Hamish Woodward

How Sabu Broke His Neck In ECW, Explained

Chris Benoit, Sabu

Despite being known as one of the most influential wrestlers of all time, Sabu has had his fair share of injuries in wrestling.

The former ECW and WWE superstar suffered a broken neck during his time in ECW, in what was one of the worst injuries you can suffer in the ring.

He was crippled by a disgraced WWE legend, who earned himself a nickname from the horrific injury Sabu suffered.

In this article, we’ll talk you through how Sabu broke his neck, and which wrestling legend was the cause for the injury.

Sabu Broke His Neck In ECW

At the ECW November to Remember 1994 pay per view, the main event of the show was set to be Sabu taking on Chris Benoit.

This was a huge match, as both men were known as two of the best workers in the world. Sabu was innovative in the ring, whilst Benoit is regarded as one of the best technical wrestlers of all time.

However, just two minutes into the match, Chris Benoit dropped Sabu on his head, after a suplex went wrong early in the match.

It was clear something was wrong, as the referee stopped the match just two minutes in. Chris Benoit had broken Sabu’s neck.

Speaking in a shoot interview with WSI, Sabu revealed how Chris Benoit broke his neck during the match at ECW November to Remember 1994.

He refutes the claim that the injury was down to “miscommunication”, but more Benoit hooking Sabu’s legs by accident and not allowing his to spin out of the move.

This lead to Sabu landing on his head and breaking his neck, ruining the pay per view main event.

“It wasn’t really a miscommunication. He said, ‘I’ll hook you and throw you for a belly flop, but don’t tuck.’ But when he threw me up, he hooked my legs and threw me up, my legs kept climbing higher than my head and I couldn’t flatten out, and I landed on my head.”

Somehow, Sabu missed only two weeks of wrestling, in a ridiculously quick recovery from a horrific injury.

His next match was 13 days after he broke his neck, when he wrestled Mick Foley (Cactus Jack) at an ECW event.

He then flew to Japan to continue wrestling, despite breaking his neck against Chris Benoit.

I hurt my neck and then I had two weeks off because I had to go to Japan for five weeks, so I didn’t do anything for two weeks. I didn’t lift weights for two weeks…

I didn’t cancel [going to Japan], I didn’t want to. I was hurting but it didn’t stop me. I was still young enough to feel like I was invincible. Not invincible, but stronger than I was.”

It Was How Chris Benoit Got His Nickname

Chris Benoit became known as “The Crippler” after breaking Sabu’s neck.

The former World Heavyweight Champion did not take pride in the botch, but took on the nickname to legitimise him inside the ring.

He would be known as “Crippler Benoit” for the rest of his ECW, before he left for WCW, where Eric Bischoff would name him “The Candian Crippler”.

Chris Benoit spoke about breaking Sabu’s neck in the “Rise and Fall of ECW” documentary, saying;

I grabbed him by the leg and launched him in the air. He was supposed to come down on his belly but I guess midway in the air he decided he wanted to come down on his back.

He didn’t have enough time to get his head up and came right down on his head. That was the very first time it hit home for me – “you know what, this guy could be paralysed”. It was very scary for me

He went on to change the name of his finisher to the “Crippler Crossface”. He is said to have used the move to murder his son, before Benoit took his own life on one fateful day in 2007.

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