In appreciation of Sabu.
It is absolutely no secret that I am a major Sabu fan. First time I met him I didn’t speak to him, I just shook his hand and walked off thinking ‘That was pretty damned cool” then went about my business and sat down next to Paco to call a match.
I can’t describe how difficult it is to call a Sabu match. I have always had the up most respect for Joey Styles being able to call an entire ECW show by himself, but imagine calling a Sabu match. He’s fast, he combines his moves so fluidly and the impact is tremendous. If you have only seen this phenom on tape then you’re really missing out.
I feel bad for some that have only seen THE Sheik on tape and never saw him live, the combination of crowd reaction and in ring antics provide me with memories that will last until I decide it’s time to die. (I don’t plan on leaving until I’m 107 which is 1 year more than my oldest relative, rest in piece)
I have held off on writing about Sabu for a while. If you’re looking for gossip or rumors then you’re reading the wrong column.
I will say that he had a virus and the years of abuse in the ring finally caught up with him. He was critical for a while, and then came back good enough to go home then had a relapse was in the hospital for a total of 55 days. Those are some major hospital bills that have not been taken care of yet but I have a plan, albeit a small one that I am sure you will both enjoy and be willing to help me out on.
From Japan to Philadelphia, from California to Puerto Rico, from Florida to Michigan and all points in between the name Sabu means one thing. Wrestling excellence. The words that I have read and heard from others run the gambit from ‘destruction”. “insane” “bloody” “Hardcore” “influential” “amazing” “death defying” “scary” and “maniac” Let’s all be honest here, who else do you hear those words attached too? Hulk Hogan? Nope, I told you to be honest, how about HHH? We both know better. The Rock? The movie star or the wrestler? Oh yeah, same guy.
Let’s go back in time and see who we can attribute those monikers too. Sgt Slaughter? No, that was mean to even try that. Don Murraco? Big fan of the real Rock but nope, doesn’t fit. So, who can we compare him too? THE Sheik and maybe Abdullah, more Sheik than Abdullah and of course Terry Funk but that about wraps up that exercise in futility.
Sadly many people think that Paul Heyman discovered Sabu and thrust him into the spotlight in the beginnings of what eventually became ECW. Well sit back boys and girls good old Uncle Medicine is going to tell you a story.
Sabu began training under the auspices of THE Sheik, Ed Farhat Sr in the early 1980’s at THE Sheik’s gym. Growing up watching his uncle it is with little doubt that Sabu was influenced by him and the era of Big Time Wrestling in Detroit and around Michigan. Sabu started at the bottom, and when I say bottom I mean he worked setting up the ring, taking down the ring, selling programs and doing any and everything Sheik asked of him. His training consisted of workouts in the morning, then chores around the house, then in-ring trainings. It was five years before Sabu had a match in front of anyone. I want to say that again so that those wrestlers who look like 50 pounds of dog crap who keep sending me tapes, or pictures or just plain e-mails begging for a spot unseen on our TV, who have yet to prove they can even manage a headlock, get the message loud and clear. IT WAS FIVE YEARS BEFORE SABU EVEN HAD A MATCH IN FRONT OF A CROWD. In other words, pay some frickin dues before you tell me that you think that you and Sabu can have a match up that will “blow the roof off the place”.
Sorry, got sidetracked.
With Sabu’s debut in 1985, under the name of Terry S.R. he lost to each and every person he faced for YEARS. (Feel like repeating myself again) Eventually Sheik gave Sabu the moniker of Sabu and it became a name that Sabu was so proud of that he turned down a offer from the WWF because Vince wanted Sabu to be part of the Headshrinkers when he offered him a job and wanted a name change.
When Sheik was offered to go to Japan for the Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling organization (FMW) he decided to take Sabu along with him. At this time Sabu was making quite a name for himself on the independent circuit here in Michigan. Sabu went on tour with THE Sheik and they faced some mighty hardcore opponents, like Tarzan Goto and Atushi Onita, remember that “fire death match”? You don’t?
(INSERT SHAMELESS PLUG HERE)It’s on the AWWL Best of Volume One, now available on VHS and DVD.
Those were one of the tours that Sheik was on with his nephew, and you can clearly see, well see between the flames, Sabu in that match. Sabu teamed with Horace Boulder (nephew of Hulk Hogan) and Mike “The Gladiator” Awesome against many top FMW stars in barb-wire match ups. Hence the scars.
After one of the tours Sabu would begin to break tables after losing a match. Physically putting himself thru the table until it broke. Sabu told me that one time it took 8 tries until the damn thing broke.
Side story, I was talking to Tom and he told me that when Sabu told him about breaking tables in the ring Tom asked “why would you do that? It doesn’t make sense” Sabu replied that it was just “my thing” Now this is back before the Dudley’s were yelling “Get the Tables” back before anyone else, at least anyone here in the U.S. was doing it.
Before long Sabu was using the tables as his special and unique way of destroying his opponents.
In the early 1990’s Sabu had legendary matches here on the independent circuit against the likes of Al Snow, Cactus Jack, Chris Candido, Terry Funk, Rob Van Dam, and a host of others. These matches have since become legendary for the work ethic displayed by Sabu and his opponents (feel the need to rant against guys stopping me at grocery stores or when I’m a dinner with my wife talking about how they can go “toe to toe” with Sabu. Kiss my naturally brown ass! You couldn’t go toe to toe with my cat)
When Paul Heyman began ECW his core group of guys consisted of Shane Douglas, Sabu, Terry Funk, Tommy Dreamer (he wore green suspenders…….) and eventually The Sandman, Raven and Taz. More than anyone of those men, Sabu became the embodiment of ECW. His athletic style and hard hitting high impact moves solidified the promotion as a real alternative to what was happening down south (WCW) and in New York (WWF). Sabu’s matches against Taz, Chris Benoit, Rob Van Dam, Justin Credible, Cactus Jack, 2 Cold Scorpio, The Sandman and of course Shane Douglas are the stuff that legends are made of. When people speak of ECW they say three names, Sabu, Shane Douglas and Raven.
