Here in week 16 of the countdown to find out who the number one pro wrestler of the past 25 years really is, we examine No.35 on the list, Sabu.
-Two time ECW World Champion
-One time ECW FTW World Champion
-One time NWA World Champion
-Three time ECW Tag Team Champion (once with Taz and two times with Rob Van Dam)
Sabu began his wrestling career while being trained by his uncle, wrestling icon The Sheik. From there, Sabu wrestled for several Indy promotions and even tried his hands in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) before heading to ECW in 1993.
Upon arriving in ECW, Sabu won the ECW Championship in September 1993 from Shane Douglas. He would hold the title for three months before losing the strap to Terry Funk in a “No DQ” Match. While wrestling Chris Benoit in November of 1994. Sabu broke his neck when he landed awkwardly after a back suplex.
After returning from the severe neck injury, Sabu began teaming with the Tazmaniac (who would go on to be known as just “Taz”) and the two became ECW Tag Team Champions by defeating The Public Enemy (Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock) in February of 1995. Taz and Sabu would lose the titles three weeks later to Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko. Shortly there after, Sabu no showed an ECW event in order to wrestle in Japan, causing ECW Owner and Promoter Paul Heyman to come to the ring and publically fire him.
Sabu headed to WCW in the fall of 1995. After brief feuds with Jerry Lynn and Alex Wright, Sabu left WCW and headed back to ECW in early 1996.
Sabu went on to main event ECW’s first ever pay per view, “Barley Legal”, losing to his former partner, Taz. Sabu then took part in the short lived “Invasion” angle where a number of ECW stars showed up on WWE’s Monday Night Raw. A few months later, Sabu won his second ECW Title, defeating Terry Funk in a gruesome Barbed Wire Match. The match is viewed by many as the most extreme wrestling match in ECW history. Sabu’s second reign was short, as he lost the strap to Shane Douglas in a Triple Threat Match that also included Funk less than a month later.
Following the run at the top of the card, Sabu began teaming with Rob Van Dam,.Sabu and RVD defeated Chris Candido and Lance Storm in June of 1998 to win the ECW Tag Team Titles. Sabu and RVD held the titles for four months before losing the straps to The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von). In early December of 1998, Sabu defeated Taz for the FTW Championship (A second World Title that ECW added for a short time). As the reigning FTW Champion, Sabu and RVD regained the Tag Team Titles from Bubba Ray and D-Von. Less than a month later, Taz defeated Sabu (who was wrestling with a neck brace because of a second broken neck) for the FTW Championship at “Living Dangerously”.
Meanwhile, Sabu and RVD remained Tag Team Champions until April of 1999, when D-Von Dudley defeated RVD in a one on one match, giving the Dudleys the Tag Team straps again. Sabu left ECW in late 1999.
Sabu wrestled for numerous Indy promotions from 2000-2003, highlighted by becoming the NWA World Champion in November of 2000, defeating Mike Rapada. Sabu would lose the title back to Rapada a month later.
Sabu then joined TNA/NWA in 2002. He went on to feud with the likes of Abyss and Monty Brown from 2002-2003. In the summer of 2004, Sabu suffered a serious back injury, sidelining him for almost a year.
Sabu returned to action for TNA in 2005, engaging in feuds with Jeff Jarrett, Abyss and Rhino, among others, before leaving the promotion. Later than year, Sabu took part in Shane Douglas’ Hardcore Homecoming event and WWE’s One Night Stand pay per view before heading back to TNA.
Upon returning to TNA, Sabu resumed his feud with Abyss, cumulating with TNA’s first Bared Wired Match which saw Sabu come out as the victor. Sabu left TNA once again in the spring of 2006 and headed to WWE.
Sabu debuted in WWE as part of the ECW vs. WWE angle and had a few high profile matches, including challenging Rey Mysterio for the World Heavyweight Title at One Night Stand 2006 and Big Show for the ECW Title at Summer Slam 2006. In both these bouts, Sabu was unable to capture gold. Sabu left the WWE in the spring of 2007.
Sabu has continued to work Indy shows since his departure from WWE, despite countless injuries. His last known match was against Rob Van Dam for AWR out of Oberhausen, Germany.
Sabu is easily one of the biggest risk takers in the history of pro wrestling. While he never held a World Title in WWE or WCW, he was one of the founding fathers of the original ECW and was three time World Champion while wrestling for Paul Heyman. The committee feels his ability to pull off hardcore matches for 25 years bumps him up numerous notches on this list.