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DVD Review: Burgan reviews Behind Closed Doors with Sabu: Suicidal Insights - Chris Candido

Jun 9, 2005 - 3:44:00 PM
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By Derek Burgan, Torch Media Guy

Torch DVD Review
Behind Closed Doors with Sabu: Suicidal Insights


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A little while ago, RF Video released the first volume of their Behind Closed Doors series with none other than WWE legend, Jake “the Snake” Roberts. For volume two, they brought in another legend, an indie legend, Sabu, to do commentary over several of his high profile matches from ECW and FMW. I’m a big fan of commentaries and always look forward to the ones they put on WWE DVDs, Kevin Smith films and even stuff like Roger Ebert doing a commentary for Citizen Kane. Doug Gentry introduced the concept of the DVD and explained that the following eight matches were “handpicked” selections of Sabu. Gentry and Sabu then sat in for commentary for Sabu’s first ever ECW match.

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Doug Genry and Sabu



(1) Sabu (w/Paul Heyman & 911) vs. The Tazmaniac from 10/1/93. Right from the start of the match you can see why Sabu was such a sensation across the world. He was brought to the ring in a gurney, Hannibal Lechter-style, and when he was released just went absolutely crazy. I’m serious, Sabu went straight into the crowd and just started going bananas, throwing chairs and the whole nine yards, and it was surreal watching the crowd get the hell out of his way. Quite an amazing contrast compared to many of the fans now who stand right up into the face of a wrestler, knowing that the wrestler just has to take their shit. Sabu said that it was Paul Heyman’s idea to be brought in on the gurney and while he thought the idea sucked ass at first, he likes it now.

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Sabu and the Tazmaniac



The Tazzmaniac, better known as Tazz in the WWE, looked so different than the current version that he’s almost unrecognizable. Can you picture the Tazz of toady with face paint and hair along with a goofy singlet? Sabu said he enjoyed the match because it set the pace for the next decade. I have to admit, this match is a great sampler of the crazy Sabu ECW style. Lots of innovative moves and hard hitting action, the latter in the form of several stiff suplexes from the Tazzmaniac. Doug Gentry brought up that David Crockett was backstage and that this show was Paul Heyman’s tryout to run the upcoming promotion, WWN (World Wrestling Network, remember that?!) I always wanted to see that first taping of the WWN after reading about it in the PWTorch newsletter back in the day. One thing I really enjoyed during the Sabu match was a spot in which Sabu put Tazz on a table and turned around to go to the top rope, but the table broke with just Tazmaniac’s weight on it. The Tazmaniac immediately got up and suplexed Sabu into the broken table. These two guys were so good at adapting to anything that came their way in a match, and when I see matches today in which guys blow some sort of move and then go right back to doing the same move, it drives me crazy. Later the Tazmaniac actually went for a top rope move (!!) but found no one home. Sabu then hit a moonsault for the win.

(2) The Original Sheik (w/Sabu) vs. The Shooter. This match was from Atsushi Onita’s Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling (FMW) promotion in Japan. Doug Gentry said this was a bonus match and Chris Candido joined Gentry and Sabu on commentary. The interplay between Candido and Sabu throughout the DVD is priceless. The Sheik brought a belt with him to the ring and Candido asked, “Is this in defense of the United States Championship?” It took Sabu a second to realize what Candido asked before cracking up. The two guys just had a lot of chemistry together and I think Candido brings out a side of Sabu that he doesn’t show to many people. This match is actually the first time I have ever seen The Original Sheik. I have read about him in many places, such as the Gordon Solie book, and always wanted see him in action. I did a double take the first time I saw Sabu as he looked so young. This was before Sabu ravaged his body with hardcore matches and he looked, to me, very different, kinda like seeing pictures of a young CM Punk from his Steel Domain Wrestling days.

