Hirai Kawato (川人拓来 Kawato Hirai, born March 13, 1997) is a Japanese professional wrestler currently signed to New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) under the ring name Master Wato (マスター・ワト Masuta Wato). Kawato made his debut for the promotion on January 1, 2016, and worked as a "Young Lion" over the following two years.
In January 2018, Kawato was sent to the Mexican Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) promotion to further his wrestling training and gain international experience, a tradition with NJPW "Young Lions", which he was known under the ring name Kawato-San. In June 2019, he won his first professional wrestling championship, the CMLL World Lightweight Championship. After leaving CMLL, Kawato returned to NJPW on July 2020, once again working under the ring name "Master Wato".
Professional wrestling career
New Japan Pro Wrestling (2016–2018)
Kawato started wrestling for NJPW in 2016 and has been with the company since then. He started by training as a "young lion" in NJPW's dojo, becoming a part of their Junior heavyweight division. Kawato has competed in over sixty matches for NJPW and competes against fellow junior heavyweights such as David Finlay and Gedo.
On January 3, 2016, Kawato made his debut match against Yohei Komatsu in a losing effort. In October, Kawato took part in the 2017 Super Jr. Tag Tournament, teaming with KUSHIDA. On October 23, the two were eliminated from the tournament, after losing to Roppongi 3K (Sho and Yoh) in the first round of the tournament. From October 12 to December 21, Kawato took part in the 2017 Young Lion Cup, where he finished the tournament with a record of four wins and one loss, failing to win the tournament. NJPW often sends their "Young Lions" on a learning excursion outside Japan, be it the United States of America, Europe, or Mexico, and in January 2019 it was Kawato's turn, after Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) announced on January 9, that Kawato would begin his excursion with them at the end of the month, after taking part in New Japan's Fantastica Mania events. During the Fantastica Mania tour, Kawato lost all of his matches after being pinned or submitted by his opponents. In his send-off match, he teamed with Mexican legend Atlantis in a losing effort against Barbaro Cavernario and Gedo.
Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (2018–2020)
After Fantastica Mania, Kawato made his in CMLL on February 2, 2018, teaming with Misterioso Jr. and Virus in a losing effort against Audaz, Pegasso, and Rey Cometa. During his stay in Mexico, he was given a new wrestling persona, a "heel" or rudo character called Kawato-San. Much like the other old rookies before him, Kawato was teamed up with CMLL's resident Japanese worker Okumura as part of Eje del Mal ("Axis of Evil"), primarily working on the lower half of the show and often in six-man tag team matches. On June 30, 2019, Kawato-San defeated Audaz to win his first professional wrestling title, the CMLL World Lightweight Championship. In the following month, Kawato suffered a knee injury, leading him to be sidelined for four months, leading him to be stripped of the CMLL World Lightweight Championship due to the injury. On November 6, 2019, it was announced that Kawato-San had returned to Mexico after recovering from his knee injury. Three days later, Kawato made his in-ring return teaming with El Felino and Rey Bucanero in a losing effort against Atlantis Jr., Ángel de Oro, and Niebla Roja.
Starting in late October, Kawato San and Dulce Gardenia became involved in a storyline feud in CMLL, with the two facing off in six-man tag team matches throughout November and December. Kawato and Gardenia both agreed to "bet" their hair. The Lucha de Apuestas match was the main event of the 2020 Sin Piedad ("No Mercy") CMLL show held on January 1, 2020. Gardenia won the match two-falls-to-one, leading Kawato San to be forced to shave all his hair off. Kawato San was one of 12 wrestlers competing in the 2020 Reyes del Aire ("Kings of the air") tournament but was the sixth wrestler eliminate, after being pinned by Rey Cometa.
Return to NJPW (2020–present)
On June 15, 2020, NJPW began airing a pre-taped vignette promoting the debut of the "GrandMaster". On July 3, during the 2020 New Japan Cup semifinals, Kawato made his NJPW return under the ring name Master Wato, the mysterious "GrandMaster", who had been teased since June. He would make a formal appearance at the event introducing himself, before being attacked by DOUKI. On July 11, in his return match, Wato defeated DOUKI. Afterwards, Wato was attacked by DOUKI's Suzuki-gun stablemate Yoshinobu Kanemaru, until Hiroyoshi Tenzan made the save. After that Wato and Kanemaru would culminate to feud through the whole Summer Struggle tour where on August 29, 2020 at Summer Struggle in Jingu Wato would be ended up losing to Kanemaru. From November 15 until December 6, Wato took part in the 2020 Best of the Super Juniors, finishing the tournament with a record of four wins and five losses, failling advance to the finals of the tournament.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- Boston crab
- Missile dropkick
- Recientemente (Modified side gutwrench driver into a crucifix pin)
- Reverse powerbomb
- Rolling elbow
- Ude hishigi waki gatame
- "Way to the GrandMaster"
- Entrance themes
- "GrandMaster" by Yonosuke Kitamura
Championships and accomplishments
- Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre
- CMLL World Lightweight Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #478 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2017
Luchas de Apuestas record
|Winner (wager)||Loser (wager)||Location||Event||Date||Notes|
|Dulce Gardenia (hair)||Kawato-San (hair)||Mexico City||Sin Piedad||January 1, 2020|
- Yohei Komatsu vs. Hirai Kawato (NJPW – 01/03/16) (in en-US).
- Lion's Gate Project10 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Retrieved on 2017-12-21.
- KAWATO ARRIBARÁ A MÉXICO Es de los jóvenes talentos @njpw1972 que tendrá participación en esta Fantasticamanía 2018 y que arribará a México a finales de este mes de enero para participar activamente en el CMLL (in Spanish). Retrieved on 2018-01-09.
- Lion's Gate Project8 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
- Lion's Gate Project9 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
- Charlton, Chris 2017-10-23. Milano references Kawato's kick is a homage to Devitt (the Dreamcast) #njpst (in en).
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 2017 . The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved on 2017-09-08.