Yosuke Watanabe (渡辺陽介 Watanabe Yōsuke?, born December 14, 1991 in Itabashi, Tokyo) is a Japanese professional wrestler currently working for the Dragon Gate professional wrestling promotion under the ring name Yosuke♥Santa Maria (ヨースケ♥サンタマリア Yōsuke♥Santa Maria?). He is a former Open The Owarai  and Open The Brave Gate Champion.
Professional wrestling careerEdit
Watanabe trained for his professional wrestling career in the Japanese promotion Dragon Gate's wrestling school called "Dragon Gate Nex" and made his debut on January 26, 2011 at Dragon Gate Nex's Sanctuary.71 show in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan, wrestling to a draw against fellow trainee, and future stablemate, Eita Kobayashi. He later "graduated" to the main Dragon Gate shows as a low ranking rookie. On April 19, 2012, Watanabe would become the third incarnation of Super Shenlong, he would also form -akatsuki- along Chihiro Tominaga, Shingo Takagi and YAMATO. On May 6, -akatsuki- defeated Mad Blankey in an eight-man tag team match. Super Shenlong teamed up with Takagi and Yamato to participate in 2012's Summer Adventure Tag League with their only win going against Mad Blankey's Cyber Kong, Kzy and Mondai Ryu. On August 1 2013, -akatsuki- was forced to disband, after losing to Mad Blankey in a five-on-four tag team match. Also part of the stipulation, Super Shenlong was forced to unmask revealing his true identity. During the Summer Adventure Tag League, Naruki Doi turned on Masato Yoshino, meaning that Watanabe would fill Doi's spot in the tournament. Surprisingly, the team managed to defeat Don Fujii and Masaaki Mochizuki.
Millennials and Unifiliated (2014-2016)Edit
No longer wanting to hide his true feelings, Watanabe joined the Millennials and renamed himself Yosuke♥Santa Maria, stating that she now used feminine pronouns. In keeping with the Millennials lucha libre style, Santa Maria is an exótico, man who fights in drag, incorporating dancing, feminine costumes and outrageous moves such as Sky♥Love and Zona Rosa. On February 22, 2014, Santa Maria debuted for Dragon Gate USA losing to Caleb Konley, the following night she defeated Ethan Page. On March 1, Santa Maria had her first championship match against Genki Horiguchi H.A.Gee.Mee!! for the Open The Brave Gate Championship, which she lost. On November 2, Santa Maria teamed with the unaffiliated "Mr. High Tension" Kotoka and Yuga Hayashi to defeat Don Fujii, Stalker Ichikawa and Super Shisa, teasing their eventual joining. Four days later, the Millennials defeated Team Veteran Returns forcing them to disband, had the Millennials lost they would have been deported. On November 30, Santa Maria was pinned during a hair vs hair match. Santa Maria was forced into the chair for her haircut and despite her rampant protests, Fujii said that the rules were the rules, and as such the show has to end with Maria having her head shaved. However, he had a change of heart after seeing how dejected Santa Maria was, and after offering to cut someone else's hair, decided to cut his own hair in an act he considered tanpatsushiki. Following Flamita vacating the Open the Brave Gate Championship, Santa Maria entered a tournament to crown a new winner but on January 1, 2015, she lost to Dr. Muscle in the first round. On February 4, Santa Maria defeated Jimmy Kanda and via fan support won the Open The Owarai Gate Championship, her first professional wrestling title. She lost the title to Akira Tozawa on March 29, 2015. On August 6, 2015, Millennials lost a three-way match and were as a result forced to disband. Despite this, Maria retained the gimmick. On March 5, 2016, Maria defeated Kotoka to win the Open The Brave Gate Championship.
