Masato Onodera (小野寺 正人 Onodera Masato, born September 10, 1981 in Ichinoseki, Iwate, Japan) is a Japanese professional wrestler and former mixed martial artist, better known by his ring name YAMATO (stylized in all capital letters), who works for Dragon Gate, where he is a former ten-times Open The Twin Gate Champion, a former five-time Open The Triangle Gate Champion, a four-time Open The Dream Gate Champion and the winner 2007 NEX-1 Tournament, 2009 Summer Adventure Tag League and the 2016 King of Gate. YAMATO also worked on Dragon Gate's American branch Dragon Gate USA, where he is a former Open the Freedom Gate Champion.
YAMATO is one of the two wrestlers to hold the record for most reigns as the Open The Dream Gate Champion, while his fourth reign was the second longest in the title history. He has also won the Dragon Gate's premier tournament, the King of Gate and Dragon Gate's premiere tag team tournament, Summer Adventure Tag League. YAMATO has main evented Kobe World Pro Wrestling Festival four times of which he main evented two consecutive years.
YAMATO was trained by the Dragon Gate Dojo, he adopted the Gekokujoh character, the moves and eventually joined Final M2K. He would then win the NEX-1 Tournament and won the right to have an excursion to the United States. After returning to Dragon Gate he became one of the founders of New Hazard, before turning heel. That was the turning point of his career by winning almost every championship that Dragon Gate has including the tournaments, becoming one of Dragon Gate's top wrestlers. In 2017, Tokyo Sports cited YAMATO's Open the Dream Gate Championship reign impact as one of the factors on giving him the 2017 Outstanding Performance Award.
Professional wrestling career Edit
Dragon Gate (2006–present) Edit
Early career (2006–2008) Edit
The 5th graduate of the Dragon Gate dojo, Onodera had previous professional fighting experience competing under his real name in Pancrase and was recruited into Final M2K directly after his debut. Yasushi Kanda gave him his "Gekokujoh" character and inherited a lot of the Gekokujoh-era moves that Kanda had used during his own career. He later chose to leave Final M2K so he could grow along his own path, which was one of the reasons for the M2K break-up.
He won the first NEX-1 Tournament, which earned him the right to travel to the U.S. His stay was brief, at under three months. He returned in May, aligning with his generation peers Shingo Takagi, BxB Hulk and Cyber Kong in New Hazard, dropping the Gekokujoh lineage completely and renaming himself to YAMATO.
He appeared in Ring Of Honor's All Star Extravaganza III and Super Card of Honor II. He defeated Pelle Primeau and was beaten by Claudio Castagnoli during a U.S. tour.
Heel Turn (2008–2009) Edit
On April 17, 2008, YAMATO betrayed New Hazard and sided with the Muscle Outlaw'z after he attacked his partner Naoki Tanizaki in a tag match against Gamma and Genki Horiguchi. However, the betrayal was a ruse, that on May 14, Takagi and Kong betrayed Hulk before the trio were scheduled to defend their Open the Triangle Gate Championship against YAMATO, Gamma and Horiguchi. New Hazard was ended, Takagi and Kong joined up with YAMATO and company to form the new super-heel group Real Hazard. Then, he, Gamma, and Takagi won the newly-vacant Open the Triangle Gate titles in an impromptu match against Hulk, Naruki Doi, and Masato Yoshino. Their title reign lasted until June 28, when they were defeated by Kenichiro Arai, Taku Iwasa and Shinobu. However, he would win them back from them on July 12, along with Yasushi Kanda and Gamma, and the trio would lose the titles to Masaaki Mochizuki, Don Fujii and Magnitude Kishiwada on September 28. But, YAMATO would not be without a championship for long, a week later, he teamed with Cyber Kong to defeat Naruki Doi and Masato Yoshino for the Open the Twin Gate Championship.
When Gamma and Yasushi Kanda began to have serious problems with each other, he helped organize a match between them where the loser would be kicked out of Real Hazard. Even though, Kanda lost, Gamma ended up being the one ousted from the unit, after Keni'chiro Arai joined the group's ranks and assisted them in beating down Gamma. YAMATO then took over Gamma's role as leader.
