Pro Wrestling
Pro Wrestling

Terry Michael Brunk (December 12, 1964) better known by his ring name Sabu, is an American independent professional wrestler. He is well known for his work in Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) and in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) on its ECW brand.

Professional wrestling career

Training and Frontier Martial–Arts Wrestling (1991–1993)

Brunk was trained by his uncle, Ed Farhat (The Sheik), and was initially trained to be a technical wrestler. He began his wrestling career in 1985 in the Sheik's promotion, Big Time Wrestling, and was billed as being from Saudi Arabia under the ring name "Sabu the Elephant Boy" (use of "The Elephant Boy" was dropped in his later days), as well as Terry S.R (the S.R. standing for Sheik's Revenge). He was not billed as Terry Brunk, since it could confuse him with Terry Funk.

He soon traveled with his uncle to Frontier Martial–Arts Wrestling (FMW), where he received many of the cuts and bruises on his arms and torso for which he became famous. Brunk cleared all rumors that the cuts and bruises were self-induced in a shoot interview with RF Video, confirming that they were a result of numerous hardcore matches he was involved in, including participating in over two dozen no-rope barbed wire death matches. Sabu often competed in Japanese hardcore matches, where he teamed with the Sheik, Tiger Jeet Singh and Horace Boulder. Sabu feuded with the likes of Tarzan Goto and Atsushi Onita in FMW.

Extreme Championship Wrestling (1993–1995)

Brunk revealed in a shoot promo and in the documentary film Forever Hardcore that in fact it was not Paul Heyman that brought him into Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) but that he was at the right place at the right time. He was referred by a friend to Tod Gordon. According to the storyline, Sabu, who at that time often arrived to the ring by his handler 911, was an uncontrollable madman strapped to a gurney and with a Hannibal Lecter-style face mask while trying to break free (he claimed to hate this part of his gimmick as he was normally tired before he started his match). Sabu could only be released from his bonds to wrestle his matches. Sabu also quickly became synonymous with table-breaking at this time; if a table was not broken during the match, Sabu would break a table with his own body after the bell had sounded, sometimes leading to 911 having to restrain Sabu during backstage interviews if a table was present.

One of the most notable aspects of Sabu's early career was his refusal to speak, a gimmick that he inherited from The Sheik (who never spoke English in public to protect kayfabe). In his early career, Sabu was billed as being from Saudi Arabia, or Mumbai, India (in real life he is a second generation Lebanese American from Detroit). In ECW, however, he was clearly heard speaking in the ring on several occasions and it was fairly common knowledge that Brunk was an American citizen from birth. This led to a joke at kayfabe's expense when Sabu began to be billed as hailing from "Bombay, Michigan".

The most significant matches during the early part of Sabu's career in ECW were his three-way dance for the ECW Championship at The Night the Line Was Crossed, against Terry Funk and Shane Douglas, which went to a 1-hour time limit draw and his tag team feud with The Public Enemy in which Sabu and his partner The Tazmaniac capture the ECW Tag Team Championship in a double tables match. Another notable event occurred when, after being scheduled for a 3-way dance for the ECW Tag Team title, Sabu no–showed the event to accept a booking in Japan, which led Paul Heyman to publicly and legitimately fire Sabu at the event. Sabu stated in the Forever Hardcore documentary that he had a career wrestling in Japan yet only wrestled once every so often for ECW; thus, he chose Japan over ECW.

World Championship Wrestling (1995)

Sabu made his WCW debut on September 11, 1995 on an edition of WCW Monday Nitro against Alex Wright. Sabu won the match, but the decision was reversed when after the match he put Wright through a table. Sabu continued to wrestle some of the cruiserweights in WCW in the early days of the division, including a match against Mr. J.L. at Halloween Havoc. Sabu came out victorious against J.L., and following the match Sabu's uncle Sheik hit J.L. in the face with his trademark fireball. His last match in WCW was against Disco Inferno, which Sabu won. Following his victory, he put Disco on a table on the outside and attempted to flip onto Disco but Disco moved. Sabu hit the table back first, but the table did not break. In response, Sabu became angered and threw the table and ring steps down the entrance way.

