Originally debuting as part of the Toryumon 2000 Project (T2P), it was clear that Yoshino’s speed and chiseled physique are the things that would make him stand out. Indeed, as his original gimmick was that of Tarzan, he quickly gained the nickname Lightning in the Jungle (which is still used to this day). To go along with this gimmick he also brought with him to the ring a pet gorilla named Venezia.
Within T2P he was considered the number 2 star, second only to Milano Collection AT, and when Milano began to form a unit, it was only natural that he would be the first one approached. Yoshino accepted Milano’s offer and changed his name to YOSSINO, to represent his (obvious) Italian background, to form the Italian Connection. As part of this new force within T2P, YOSSINO would play a major role in the ensuing T2P invasion of Toryumon, and more specifically with Crazy MAX.
The two factions would go on to feud until the Italian Connection were able to win the UWA Trio Tag Titles from Crazy MAX at the Toryumon vs T2P PPV. This achievement cemented the dominance of the Italian Collection and proved that T2P were here to noticed. After losing the titles back to Crazy MAX a few months later, YOSSINO entered into a feud with K-ness., which included many highly regarded matches and is considered one of Toryumon/Dragon Gate’s best feuds.
After Ultimo Dragon left the company, taking the Toryumon name with him, the newly formed Dragon Gate needed to create titles of it’s own. The trio titles were named the Open the Triangle Gate belts and YOSSINO, along with fellow ItaConn members Milano Collection AT and Anthony W. Mori were able to become the very first champions. However, the Italian Connection, having already split in half once, were finally dissolved when Milano decided to leave the company. Now left to his own devices, Yoshino entered the the very first Open the Brave Gate tournament and was able to win becoming the first Brave Gate champion. It would prove to be a title that he would come to know a great deal throughout his career.
Soon after this however, Yoshino would turn heel once more and join the newly formed Blood Generation. He reverted to his given name and dropped the Tarzan gimmick and cut his hair short. This would prove a new direction for Yoshino as he would also later leave BloodGen with Naruki Doi and Gamma to form Muscle Outlaw’z, the largest heel faction Dragon Gate has ever known.
During his time with MO’z he would begin teaming with co-leader Naruki Doi (Gamma being the other leader) to form the tag team known as Speed Muscle. Speed Muscle would see unparalleled success on the tag circuit, both within and outside of Dragon Gate itself. They were also crowned the very first Open the Twin Gate champions as well as winning the first Summer Adventure Tag League.
However, it was increasingly clear that Speed Muscle and the rest of Muscle Outlaw’z were on different paths. Speed Muscle was seeing a great deal of success, and able to win without resorting to dirty tactics, something MO’z certainly considered their mantra. This rift would continue to escalate until Speed Muscle would turn on MO’z causing fellow member Yasushi Kanda to lose his hair. The two sides would part, with the MO’z remnants forming Real Hazard, and Speed Muscle forming World-1 along with BxB Hulk, Naoki Tanizaki and m.c.KZ.
World-1 would turn out to be the new major babyface group in the company, and Yoshino played a major part in that. He would go on to win multiple Brave Gate, Twin Gate and Triangle Gate championships, but it wasn’t until he faced YAMATO at the World PPV in 2010 that he finally tasted Dream Gate success. Soon after this, long time partner Naruki Doi had turned on Yoshino and left World-1 to form the super heel group Blood Warriors with CIMA. Being the reigning Dream Gate champion and now current leader of World-1, it was clear that Yoshino was truly, finally, considered number 1.
Real name: Masato Yoshino
Pseudonyms: YOSSINO, Speed Star
Born: July 17, 1980
- Lightning Spiral (Swinging leg hook fireman’s carry slam)
- Sol Naciente (Straight jacket triangle choke)
- Sol Naciente Kai (Straight jacket triangle choke while trapping the opponent’s legs)
- Another Space (Spin–out side powerbomb)
- From Jungle (Spinning headscissors takedown twisted into an octopus stretch)
- Front missile dropkick
- Sling Blade (Spinning sleeper slam, sometimes from the top rope)
- Speed Star (Spinning headscissors takedown twisted into a crucifix)
- Torbellino (Spinning headscissors takedown twisted into a single arm DDT)
- Ude Yoshino (Arm wrench leg drop bulldog)