Lethal Wrestling
Lethal Entertainment
Shooting Star Press
Lethal Archives
Contact Us

Shootin' Sunday Half-Time Report: Sabu

Posted by AWC on

Because Sabu is much more entertaining than Terry Bradshaw acting like a douchebag.

Welcome to another edition of the highlight of your weekend, Shootin’ Saturday Night. I am AWC and this edition features a shoot with Sabu. Sabu is back on the indie scene after his WWECW stint ended and word on the street is he’s planning a new shoot to talk about his experiences working for Vince and the infamous pot bust with his buddy RVD. But this shoot was filmed while Sabu was contemplating retirement from wrestling after suffering a mystery illness.

Obviously Sabu got into wrestling due to his uncle The Original Sheik. Sheik stayed in gimmick 24/7, demanding the family refer to him as his kayfabe name and when someone called him on the phone asking for Ed Farrhat he pretended like he didn’t know who that was.....like when a bill collector calls Paul Heyman. He also would throw fireballs from time to time in public to make the marks think he was legit insane. Sabu loved his uncle and had plans to follow in his footsteps since he was 3 years old. What may surprise you is that Sabu was a decorated amateur wrestler at his Michigan high school, but he says he never shows off any mat wrestling in his matches because he knows the fans aren’t paying to see that. While in high school Sabu finally got the Original Sheik to agree to train him as a pro wrestler. For the first 7 months he never even wrestled, only did chores for the wrestling school so Sheik could show everybody even though Sabu was family he wasn’t going to get any special treatment.

Sabu didn’t start highflying until 2 years into his career, originally using his amateur wrestling background for his ring style. His first territory was in Ontario Canada where he worked summers only because he was finishing high school still in 1985. There he worked with Ricky Johnson (The Rock’s uncle), Kevin Sullivan, and Don Kent who he credits for helping him in the business. He found out later that Sheik called everybody in the promotion and told them all to be assholes to him so he’d pay his dues and not assume he’d have it easy in the business because his uncle was a legend. In the early days everyone in the locker room would tell him how great his matches were, but then Sheik would sit him down and tell him the negative parts to keep him grounded. “Being his nephew could have hurt me, but it helped me and I don’t think it made me.”

Sabu’s original gimmick was given to him without his knowledge. He came to wrestle thinking he would use his real name but he heard the ring announcer say “We have a special guest this evening. Please welcome the brother of Jimmy Snuka, Terry Snuka!” Sabu was looking around thinking it was another wrestler until it finally dawned on him that was his name in the promotion. Which pissed him off even though Snuka was one of his influences because fake family members in wrestling always bomb. After that he was called “Terry S.R.” but to this day has no clue what the S.R. stood for because Sheik gave it to him.

“I’m no kin to prostitute murderers!” - Sabu

Sabu made his first big show for Joel Goodhart’s TWA (which was the precursor to ECW.) He tagged along with the Sheik and got thrown into a battle royal which he hates doing. Tod Gordon worked at the show and was impressed with Sabu and made a mental note to hire him when he started Eastern Championship Wrestling a few years later. Sabu’s first impression of the Philly crowd was he thought they were total marks because they were more into the show than any other wrestling crowd he had ever seen, but then he understood that they were smarks who just wanted to suspend disbelief for the show and he respected that. “They were saying stuff like ‘Wow, this is going to be a bloodbath!’ And I would never say anything like that even if I wanted to believe. I’d just be like ‘Wow these guys are gonna..........bleed all over.”

Sabu worked a show in Ohio with Jerry Lawler who liked what he saw enough to offer him a job in Memphis. Sheik acting as his agent agreed to send him to Memphis but only if Lawler took another one of his students Rob Van Dam. In Memphis the two became good friends. But obviously the slow-paced Memphis style wasn’t a good fit for Sabu. He was frustrated when the veterans would come up to complain to him that he was “working too hard and should save it for the big shows.” Sabu’s philosophy was to wrestle every match like it was a big show because the fans paid money to be entertained. Another thing that didn’t sit well with him at Memphis was that nobody could ever get his name right. On television announcers would call him “Samu” and the fans thought his name was “Shamu” or “Shampoo” so he felt like nobody respected him. But Sabu still had a good working relationship with the Jarrett’s and Lawler even though the rest of the territory was very cutthroat and backstabbing was a favorite pastime.

