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News broke last month of the Sheikh's star student signing with Turner & Bischoff and many north-east eyes must have rolled - 'he'll be neutered, he'll be different, he'll be lost in the shuffle...'. After a decent highlight-fuelled debut vignette and a first match with Das Wünderkid, Alex Wright; the scar-covered maniac certainly doesn't seem to have lost any gusto whatsoever.
Sabu's gimmick seems a carbon copy of the former Hannibal Lecter-esque icon of ECW - he remains silent, still wears his trademark outfit, looks maniacal pre-match and carries the same arsenal of offence. Alex Wright was subject to rolling- and seated sentons, top rope hurricarannas, a leaping splash from a seated chair into the guard rail and even a flying headscissors from inside the ring, to the outside, both men flying over the top rope.
Picking up the win on his first national TV exposure, Sabu then kicked Wright to the outside, appears to be headed back to the locker-room but stops at a table, brings it to ring-side and forces the 20-year old through it in brutal fashion to the table's immediate demise. This move forces the referee to reverse his decision, disqualify Sabu and award Wright the victory.
A great debut, a unique spectacle for WCW, some truly unique wrestling manouevres, an insanely-intriguing character, a well-booked match and finish, a vulnerable good guy and an intimidatingly scary bad guy.
This all unfolded on what was only the second Monday Nitro, and it is already well on the way to becoming 1995's best weekly TV output - at least on a national stage. For those in any doubt over WCW's ability to produce this kind of television, never fear - Saturday Night will feature the Renegade vs Dave Sullivan. Set your VCR.
We can only hope for this type of quality programming - at least for Monday nights - being a sign of things to come as it's certainly a breath of fresh air. Yet, perhaps most importantly, we must also hope for the company's handling of Sabu, where everything that makes him special is kept just as it should be, is a blueprint for the pending debuts of Benoit, Guerrero and Malenko.
They surely couldn't mess up those three amigos, could they...