On March 1, he and Cyber Kong would lose the Open the Twin Gate titles to Susumu Yokosuka and Gamma after his stablemate Kagetora interfered and turned on them. He then began to provoke BxB Hulk and even offered him to join Real Hazard under his Black Hulk persona. Hulk responded by randomly attacking members of Real Hazard as Black Hulk, dominating each attack until April 15, when Real Hazard got the better of him and laid him out. YAMATO then challenged him to a match, and said he did not care whether Hulk fought him as Black Hulk or his normal self. The match, held on May 5, saw BxB Hulk as Black Hulk beat him by referee stoppage.
Shortly after this, a lot of friendly fire began to occur between Real Hazard in their matches. On May 23, YAMATO told the group not to interfere in his match in the next day against Shingo Takagi. However, Kanda still hits Takagi with a blue box and then tossed the box to YAMATO. A disappointed YAMATO refused to use the blue box and even gave Takagi a free shot on him due to the interference. In the end, YAMATO lost the match. The refusal of help from his stable caused Genki Horiguchi to question his reasoning. He then went to New Japan Pro Wrestling to compete in their annual Best of the Super Juniors tournament, hoping tensions would've cooled down by the time he returned to Dragon Gate. Though he was eliminated from contention in the round-robin portion of the tournament, only winning two of six matches, his two wins came against junior heavyweight greats Jushin Thunder Liger and the eventual winner Koji Kanemoto. When he returned to Dragon Gate, he continually refused to team with his Real Hazard stablemates, and finally quit the group all together on June 26.
Face Turn (2009–2013) Edit
He joined up with KAMIKAZE and re-formed his team with Shingo Takagi, and they made a challenge for Ryo Saito and Genki Horiguchi's Open the Twin Gate Titles on July 19. They failed to capture the titles due to him being blinded by a protein powder attack from Keni'chiro Arai. However, they would gain another title shot in August, after winning the annual Summer Adventure Tag League Tournament, and they would win the titles a month later. They would lose the title to Cima and Gamma on December 27.
On March 22, 2010, YAMATO defeated Naruki Doi to win Open the Dream Gate Championship at Compilation Gate 2010 in Tokyo. Following this match, YAMATO enjoyed three successful title defenses against Susumu Yokosuka, Shingo Takagi and Masaaki Mochizuki. On July 11, 2010, YAMATO lost the Open the Dream Gate Championship to Masato Yoshino at Kobe World 2010.
On May 13, 2011, Takagi disbanded Kamikaze and the following day both him and YAMATO joined Masaaki Mochizuki's new stable, Junction Three, to battle Cima's Blood Warriors. On June 18, YAMATO, Gamma and Yoshino 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 October 16, YAMATO lost his hair to Cyber Kong in a six-way steel cage Hair vs. Hair match. On February 9, 2012, Junction Three was forced to disband, after losing a fourteen man elimination tag team match to Blood Warriors.
On April 19, 2012, YAMATO, alongside Shingo Takagi joined with Dragon Gate NEX Member Chihiro Tominaga, and the debuting Super Shenlong III and formed -akatsuki-. On July 22, 2012, YAMATO and Shingo Takagi defeated Jimmy Kagetora and Jimmy Susumu to win Open the Twin Gate Championship. They lost the title to Don Fujii and Masaaki Mochizuki on September 23, 2012. YAMATO and Takagi won the title for their third time together on May 5, 2013, by defeating BxB Hulk and Uhaa Nation.