In 1991 he got to go to Japan to wrestle for FMW, when he and Sheik entered their tag team tournament. Sabu is asked about a rumor that he cut up his upper body with razor blades before going to FMW to make it look like he had worked hardcore matches before so they’d hire him. Sabu thinks that rumor is hilarious and says if you watch his FMW footage you can see the scars slowly build up match by match. The majority of the scars came from his first barbedwire match. Sabu thought it was a one of a kind match so went out of his way to take barbedwire bumps....only to wrestle in one every other week later on. Sabu hated that they were working gimmick matches for nearly every FMW match because he feels those need to be kept special to sell tickets and to keep the fans from going numb on the violence. He enjoyed working for Onita but had a problem with him being a “player-coach” in the company but other than that was one of his favorite promoters to work for. When asked about Mr. Pogo: “Is he going to see this? Uh, he was okay.” He was flattered when Hayabusa patterned himself after him because he thinks he’s one of Japan’s greatest wrestlers. He felt terrible for him when he was paralyzed during a match but says even though the same thing could easily happen to him the possibility doesn’t scare him.

He worked a tag team fire match that was a nightmare. They planned to do a full match but the ring was burning too fast and they had to cut the match down for two minutes. Original Sheik was slower than everybody else and got heat burns because of it and Sabu vowed never to work with fire again.

Sabu was responsible for getting Louie Spicolli fired from FMW. They had to ride on a bus with no toilet across Japan and Spicolli had a very weak bladder and kept demanding that the bus pull over so he could go take a piss every 15 minutes. This was pissing everyone off because the frequent stops lengthened their ride. Sabu told him to just pee in a bottle and dump it out of the window so they wouldn’t have to stop for him. So when Spicolli starts to urinate in the bottle Sabu yells “HEY! LOUIE IS PISSING ON THE BUS!” which freaked everybody out and embarrassed Louie. When they went to a rest stop everyone left the bus but Louie and when they came back he was dumping his urine out of the window which made it look like he was pissing out of the bus window from the outside. Some disgusted wrestlers told the FMW office about this and they fired him from the tour for it. Sabu felt awful because he was the only friend Louie had in FMW and later made sure to get him an ECW job when he was fired from the WWF for drugs and nobody wanted to hire him.

In 1993 while Sabu was working for FMW still, he got a phone call for a try out match with the WWF. He didn’t feel he was ready for the WWF at the time but took the match against Owen Hart for the payday. The crowd and McMahon loved the match and McMahon approached Sabu in the locker room about signing a deal. But Sabu stunned Vince by declining the offer, saying he was happy working in Japan and Indies, to which McMahon replied in disbelief “You’re turning the WWF down to work spot shows?” But Sabu was happy with the freedom made impossible in the WWF.

In America Sabu would work for the New Jersey branch of the NWA, his most famous match being against Chris Benoit. One day the promoter called Sabu and gave him Tod Gordon’s phone number saying he was a money mark impressed with Sabu enough to offer him $500 a match. Sabu went there and tore the house down in a match against Taz. The show happened to be one of Paul Heyman’s first ECW shows and he convinced him to stay. Sabu says Heyman wasn’t planning to stay for long and had plans to open his own promotion in New York but never did. Heyman came up with the idea to bring Sabu out on a gurney wearing a Hannibal Lecter mask to make him appear more crazy which Sabu hated so much he demanded extra money to do it. Sabu has a love-hate relationship with Heyman but says he always respects him.

On his first impressions of Taz “He sucked. He was a cocksucking motherfucker. I ain‘t joking. Fuck Taz!” He says that Taz was one of the most paranoid people he’s ever met in wrestling that had an idea that everybody was out to get him. He also hated that Taz acted like he was a long time wrestling veteran that deserved to be put over everybody when in reality he wasn’t in the business as long as he lead people to believe. Sabu was really pissed off when Heyman informed him that he was going to be put in a tag team with Taz because he hated interacting with him because of his bad attitude. “I paid Scorpio and Guerrero to break his neck. I still owe them.” He says everybody should take their gimmick seriously while they’re wrestling but Taz stayed in character the entire time he was on the road which rubbed everyone the wrong way.

