Mach Hayato

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Mach Hayato (?????)
Mach Hayato (?????)
Name Mach Hayato (?????)
Real name Higo Shigehisashi
Nicknames none
Name history Karate Hayato (debut - 78), Fujikawa Hayato (78, Puerto Rico), Kurenai Hayato (Panama), Mach Hayato (10/79 - retirement)
Family none
Maestro(s) Hiro Matsuda, Rafael Salamanca
Birth date, location March 5, 1951 - Koriyama, Kagoshima, Japan
Obituary date
Debut, location June 1973
Lost mask to
Height 5'9"/176 cms
Weight 187 lbs/85 kg
Signature moves Tope Suicida, Plancha, Escorpión (move)
Titles: Panama Middleweight Title


Mach Hayato (?????, March 5, 1951 - ) is the first Japanese that completely embraced the lucha libre style and took it back home, even before Gran Hamada and Tiger Mask did so.

After graduating from high school, he joined Toyo Kogyo (the company based in Hiroshima that preceded Mazda in developing and commercializing car rotary engines for the first time in the world) and competed in their baseball team's inter-company tournaments against other companies like Mitsubishi Motors.

He joined the New Japan Pro Wrestling dojo in June of 1973 and trained during a year and a half, but like would happen to Asai years later, his athletic but small build was not what they were looking for back then, so he embarked on an expedition to Mexico in 1975 to get some training at their school with Rafael Salamanca.

He made his lucha libre debut in Ciudad Juárez as Karate Hayato on March of 1976, playing off his legitimate knowledge of judo and karate. It is said that his best work in Mexico was against Satánico. He wrestled for EMLL during two years, before touring all over Latin America, working in Puerto Rico (as Fujikawa Hayato), Panamá (as Kurenai Hayato, where he feuded with local hero Sandokán, Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador and Guatemala. He also worked in El Paso, Texas and Los Angeles, California, before returning back home in October of 1979 to work for IWE through Goro Tsurumi, who he had met in Mexico.

Under orders from IWE president Isao Yoshihara, he changed his name to Mach Hayato and changed his Sangre Chicana style mask to a modern and cool looking design reminiscent of Great Sasuke, who obviously based his look on Hayato. His debut under a new name was on Novermber 1, losing via pinfall to Tsurumi in 16:13.

IWE brought luchadores to Japan regularly, so he got to work against El Doberman, El Crucero, Carlos Plata, Herodes, Leo López and Tierra, Viento y Fuego among others. But the company went bankrupt in August of 1981, so just a month later he was traveling around the world again, this time returning to Mexico as a big star. His most important match in Mexico was on November 13, main eventing at Arena México with Alfonso Dantés against Cien Caras and Máscara Año 2000.

By 1982 he'd left Mexico again, this time for good, to work in Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where he was billed as coming from Korea. He added in some of the famous Hart Family style to his already unique wrestling knowledge, before returning to Japan to compete for Giant Baba's All Japan Pro Wrestling on January of 1984. His comeback coincided with the first trip to Japan of Lizmark, who was his opponent during most of the tour.

In April of 1984 he joined the first UWF (Universal Wrestling Federation), and had a major match against The First Tiger Mask on July 24, when the promotion featured a mix of high flying and shoot style matches. Eventually, there was a powerplay that turned the promotion into a more legitimate looking competition, which obviously pushed the lucha style out of the promotion.

Seeing how things were working, he retired from wrestling on April 25, 1985 in Tokyo's Korakuen Hall, and has become one of the few cases in history of male major league wrestlers who retired at their prime, not being forced out by an injury. During the 90s there was a Mach Hayato in FMW and other independent leagues in Japan, played by Hayato Nanjyo.

On June he moved to the United States, where he acquired citizenship. He currently lives in Huntington Beach, California, where he works in the landscape gardening business.

Hayato was one great worker who had some innovative offense back in the day. He worked all over the world, which made him a very versately player, and makes us wish he'd stayed for longer. His influence is still somehow felt today in a minor way, be it on Sasuke's mask, or in "Mach" Hayato Sakurai, a mixed martial arts fighter who got the "Mach" nickname from his childhood wrestling hero.