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Wrestling / Sabu

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We have met the most animalistic wrestler in the history of this sport. We have met Sabu.
Paul E. Dangerously, NWA Bloodfest 1993

Terry Michael Brunk (born December 12, 1964) is an American Professional Wrestler known as Sabu. He is the nephew of the legendary Sheik. He debuted in the 1980s in the Detroit independent scene, later following his uncle to the Japanese hardcore wrestling promotion FMW. This was where, as a result of competing in no-rope barbed-wire matches, he became the "scarred-up freak" the world would come to know and love. He debuted in NWA Eastern Championship Wrestling on October 1, 1993, and defeated NWA ECW Heavyweight Champion "The Franchise" Shane Douglas for the title the next night. He made his PPV debut at WCW Halloween Havoc 95, October 29, 1995, defeating Mr. JL (Jerry Lynn in a mask) Among his many achievements, he is a former 2x NWA ECW Heavyweight Champion/ECW World Heavyweight Champion, a former NWA ECW Television Champion, a 3x ECW World Tag Team Championnote , a former NWA World Heavyweight Champion, a former WWC Universal Champion, a former XICW Xtreme Intense Champion, a former Pro Wrestling Holland single's champion, a former New Japan Pro Wrestling IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and the World Wrestling League's first Extreme Champion. He has wrestled for ECW, WCW, WWE, TNA, New Japan Pro-Wrestling, FMW, CZW, MLW, Juggalo Championship Wrestling, All Japan Pro Wrestling, AAA, Fighting Opera HUSTLE, Dragon GATE USA, and that's barely scratching the surface. He competed all over the U.S., Canada, Europe, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand before announcing his retirement in November 2021.

Not to be confused with either of those two other guys named "Sabu."note 

"Homicidal, suicidal, genocidal, death-defying tropes!"

