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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Hardcore Legends Part 2: Sabu
April 12, 2006 by James Watts


Suicidal. Genocidal. These are the words often used to describe Terry Brunk, aka Sabu. This man belongs amongst the all-time greats of hardcore wrestling, because he is willing to sacrifice everything, including his body, to get the job done inside the squared circle.

Sabu was born on November 12, 1964, and went on to become one of the most memorable athletes in all of wrestling for his violent, daredevil style between the ropes. As the nephew of the fire-throwing Sheik, it's no small wonder that Sabu enjoys the hardcore environment, having seemingly inherited his uncle's blood-thirsty nature and vicious style.

Sabu got his start after completing his training under his uncles' tutelage alongside athletes such as Rob Van Dam. He went overseas to compete in Japan, primarily in the violent FMW promotion run by Shouichi Arai, and there he would face off against men like Terry Funk and Hayabusa. He would pick up many of the scars on his body whilst competing in FMW's famous barbed wire matches.

After returning to the States, Sabu would join the NWA, primarily Eastern Championship Wrestling, which would be the turning point of his career. On October 2nd, 1993, shortly after Shane Douglas had proclaimed Eastern Championship Wrestling as Extreme Championship Wrestling, Sabu won the ECW World Heavyweight Title by defeating Douglas. He lost the title soon thereafter, but regained it in November of '93 when he teamed with the legendary Road Warrior Hawk to beat Terry Funk and King Kong Bundy in a tag team match.

Sabu suffered a near-disastrous turn of events on November 5th, 1994 when, in a match with Chris Benoit, Sabu mistimed a flip and landed squarely on his head, breaking several vertabrae in his neck. But Sabu wasn't one to lie down and quit, so he soon returned and shortly after the injury won the ECW Tag Team Titles by defeating Public Enemy alongside the Tasmaniac (better known today as Tazz).

Another high point in Sabu's ECW career was when he starting teaming up with mega-rival Rob Van Dam. They eventually went on to defeat Lance Storm and Chris Candido for the Tag Titles in a brutal affair that nearly saw Candido lose an ear to a leg drop from Sabu.

Sabu's three-way dances with Terry Funk and Shane Douglas are probably the most memorable matches in Sabu's ECW career, because they truly were incredible. One of them even saw the fifty-plus year old Funk perform an Asai moonsault!

After ECW folded in 2001, Sabu went back to the independent circuit for a while, engaging in a fierce rivalry with Devon Storm (Crowbar from WCW), as well as having bloody brawls with such hardcore lunatics as The Sandman, La Parka, Terry Funk and Necro Butcher.

Sabu would then join up with the NWA again, competing primarily in their TNA promotion in Florida, which would see Sabu match up with Ken Shamrock, Abyss, Raven, Rhino and Monty Brown in memorable bouts throughout his career there.

Yet, Sabu could not be kept off the indy circuit, and so after Turning Point 2005, Sabu left TNA to go overseas and compete in 1PW, as well as competing in Japanese promotion JAPW. He is set to return to the States against Samoa Joe inside a steel cage at Lockdown, and if Sabu's former matches are anything to judge by, then Joe is about to find out just what "hardcore" is all about.

by James Watts ..


Tainted Dreams wrote:
Hey James great article Sabu is one of the most hardcore wrestlers ever. I was just wondering if you were going to do articles on "Sick" Nick Mondo and the Necro Butcher because those two guys have got to be the most hardcore wrestlers i have ever seen.
MM wrote:
Nice article, but I wish you talked about the illness he got around 2004 that caused wrestlers and fans to make "A Night of Appreciation for Sabu". In addition, don't forget "Homicidal".
Ryan wrote:
Nick Mondo was out of control and in my opinion, one of the only comparable wrestlers to Sabu in terms of risk and punishment (Sabu is far better true wrestler than Mondo.) I recommend any fan of Sabu check out the documentary "Forever Hardcore", which has extended interviews with Sabu (the first I've ever seen or have since).
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