Sabu credits Terry Funk with helping him get to where he is by putting him over in great matches. He thinks he’s one of the best teachers in wrestling because he never nags and doesn’t over analyze things like other people. The Night The Line Was Crossed 3 way dance is one of Sabu’s career highlights even though he was totally exhausted and injured during it. He was so out of it by the end of the match when he heard the fans chanting “Terry! Terry!” he got pissed off thinking they were taunting him with his real name when obviously they were chanting for Terry Funk. But Sabu didn’t realize it was ECW’s turning point because he was too busy and he had to look back on his career years later to see the high points.

Sabu’s trademark in wrestling is breaking tables. The idea popped up out of nowhere when in FMW he uncle told him to get his heat back after jobbing. Sabu grabbed a table and moonsaulted through it and it got over so big he had to do it every match. Sometimes when he wasn’t on an ECW show Heyman had Public Enemy do it which pissed him off because Paul didn’t ask for his permission or even inform him about it, he saw them do it on TV.

Sabu had a hardcore dream match against Cactus Jack when he was on loan from WCW. He doesn’t remember too much about the match but agrees with Foley that their first match had too much hype going in to meet fans expectations. One thing he does remember is Foley asking for a spot where Sabu broke a real beer bottle over his head which he didn’t want to do because it was too dangerous. The bottle wouldn’t break but Foley kept asking him to keep trying until the glass shattered over his head. “I was denting his fucking head!”

Sabu brought Chris Benoit into ECW from Japan and they had a great feud. The problem was in their first match a back body drop was botched and Sabu landed directly on his head which broke his neck. Feinstein recounts how he drove him to the hospital afterwards and in his x-ray it was discovered Sabu has a bullet in his face, which he got when somebody shot him and his friend at a party as a teenager. The doctors told Sabu he would never wrestle again, but he accepted a booking in Japan 2 weeks later and just worked through the pain and wrestled in a neckbrace. Sabu jokes that Benoit broke his neck on purpose....now he might not be joking.

As ECW grew and Sabu was arguably its biggest draw, Heyman started demanding that Sabu stay exclusive to them because the shows he wasn’t on because he was working for FMW and All Japan weren’t drawing as well. Sabu thought it was a ridiculous demand because ECW wasn’t working nearly enough to make a living in; he worked in Japan to make a living and worked ECW on weekends for fun.
But as ECW was rising in popularity, FMW was declining. Sabu blames Onita retiring and then coming back for their decline, saying the fans felt that was dishonorable because they paid to see him on his “farewell tour” only for him to return years later thinking it would be a successful angle but having it blow up in his face with fans and wrestling magazines dubbing him “Mr. Liar.” The money there started declining and even Onita declined his requests for a raise he quit the promotion and worked for New Japan who could afford huge pay days since they were the biggest company in the country. He wrestled Eddie Guerrero in one of his first NJPW matches where on his way to the ring a Japanese fan ripped his turban off and Sabu chased him through the crowd, making many think he was beating him up. Sabu says he didn’t hit the fan but thinks it looks more realistic if it appears you’re threatening the fans. “Why would we be out on the crowd only hitting each other when there’s all those people around us, laughing at us and throwing shit at us? Well, we’re crazy but we don’t want any lawsuits. But you’re not really crazy if you care about lawsuits.” One of the famous legends of Sabu was that he attacked Yakuza at an FMW show. This is half-true because Sabu did hit them but says it wasn’t intentional. The Yakuza held the FMW wrestlers hostage at their hotel until Sabu, Onita and the mob worked out their differences. “It was fucking scary and it sucked because....nah, I’d better not say it.”

“I have no knowledge of any Japanese crim families.” - Sabu

Sabu was able to work Japanese and ECW shows even on the same day due to the time differences, but one day he got his flight delayed and missed the 3 way dance between he and Taz against Benoit and Malenko and Public Enemy. That lead to Heyman coming out during the show and cutting a scathing promo on Sabu claiming he doesn’t care about the ECW fans to turn them against him. Sabu was pissed off at first with the fans and Heyman because he feels they should understand he needed to make a living in Japan (where he made $6,000 a show compared to ECW’s $1,000) and they he would have made it up to them at the next show. But in hindsight he’s flattered they were that passionate about the product to turn on him. He says that 3 days later Heyman called him up apologizing and asking him to come back but he declined. Sabu claims he called Taz and Benoit/Malenko to explain to them what was happening the night of the show and they all told him they understood but then they were leading “Fuck Sabu!” chants in the Arena which pissed him off.