Return to ECW (1996–2001)

He eventually returned to ECW the next year, and engaged in matches and feuds with the likes of Rob Van Dam, with whom he later teamed up with and won the ECW Tag Team Championship twice. In the meantime, former tag team partner Tazmaniac (who had shortened his name to "Tazz") began to publicly challenge Sabu at every given opportunity, but got no response. After a year of call-outs and insults from Tazz, Heyman revealed that he had asked Sabu, as a friend, to ignore Tazz's challenge. This standoff culminated in a grudge match at ECW's first pay-per-view, Barely Legal, which Tazz won. The two continued to feud on and off for the remainder of Tazz's ECW career. Sabu mentioned in a shoot interview that he didn't want to work with Tazz for this match because he had already wrestled him before and wanted to work with other talent. He also mentioned that Tazz calling him out for a year was not planned. Paul Heyman convinced Sabu to wrestle Tazz at Barely Legal.

Sabu was later included in the WWF invasion angle, in which ECW wrestlers invaded WWF's Monday Night Raw program and held ECW-style matches and angles on the show. One memorable moment occurred at this show when Sabu appeared during Tazz's match with Mikey Whipwreck and prepared for an aerial move off the "R" in the "RAW" lettered entryway onto Team Tazz members, but instead accidentally fell off the "R". This was not planned which led to Sabu landing on top of Team Tazz members and becoming an inside joke between him and Tazz backstage. This invasion angle also led to a heel turn for Sabu in ECW as he teamed up with Rob Van Dam and their manager Bill Alfonso to promote the virtues of the WWF product over ECW's. Sabu feuded with ECW loyalists Tommy Dreamer and Sandman during this period.

One of Sabu's most infamous matches was the No-Rope Barbed-Wire match with Terry Funk at Born to be Wired, a match which was promoted as being "too extreme even for ECW" – and with good reason: both men bled profusely. In one of the most memorable moments in ECW history, Sabu attempted the "Air Sabu" corner splash on Terry Funk. Funk moved and Sabu ended up colliding violently into the wire which tore open his biceps. He then asked his manager Bill Alfonso for some tape and after Alfonso went to get some Sabu began to tape the gash up, which was about 10 inches long. Funk has stated that, to this day, he has never seen anything like what Sabu did that night. The match ended with both men so badly tangled up together in the barbed wire that it took several ring technicians armed with wire cutters to free them from the predicament (on the DVD Bloodsport – ECW's Most Violent Matches released by World Wrestling Entertainment, Paul Heyman said that the match was "so gruesome, I never ever dared to schedule another one like it", and that they never had another Barbed-Wire match in ECW because "no one could top that one – and in good conscience, I never want anyone to try") but Sabu said during an interview that Heyman wanted to do another Barbed-Wire match but Sabu would ask for more money each time.

Brunk racked up an astounding catalog of injuries during his ECW tenure, including broken ribs, a broken jaw, and breaking his neck twice. The first time he broke his neck was during his match with Chris Benoit at the November to Remember 1994 event. Benoit threw Sabu, intending that he take a flapjack bump, but Brunk attempted to turn mid-air and take a back body drop bump instead. The other was during a match against Tazz in December 1998, when Brunk took a Taz–Plex through a table and landed incorrectly. Brunk was able to recover from the neck injuries and return to wrestling, and he even wore a neck brace in his return match in the United States a month following the injury at Tazz's hands; by Brunk's account, however, he started actively wrestling in Japan on a short tour a little over two weeks after that injury.

Juggalo Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling All stars (2001–2003)

Sabu had a short stint in Juggalo Championship Wrestling. On July 14, 2001 in Toledo, Ohio he won a battle royal to determine the new JCW Heavyweight Champion, after the title was vacated earlier. One day later the former champion Vampiro won the championship back.

Sabu competed for the World Wrestling All-Stars (WWA) in a number of events during 2002 and 2003. This included four appearances on PPV and a number of memorable matches. His first appearance was at Revolution PPV in Las Vegas in February 2002. He faced Devon Storm in a hardcore match. He was defeated in this match after his manager Bill Alfonso accidentally hit him with a chair after Storm moved out the way. After the match Sabu and Storm continued to fight onto the ring entrance way. Sabu placed Storm on a table and leaped from the entrance way through Storm and the table. This feud continued on the next PPV, the Eruption, in Australia in April. Sabu fought Storm in a steel cage match. The action spilled out of the ring and the cage with Sabu gaining the victory after leaping from the top of the cage through Storm, who was placed on top of two tables on top of each other.