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Sabu and Chris Candido



Candido talked abut the first time he fought the Sheik and Sabu mentioned they were “both managed by “Sheik Mike Lano.” Sabu said that Lano was upset at The Sheik cutting Lano’s “ten cent necktie” that night. Watching the match it appeared The Sheik’s main form of offense was stabbing his opponent with a sharp pick. As you can imagine, there was a decent amount of blood. Candido commented on the almost cartoonish looking turban that Sabu was wearing, and made a nice Howard Stern reference, by asking, “when did you change from Sabu the Elephant Boy turban to the current turban.” CLASSIC! The finish was a DQ when The Sheik tried to stab the referee when the ref tried to stop The Sheik from stabbing The Shooter. Wow, I just wrote a lot of the’s in that last sentence.

(3) Sabu & Horace Boulder vs. Onita & Asako in a No-Rope Barbed Wire Death Match. This was another FMW match. Horace Boulder became known as Horace Hogan in WCW and is Hulk Hogan’s legit cousin. Boulder has long hair in this match and is completely unrecognizable. It wasn’t long before the match went beyond hardcore as Sabu was dropped, stomach first, straight onto the barbed wire! Doug Gentry asked Sabu to compare his barbed wire matches in FMW to the ones in ECW and Sabu said that would be like comparing apples to oranges. Sabu said he loved working in front of the Japanese fans. Onita actually went on to join the senate in Japan years after this match and for some reason all I could think of is Axl Rotten in the U.S. House of Representatives breaking up filibusters with a flaming barbed wire baseball bat. Anyhoo, while Onita was completely wrapped up in barbed wire, Sabu pinned Asako.

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Sabu about to be dumped onto barbed wrire


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Sabu trapped within the barbed wire.



(4) The Original Sheik & Sabu vs. Onita & Tarzan Goto in a Fire Death Match. Another FMW match and this was beyond insane. I figured from reading the description that it would just be another lame Inferno-like match from the WWE. Well, I was wrong on that one. Chris Candido stated the obvious early and said, “this seems like an extremely insane idea. To be serious for a second, what the hell were you thinking?” Sabu said that the match was Onita’s idea and they actually planned to go for a long time, but realized quickly that it was just going to be way too hot. After all four guys were in the ring, they started the fire around the ring and this has to be seen to be believed. It’s psychotic looking. Sabu said that almost immediately he couldn’t hear or breath along with the fact that the FMW logo on the mat was melting onto his hand. Eventually the men got out of the ring and battled on the outside. It is crazy watching people pour buckets of water over the wrestlers, but believe it or not, Sabu said the water would take skin off with it. Sabu said that the match got a lot of press at the time but didn’t understand why because he was disappointed with it. Candido said “it got press because four guys almost burned to death in the ring.”

Be’lee dat playah.

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This isn't your father's Inferno match...


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You MUST be kidding me.



(5) Sabu (w/911 and Paul Heyman) vs. Cactus Jack The rest of the DVD is ECW matches and this is the return match for the two in Hamburg, PA. I’ve heard both Foley and Sabu say they were disappointed with their first match as it had too much hype to live up to, but for this match there was no pressure. Candido remarked that he saw Mike Lano at ringside and Sabu said he must have been mistaken. I backed up the DVD and, sure as hell, it was Mike Lano. I’ll be damned. After watching the brutal match, Candido asked Sabu if he ever wanted to take a night off and phone in a performance. Sabu said that fans always wanted the best and he never felt it in him to not deliver. Another trait Sabu shares with Foley.

Candido might have had the best line of the DVD when he pointed out that Paul Heyman always had a cellphone gimmick “but you can never get a hold of him or get him to call you back.” Sabu and Foley fought through the crowd and at one point Sabu took the time to point out Mike Lano as well. This is getting out of hand. Lano’s had more plugs on this DVD then he did in Dave Meltzer’s Tributes II and don’t get me started on that. Candido said that 911 is currently running a petting zoo in New Jersey. You think he chokeslams the kids who get too rough with the animals? Sabu did a sick moonsault onto Mick Foley through a table on the floor. Back in the ring Sabu hit Foley in the head with a beer bottle and you could hear the “clunk” off of Foley’s head. Sabu said that he couldn’t believe Foley said “hit me again.” Sabu hit Foley again and again but the bottle wouldn’t break, and this was an indie version of Foley taking all those chairshots from the Rock at the Royal Rumble. Finally the bottled broke over Foley’s head and Sabu got the pin after a springboard flip.

