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Wrestling / Último Dragón

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Yoshihiro Asai (born December 12, 1966) is a Japanese Professional Wrestler, trainer, promoter and actor best known for his work as Último Dragón. He debuted in 1987 for New Japan Pro-Wrestling but moved to the Universal Wrestling Association in Mexico, where he won the UWA World Welterweight Title in 1988. In 1990 he returned to Japan to work for the Universal Wrestling Federation and Universal Lucha Libre, the latter which was founded by his mentor Gran Hamada. He returned to Mexico in 1991, specifically to CMLL, where he started the Último Dragón gimmick. He went back and forth between CMLL and WAR, and got to win the New Japan IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship twice due to the companies having a cooperative agreement. He debuted in WCW in 1996 as a Heel, with WCW having changed his name to "Ultimate Dragon," though it actually means "Last Dragon," as his original gimmick was that he was supposed to have been the last student of Bruce Lee. He made his PPV debut at WCW Hog Wild 1996 in a loss to Rey Misterio Jr. He would hold the WCW World Cruiserweight Title twice and the WCW World Television Title twice. In 1998, he suffered a serious arm injury, which was made worse by a botched surgery which caused nerve damage and led to him having to retire. He became a trainer, with some of his early students including Dragon Kid, Magnum TOKYO, CIMA and SUWA, and was a co-promoter for IWRG in Mexico. He started his own promotion, Toryumon, with a roster made up mostly of his students. He parted ways with the promotion after it was renamed Dragon Gate. He had a second, this time successful, surgery in 2002 and got back in the ring for his T2P (Toryumon 2000 Project) and Toryumon Mexico promotions. He debuted in WWE in 2003 following the company's success with Rey Mysterio Jr.. However, his run was not successful, as apparently Vince McMahon had thought Dragon was the same kind of wrestler as Mysterio, and proceeded to bury him as a result. Dragon left in 2004. He wrestled for Dragondoor, a promotion run by his students, but it did not last very long. He has continued to compete in Mexico, Japan, Canada and Europe ever since. Along with the ones mentioned above, he has competed for All Japan Pro Wrestling, Fighting Opera HUSTLE and AAA.

"The Last Tropes":

  • Aborted Arc: In WCW, two years after Dragon's feud with Psychosis, Psychosis was starting a feud and a win streak against Raven's Flock. In a match between Psychosis and Dragon, The Flock interfered and attacked Psychosis, leading to Dragon coming to his former enemy's aid and the two of them fighting The Flock off together. The angle never progressed past this.
  • Accidental Misnaming: His name was initially mistranslated as The Ultimate Dragon. He wasn't alone in this, however, with Psychosis (Psicosis) and Rey Mysterio Jr. (Rey Misterio Jr.) being other examples of WCW renaming wrestlers.
  • The Ace: To reiterate, he was not just the most decorated pro wrestler of his era during his era was the most decorated wrestler of all time, perhaps not in total number of titles or variety of title but in that he held eleven titles and had to defend all but one of them.
  • The Apprentice: To Gran Hamada. He was also one in a sense to Kotetsu Yamamoto, who got him permission to practice at the New Japan dojo even though his size disqualified from passing the entrance exam, he was even refered to as "Kotetsu's Apprentice" for a time by the other wrestlers.
  • Arch-Enemy: (in WCW): At first it was Psicosis. After that, his former manager Sonny Onoo and whoever his top client was (first Psicosis, then Yuji Nagata).
  • Badass Cape: Well, except when it snagged on his way to the ring for the Cruiserweight Open at WrestleMania XX.
  • Bash Brothers: With Atlantis, Negro Casas, El Dandy
  • Captain Ersatz: Fire Pro Wrestling like to throw him in, his ersatz even has its own variations of his Dragon Door gimmicks.
  • Determinator: He was too short to be a pro wrestler, but he applied to NJPW's entrance test and, although he failed, he impressed Kotetsu Yamamoto enough to allow him work with him and eventually join the promotion.