Mad Blankey and VerserK (2013–2016) Edit
YAMATO and Takagi lost the titles to Akira Tozawa and BxB Hulk on June 15, when YAMATO turned on Takagi to join Tozawa and Hulk's Mad Blankey stable. On August 1, YAMATO became the new leader of Mad Blankey, when the stable turned on Akira Tozawa. On August 23, YAMATO defeated Shingo Takagi to win the Open the Dream Gate Championship for the second time. On October 6, YAMATO became a double champion, when he, BxB Hulk and Cyber Kong defeated Takagi, Akira Tozawa and Masato Yoshino to win the vacant Open the Triangle Gate Championship. However, just four days later, he lost the Open the Dream Gate Championship to Yoshino. On December 5, Mad Blankey also lost the Open the Triangle Gate Championship to Millennials (Eita, Flamita and T-Hawk). On December 8, the Mad Blankey duo of YAMATO and Naruki Doi defeated the Millennials to win the Open the Twin Gate Championship. They lost the title to Akira Tozawa and Shingo Takagi on December 22. On May 5, 2014, YAMATO won the Open the Dream Gate Championship for a record-tying third time by defeating Ricochet. He lost the title to former Mad Blankey stablemate BxB Hulk on July 20. On July 13 YAMATO and Naruki Doi defeated Masato Yoshino and Shachihoko BOY to win Open the Twin Gate Championship for the second time. On August 16, 2015, Mad Blankey was forced to disband after losing to Jimmyz in a five-on-five elimination tag team match, after being betrayed by K-ness.
On September 23, YAMATO formed a new stable named VerserK with Cyber Kong, Kotoka, Mondai Ryu, Naruki Doi and Shingo Takagi. On May 6, YAMATO and Doi would lose the Twin Gate Championships to Big R Shimizu and T-Hawk, ending their record breaking 267 day reign with the record breaking of 9 defenses. Later, Takagi and YAMATO started to have issues, when Takagi won the Open The Dream Gate Champion for the fourth time, everyone shook hands except YAMATO. On March 28 the problems between YAMATO and Takagi got even worst when YAMATO hit Takagi during the close of the match against Monster Express which allowed Big R Shimizu to pick up the win and everyone seemed to point blame at each other as a clear rift was looming over the group. Later on April 7 after VerserK lost to Jimmyz, Doi and Tanizaki decide to be on YAMATO's side while Kotoka and Kong decide to be on Takagi's side and Mondai Ryu just chose the both sides and the General manager Takayuki Yagi capitalized on this opportunity of 6 entrants was the exact number he wanted for the cage match at Dead or Alive.
Tribe Vanguard (2016–2019) Edit
On May 5, during the Dead or Alive cage match, YAMATO was betrayed by his VerserK stablemates and later aligned with BxB Hulk, Kzy, and Yosuke Santa Maria, turning face in the process. On June 12, YAMATO defeated Big R Shimizu to win the annual King of Gate tournament. On July 24 at the Kobe World Pro Wrestling Festival, YAMATO defeated Shingo Takagi to win the Open The Dream Gate Champion for the fourth time. On September 22, 2016, YAMATO made his first title defense against Akira Tozawa. On December 25, YAMATO made his second title defense against Naruki Doi. His third title defense was on February 2, against his stablemate BxB Hulk, after the match, he was attacked by Cyber Kong who latter challenged him at Champion Gate.