Next up Sabu took part in WWA European tour of November–December 2002. This included the Retribution PPV in Glasgow, which was broadcast two months later in February 2003. On this tour and PPV he fought former fellow ECW starts Perry Saturn and Simon Diamond in a three-way hardcore match. Sabu took the victory in each of these matches, usually gaining the pinfall over Diamond after Saturn left the match to defend his companion. His final appearance for the WWA came in their last PPV, The Reckoning, in New Zealand. During this tour he first fought Shane Douglas but due to injury he did not face him at the PPV. Instead Douglas came to the ring and eventually allowed Joe E Legend to face Sabu instead. Sabu won this match, his second and last WWA match ever.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2002–2006)

Sabu debuted in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) on July 17, 2002, defeating Malice in a ladder match. The next week he faced Ken Shamrock in a ladder match which was declared a No Contest when Malice interfered.

In 2004, Sabu teamed with Raven to defeat Raven's former "The Gathering" protégés, CM Punk and Julio Dinero. In March he began feuding with Monty Brown and Abyss, who outnumbered him on several occasions after Raven failed to "watch his back". Eventually Raven challenged Sabu to an empty arena match to be held on June 9, but Sabu refused to wrestle him, claiming that he had promised his uncle, The Sheik, that he would never fight Raven. Raven then waged a campaign against Sabu, disrespecting the memory of his uncle and assaulting Sabu's friend Sonjay Dutt, until Sabu finally broke and attacked him on July 23. Raven defeated Sabu on August 4, and a scheduled return match on August 18 was canceled after Sabu legitimately suffered a serious back injury.

While injured, Brunk contracted a virus and was hospitalized, sidelining him for ten months. On December 12 a benefit show, A Night of Appreciation for Sabu, was held by the AWWL to raise funds for him. The show was considered a success, raising enough money for Brunk to cover the costs of his medical care and he was able to make a full recovery. In his first match back from the injury in the AWWL/BTW, he defeated N8 Mattson. Sabu then appeared at Hardcore Homecoming, where he defeated Terry Funk and Shane Douglas in a three-way no-ropes barbed wire match, and at ECW One Night Stand two days later, where he defeated Rhyno.

Sabu returned to TNA on July 29, 2005. At Sacrifice Sabu teamed with his old enemy, and then NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Raven to face Jeff Jarrett and Rhino. Rhino and Jarrett won the match after Rhino gored Raven through a table and pinned him. The match saw Abyss interfering and attacking Sabu, starting a feud between the two of them. They went on to have a match at Unbreakable in September which Abyss won after performing his Black Hole Slam finisher on to a pile of tacks in the ring. Sabu once again found himself squaring off against Rhino and Abyss, as well as Jeff Hardy, during Bound for Glory in the Monster's Ball 2 match. Rhino won the match. On the same night, Sabu competed in a 10-Man Gauntlet Match to decide a number one contender, which he also lost, once again to Rhino.

Sabu continued his feud with Abyss, once again losing to him at Genesis after taking a Black Hole Slam onto a barbed wire steel chair. They met up again, in the promotion's first ever Barbed Wire Massacre at Turning Point. Sabu finally beat Abyss, but following the match was not seen on TNA TV for several months. He made his return at Lockdown on April 23, 2006 in a match against Samoa Joe for Joe's TNA X Division Championship, despite Sabu having a broken forearm. Sabu was defeated in what would turn out to be his final TNA match. Sabu was released soon afterwards from TNA.

World Wrestling Entertainment (2006–2007)

Shortly after his TNA release, on April 24, 2006, Sabu's official website reported that he signed a one-year contract with World Wrestling Entertainment. At the One Night Stand pay-per-view, Sabu faced Rey Mysterio for the World Heavyweight Championship. At the end of the pay-per-view matchup, Mysterio found himself standing on a ringside table with Sabu flying at him. Sabu caught the champ in a front facelock and nailed him with a DDT which caused both men to crash through the table. At this point, the WWE medical staff rushed to the injured men and declared neither man could continue and ordered the match stopped, resulting in a No Contest in which Mysterio kept his title.