Sabu’s work ethic is also legendary among the smart marks and the wrestlers. He was dropped on his neck by Chris Benoit in November of 1994, breaking his neck but Sabu returned two weeks later. When he broke his hands he tapped them, when he cut himself he super glued it shut. When Sabu tore his biceps open during the infamous barb wire match against Terry Funk he wrapped his arm in tape and continued the match. When he broke his jaw he wrapped it and kept going.
ALL I CAN SAY IS “DAMN!”
Sabu has had his hands in some larger organizations. Sabu and THE Sheik participated in Halloween Havoc for WCW in 1995 when Sabu took on Mr. JL (Jerry Lynn in a mask) and Sheik threw a fireball (If anyone has that footage please let me know, I would love to have a copy) Sabu also made several notable appearances on many of the first WCW Monday Nitro. I remember the one where he got DQ’d for putting Alex Wright thru a table after the bell. Sabu was also the talk of the inter-promotional deal that ECW had with WWF in 1997. Deservedly so, Sabu faced Taz during the debut PPV of ECW Barely Legal.
Here are some of his titles:
FMW WWA World Martial Arts Tag Team titles w/Horace Boulder (May 7, 1992);
NWA Independent World title (July 22, 1994);
UWA World Junior Light Heavyweight title (November 23, 1995);
ECW World Heavyweight title;
ECW World Television title;
ECW World Tag Team titles w/Taz;
ECW World Tag Team titles w/Rob Van Dam;
ECW (Unrecognized) FTW World Heavyweight title;
NWA World Heavyweight title defeated Mike Rapada (November 14, 2000);
Alternative Pro Wrestling MECW Title (August 11, 2001);
Insane Wrestling Federation Heavyweight title (December 28, 2001);
XPW World Heavyweight title;
3PW Heavyweight title (October 19, 2002);
USPW Heavyweight title (November 22, 2002);
WWC Universal Heavyweight title (March 15, 2003);
For me Sabu helped me to rekindle the love I have for wrestling. I stopped watching the WWF in the late 1980’s because I was just tired of Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior and the rest of them. I was bored with it all. I appreciated Ric Flair and Sting but was tired of them and the Horsemen were not the same once Lex Luger joined. So I stopped and it was when I just happened to go see a Indy show in the Detroit area with a college friend of mine that I saw Sabu take on Al Snow in a ladder match that made me want to see more of this again.
I was watching ECW before it was cool, I was trading tapes before there was an E-bay, I had a hook up in Philly and he wanted my collection of old BTW stuff which I don’t have anymore.
Sabu made me want to see wrestling again and want to follow the drama and excitement of the sport. He took the “sports entertainer” out of the equation and created or brought back the wrestling I loved. While Irwin R Shyster was mixing it up with Virgil, while Doink The Clown was fighting the Big Boss Man I was watching Taz and Sabu try to kill each other. Maybe I’m jaded, but I grew up watching BTW on Saturday afternoons, so the actual work ethic meant more to me than the gimmick. You can’t argue with Sabu’s gimmick though. Like THE Sheik, he doesn’t speak which is why we in the AWWL are blessed/cursed with Shaffee.
So as I mentioned before I have some special artifacts from the Night of Appreciation that was held for Sabu.
I have in my possession, a “Foley is Good” signed by Mick Foley himself
Very cool guy by the way.
I also have a signed official evening program, with signature that includes:
Sabu, Christopher Daniels, Raven, Shane Douglas, Jeff Hardy, Mick Foley, Monty Brown, D-Ray 3000, Chris Sabin, Insane Clown Posse, Shark Boy, A-1 and CK3.
I also have a set of 8x10 that are autographed that include Mick Foley, AJ Styles, Sharkboy, Jeff Hardy, Christopher Daniels, Raven, D-Ray 3000, The Alpha Male Monty Brown, Team Canada, Chris Sabin, and Abyss, and of course Sabu.
A Yokohama Death Match DVD signed by Mick Foley (includes Megumi Kodo’s last match and a barbwire death match featuring Terry Funk, Mick Foley and Mike Awesome against Tanaka and FMW, also Hayabusa vs. Mr. Ganosuke) AND A 3PW Recipe for Disaster DVD signed by Raven himself. That DVD includes a match up between Sabu and Terry Funk. I can more than likely get Sabu to sign it also.
Last but not least I have a Sabu T-shirt signed by Mick Foley, Raven and Shane Douglas and Sabu. THAT is a one of a kind item ladies and germs. If you want to see these items I will have them available for display and bids at our next house show in Mason Michigan on April 23rd.
I will then have them up for bid on our website the following week. So my suggestion is that you purchase your ticket in advance and be one of the first to check out what I have here. There will be more merchandise added but these are the key things I have on hand right now.
Knowing Sabu he does not want this done for him, he probably doesn’t even want this article but let’s be serious here for a second. 55 days total in the hospital is some serious cash. I spent two days in the hospital and the total is over 1000.00 bucks, and I have insurance! Don’t bother asking why I was hospitalized I’m NEVER GOING TO TELL YOU.
NOW RESERVE YOUR TICKET and see me at the show.
If you want to contact me feel free.
or call me at : YEAH RIGHT!