tsutomu Toya ft. Yoko Kubota
Championships and accomplishments
- Dragon Gate
- International Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Naruki Doi
- Open The Dream Gate Championship (4 times)
- Open The Brave Gate Championship (6 times)
- Open The Owarai Gate Championship (1 time)
- Open The Triangle Gate Championship (11 times) – Milano Collection AT and Anthony W. Mori (1), CIMA and Magnitude Kishiwada (1), Naruki Doi and Gamma (2), Naruki Doi and Magnitude Kishiwada (1), BxB Hulk and PAC (1), Gamma and YAMATO (1), Naruki Doi and PAC (1), and Naruki Doi and Shachihoko Boy (1), Akira Tozawa and T-Hawk (1), and Naruki Doi and Jason Lee (1)
- Open The Twin Gate Championship (3 times) – with Naruki Doi (2) and Shachihoko Boy (1)
- King of Gate (2015, 2018)
- Summer Adventure Tag League (2007, 2008, 2010) – with Naruki Doi
- Open The Brave Gate Championship League (2006)
- Rey De Parejas Tournament (2004) with Milano Collection AT and Anthony W. Mori
- Ashiyanikki Cup 6 Man Tag Team Tournament (2019) – with Naruki Doi and Kaito Ishida
- Best Bout Award (2020) Toryumon Generation vs. R.E.D on December 20
- Second Grand Slam Champion
- Dragon Gate USA
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #116 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2012
- PWI ranked him #268 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2016
- Tokyo Sports
- Technique Award (2013)
- Toryumon Japan
- List Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- 5 Star Match (2006) with Naruki Doi and CIMA vs. Dragon Kid, Genki Horiguchi and Ryo Saito (ROH Supercard of Honor, March 31)
- Match of the Year (2006) with Naruki Doi and CIMA vs. Dragon Kid, Genki Horiguchi and Ryo Saito (ROH Supercard of Honor, March 31)
- 4½ Star Match (2020) R.E.D vs. Toryumon Generation on December 20
Lucha de Apuesta record
|Hair||Susumu Yokosuka||Masato Yoshino||Fukuoka, Japan||December 27, 2009||Six-way steel cage match, which also included BxB Hulk, Dragon Kid, MAZADA and K-ness.|
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- Boutwell, Josh 2010-08-20. Viva La Raza! Lucha Weekly . WrestleView. Retrieved on 2010-08-22. “Open the Brave Gate Title: Masato Yoshino def. Tigers Mask (c) to win the title! [...] Yoshino will now vacate the (Brave Gate) title”
- Boutwell, Josh 2010-08-30. Viva La Raza! Lucha Weekly . WrestleView. Retrieved on 2010-08-30.
- Boutwell, Josh 2010-10-15. Viva La Raza! Lucha Weekly . WrestleView. Retrieved on 2010-10-16.
- 2010 Dragon Gate results . Purolove. Retrieved on 2010-12-27.
- Thomas, Jeremy 2011-01-30. Dragon Gate USA's United Finale Taping Results (spoilers) . 411Mania. Retrieved on 2011-01-30.
- 4/14 Champion Gate - 14 Apr 2011 . iHeartDG (2011-04-14). Retrieved on 2011-04-14.
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- Radican, Sean 2011-09-11. Radican's DGUSA Internet PPV report 9/11: Ongoing coverage of DGUSA show from Milwaukee . Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved on 2011-09-11.
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- 意地を見せた斎了を下したYamatoに、土井から裏切られた吉野が挑戦表明！ジミーズを下したミレニアルズはベテラン軍を指名！ (in Japanese). Battle News (2013-09-13). Retrieved on 2013-09-13.
- ja:吉野、鷹木、戸澤らの新ユニット本格始動 トライアングルゲート戦はＭＢに苦杯 (in Japanese). Sports Navi. Yahoo! (2013-10-07). Retrieved on 2013-10-07.
- 吉野がYamatoを下してドリームゲート王座奪取！早速土井が挑戦者に名乗り！ベテラン軍がミレニアルズを叩き潰す！ (in Japanese). Battle News (2013-10-10). Retrieved on 2013-10-10.
- Meltzer, Dave 2014-03-02. Shocking title change in Japan . Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved on 2014-03-02.
- King of Gate (in Japanese). Dragon Gate. Gaora. Retrieved on 2015-05-30.
- ドラゲー・吉野がハルク破り王座奪還 (in Japanese). Tokyo Sports (2015-06-15). Retrieved on 2015-06-15.
- 鷹木がドリーム王座奪取 独裁政権樹立へ (in Japanese). Tokyo Sports (2015-08-17). Retrieved on 2015-08-17.
- 11/23 CROWN GATE - iHeartDG . iHeartDG.com (2015-11-23). Retrieved on 2015-11-23.
- Purolove profile . Purolove. Retrieved on 2011-12-30.
- Dragon Gate USA profile . Dragon Gate USA. Retrieved on 2009-12-31.
- Puroresu Central profile . Puroresu Central. Retrieved on 2009-12-31.
- Toryumon Mexico Results . iHeartDG. Retrieved on 2014-01-02.
- Glorious Gate 2009 Results . iHeartDG. Retrieved on 2014-01-02.
- Cagematch title history . Cagematch. Retrieved on 2009-12-31.
- Radican, Sean 2012-03-30. Radican's DGUSA "Open the Ultimate Gate 2012" iPPV Report 3/30 - Yoshino & Ricochet vs. Gargano & Taylor, PAC vs. Low Ki . Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved on 2012-03-31.
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 2012 . The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved on 2012-08-25.
- オカダが2年連続でプロレス大賞MVPを受賞！史上4人目の快挙だが、本人は「当たり前の結果」 (in Japanese). Battle News (2013-12-10). Retrieved on 2013-12-09.