Tribe Vanguard (2016-present)Edit
On May 28, Yosuke, along with BxB Hulk, YAMATO, and Kzy, formed a new unit named Tribe Vanguard. On June 19 VerserK attacked Yosuke Santa Maria and Lindaman made the save. On June 26 Lindaman claimed that he liked Maria and wanted to fight with and protect Maria. Then on July 2, VerserK attacked Maria again promoting a save from Lindaman. Five days later Lindaman was attacked by VerserK and then Maria made the save and the both formed a team named Marilyns. On July 24, Yosuke Santa Maria lost the Open The Brave Gate Championship to Eita at Kobe World Pro Wrestling Festival. On August 6 Lindaman officially left Over Generation and asked YAMATO to join Tribe Vanguard and YAMATO said that it depends on his performance in the Summer Adventure Tag League. At the end of the Summer Adventure Tag League Maria and Lindaman finished their block with 2 points and at the final dayit was decided that Lindaman would not join Tribe Vanguard and Maria slapped Lindaman with the two ending Marilyns. After that Marilyns splitting up. On March 4 Eita face El Lindaman for the Open The Brave Gate Championship. The match ended in a no contest due to Punch Tominaga and Mondai Ryu and Takehiro Yamamura (who was triyng to save from the attack of VerserK) interference. Due to this the Open The Brave Gate Champion was vacated. Then Maria came out and she was announced in a tournament to crown the new champion.
Character and receptionEdit
Watanabe's gimmick is that of an Exótico, or male wrestler performing in drag. In accordance with the gimmick, Watanabe has long, feminine like hair, and wears makeup and a skirt during matches. Watanabe is also exclusively referred to using feminine pronouns and considered a woman by the Dragon Gate roster. Since becoming Santa Maria in 2014, Watanabe's popularity has skyrocketed with fans, becoming one of the most popular acts in the company.
- Finishing moves
- Neraiuchi (Crucifix driver)
- Entrance music
- "Santa Maria Walk" by Tsutomu Toya ft. Yuri Komuro
Championships and accomplishmentsEdit
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- ↑ "Open the Owarai Gate Championship". wrestling-titles. wrestling-titles. http://www.wrestling-titles.com/japan/dg/dg-o2g.html. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
- ↑ "Gate of Passion 2012 results". IHeartDG. IHeartDG. Archived from the original on February 6, 2015. http://web.archive.org/web/20150206231340/http://iheartdg.com/passion12.html. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
- ↑ "Summer Adventure Tag League 2012". Cagematch. Cagematch. http://www.cagematch.net/?id=26&nr=2384. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
- ↑ "新時代の扉が開いたドラゲーで、暁を解散に追い込んだMBが戸澤を追放！鷹木のDG初防衛戦の相手がYamatoに決定！" (in Japanese). Battle News. 2013-08-02. http://battle-news.com/battle/2013/08/001897.php. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
- ↑ "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. http://battle-news.com/battle/2013/09/001955.php. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
- ↑ Gee Schoon Tong, Chris (2014-02-23). "Radican's results - 2/22 DGUSA "Revolt!" in New York: Gargano defends DGUSA Title, Fox defends Evolve Title, former NFL player introduced, more". Pro Wrestling Torch. http://pwtorch.com/artman2/publish/Arena_Reports_10/article_76561.shtml. Retrieved 2015-02-06.
- ↑ Gee Schoon Tong, Chris (2014-02-23). "Show results - 2/23 DGUSA in New York: New Evolve champion, Gargano defends DGUSA Title, more". Pro Wrestling Torch. http://pwtorch.com/artman2/publish/Arena_Reports_10/article_76580.shtml. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
- ↑ http://www.cagematch.net/?id=1&nr=107894
- ↑ Kraetsch, Rich (2015-02-06). "Dragon Gate "Gate of Destiny 2014" Review". Voices of Wrestling. http://www.voicesofwrestling.com/2014/11/03/dragon-gate-gate-of-destiny-2014-review/. Retrieved 2015-02-06.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 "Crown Gate 2014 results". IHeartDG. Archived from the original on February 6, 2015. http://web.archive.org/web/20150206231900/http://iheartdg.com/crown14.html. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
- ↑ "02/04 Truth Gate KickoffGate". iHeartDG. 2015-02-06. http://iheartdg.com/index.php?subaction=showfull&id=1423039973&template=Default&#disqus_thread. Retrieved 2015-02-06.
- ↑ "Glorious Gate 2015 -最終戦-" (in Japanese). Dragon Gate. Gaora. http://www.gaora.co.jp/dragongate/data/result/2015/0329.html. Retrieved 2015-03-30.
- ↑ (in Japanese) Battle News. August 7, 2015. http://battle-news.com/?p=12606. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
- ↑ "08/07 Gate of Generation Kickoff". IHeartDG. August 7, 2015. http://iheartdg.com/index.php?subaction=showfull&id=1438943345. Retrieved August 13, 2015.