Sabu vs. Malice
July 17, 2002
NWA Total Nonstop Action #5

Often when the lights go out during a pro wrestling match or promo, members of the Voices of Wrestling Discord rush to declare that Sabu—the homicidal, genocidal, suicidal wrestler most famous for his run in Extreme Championship Wrestling—has arrived. Sadly, it has never been Sabu, not even once. 

This time, for the match given to me for Secret Santa, the lights went off and it was goddamn Sabu! And then he proceeded to have a ladder match with That’s The Wall, Brother. Hey Wall (Malice in TNA). 

What followed was pure chaos in all of the best ways. Ladder matches are so passe in 2022 wrestling. I did some research a few years ago on just how many ladder matches have taken place in recent years and the number is absurd. Beaten to death is an understatement. What’s worse than just the sheer amount of ladder matches is the style in which they are worked. While a few from time-to-time can still dazzle and enhance a feud or a story or feature the right blend of workers to stand out—the majority are mundane affairs with the same spots we’ve seen 10,000 times already. 

Sabu vs. Malice was a ladder match when ladder matches were still an imperfect science. Sure, this takes place after Edge & Christian, The Dudley Boyz and The Hardy Boyz series of incredible ladder and TLC matches. But those guys were those guys. This is fucking Sabu and The Wall. So this match isn’t going to feature perfectly timed, daredevil, obstacle course wrestling. Fuck no, it’s MALICE vs. SABU in 2002 TNA. It’s a sloppy mess of a match featuring a broken nose, some horrifically fucked up spots and you know what, that’s okay, that rules. This is a fight. A fight Malice had no way to plan for since Sabu was a surprise opponent. Sabu is Sabu, if you’re looking for clean, well-thought, well-planned wrestling you’re in the wrong place. 

The weird mish-mosh of styles in this match is also something you wouldn’t see anymore. Today, even if you do get a match that features two diametrically different wrestlers, they’ll likely plan out a match that either meets in the middle or veers to one side of the ledger to ensure it’s not a disaster. 

Not this match. Oh no. You have Sabu working his frantic, hardcore style and Malice working his Big Man/Power game and they really only meet in the middle when Malice does a powerslam to Sabu while holding both Sabu and the ladder. 

This match isn’t “good” in the nerdy, match of the year, star rating sense but nuts to that. This match rocks and my Christmas season has been brightened up by watching it. Thanks Santa! 

I would guess who gave me the gift but as the guy who distributed the names and the gifts, I already know. Such is life as the editor of a wrestling website. Always get spoiled on the results of major wrestling shows and no surprise come Secret Santa time. AH well. 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays. Go listen to Christmas with the Captain at