On March 5, YAMATO successfully defended the title against Cyber Kong. Later, YAMATO announced that he would defend his title in the Dead Or Alive Steel Cage Match against Takagi, Kong, Hulk and Doi in which would lead tensions starting to rise between YAMATO and Hulk including Hulk stealing YAMATO's Frankensteiner of The Almighty move. On May 5, YAMATO made his fifth title defense against Takagi, Hulk, Doi and Kong, and as the stipulation Kong was unmasked. On May 8 to June 12 YAMATO participated at the 2017 King of Gate at the block A and he finished his block with 6 points (three wins and three losses). On July 23 at Kobe World Pro Wrestling Festival, YAMATO successfully defended the Open The Dream Gate Championship title against the winner of the 2017 King of Gate T-Hawk. On September 18 at Dangerous Gate YAMATO lost his Open The Dream Gate Championship Masaaki Mochizuki. On November 3 at Gate of Destiny, YAMATO, Hulk and Kzy defeated Shingo Takagi, Takashi Yoshida, and El Lindaman to win the Open the Triangle Gate Championship. The match also included Naruki Doi, Masato Yoshino, and Kotoka. On December 23 at Final Gate YAMATO, BxB Hulk and Kzy lost the titles to Naruki Doi, Masato Yoshino and Jason Lee. In May 2018, YAMATO was caught in a storyline, where he was involved in the Dead or Alive Steel Cage Survival match which his hair was also on the line and managed to escape the cage. Following the Dead or Alive, YAMATO took part in the King of Gate, finishing the tournament with a record of three wins and one loss, advancing to the semifinals of the tournament. On July 1, YAMATO defeated Naruki Doi to advance to the finals of the tournament. YAMATO was defeated by Masato Yoshino on June 9 in the finals of the tournament. On July 22 at Kobe Pro Wrestling Festival, YAMATO and BxB Hulk defeated Big Ben (Big R Shimizu and Ben-K) to win the Open the Twin Gate Championship. On December 19, YAMATO and Hulk were forced to vacant the Open The Twin Gate Championship due to Hulk suffering a neck injury. On December 23 at Final Gate YAMATO and Kagetora failed to regain the Open The Twin Gate Championship in a four-way elimination tag team match involving Naruki Doi and Masato Yoshino, Bandido and Flamita, and Ben-K and Big R Shimizu.
Since January 2019, Tribe Vanguard suffered three casualties with Hulk and Maria, being injured and Flamita in Mexico, YAMATO had to ask KAI to join Tribe Vanguard, which he accepted. On February 5, tensions would come ahead between Tribe Vanguard and all the stables in Dragon Gate. agreeing to a match on March 7. At the event on March 7, Tribe Vanguard won the four-way eight-man tag team elimination match, due to an error by R.E.D. General Manager Takayuki Yagi capitalized on the opportunity and announced the rules for the Steel Cage Survival match, as well multiple tag team matches between members of the respective units to decide, which member would enter in the match. Leading to the event, YAMATO joked that he would kick out Maria, leading him to return from his injury. YAMATO and U-T defeated Kagetora and KAI, with YAMATO pinning Kagetora to represent Tribe Vanguard in the match. On April 28, YAMATO and KAI defeated Ben-K and Shimizu to win the Open the Twin Gate Championship, after Eita cost Ben-K and Shimizu the match. On May 6 at Dead or Alive, Hulk returned from his injury as Darkside Hulk helping YAMATO to escape the "Bonds" steel cage survival five-way match. After the match, YAMATO decided that no one would be no one kicked out of the stable. Later that month, In May, YAMATO 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. On June 9, YAMATO and KAI faced Naruki Doi and Kaito Ishida for the Open The Twin Gate Champions, during the match, Eita and Big R Shimizu, interfered in the match, while also claiming to be the next challengers. Tribe Vanguard and MaxiMuM weren't satisfied with the conclusion of the match and all teams wanted to face each other in a rematch, leading General Manager Takayuki Yagi making the match official of the event. On July 21, at Kobe Pro-Wrestling Festival, YAMATO and KAI lost the Open The Twin Gate Championship to Eita and Shimizu in a three-way match also involving Naruki Doi and Kaito Ishida.
Dragon Gate and "Generation War" (2019–Present) Edit
On December 15 at Final Gate, YAMATO and Hulk defeated Eita and Big R Shimizu to regain the Open The Twin Gate Championship. Three days later, Hulk turned on YAMATO to join R.E.D, revealing himself to be the Red Masked Demon. He would blame YAMATO for inviting KAI to the stable, while he was injured when also had a neck injury. Afterwards, YAMATO suspended the stable and formed the Dragon Gate stable in order to unite all Dragon Gate generation of wrestlers against Toryumon and R.E.D in a "Generation War". Meanwhile, Kagetora became part of the Toryumon due to Último Drágon being his mentor. On December 22, YAMATO forfeited his half of the Open The Twin Gate Championship, leading to Hulk protest against the decision. Afterwards, General Manager Takayuki Yagi declared the titles vacated, with the new champions being crown in a tournament in January. In January 2020, YAMATO and Ben-K took part in a tournament to crown the new new Open The Twin Gate Champions, losing to the R.E.D duo of BxB Hulk and Kazma Sakamoto in the finals of the tournament on January 15.