Sabu denies he had any heat with Abdullah The Butcher. He wanted to work with him in Tokyo Pro but wanted a build up to it because it was a huge match for the fans. But on his first night in the company Mr. Pogo cancelled out against Abdullah so they had Sabu wrestle him. He says the match sucked because he wasn’t motivated due to his wishes being denied. The match ended in a double count out and everybody thought it was because Sabu didn’t want to job but really it was because he “didn’t want to throw that match away. We could have made a 2 year run out of that fucking thing.”

Kevin Sullivan found out Sabu was gone from ECW and called him up asking for his price to appear on the first edition of WCW Monday Nitro, but he told him he was in Japan that night and couldn‘t do it. He worked out a deal to debut on the 2nd Nitro for $500. But WCW misunderstood him thinking he wanted $500 for every show when that was just for his first night and he wanted a contract worked out. They took forever to get back to him about a real deal, which Heyman found out about him and he called asking Sabu to double cross them and show up in ECW for $3,000. Sabu says he had no intentions of leaving WCW at that time and it was just a one time deal, which he explained to Eric Bischoff when he called him up pissed off when he found out Sabu was at the ECW show. Bischoff told Sabu it was okay but less than 24 hours later someone informed him WCW’s 900 number hotline was announcing Sabu was fired from WCW. The worst thing about WCW to Sabu was that they didn’t want him doing table spots but a few months later when Public Enemy debuted they allowed them to use tables. “It bothered me for years to see guys use my table spots. But then when I saw Vince McMahon carry a table to the ring it didn’t bother me anymore.”

Sabu went back to ECW full-time and says he and Heyman had no heat upon his return. Actually nobody had heat with him, kissing his ass and telling him they’re glad he’s back after burying him to the public for months.

How did Sabu start using Crazy Glue to close up his wounds? “I don’t know, I think I saw it on MacGyver or something.” Sabu says he was trying to get his own brand of superglue called “Sab-Glue” because he was so famous for it, but EMTs actually really do use it to close bad wounds Another infamous injury was the time in Japan where he broke both of his hands during a botched spot and ducttaped them in a makeshift cast until he could get to a hospital.

Sabu calls 2 Cold Scorpio the best wrestler he ever wrestled even though they both nearly died twice during back to back matches. Once the ring collapsed during a Superplex and another time they broke the top rope and fell to the floor nearly breaking their necks. When they came to the back they told the wrestlers that but they all said they didn’t notice because the OJ Bronco chase was on the news and they were all watching that instead of the match.

The build up to the Barely Legal match with Taz for an entire year was partially a shoot. Sabu was refusing to wrestle him when Taz kept demanding the match so Taz started shooting on him in his promos to draw him in but Sabu kept ignoring him. Sabu credits this with making Taz because his promos got great when he was legit pissed at Sabu for ignoring him and Heyman finally convinced him to wrestle Taz at Barely Legal. He says Heyman didn’t pressure him to have an amazing match but he pressured himself like he does for every match. The decision to turn Fonzie on Taz to join Sabu came when Heyman realized Taz really didn’t need a manager to cut promos for him but Sabu did. Sabu says he tried to talk Heyman into coming back on TV as his manager but he turned the idea down.

Arguably Sabu’s most famous ECW moment was the Born To Be Wired match against Terry Funk. But Sabu says he thinks the match wasn’t that great even though people always put it over as ECW’s best moment. He says tearing his bicep open early in the match hampered what he and Funk had planned so he was disappointed. ECW’s doctor at the time was a podiatrist who was friends with Raven and he had to give Sabu 150 stitches in the dressing room to close the wound. Sabu wasn’t happy about that since he didn’t think the doctor would know what he was doing but he said “I save lives!” “But you’re a fucking foot doctor.” “Yeah, I know.” Shortly after that Sabu broke his jaw in a match with Sandman when he botched a triple jump moonsault and taped his jaw shut to continue the match. Sabu always made sure to get blood tests after bleeding with wrestlers after Onita discovered he had hepatitis after a match.