On the June 13 premiere of ECW on Sci Fi, Sabu won a 10-man Extreme Battle Royal with the stipulation that the winner face John Cena at Vengeance. Sabu further fueled the feud during the next week's Raw, when he interfered in a Cena match and performed a Triple Jump Leg Drop on him, diving onto Cena and putting him through the announcers' table. Cena defeated Sabu in their "Extreme Lumberjack match" at Vengeance. On July 2, Sabu, traveling with fellow ECW wrestler Rob Van Dam, was arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, and nine Vicodin tablets following a traffic stop in Hanging Rock, Ohio. Brunk was fined $1,000 based on the guidelines of WWE's Wellness Policy. Meanwhile, he defeated Stevie Richards in an Extreme Rules match at Saturday Night's Main Event.

Towards the end of July, Sabu began to talk on camera for himself - instead of using a go between - and demanded a shot at The Big Show's ECW World Championship which Paul Heyman refused to grant him in order to "protect" his champion. Instead he forced him into a match against the returning Kurt Angle to determine a number one contender. When that match was interrupted by the returning Rob Van Dam another match was signed, Angle versus Van Dam versus Sabu, for the number one contendership (Angle then became too injured to compete and was pulled from the match). Sabu beat Rob Van Dam in their ladder match to win a shot at Big Show at SummerSlam, a match which he ended up losing. After SummerSlam, he became a main eventer at ECW, with the majority of the matches being Extreme Rules. He also started to form tag teams with the likes of Rob Van Dam and The Sandman to face Test, The Big Show, Paul Heyman and his ally Matt Striker.

At Survivor Series, Sabu teamed up with John Cena, Bobby Lashley, Rob Van Dam and Kane to face the team of The Big Show, Test, Montel Vontavious Porter, Finlay and Umaga. Sabu eliminated Test following a Tornado DDT, but he was later eliminated by Big Show via pinfall after receiving a chokeslam. In the end, Team Cena gained victory. At December to Dismember Sabu was originally set to appear in the main event, an extreme elimination chamber match against The Big Show, Test, Rob Van Dam, CM Punk and Bobby Lashley, but was "taken out" and replaced by Hardcore Holly. The following episode on ECW, CM Punk and Rob Van Dam got on the mic before their match with Test and Hardcore Holly and dedicated the match to Sabu. When Punk and Van Dam won the match, Paul Heyman and his security team came out and had beaten down on the two. Sabu later made his return with a heavily wrapped arm to make the save. Sabu made his Royal Rumble debut in the 2007 Royal Rumble where he was eliminated by Kane after receiving a chokeslam over the top rope and through a table.

Sabu joined the ECW Originals along with Rob Van Dam, Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman. The ECW Originals began a feud with the New Breed (Elijah Burke, Kevin Thorn, Marcus Cor Von and Matt Striker). The two teams faced off in a match at WrestleMania 23 in which the ECW Originals won. The ECW after that, there was an ECW Extreme Rules match between the New Breed and the ECW Originals, which the New Breed won after Elijah Burke performed the Elijah Express on Sabu through a table. On May 16, 2007 Sabu was released from his WWE contract.

Independent circuit and AAA (2007)

On July 13, 2007, it was announced that Sabu would be working in Mexico's Asistencia Asesoría y Administración promotion in Mexico for their TripleMania XV event. Sabu came out during the main event and put La Parka through a table, joining forces with the heels X-Pack, Ron "The Truth" Killings, and Konnan. Since then, he has made appearances on their major televised programs on Galavision as a minor part of Konnan's heel stable, La Legión Extranjera.

In 2007, Sabu teamed with Insane Clown Posse to defeat Trent Acid and the Young Alter Boys at Juggalo Championship Wrestling's Bloodymania. During the second season of the company's internet wrestling show SlamTV!, Raven was involved in a feud with JCW Heavyweight Champion Corporal Robinson. In the third episode, Sabu appeared from out of the crowd and saved Robinson from an attack by Raven and his lackey Sexy Slim Goody. Raven and Goody teamed up against Robinson and Sabu in the following episode, but Raven fled from the match. At Bloodymania III, Sabu defeated Raven in a Raven's Rules match.

Sabu has been noted as a member of the Australasian Wrestling Federation roster, where he has so far wrestled three matches during the WrestleFest 2007 Tour in October 2007. Sabu Defeated Il Cognito at Fairy Meadow, New South Wales on October 5, Steve Ravenous at Cardiff, New South Wales on the October 6 and finally wrestling then-AWF Champion TNT to a no contest due to interference from The Platinum Players at Blacktown, New South Wales on the October 7.