  • Evil Laugh: He may not have spoken much English, if any, but his WCW run could be used be used as the basis for the theory of haughty, boastful laughter crossing all language barriers. His English has improved over the years, leading him to do a handful of shoot interviews in it, but he's rarely heard speaking it to add to the mystery of his character (which is relatively common for foreign heels).
  • Finishing Move: Dragon Sleeper, Dragon Bomb (slingshot running power bomb), Cancun Tornado (corkscrew moonsault), Asai DDT, Dragonsteiner (Though Dragon Kid's Dragoncanrana came first).
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel: Early in his WCW career, complete with Sonny Onoo as his manager.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: At WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 and World Wonder Ring STARDOM's 2015 Halloween party. The latter was made more noticeable in that he and Dark Dragon were about the only ones in their usual attire.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: As mentioned above, the arm injury and botched surgery that temporarily ended his career.
  • Heel–Face Turn: He debuted in WCW as a heel under Sonny Onoo's management, then split with Onoo and turned face. He's been a face ever since.
    • He did work heel in Michinoku Pro Wrestling as the villain behind Kowloon, though.
      • He was welcomed back into the Michinoku Sekigun after getting kicked out of Kowloon.
    • He debuted in WWE as a face, but due to their burying of him he was treated as something of a heel. However, at the time, heel characters were often liked by fans (see the popularity of Edge and Sean O'Haire at the time for example).
  • Humiliating Wager: In Mexico, the opportunity to shave your opponent's hair is considered a bigger career highlight than even winning a championship and to make someone agree to remove their mask is the ultimate humiliation (ripping their mask off without consent is shameful though). Yoshihiro Asai has won hair vs hair matches against Black Terry and El Perverso, while Último Dragón has won a hair vs hair against Hajime Ohara. He also unmasked El Vigilante in the third LLI wager match of March 11, 1996, revealed Dark Dragon was Hajime Ohara while New Wrestling Entertainment was in Spain and revealed the first Black Tiger to be a Japanese man. (Though since it was in Toryumon Mexico, this Black Tiger was technically still a foreigner. Although tradition was still violated in more ways than one since that same Black Tiger had been unmasked two years before hand in New Japan.)
  • I Have Many Names: Último Dragón, "Ultimate Dragon," The Tiger II, Saigon Dragon.
  • Legacy Character: Actually, he was the beginning of the legacy. One of his first Toryumon students was Dragon Kid. Then there was Darkness Dragon, a rival to Dragon Kid and an Evil Counterpart to the Dragon legacynote . After that there was Little Dragon, one of many character played by Takuya Sugi. Most recently there's Dragon Dia in Dragon Gate.
  • Lightning Bruiser: A cruiserweight, but his kicks put him well into the Bruiser category and he's been known to use powerbombs against smaller cruiserweights.
  • Masked Luchador: He was Japanese, but because of the height required for the Japanese training system he trained to wrestle in Mexico.
  • Mini Mook: Mini Dragon in NWE Italy. Dragon Kid was the first Mini Dragon but he grew out of the role and a new one took his place. Último Dragoncito in CMLL.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Delivered one to Rey Mysterio Jr. On PPV. En route to winning the Cruiserweight Title.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Doesn't breathe fire or have wings, but, he flies just fine without them.
  • Panthera Awesome: Wrestled as "The Tiger II" for a time, or as "Tiger Dragon."
  • Power Stable: Kowloon.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: His entrance theme, "Separados" by Sergio Vargas, is a melancholic love song. Also, he has both a neon pink and a salmon pink outfit.
  • Red Baron: El Rey del Shabu Shabu.
  • Ring Oldies: Ultimo Dragon is still an active fighter at his 50s.
  • The Rival
    • Though out his career, opposition to Último Guerrero has been a constant, be it CMLL, d2p, Toryumon, The NWA, AULL, New Wrestling Entertainment in Italy or Wrestle 1. They've primarily faced each other in tag teams and trios though, almost never one on one.