  • Arch-Enemy: The Tazmaniac/Taz, Rob Van Dam, Al Snow, the Sandman, Shane Douglas, 2 Cold Scorpio, Cactus Jack, Terry Funk, Justin Credible, La Parka (in Major League Wrestling in 2003), Abyss (in TNA)
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Determinator: He LIVES this trope. The guy once missed a table spot and lost some teeth after his mouth hit one of the legs. He went to the back, put Krazy Glue over the damaged area, covered it with athletic tape, and finished the match.
      • His performance in the infamous Born to Be Wired no-rope barbed-wire match where he defeated Terry Funk for the ECW World Heavyweight Title definitely qualifies.
      • The second time Sabu broke his neck, he was wrestling again 2 weeks later. No, not years, weeks.
      • Joey Styles likely said it best, as he often did, during the Sabu-Rhyno match at ECW One Night Stand 2005.:
        "Sabu personifies self-sacrifice. (...) I've seen him tear open his bicep in barbed wire, which later needed 100 stitches, he finished the match; he took some athletic tape and taped it up. Sabu will sacrifice his own well-being to win a match, and how do you beat a man, how do you beat a man who fears nothing, nothing!"
      • In that same match, Mick Foley, the guy who, among other things, has had his ear torn off, been set on fire more than once, lost who knows how much blood, and been thrown off/through the Hell in a Cell at least three times, gave us this quote:
    Mick Foley: I've been called the Hardcore Legend for a long time, and for a long time there was a debate over who was the wildes, who was the most maniacal wrestler, Sabu or myself. And it took me a while to admit to myself that I'm not even in the guy's league, Joey, I'm not sure if I could've continued with 100 stitches in my arm - with a cut that required 100 stitches. I've seen Sabu impaled on a guardrail, I was sure in a match with me he'd never continue. This man finds a reservoir of guts and pride somewhere deep in his soul that most of us will never have.
  • Bash Brothers: With the Sheik, Rob Van Dam
  • Berserk Button: His feud with the Public Enemy at the end of 1994 into early 1995 started because he objected to them using tables.
    • Do not take his headgear from him. This fan found this out the hard way.
  • The Berserker: Sabu really doesn't give a shit about his body when taking bumps; each cut and scar becomes a new story to tell.
  • Blasphemous Boast: Back around 1999, he had an official website and the link banners featured the slogan, "There are men, there are gods and then there is Sabu."
  • Blood Knight: In the Jericho podcast, Sabu claimed he wrestled a dark match (read: unaired) for Vince and got offered a contract. Sabu responded that he was not interested, and that he just wanted that dark match paycheck.
  • Captain Ersatz: Has them in Fire Pro Wrestling. It was confirmed to be Sabu in the Playstation 2 game.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: Aside from simply hitting people with them, he would use them to launch himself at his opponents or to launch himself onto the top rope. He also has a move called the "Arabian Facebuster" where he would drop a leg on his opponent's face with a chair underneath himself. He also had a top-rope somersault version called the "Atomic Arabian Facebuster." At ECW One Night Stand 2005, he defeated Rhyno with an "Arabian Skullcrusher," which was a standard Arabian Facebuster but off the top rope and sending Rhyno facefirst through a table.
  • Covered with Scars: Like many a garbage wrestler before him.
  • Dented Iron: So, so much. The list of injuries the guy has accumulated over the years would probably exceed Mick Foley's.
    • To put it in perspective, he ripped his bicep open (which he held together with tape and later super-glue), he's dislocated his jaw repeatedly, he's dislocated his knees, and has had his neck broken TWICE.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Confirmed by Mick Foley.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: For his first year or so in ECW, he would be wheeled out to the ring upright while chained to a board and wearing a mask.
  • Double Tap: After giving Danni D an Arabian facebuster from the top rope while Tengkwa draped her head across a table, Sabu gave another across the face after the table broke. This caused her to threaten him with a lawsuit.
  • Enemy Mine: He and Tengkwa against Big Geert, especially after Geert was inserted into their Pro Wrestling Holland title match due to Danni D.
  • Face/Heel Double-Turn: He and Taz, respectively, after their match at ECW Barely Legal, April 13, 1997.
  • Finishing Move: Triple Jump Moonsault, Triple Jump Legdrop, Arabian Facebuster, Atomic Arabian Facebuster, Camel Clutch
  • Garbage Wrestler: Albeit, one with a solid grounding in traditional wrestling.
  • Immune to Bullets: When Sabu first broke his neck, an X-ray scan found fragments of a bullet in his face. As it turned out, when he was eighteen he went to a house party and someone started shooting up the party. Thinking one of his friends had been shot he tackled the shooter, who shot him at point-blank range in the face. The bullet shattered upon impact.
  • Gimmick Matches: He and the Tazmaniac defeated the Public Enemy for the ECW World Tag Team Titles on February 4, 1995 at ECW Double Tables in the first-ever tables match.
  • Hand Wave: Until either medical science or psychiatry/psychology can explain how he keeps going after everything he's put his body through over the years, the easiest explanation may be to just say, "He's Sabu, that's how."
  • Juggalo: He appeared on stage during the Insane Clown Posse's Seminar at the 2002 Gathering of the Juggalos which was included in some editions of The Wraith: Shangri-La. He also makes a brief cameo in the music video for "Juggalo Island".
  • Kayfabe: Believed in maintaining it so much that, at times, when he had to go to the hospital, Paul Heyman would have to go with him because Sabu wouldn't want to have to break character by talking to the doctors and nurses. Considering his uncle and trainer The Sheik was one of the wrestlers who never broke character if he could help it, it's pretty easy to see where he got it from.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Former FMW wrestlers Masato Tanaka, Mr. Gannosuke, Megumi Kudo, Kintaro Kanemura, Tetsuhiro Kuroda, Mammoth Sasaki, GOEMON, Onryo, Hido, Shark Tsuchiya, Hisakatsu Oya, Ricky Fuji, Miss Mongol, Gosaku Goshogawara, Kaori Nakayama and Hayabusa, Ryuji Ito, Necro Butcher and Daisuke Sekimoto from Big Japan, Crazy SKB and Shinobu from 666, The Apache Army's Akrangers Takashi Sasaki & GENTARO, Asian Cougar, Asian Condor, Asian Monkey, Lingerie Muto, GAMI, Fang Suzuki, Seiji Ikeda, Eddie Edwards and Sandman, among others all showed up to work at Sumie Sakai's April 17, 2005 "WE LOVE SABU" benefit show which ended up successfully paying for Sabu's medical bills.
  • Nice Guy: Pretty much nobody has a cross word to say about him, which is rare indeed in the world of professional wrestling. Rob Van Dam has said that Sabu always tried to get the ECW guys booked on his cards then pay them out of his own pocket if the promoter tried short-changing them, AND make everyone dinner just to top it off.
  • No-Sell
    • Being thrown headfirst into a chair by Low Ki and two suicide dives (because Low Ki was still a rookie and botched both dives, the chair thing was just Sabu being tough)
    • Started no selling in WCW in order to get more moves in as his match time started being decreased and the much of the shortened matches were not even shown on camera in order to cut to other shenanigans.
  • Parts Unknown: Generally billed from Bombay India. However, because everyone knew he is really from Detroit, at times in ECW he would be announced as hailing from "Bombay, MI", which does not exist.
  • Power Stable:
    • (In FMW): The Sheik Army
    • (In WWE): The ECW Originals
    • (In TNA): EV2.0
    • (In AAA): Konnan's La Legion Extranjera
  • The Quiet One: Very rarely spoke while in character.
    • Averted later on in out of character interviews, Sabu is actually very outgoing and talkative.
    • Beware the Quiet Ones: Sabu's matches were often brutal even by ECW standards.
  • Red Baron: "The Suicidal, Homicidal, Genocidal Death-Defying Maniac", "The Human Highlight Reel"
  • Ring Oldies: Still jumped around and held title belts at 49; retired just shy of his 57th birthday in November 2021.
  • The Rival: Taz
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Abandoned ECW for Japan right before The Three-Way Dance, April 8, 1995, where he and the Tazmaniac, along with the Public Enemy, were scheduled to challenge Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko for the ECW World Tag Team Titles. Paul E. "fired" Sabu for this, and the crowd chanted "FUCK SABU! FUCK SABU!"note 
  • The Sociopath: In character, of course. He's known for being both "suicidal" and "homicidal" meaning he doesn't care what happens to himself so long as he gets to take someone with him.
  • Sore Loser: Refused to stop fighting Tommy Dreamer after being pinned in an extreme rules match in the WWL after Tommy Dreamer failed so much as to even bleed after Sabu broke a light tube over his head.
  • Spot Monkey: He is considered the innovator of the "spotfest" style of match. Unfortunately, this has also led to his status as a standard bearer for Botchamania, since, over time, he's likely messed up as many times as he's gotten something right.
  • Start My Own: Had his own NWA promotion in Detroit complete with his own title, the NWA Independent World Title.
  • Tag Team: Besides Rob Van Dam, The Hardcore Dream Team with Raven
  • Versus Title: XICW 159: Rhino vs. Sabu
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Showed up for his match with Taiyo Kea (Maunakea Mossman, the nephew of King Curtis Iaukea) at MLW Reload, September 26, 2002, with an American flag on his head instead of his usual keffiyeh. He did so in Impact Championship Wrestling at the Elks Lodge as well.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Put Danny Doring and Roadkill's red-haired tattooed valet Ms. Congeniality through a table to send her out of ECW.
  • Wrestling Family: His uncle is the Original Sheik.