(6) Sabu vs. Louie Spicolli. This took place at the Golden Dome in Pennsylvania. Sabu said that “Spicolli was a great worker, just no one liked him.” Both Sabu and Candido said they really liked Louie and that he had a great mind for the business. Gentry commented that ECW guys worked at a higher level than most companies and asked Sabu what that was like. Sabu said he never really thought about it and that each night was no different than the next. Candido added that all the guys in the locker room were fired up because they had so much leeway in their matches. Candido made what I felt was a really on the point comment when he said that one of Paul Heyman’s best traits was his ability to be a fantastic editor and made the matches look much better to a TV and tape audience.

Spicolli and Sabu had a chair battle outside the ring and then continued their Anakin vs. Obi-Wan battle in the middle of the ring as well. Candido asked Sabu if the fans chanting “You F---ed Up!” ever annoy him. Sabu said no and Candido, without missing a beat, said “well you didn’t hear them as much as me.” The wild finish of the match involved Tazz, RVD and Bill Alphonso getting involved, ending with Sabu pinning Spicolli after a springboard moonsault. Typical ECW brawl that is more exciting than 1000 WWE “hardcore” matches put together.

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Louie Spicolli and Sabu have a CHAIR BATTLE!


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Tazz and RVD have a face off



(7) Sabu (w/Bil Alfonso) vs. Rob Van Dam. At the time of this match, RVD and Sabu were in a tag team together and Alphonso is actually the manager of both men but I felt putting (w/Bill Alfonso) after RVD would look kinda goofy. Sabu said he never felt that RVD was that hard to work against or worked too stiff and Candido agreed. Both men did wild jumps into the crowd while thunderous “ECW!” chants came from the crowd. Sabu hit an awesome legdrop off the top rope onto Van Dam on a table on the floor. Another great improvisation came when Sabu went to do his trademark jump off of a steel chair in the ring but his leg went straight through the chair. RVD quickly jumped up and took advantage of the situation and attacked Sabu’s leg. RVD was doing some nasty stuff and Sabu said that his ankle was already f---ed up due to the botched spot and “Rob didn’t help it.” Sabu added his ankle was sprained and he continued wrestling the match. Rhyno and CHRIS CANDIDO ran in near the end and Gentry asked Candido what he was doing there. “I don’t know” was Chris’ answer. Brilliant! Alphonso ended up throwing in the towel to stop RVD from abusing Sabu’s ankle.

(8) Sabu vs. Terry Funk in a No Rope Barbed Wire Match. This is from the ECW show Born to be Wired. Gentry said this as probably the most brutal match in ECW history and imagine what that is saying. Funk was ECW champion going into the match and on his way to the ring Funk passed the Green Lantern Fan in the front row. Lano, Green Lantern Fan, Hat Guy, Sign Guy…all the stars are out tonight! Sabu said that his uncle, The Original Sheik, didn’t particularly think that ECW was that great and thought many of the guys were killing the business by doing so much stuff in a match. Gentry talked about all the barbed wire matches Sabu had in Japan and Sabu said that “this match hurt more than the rest of them.” Sabu said that Heyman was surprised that Sabu wanted to wrestle a barbed wire match because he had always declined in the past. Sabu said that he just wanted to make sure it would have an impact.

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Terry Funk and, to his right, the Green Lantern Fan


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ECW wanted barbed wire around the regular ring ropes, but Sabu wanted it like FMW so that it would be more believable to the fans. Funk was masterful in teasing going into the wire early in the match and finally crotched Sabu onto the wire. YEEEEOUCH! Gentry asked Chris Candido if CC ever had a barbed wire match and Candido replied, “no, I ran in on the finish of one and got the f--- out of there as fast as possible.” Sabu said that he told everyone after the match he got 150 stitches be he “only” got 125. Sabu’s pants were torn up in this match and Candido noticed that Sabu wasn’t wearing knee pads. Can you imagine that in all those moonsaults on to tables over the years, Sabu wasn’t wearing knee pads? INSANE. Sabu’s bicep was ripped open and he began taping it up with athletic tape while Funk was continuing to work him over. “Someone tell him I’m hurt!”