    • He's been fighting Negro Casas since before he was Último Dragón in CMLL in Lucha Libre Internaciónal (AKA UWA) and various other Mexican promotions, and yes, kept fighting him after becoming Último Dragón, not just in CMLL but also in Japanese Wrestling Association *R*, The WWF(Jokes are made about Vince not knowing this guy are made for a reason) and Toryumon Mexico. It hasn't been all hostility though, as they have teamed up quite a few times.
    • Before he was Último Dragón, Bestia Salvaje was a regular opponent in the Japanese UWF. After becoming Último Dragón, it persisted in Super World Sports, WWF, CMLL, WAR and New Japan.
    • Among his Japanese opponents, Hajime Ohara has been particularly persistent in chasing the dragon through CMLL, Dradition, SMASH, Fighting Opera Hustle, Wrestling New Classic, The Inoki Genome Federation and even the "Último Dragón Produce Lucha Fiesta" tour in Tokyo. He even took on the moniker "Dark Dragon" in Toryumon Mexico, AJPW and Italian NWE. The two did team up in Osaka Pro though.
    • He has also an enmity with The Great Sasuke, to the extent that the Kowloon arc revealed all the Toryumon X wrestlers who had gone to Michinoku Pro Wrestling had been part of secret invasion plan by Asai to hijack MPW.
    • He and Chris Jericho faced each other multiple times in many Mexican, Japanese and Canadian promotions. In WCW too. Corazón de León and Lion Heart did team up with Último Dragón in CMLL and WAR though.
    • He was seen as a rival to Rey Mysterio in both WCW and WWE, and they have also faced each other in AAA and W.A.R. In theory, he was seen as following in Mysterio's footsteps due to legendary reputation and his mask's marketability. In practice, his style was more submission based and less high flying, and promoters didn't really know what to do with him. The two however, knew how to work off each other's styles extremely well, and their matches are a highlight of either's careers.
  • Shout-Out/Homage: His name is one to Bruce Lee. At one point part of his gimmick was that he was Bruce Lee's final student.
  • Signature Move
    • La Quebrada (better known to English speakers as a Lionsault), Asai moonsault, leg drop, elbow drop, Catapult arm drag, Japanese arm drag (duh), spring board arm drag, Atlantinda Backbreaker Drop (modified version of Atlantis's finishing move), reverse kneeling pile driver, kicks to calves to hamstrings to chest to a jumping sole kick, dragon screw (spinning leg take down), La Magistral (Arm wrench inside cradle), Aztec Suplex (Straight jacket), Dragon Suplex (duh)
    • The Tiger Spin legsweep as Tiger Mask/The Tiger.
  • The Smart Guy: He helped Manabu Nakanishi to create the Hercules Cutter in 2003.
  • Student–Master Team: Himself as the student of Gran Hamada, whom he tagged with on and off for twenty four years!
  • Too Many Belts: Just look at the pic at the top of the page. Yes, he really did hold that many titles all at once and did make a point of wearing them all at once.
  • Tournament Arc
    • Gen'ichiro Tenryu and Último Dragón won the WAR One Night Tag Team Tournament of 1995 by beating Gedo and Jado in the finals.
    • A finalist in the 1998 IWRG La Copa Higher Power, which was just a stepping stone, but still
    • Won the Differ Cup Scramble Tag Team Tournament, a joint project hosted by DDT, IWA Japan, Michinoku Pro, Pro Wrestling NOAH and Pro Wrestling ZERO1 with YOSSINO as his partner.
    • Won the CMLL Torneo Del Trios 2006 with Lizmark Jr. and Rey Bucanero
    • Teamed with Marco Corleone and Kensuke Sasaki to win the 2007 Toryumon Mexico La Copa Suzuki. He won it again in 2008 after substituting Kensuke Sasaki for Alex Koslov.
    • Won the Toryumon México La Copa Yamaha Internacional 2008 with Yutaka Yoshie, who substituted for Brazo de Platino in the final.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Before Último Dragón was Último Dragón and Gedo was Gedo, they teamed together. After Gedo joined up with Jado and Lion Do(AKA Lion Heart, AKA Chris Jericho) though, they always met as opponents.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: When he was praised by Tajiri during his Smackdown Yakuza gimmick.