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Zack Sabre Jr. – The Fine Wine of Puroresu

2 years ago

Zack Sabre Jr. – The Fine Wine of Puroresu

By: Zack Heydorn

“With a PK I thought it was all over, with a Zack Driver it is now! And there is a part of Osaka that is forever England … Zack Sabre Jr. has won the New Japan Cup!”
Fellow Brit, Chris Charlton, on the call for New Japan World

“No longer just a British gaijin with an eyebrow-raising style, ZSJ is now the ‘Submission Master’ and The Windy Man’ who oozes with confidence and swagger he was once unable to find. He’s never compromised his style and never altered his views to make fans feel one way or another. Instead, they’ve organically come to appreciate him through the awesome technical work and skills that make him Britain’s premiere export to the wrestling world. ”

We all know the feeling, right? A hard day at work and the only cure is a nice, tall glass of wine. Depending on the day, it’s either a two-buck chuck, maybe something top-shelf and special to really unwind, or anything in between. If it’s topshelf night, well, there’s lots at play.

A fine wine requires time and patience. It deserves the nice glasses and the fancy corkscrew. After it’s opened, the wine demands a sniff of the cork and to be left out in the open to breathe. When poured, it’s treated delicately to ensure proper aeration. Consumption is slow and deliberate, not chugged like an 18-year-old at a frat house. A fine wine needs to be appreciated.

Zack Sabre Jr. is the fine wine of puroesu. Maybe not something Zack will put on a t-shirt, but true nonetheless.

Sabre won the 2022 New Japan Cup in dominant fashion, defeating Great-O-Khan, Will Ospreay, and others on his road to the finals. In the finals, Sabre defeated Naito to win the New Japan Cup for the second time.

He previously won the annual New Japan Pro Wrestling tournament in 2018.

Zack Sabre Jr. is a beautiful professional wrestler. His style is smooth, calculated, vicious, and frightening all at the same time. Like a fine wine, that style and Sabre as a performer and artist, require time and patience to fully understand. It took me a while.

On the surface, Sabre is a mat wrestler who wears a jacket to the ring and tries to tie up his opponents like carnival pretzels.That’s two-buck chuck stuff. Like a fine wine being pulled off the top shelf and poured softly into a glass with aromas filling a room, he is best enjoyed by an audience who takes him in with time and care.

With a wine, maybe it’s the rich mahogany flavor that’s noticed first. For Zack Sabre Jr. it starts with facial expressions. They are a thing of pure mastery. Whether he’s selling offense or laying his own in, he has a distinct look that articulates the point he’s making. On offense, it’s focus in an effort to lock in and connect his holds. When selling, it’s agony and pain.

Next with the fine wine is a floral bite that hits the tongue. For Sabre it’s the in-ring style.


Sabre is a mat technician. The crutch of what he does in the ring circulates and revolves around that central fact. He’s certainly not exclusively that, though. Sabre’s strikes are underrated and a signature connection tool that he uses to get from hold spot to hold spot. The pace at which he works is delightful and relentless. During matches, he’s on his opponents constantly – a perfect storytelling technique for his style. Sabre works to wear his opposition down. That style without the pace wouldn’t resonate well, as both are directly connected. Zack Sabre Jr. understands that notion and makes it a pointed and featured element in each of his matches.

Maybe next the wine breathes further and a caramelly cedar smell engulfs the nostrils. For Zack Sabre Jr. it’s the presence that engulfs the audience. There is a charisma about him that shines like a sparkling Olympic gold medal when he walks to the ring. Whether he’s working heel or babyface, he’s able to generate an aura of star power with his mannerisms and confident demeanor. He’s not flashy, but he’s defined and consistent. The straightforward presentation and entrance mirror perfectly the style he produces in the ring. In that regard, he’s one of the most consistently presented performers in New Japan.

It’s unrealistic to jump into Zack Sabre Jr. matches and feel addicted to his craft or even fully understand it instantaneously. A beautiful wine that’s opened and chugged “Steve Austin” style hides the nuance, flavor, taste, and aroma that arrive over a period of time. Like a fine wine, Sabre needs time to breathe. Only then can his work be fully understood and treasured.

So, back to the wine. Setting it out on the counter open is a nice first step to fully realize its potential. Decanting helps open the wine up to find its inner taste. Picking out the proper glass to sip out of matters to how the wine is perceived.
There are tricks to the Zack Sabre Jr. brand as well. Volume is important. He needs multiple stabs at your wrestling pallet in order to stick. One match, two matches, even three matches won’t do the job. Be ready to spend some time with his work. What happens in between the moves and mat wrestling spots is as important if not more important than the spots themselves. His transitions are a thing of beauty, as they make the match feel like a real fight. Notice the selling. He gives a lot to his opponents as he takes their offense and can bump with the best of them. The charisma recognition comes later in the process. It takes an understanding of what he does in the ring for the blinders to come off. The charisma is rooted in credibility and that won’t get unlocked right away. His style drives that piece of the act.

Folks, a fine wine is hard to come by. Price point, availability, hell, even geography separates us from the perfect wine. This is where Zack Sabre Jr. stands out. Find him. He’s there. Just treat the experience like you would a gem bottle of red.

Written by:

Based in Chicago, I've been a part of the news media business since 2007. I've worked in various capacities for Monthly Puroresu since 2020. n both print and broadcast roles. After graduating from Illinois State University, I have freelanced for Wade Keller at PW Torch among other wrestling outlets. I've been working