If you’re watching Dragon Gate and you see what looks like a blur flying around the ring, it’s not a bird or a plane-it’s likely this human speed demon-Masato Yoshino. His incredible speed has earned him the nickname “Speed Star” and he is regarded as perhaps the fastest wrestler in the world.
Debuting as part of T2P in fall 2000, 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. In 2002 he joined Milano Collection AT’s new stable and changed his ring name to YOSSINO. Not surprisingly, he was soon on the high-speed road to success, as his time in the faction resulted in 2 UWA World Trios Titles, an NWA World Welterweight Championship, and several highly acclaimed matches with K-ness. The faction split in 2003 with YOSSINO keeping it going as a face stable, and became part of the first Open The Triangle Gate Champions.
After Milano left DG in 2005, YOSSINO briefly teamed with K-ness, then turned on him and formed the Blood Generation faction. This led to a gimmick change and changing his ring name back to his given name, Masato Yoshino. The group split in April 2006 following issues between members CIMA and Gamma, and Yoshino would follow Naruki Doi and form the Muscle Outlaw’z (MO’z) stable. Yoshino began teaming with Doi as “Speed Muscle” and they became the first Open The Twin Gate Champions and also had success in NOAH, winning the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Titles. Yoshino also broke out as a singles wrestler with 2 Open The Brave Gate Title reigns. He came up short in a shot at the Open the Dream Gate Title in early 2008 but won praise for his performance. Soon after Yoshino & Doi turned on MO’z and left to form a new faction, WORLD-1. Another Twin Gate Title reign followed, but it only lasted 9 days. But Yoshino was back on top in almost no time, winning his 3rd Brave Gate Title the next week.
In addition to remaining near the top of the DG singles and tag team ranks, Yoshino has also followed several other DG stars into the US over the last year or two, appearing in Wrestling Society X, TNA Wrestling and Ring Of Honor, and he is also an integral part of the new Dragon Gate USA promotion. As long as he remains healthy, there don’t appear to be any speed bumps between the “Speed Star” and a continued run of success in Japan and abroad.
Yoshino completed the career DG Grand Slam on July 11, 2010 when he won the Open The Dream Gate Title for the first time. This means he has now held all 4 of DG’s major titles (excluding the Open The Freedom Gate Title) at some point in his career. Yoshino also briefly became a double champion in August 2010 when he won the Brave Gate for the 4th time and reclaimed the belt from Osaka Pro, but he gave it up immediately due to also holding the Dream Gate.
Stats & info:
Weight: 159 pounds/72 kg
Experience: 10 years
Finishing move: Lightning Spiral, Speed Star, Sol Naciente
Current affiiliation: Dragon Gate
1-time Open The Dream Gate Champion
5-time Open The Brave Gate Champion (includes one unrecognized reign as Dr. Muscle)
7-time Open The Triangle Gate Champion
2-time Open The Twin Gate Champion
1-time Open The United Gate Champion
1-time I-J Heavyweight Tag Team Champion
1-time GHC Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion
1-time NWA World Welterweight Champion
2-time UWA World Trios Champion
2003 Differ Cup Scramble Tag Team Tournament
2004 Rey de Parejas
2006 Open The Brave Gate League
2007, 2008, 2010 Summer Adventure Tag League
2010 Open The Twin Gate Challenger Determination Tournament
1 Wrestling Observer Newsletter 5 Star Match
2006 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Match Of The Year