Dragon Gate USA (2009–2012) Edit
KAMIKAZE USA (2009–2011) Edit
On Enter the Dragon, Dragon Gate USA's first-ever pay-per-view which first aired on September 4, 2009, YAMATO defeated BxB Hulk in the opener. On the very same show, YAMATO cemented his villainous status when he and Gran Akuma engaged in a post-match attack on Mike Quackenbush and Jigsaw, starting a feud with the Chikara wrestlers. This led to YAMATO & Akuma facing Quackenbush & Jigsaw in a losing effort at Untouchable. At Freedom Fight, YAMATO entered the tournament to crown the first Open the Freedom Gate Champion. He defeated Davey Richards to qualify for the four-way elimination match tournament finals against Hulk, Akuma, and CIMA, but Hulk gained revenge by last eliminated YAMATO to become the champion. At Fearless, YAMATO teamed with Shingo Takagi in an elimination match against Naruki Doi & Masato Yoshino and The Young Bucks. The duo would survive to see the Bucks eliminated but fell to Doi & Yoshino in defeat. After the conclusion of Fearless' main-event, YAMATO ran out with Takagi, Akuma, and Richards to beat down both Hulk and Dragon Kid, but the attackers were thwarted by the Chikara wrestlers. At Mercury Rising, YAMATO successfully defended his newly won Open the Dream Gate Championship against Susumu Yokosuka in his first defense, while forming the KAMIKAZE USA stable with Takagi and Jon Moxley. At Uprising, Akira Tozawa and Gran Akuma were added to the KAMIKAZE USA stable, while YAMATO teamed again with Takagi to defeat the team of CK-1, CIMA and Dragon Kid. KAMIKAZE USA would also attack Quackenbush, Jigsaw, Yoshino, and Hulk after their matches, leading to Quackenbush challenging YAMATO to a match between KAMIKAZE USA and the Chikara wrestlers. The match took place at Enter The Dragon 2010, which saw YAMATO, Tozawa, Moxley ,and Akuma, representing KAMIKAZE USA, being defeated by Yoshino, Quackenbush, Jigsaw, and Hallowicked, ending the feud between KAMIKAZE USA and the Chikara wrestlers. At Untouchable 2010, YAMATO was defeated by the WWE wrestler Bryan Danielson.
At United: NYC in January 2011, YAMATO defeated his nemesis BxB Hulk to win the Open the Freedom Gate Championship. At Mercury Rising 2011, Austin Aries challenged YAMATO for his title by putting his own career on the line. YAMATO defeated Aries, who would later renege on his promise to leave the company. At the Open the United Gate 2011, YAMATO defeated his former KAMIKAZE USA stablemate Akira Tozawa to retain his title.
Junction Three (2011–2012) Edit
By June, YAMATO had joined the Junction Three stable in Japan to feud with heels Blood Warriors after the dissolution of KAMIKAZE and its American version, KAMIKAZE USA, which cemented YAMATO's face status. At Fearless 2011, YAMATO would join forces with Tozawa to challenge for the Open the United Gate Championship from the tag team champions (and Junction Three stablemates) Masato Yoshino and PAC, but PAC pinned Tozawa to ensure the champions retained their titles. At Enter the Dragon 2011, YAMATO defeated his stablemate PAC to retain his Open the Freedom Gate Championship in his fourth successful defense. (YAMATO's third successful defense of his title was against Yasushi Kanda in Japan in April 2011). At Untouchable 2011, CIMA, YAMATO's longtime rival and the leader of the Blood Warriors' stable, challenged YAMATO for his Open the Freedom Gate Championship based on CIMA's pin on YAMATO in a fatal-four way non-title match earlier that year at Uprising 2011. YAMATO managed to defeat CIMA in his fifth successful defense of his title. At Revolt!, YAMATO defeated BxB Hulk, who was now a Blood Warriors member, in DGUSA's first no-rope no-DQ match, which was also a non-title match. At Bushido 2011, YAMATO equaled BxB Hulk's number of successful title defenses with six by defeating Chuck Taylor of Ronin. At Freedom Fight 2011 in November, YAMATO lost the Open the Freedom Gate Championship to Johnny Gargano of Ronin.
