Widely regarded as the best technical wrestler in the world, Zack Sabre Jr. has built a diehard following of fans who truly appreciate his mastery of wrestling holds and submissions.
At just 29 years old, Sabre already has over a decade of experience in the wrestling business, practicing his craft all over the world for elite companies, including Evolve, Pro Wrestling Noah, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and WWE.
In a recent interview promoting the Evolve 86 show on June 24 and the Evolve 87 event on June 25, both on FloSlam.tv, Sabre spoke about his upcoming bout against former UFC star Matt Riddle, his spot in the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax tournament and his thoughts on WWE's new perception of independent wrestling.
On Saturday in Melrose, Massachusetts, Sabre squares off against Riddle in a match billed "As Big as It Gets," which has independent wrestling fans buzzing about what could be a Match of the Year contender.
Sabre may be the best technical wrestler in the world, but he is going head-to-head with a mixed martial artist who performed in the UFC at the highest level. The contrast of styles should make for an incredible battle fans won't want to miss.
"I'm very excited for the match. Matt Riddle is someone who I've kind of connected to very well and he doesn't need me to say or speak glowingly about how talented he is," Sabre said. "He is really remarkable, and with his background in mixed martial arts and combat sports, he just connected and got to such a level so quickly in two years, where a lot of us would have to spend a decade at being terrible, and he's fantastic already. It's definitely the biggest match that I can have in Evolve right now."
As the defending Evolve champion, Sabre has represented the brand and its belt all around the world. One country where he has found a plethora of success is Japan, and now he is taking his talent into New Japan's G1 Climax tournament.
When Sabre wrestles his first match in the world-renowned tournament, he will become the first British-born wrestler to compete in the G1 since William Regal in 1997. When asked about representing England, Sabre spoke about what it means to him.
"Obviously, I try to represent as broadly as possible independent wrestling, but certainly I try to represent and showcase the modern British wrestling style. So, I am very proud to come in as a British wrestler," Sabre said. "It's a great achievement to be following someone like Regal, who is the last British entrant. There's no question really: The G1 Climax is the biggest tournament in pro wrestling. I think the lineup this year is very elite with the New Japan roster."
While Sabre has made serious waves with Evolve and New Japan, many casual wrestling fans in the United States got their first chance to see him in action during the WWE Cruiserweight Classic in 2016.
Sabre was asked his perception of WWE's newfound willingness to acknowledge independent wrestlers and their storied pasts, and he shared how it could only benefit the world's largest wrestling brand.
"I think the company is certainly trying to change the way they approach things and I think that's only for the positive. With them, acknowledging independent wrestling companies is only a good thing," Sabre said. "I think any people worrying about it falls onto the independent company to use that and continue to grow themselves and have their own identity. The largest company in the world opening up to international wrestling and independent wrestlers and acknowledging that the history of the wrestlers they sign now rather than creating a new narrative for them is brilliant and good for the scene."
Casual wrestling fans were disappointed that Sabre didn't sign with WWE after the CWC tournament, but he is shining brightly in Evolve and New Japan. With a larger following than ever, Sabre is adding prestige to independent wrestling with every match and every championship.
For fans who want to see Sabre in action, he is dominating the ranks of Evolve Wrestling as the company's champion and will soon square off against some of the best performers in the world in the G1 Climax tournament.
With a style that protects him from taking unnecessary bumps and a genius mind for the business in and out of the ring, Sabre will be a staple of the wrestling industry for the foreseeable future and will continue to be one of the most sought-after stars in the world.
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