On this day in wrestling history, Chris Sabin wrestled in his first match for TNA/Impact. That was on April 9, 2003. Impact is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Sabin’s debut with the company.
- 1-time IMPACT World Champion— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) April 9, 2023
- 8-time X-Division Champion
- 3-time IMPACT World Tag Team Champion
- 2003 Super X-Cup winner
- 2004 and 2006 World X-Cup winner
- Voted Most Impactful Tag Team in IMPACT history
It's been a legendary 20 years in IMPACT for @SuperChrisSabin. pic.twitter.com/c9WzNKNDZS
The official press release is chock full of interesting nuggets:
Chris Sabin, one of the most decorated stars in IMPACT Wrestling history, celebrates the 20th anniversary of his first-ever match in company history.
On April 9, 2003, Sabin teamed with Johnny Storm for a multi-team match – against Jerry Lynn and Amazing Red, Jason Cross and Shark Boy, and Triple X.
Sabin admits, decades later, that the match was “surreal,” and he was “nervous, yet excited.”
His team ultimately lost, but Sabin’s career in IMPACT Wrestling has been Hall of Fame worthy. Just consider:
Was the IMPACT World Champion in 2013.
Is a 3-time IMPACT World Tag Team Champion as half of the Motor City Machine Guns with Alex Shelley.
Is a record 8-time X-Division Champion, and his combined 432-days as X-Division Champion also is the most-ever.
Was the sixth TNA Triple Crown Champion.
Is a 5-time IMPACT Year-End Award-winner, including Match of the Year, Moment of the Year and Men’s Tag Team of the Year.
“When I reflect on starting with TNA/IMPACT 20 years ago, it brings gratitude,” Sabin said. “This company has allowed me to make a living pursuing my passion and for many years has given me a platform for self-expression. This company has believed in me enough to always want me around, and though there were a few years between 2014-2019 I explored pro wrestling (in) other places, I was able to return home and continue the journey.
“I’m very proud of my time with TNA/IMPACT, as it has given me an opportunity to inspire others. Hearing and seeing how I have influenced other wrestlers throughout the years I see as a gift.”
Sabin said his memories from year one include road-tripping from Detroit to Nashville with Scott D’Amore and Zach Gowen for his first match and, naturally, winning the X Division Championship for the first time – on May 14, 2003. “With it being my third match with TNA, I remember feeling pressure to step up and prove to the company that I was deserving of such an accomplishment,” he said.
At the time, Sabin also worked as a sandwich artist at a local Subway. He soon quit the popular restaurant chain to focus on wrestling.
Sabin also spotlighted early matches against Frankie Kazarian, winning the Super X Cup in 2003 and participating in his first-ever Ultimate X match on August 20, 2003.
“Winning the X Division Championship more times than anyone in history contributes to my unique legacy,” Sabin said. “There’s no doubt the X Division changed wrestling forever. To be remembered as one of the greatest champions is an honor.”
Sabin vacated the X Division Championship in 2013 for a TNA World Heavyweight Championship match – and, on July 18, 2013, he left the arena as the World Champion after defeating Bully Ray.
“The moment of the 1-2-3 and the sound of the crowd as I defeated Bully Ray for the World Championship is a cherished memory and something I will never forget. The reaction felt genuine,” Sabin said.
Sabin and Shelley formed the Motor City Machine Guns in 2006 while on tour for ZERO-1 MAX in Japan. They battled Ikudo Hidaka and Minoru Fujita.
“I think what makes the Motor City Machine Guns so successful is not only our shared passion for wrestling, but our ability to work as one. Our teamwork is unmatched,” Sabin said.
So, what’s next for the legendary Sabin?
“I just want to continue to create an unforgettable legacy for Chris Sabin and the Motor City Machine Guns, while at the same time giving back to the business that has given me so much,” he said.
“It would be impossible for me to pick one all-time favorite match throughout my time at IMPACT Wrestling. If I wanted to show someone who wasn’t a hardcore wrestling fan a series of matches that would be a good representation of my work in IMPACT, it would be the Motor City Machine Guns’ first tag title win along with the proceeding best-of-5 series against Beer Money.”
Sabin had a message for the fans to show his gratitude.
"It's been an honor, thank you for being on this journey with me - I'm extremely grateful for all of you, especially those of you that have been there since the beginning." @SuperChrisSabin celebrates an incredible 20 years since his TNA debut on April 9, 2003 in The Asylum. pic.twitter.com/dNF8I2kS2h— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) April 9, 2023
Impact’s highlight reel of Sabin’s greatest moments includes hitting Bully Ray in the head with a hammer to win the world heavyweight championship, the first tag team title win for the Motor City Machine Guns, winning Ultimate X for the X-Division Championship, and more.
.@SuperChrisSabin's 12 title wins over his 20 year IMPACT career makes him one of the most decorated wrestlers in company history - relive some of the highlights. pic.twitter.com/vFE5Rl1ibb— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) April 9, 2023
Impact also put together a special compilation of Sabin matches.
What are you favorite moments from Chris Sabin’s TNA/Impact career?