On February 8, 2008, Sabu debuted as "The Crazed Kamikaze" for a brief period in CWA Pro Wrestling in Columbia, South Carolina before going back to his Sabu ring name. Teaming with then-CWA Heavyweight Champion Timber, Sabu won the match for his team after he dove off the staging area onto his opponent Phil Shatter, putting him through a table. On May 10, he was scheduled to face the new CWA Heavyweight Champion Raven in Fayetteville, North Carolina but Sabu did not show up due to injuries.

On May 24, 2008, Sabu was supposed to compete for Xtreme Pro Wrestling's reunion show Cold Day in Hell, where he would have been teaming up with Homeless Jimmy to face Raven and Johnny Webb. Although Sabu did attend the pre-show autograph session, he was barred from competing by special referee Terry Funk due to a back injury. Sabu attempted a "run-in" during the match but began brawling with Funk before entering the ring. Many fans in attendance were aware of Sabu's inability to wrestle prior to the event but praised Sabu for attending the show and participating in the autograph session. Sabu was also scheduled to face fellow ECW alumni 2 Cold Scorpio at IWA–MS' Extreme Intentions event on June 7. It was announced on June 1 that Sabu would not be wrestling due to his back injury. He returned to wrestling on September 20, 2008 at the World Wrestling Council's Septiembre Negro event where he was defeated by Steve Corino.

Sabu just completed a tour of the United Kingdom (November 2009) as he represented the AWWL/BTW.

On November 29, 2009 Sabu faced RVD for his AWR heavyweight championship belt in an extreme rules match in Oberhausen Germany.

Return to TNA Wrestling (2010)

On August 2, 2010, it was confirmed that Sabu would be taking part in TNA's ECW reunion show against Rob Van Dam in the main event Hardcore Justice on August 8. At the event he was defeated by former tag team partner and rival Rob Van Dam in a Hardcore Rules match. On the following edition of Impact!, the ECW alumni, known collectively as Extreme, Version 2.0 (EV 2.0), were assaulted by A.J. Styles, Kazarian, Robert Roode, James Storm, Douglas Williams and Matt Morgan of Ric Flair's Fortune stable, who thought they didn't deserve to be in TNA. The following week TNA president Dixie Carter gave each member of EV 2.0 TNA contracts in order for them to settle their score with Fortune. At No Surrender Sabu unsuccessfully challenged Douglas Williams for the TNA X Division Championship. At Bound for Glory Sabu, Dreamer, Raven, Rhino and Richards defeated Fortune members Styles, Kazarian, Morgan, Roode and Storm in a Lethal Lockdown match to win the feud between the two factions. On the October 21 edition of Impact! Sabu and Rob Van Dam were defeated in a tag team match by James Storm and Robert Roode, after Sabu accidentally hit his own partner with a chair. After the match Van Dam and Sabu began shoving each other, before being broken up by the rest of EV 2.0.

Personal life

Brunk is married to a Japanese woman Hitomi, who was given a kayfabed name, Mibu, to match his own. They married on June 22, 1997 in Michigan, and had a separate Japanese ceremony on December 12, 1998 in Tokyo. In Forever Hardcore, Brunk reveals he took his name "Sabu" from actor Sabu Dastagir, of whom his uncle was a fan.

In wrestling

  • Nicknames
    • "The Homicidal, Suicidal, Genocidal, Death–Defying (Maniac)"
    • "ECW's Evel Knievel"
    • "Houdini of Hardcore"
    • "The Arabian Machine of Destruction"
    • "The Crazed Kamikaze"
    • "The Human Highlight Reel"
    • "The Modern Day Kamikaze"
    • "The Death Bringer"
  • Entrance themes
    • "Huka Blues" by Harry Slash & The Slashtones
    • "Little Crazy" by Fight
    • "Jaws theme" by John Williams
    • "Carpet Ride" by Dale Oliver (TNA)

Championships and accomplishments

  • Hardcore Championship Wrestling
    • HCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • Insane Wrestling Federation
    • IWF Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
  • Motor City Wrestling
    • MCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • National Wrestling Conference
    • NWC Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
  • Ultimate Championship Wrestling
    • UCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • United States Xtreme Wrestling
    • UXW United States Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
  • Universal Wrestling Alliance
    • UWA Heavyweight Champion (1 time)

1Sabu's first reign occurred while the promotion was an NWA affiliate named Eastern Championship Wrestling, and was prior to the promotion becoming Extreme Championship Wrestling and the title being declared a world title by ECW. Sabu held the title again after these events.

External links