“Guess I won’t be eating any pussy tonight.” - Sabu

He loved his matches against Rob Van Dam because they always tore the house down. But one of their pay per view matches in 1998 was almost a disaster because Sabu kept vomiting during the match. He wasn’t feeling good so took some pain pills, smoked a joint and drank a can of Mellow Yellow before going out for his match. 2 minutes into the match he started puking 4 times in 10 minutes but had to continue the match because it was a 30 minute broadway. He thought their tag team was good but they were always better opponents.

Heyman wanted a working relationship with FMW and used Sabu as his connection since he was close to the company. He claims Heyman didn’t pay Hayabusa and Jinsei Shinzaki what he promised them at the 1998 Heatwave PPV so Sabu had to pay them the difference out of his own pocket. He hated having to be the medium because Heyman kept breaking promises to FMW (shocker) and Sabu had to work his ass off to cover them up. Onita was going to come in to feud with Sandman but Onita didn’t like the way Heyman ran things so the feud only lasted one show. Sabu says Heyman never said anything to him when Konnan quoted Sabu calling Paul Heyman a liar because “you can’t get mad at the truth, can you?”

Sabu asked Heyman for a raise but was turned down like everybody else. Heyman had promised to make sure he was ECW’s highest paid wrestler (the same promise he also made to Sandman and Taz) and when he found out that wasn’t the case he started looking elsewhere for employment. In Sabu’s opinion they were spending money beyond their means for years before the company started to collapse, but he thought they would always find a way to stay afloat. On his last night with the company Sabu pissed off Heyman for refusing to put Super Crazy over but denies it had anything to do with him. “If he said do the job for Hulk Hogan or my mother I would have turned it down.” Heyman brought Sabu a script for the match which dumbfounded him and he told Heyman “I don’t know how to read” and walked away from him. Paul followed him in the locker room reading the script to him which pissed him off. At the end of the script reading after Sabu gets pinned Heyman gave him the option of shaking Crazy’s hand, doing his pointing to the sky pose or just leaving, Sabu said “Okay, I’ll just leave” and grabbed his bag and left the arena. Heyman said if Sabu wasn’t going to work for ECW he would see to it he wouldn’t work anywhere and filed a lawsuit against him to prevent him for working anywhere else claiming he was violating his contract.

Sabu signed a deal with WCW after telling Kevin Sullivan he didn’t have an ECW contract but Heyman sued him claiming he did. WCW told Sabu he could either try to work out his problems with Heyman by himself and then come to WCW or they would pay off the money Heyman claims he had Sabu signed for but take it out of his new contract. Sabu chose to settle it himself since he said Heyman was lying, but to this day it hasn’t gone to court due to delays so he never got to WCW.

But unfortunately he did make it to XPW after Big Dick Dudley gave him Rob Black’s phone number. “I thought XPW was the shits, but they wanted to pay me and kiss my ass so I let em.” He was miserable in XPW because he felt it was a huge step down in his career to be working against Messiah (who he calls too skinny to be a serious wrestler) when at that same time he was supposed to be making big money in WCW which Heyman fucked up for him. He announced he was leaving with the plan to drop the XPW title to Messiah on his way out....unfortunately he got caught fucking Lizzy Borden and was dismissed from the promotion. The new plan was for Sabu to job to Rob Black on the way out which he shit all over obviously. So they came up with an idea to have Black leave during the match and for “White Trash” Johnny Webb to come out dressed as Rob Black to beat him in a screwjob. He turned that down too so they finally worked out a plan for Webb to pin Sabu’s manager Jon Lazie in a tag match with the XPW title on the line. He hated that too but was just happy to get out of XPW. His opinion on Messiah’s thumb getting cut off: “That was great.”

