On a national basis, Chris Sabin left the scene in May when he parted ways with TNA. The former TNA World champion admitted it was difficult to leave the company, but that he has no regrets — and has been as busy as ever.
“It was a tough decision [to leave]. I had to spend a lot of time just sitting there thinking about it. Eventually, I felt like I made the right choice, for me, at that time. I’m happy with where I am right now,” Sabin said before a Squared Circle Live! show in Toronto at the end of December.
His bookings aren’t done through the TNA office any longer, and he’s pleased to still be in demand.
“I went back onto the independent scene and pretty much haven’t let up at all. I’ve been wrestling every month since then, pretty well every weekend. As soon as I was done, I had my schedule pretty well filled up. I’ve been keeping really busy, and hopefully it’ll keep like that for years to come.”
And 2015 looks the same.
“I’ve got bookings scheduled every month [in 2015]. I’ve got about five or six trips to Europe planned. A lot of indies,” he said. “I’m going to be working a lot for AAW in Chicago, hopefully do some more stuff here for Squared Circle in Toronto, some more stuff in AIW in Cleveland, I would love to continue to do stuff with PWG next year, which is likely. So I’ve got some stuff planned, man. Some good stuff coming up. Hopefully one day I’ll get that call.”
How does Sabin keeping track of his bookings? “I actually have a physical calendar, paper calendar, planner … I just write my dates down so I can keep track of it. Yeah, it’s actually a pretty simple process.”
Are there still dream matches from the indy scene for the 14-year veteran of the squared circle?
“Luckily I’ve been able to wrestle a lot of guys outside WWE or TNA that I wanted to wrestle. I got to wrestle Okada earlier this year, Ricochet a couple of times, Johnny Gargano. I got to wrestle the Young Bucks [in mid-December]. Off the top of my head, if there’s anyone I want to work, I’d like to work Rich Swann — I think I’d have a really good match with him. AR Fox is good. Uhaa Nation, I’d like to have a match with him, I’ve seen him wrestle a couple of times recently and I was really impressed. There’s a lot of guys, but those are the only three that I can think of right off the top of my head right now.”
That wish list constitutes a real variety of styles — Uhaa Nation is a hulking beast who can move, Rich Swann is a small, charismatic dancing/wrestling machine, and AR Fox is impossible to ground.
Bring ’em on, said Sabin.
“That’s my thing. I feel like I’m very adaptable in the ring, whether it’s a guy that’s smaller than me or a guy that’s larger than me, I can tell the story either way.”
The Bully Ray storyline from his TNA days is a perfect example of that ability to change to suit his foe. “Whether I’m the small guy or the big guy, I think that I can adapt well.”
There is still one really big dream left to accomplish though, admitted Sabin, turning introspective.
“Well, ever since I was a little kid, the reason I got into this business, the company that I grew up watching was the WWF, which, of course, is WWE,” he said, his tone becoming more emotional, even wistful. “That’s where I want to go. That’s where I want to work. That’s the reason I got into the business. That’s what I watched when I was a little kid. My heroes growing up were the Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, all these guys, they were WWF guys. That’s kind of my childhood dream. There’s always that base reason. I was happy wrestling, making a living off wrestling, and even though I wasn’t working there, I was more than happy to just be making a living.
“But now I feel like it’s time to really shoot for those big dreams and go for it. This might be my last shot to try, so I’m going to go for it.”
Seeing friends and other long-time independent stars like Bryan Danielson (WWE’s Daniel Bryan) and Kevin Steen (now Kevin Owens) make it into WWE or NXT has given him hope.
“I’ve worked with a lot of those guys, everyone from Fergal (Devitt, now Finn Balor) and Steen, to, I’ve been on shows with Adrian Neville, but I never actually got to wrestle him before; but Generico (now Sami Zayn), I wrestled him before. So I know I would have really good matches with these guys because I’ve wrestled them before and I know them — and I know that I can have good matches with them. And not just them, but I feel like I can have a good match with anyone there.”
Chris Sabin takes on Paul London in the debut for the Superkickd promotion (superkickd.com on Saturday, January 31st, at the Great Hall in Toronto.