- Final M2K (2006)
- New Hazard (2007–2008)
- Muscle Outlaw'z (2008)
- Real Hazard (2008–2009)
- CHAOS (2009)
- KAMIKAZE (2009–2011)
- Junction Three (2011–2012)
- -akatsuki- (2012–2013)
- MAD BLANKEY (2013–2015)
- VerserK (2015–2016)
- Tribe Vanguard (2016–2019)
- Dragon Gate (2019–Present)
- Finishing moves
- 2nd Generation Gekokujoh Elbow (Diving elbow drop) – 2006–2007; adopted from Yasushi Kanda
- CBV – Cross Bone Vanguard (Over-the-shoulder Chickenwing Crossface)
- Doujime Sleeper (Choke sleeper)
- Frankensteiner of The Almighty (Hurricanrana into a pin)
- Gallaria (Inverted facelock lifted and dropped into a sitout scoop slam piledriver)
- Musha-gaeshi (Spear into a pin)
- Ragnarok (Inverted facelock lifted and dropped into a leg-hook sitout side powerslam)
- Signature moves
- Ankle lock
- Big boot
- Cloverleaf hold
- Corner elbow smash
- Crawling under the ring, emerging behind the opponent and dropkicking the leg
- Cross armbreaker
- Death Valley driver
- Figure-four leglock
- Go 2 Hospital I (Single leg running dropkick to a cornered opponent)
- Go 2 Hospital II (Single leg running dropkick to the side of a cornered opponent head
- Guillotine choke
- Kimura lock
- Leaping elbow
- Multiple suplex variations
- Punt kick
- Rolling elbow
- Single leg Boston crab
- With Naruki Doi
- Double team finishing moves
- Bakatare Sliding Kick (Doi) followed by a Gallaria (YAMATO) combination
- Double team finishing moves
- "The Almighty"
- "Shin Gekokujoh"
- Entrance themes
- "YAMATO Spirit" by Hikari Ishitani
- "YAMATO Spirit" by ACMA
- "YAMATO Spirit -vicious dictator mix-" by ACMA
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Championships and accomplishmentsEdit
- Dragon Gate
- Open The Dream Gate Championship (4 times)
- Open The Triangle Gate Championship (5 times) – with Gamma and Shingo Takagi (1), Yasushi Kanda and Gamma (1), Gamma and Masato Yoshino (1), BxB Hulk and Cyber Kong (1) and BxB Hulk and Kzy (1)
- Open The Twin Gate Championship (10 times) – with Cyber Kong (2), Shingo Takagi (3) and Naruki Doi (2), BxB Hulk (2) and KAI (1)
- Summer Adventure Tag League (2009) - with Shingo Takagi
- NEX-1 Tournament (2007)
- Planning Jumbo Six Man Scramble One Night Tag Tournament (2008) with Shingo Takagi and Cyber Kong
- King of Gate (2016)
- Best Tag Team Award (2018) with BxB Hulk
- Dragon Gate USA
- Open The Freedom Gate Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #273 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2010
- PWI ranked him #98 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2011
- PWI ranked him #79 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2012
- PWI ranked him #121 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2014
- PWI ranked him #167 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2015
- PWI ranked him #180 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2016
- PWI ranked him #47 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2017
- Tokyo Sports
Luchas de Apuestas recordEdit
|Winner (wager)||Loser (wager)||Location||Event||Date||Notes|
|Cyber Kong (mask)||YAMATO (hair)||Osaka, Japan||Gate of Destiny||October 16, 2011|||
|YAMATO (hair)||Kotoka (hair)||Osaka, Japan||Dead or Alive||May 5, 2016|||
|YAMATO (hair and title)||Cyber Kong (mask)||Aichi, Japan||Dead or Alive||May 5, 2017|||