“Your face is burning like my dick after visiting that Japanese Bath House last night, Terry.” - Sabu

But his career got even lower when he joined MECW. He worked a show in Indiana where there were only 15 people in the crowd: 11 of which were wrestlers family members and 4 fans who actually paid. But the promotion was run by money marks who still got the wrestlers limos to ride around in, 1st class airline tickets and put them up in nice hotels. Obviously they quickly ran out of money and dried up. Sabu’s first paycheck with them turned out to be a counterfeit check, which Sabu’s bank accused him of making to cheat them which embarrassed him so obviously he quit the company.

Sabu says the WWE never contacted him about coming in during the InVasion angle. so he joined TNA and continued working indies. He felt he was hitting his stride again in TNA but then he came down with an illness that forced him to take time off from wrestling. His opinion on the X Division is that it’s fun to watch but he feels they’re working too many high spots into their matches for their own good. He also realizes the irony of that statement because people said the same thing about his matches. He then shocks the internet by defending both the Insane Clown Posse and Teddy Hart in the same sentence as misunderstood and cool people if you get to know them.

Sabu hates the WWE product because he feels it’s too flashy and hates all the non-wrestlers like the McMahon family getting TV time over actual wrestling. He doesn’t think wrestlers should be treated as “stunt men in a soap opera” and the WWE should go back to just wrestling because that’s what the fans tune in for. Sabu also hates the openness of wrestling due to the internet but has accepted there’s no going back so you just have to deal with it. But he feels Japanese wrestling is worse off than American wrestling because all the top stars left the big two organizations to open their own companies. “There’s too many kings. Go back to the days when Baba and Inoki were the only kings.” He thinks Inoki made a mistake trying to blend MMA and pro wrestling together because bringing in shoot fighters makes pro wrestling look weak in comparison.

His favorite indies to work for are 3PW because he enjoys working with Tod Gordon and also for Frank Goodman’s USA Pro shows in New York. But like everybody he hates how long the events are “I’m doing this interview because I’m still waiting to go on.” He hasn’t trained anybody since he was working with a wrestler named Yukon Braxton who was complaining about bad headaches during training. Sabu thought he was just being a bitch about it and yelled at him to suck it up and keep taking bumps. It turned out he had a brain aneurysm and died a few days later. “Shit. Sorry. So I won‘t train anybody again because they might die.”

He has no regrets about his career, although he wishes he didn’t break his neck in 1995 and “I’m a little bitter because I’m not rich.” He’s a little angry about Heyman screwing him over because Heyman always used to tell people he was a man of his promises but almost seemed to go out of his way to break them. Like everybody he’s owed money from ECW still but has given up on trying to get it because he knows it’s never going to happen.

Sabu found out The Original Sheik died when he was wrestling in Japan. He was pronounced dead while Sabu was flying to Japan and when he was picked up at the airport he was informed of his death, unfortunately less than a half hour before the show began at the Tokyo Dome. He credits him with teaching him a lot of the business but says he never understood that some of his business practices may have worked in his time but the business had changed so when Sabu would compromise for promoters he’d yell at him about it.

Sabu was originally asked to play The Sultan gimmick in 1997 in the WWF (it later went to Rikishi.) Sabu was open to going to the WWF at that time but didn’t want a new gimmick and hated that one. Another problem was they wanted The Iron Sheik to be his manager and since The Original Sheik hated him Sabu didn’t want to piss his uncle off by doing that. “If I did that my uncle would have died before he died.” Although he probably missed out on some good A to the Z. He would consider going to the WWE if they asked him today, but he’s mad about not getting any royalties from The Rise & Fall Of ECW DVD. “Vince is making money on me but I’m not making money on me? What the fuck?!”

While working in Puerto Rico his arm got infected and the infection spread to the rest of his body by the time he got to a doctor. He had to spend two months in a hospital battling the infection and lost his muscles due to being bed ridden and not working out. He feels better today but is trying to work out to regain his strength so he can wrestle again.

He doesn’t have any messages for the fans, thinking he’ll just sound dumb and corny so he just tells people to buy tickets to support wrestling. End shoot.

Good stuff. Sabu has a good sense of humor which is surprising because he always had a reputation in the ECW days of being self-serious like Taz, but that seems to be far from the truth. It will be interesting to see what volume 2 will bring when he talks about getting arrested with RVD.

Peace, Love & Barbwire Mike Pays Me In Counterfeit Checks Too - AWC