The Match #8: Al Snow Vs. Sabu In NWA ’94
Prior to becoming a schizophrenic who carried around a mannequin head, Al Snow was successful on the independents in the 90s as one of the most hated heels in wrestling. He often went by “Sensational” Al Snow and his in-ring work proved that to be a worthwhile nickname. Before making it big in the WWF in ’95, Snow was a mainstay in the Michigan wrestling scene.
Which leads me to another man who spent a lot of time in Michigan, but would make his biggest splash in Japan and Philadelphia. A man who arguably innovated a new style of wrestling. I’m talking about Sabu, of course.
These two would compete in several matches in the early 90s, most notably in ’94. I’ve stumbled upon a handful of matches on YouTube, but I’m going to go with a ladder match from July ’94 to check out for the first time.
The ladder match took place on July 23rd, 1994 and is for the vacant NWA Independent World Championship. Here we go…
Snow makes his entrance and it’s quite evident that he isn’t a heel in this company as he singing along with his theme song with fans and slapping hands. Sabu appears to be a good guy, as well getting a good cheer from the fans. So, it’s a face versus face match for the vacant championship.
Sabu kicks Snow away at the start, but Snow is able to deliver a quick elbow drop and a few strikes only for Sabu to get a few shots in. They trade several strikes until Sabu hits a clothesline in the corner. Snow regains control ramming Sabu into the corner and delivers a super kick knocking Sabu to the floor. They quickly get back into the ring where Snow takes Sabu over with a suplex and points to the ladder, but doesn’t leave to grab it. Snow settles for a few kicks to Sabu’s body. Sabu takes Snow down to the canvas and works over the ankle of Snow. Sabu tosses Snow to the floor and hits a slingshot splash on the outside! Sabu whacks Snow with a chair, but Snow uses the chair on Sabu, too. Snow drops Sabu gut first across the top rope and delivers a springboard dropkick to knock Sabu to the floor. Snow goes towards the ladder but Sabu stops Al from behind with a strike and tosses Snow into a hockey board. Snow dropkicks Sabu and the ladder nearly falls onto a few fans.
Snow sends Sabu hard gut first into the hockey board and drags the ladder towards the ring. Sabu rolls into the ring and dropkicks Snow causing the ladder to fall onto him. Sabu casually drops the ladder onto Snow, but Snow doesn’t seem bothered by that and rams the ladder into Sabu’s midsection a few times. Sabu blocks a suplex attempt onto the ladder and Snow drops onto the ladder back first instead. Sabu begins to climb the ladder but gets knocked off quickly by Snow. Sabu rams Snow face first into the ladder and connects with a scoop slam. Sabu goes to the top and along with the ladder drops to the canvas missing Snow.
Snow quickly rolls back into the ring and drives Sabu onto the ladder with a front suplex and comes off the middle rope to hit an elbow drop. Snow sets up the ladder but Sabu grabs the ladder causing Snow to crash to the canvas. Sabu seemingly drops the ladder on Snow’s face before setting the ladder up in the corner. Sabu climbs the ladder but misses a leg drop attempt as Snow rolled to the floor. Snow attempts a float over DDT but Sabu hangs onto the ropes and hit a split legged moonsault. Sabu climbs the ladder again but Snow delivers a low blow to stop him. Snow drives Sabu off the ladder to the canvas with a back suplex, which was like slow motion. Snow slams Sabu and hits a springboard elbow drop across the ring!
Al continues to beat on Sabu with a few right hands and goes to the apron attempting a springboard leg drop but Sabu moves out of the way this time. Sabu climbs the ladder again but Snow is climbing the other side. They are trading right hands near the top of the ladder. The ladder is moving, but it looks like the referee pushed it over! They both crash across the top rope.
Sabu dropkicks Snow to the floor and takes Snow out with a somersault dive to the outside! Sabu connects with another springboard moonsault taking Snow out on the floor! Snow plants Sabu with a DDT on the floor to get some momentum in his favor. Snow starts to climb the ladder but Sabu whacks him over the back with a chair and Snow crashes to the mat after slowly stepping down from the ladder. Sabu takes Snow out with a springboard heel kick in the corner. Sabu misses a chair assisted leg drop. Sabu uses the chair on Sabu now a few times. Snow whacks Sabu over the back with the chair. Snow places a few chairs into the ring. Snow punches Sabu a few times and comes off the top clotheslining Sabu onto the pile of chairs. Snow crotches Sabu onto the top turnbuckle and sets the ladder up in the ring. Snow starts to climb the ladder and leaps off to kick Sabu off the top rope to the floor.
Snow starts to climb the ladder but Sabu delivers a shot to the midsection and lays the ladder over the apron. Snow is put on the ladder and Sabu comes off the apron to deliver a leg drop. Sabu misses a slingshot splash and lands onto the ladder. Snow rams Sabu face first into the apron and slams Sabu onto the ladder. Snow hits a middle rope moonsault onto Sabu over the ladder! Sabu drives Snow face first into the canvas and rolls Snow to the floor. Sabu rams the ladder into Snow’s midsection knocking Al off the apron to the floor. Sabu kicks Snow on the apron and proceeds to hit a slingshot sunset flip power bomb to the floor!
Sabu decides it’s time to get a table and sets one up on the floor, even though there is a timekeepers table right next to the ring. Sabu whacks Snow over the back with a chair again. Sabu stands the ladder against the apron and continues to work over Snow. Sabu clotheslines Snow onto the table and goes back to the ring. Sabu goes to the top wit the ladder and misses a leg drop attempt crashing through the table on the floor!
They return to the ring where Snow spikes Sabu with a tombstone piledriver and goes for a cover but there isn’t a cover allowed in a ladder match. Snow slides a ladder into the ring and sets it up underneath the championship. Snow climbs the ladder but Sabu is up and climbing the other side. Snow is touching the championship but neither man can get it. They trade right hands until Sabu is able to knock Snow down after an eye poke and punches Snow off the ladder. Snow pushes the ladder over, but Sabu has the championship and wins the match. (***1/2)
There is plenty of action throughout the match and showcases Snow in a way that you might not have remembered him from his WWF days. Sabu was hitting all his spots and was quite entertaining. I’d think this was around his peak years, honestly. I might check out their other matches that are on YouTube during this timeframe. This was a lot of fun and they used the ladder effectively throughout. The finished seemed to be a little botched, but it doesn’t ruin the viewing experience for me here. Snow would compete for Smoky Mountain Wrestling a year later and really showcase his heel side, which is quite good too. To watch the full match, it’s embedded below. Enjoy it.
What are your thoughts on the match or the men involved? Leave your thoughts below.
Thanks for reading.