Sabu pointed out at one point in the match that Funk went completely nuts. Great stuff. Rob Van Dam came down and, wearing work gloves (smart man), wrapped up Terry Funk in barbed wire. Sabu then legdropped Funk through a table. Tommy Dreamer came down, hit RVD over the head with a garbage can lid, DDT’d RVD on the lid, and then carried RVD to the back. Get This, Sabu then WRAPPED HIMSELF UP IN WIRE before doing another leg drop on Funk through a table. WTF?!!!! Both men were than entangled into each other and had to crawl into the ring together. Sabu said this was “quite painful.” After a false finish, Sabu finally pinned Funk and was declared the NEW ECW World Champ. Gigantic “SABU! SABU!” chants came from the crowd. Sabu said he wasn’t scared during the match but was afterwards when getting stitched up at the hospital. It took a team of people to cut Sabu away from Funk in one of the craziest visuals I have ever seen in a wrestling ring and let me tell you I have seen some shit.

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RVD wore gloves to put barbed wire around Funk


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Sabu and Terry Funk entangled in barbed wire


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ECW crew trying to cut Sabu away from Funk



The DVD closed with Doug Gentry, Sabu and Chris Candido thanking the fans and Candido asking Sabu what his pointing to the sky meant. Sabu said….

Get ready for this.

Sabu said “it doesn’t mean a thing.” OH!

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Overall Thoughts: Where to start? For fans of Sabu, this is a no brainer. Some of Sabu’s most talked about matches in his career with his commentary? Well else are you going to find that?! Please. There are so many instances throughout the DVD in which Sabu goes into detail about his personal experiences in not only that match, but his career as a whole. Any fan of Chris Candido really needs this DVD as Chris steals the show with his commentary. It’s that good. Candido is so funny throughout the matches that it is a shame he was never used in this capacity in the WWE or TNA. He has the sharp wit that I really enjoy in IWA Mid South commentary with Dave Prazak and CM Punk. As I said earlier in the review, both guys have a lot of chemistry together and joke around a lot, to the point that it reminded me of Kevin Smith and Ben Affleck goofing on each other during a commentary for a movie like Chasing Amy. I remember one comment after Sabu did a move in which Candido told Sabu he stole it from the Hardy Boyz (keep in mind the match was from 1994, years before the Monday Night Wars and everyone ripping Sabu off,) and it was wonderful just to hear Sabu take stuff like that and dish it right back. Doug Gentry is also there, as a moderator of sorts, to also ask Sabu and Candido relevant questions, so there is never any real length of time where no one is talking.

This DVD is a great addition to every ECW fan’s library, right next to the Rise and Fall of ECW, Mick Foley’s greatest hits and misses and the Sabu Shoot Interview. Highly recommended. This gets me even more excited for the Hardcore Homecoming and One Night Stand. Watching the ECW matches on this DVD, especially the final match with Funk and Sabu, I was flooded with memories of how much I loved that company. At the time, I was always a fan of the Triple Threat and the Blue World Order, but now I’m becoming a huge fan of Sabu. I knew he was ahead of the curve for his time, but I didn’t fully understand how far ahead. Click HERE to purchase Behind Closed Doors with Sabu: Suicidal Insights or head on over to RFVideo.com to check out their other releases.

Special thanks to Puroresu Power Hour's own Keith Lipinski for his help with this review. Keith has an ECW themed radio show you can check out with this link http://puroresupower.com/.

Torch Media Guy Derek Burgan has been writing for the PWTorch website for almost four years. If you have any questions, corrections, feedback, comments and ideas, he can be reached at: derek@gumgod.com


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