Joshua "Josh" Harter (born February 4, 1982), better known by his ring name Chris Sabin, is an American professional wrestler. He is best known for his work in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) and currently works most notably for Global Force Wrestling (GFW) and Ring of Honor (ROH).
After being trained by Scott D'Amore, Sabin debuted in 2000 for Border City Wrestling, and quickly began competing for numerous other independent promotions. In 2003, Sabin joined TNA, and quickly won the TNA X Division Championship, which he later unified with the WWA International Cruiserweight Championship. In 2004, he also wrestled for Ring of Honor. In 2005, Sabin wrestled in the UK at International Showdown for The Wrestling Channel's first-year anniversary at a sold out Coventry Skydome. Throughout the next few years, Sabin competed mainly in TNA's X Division, until forming The Motor City Machine Guns with Alex Shelley in mid-2007.
Sabin has won 11 total championships while with TNA. He is a one-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion, a record eight-time X Division Champion, a one-time World Tag Team Champion with Alex Shelley, and (during a talent exchange with New Japan Pro Wrestling) a one-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion, also with Shelley. He has also won numerous titles on the independent circuit.
Professional Wrestling Career
Harter began training as a wrestler in Michigan at the NWA Great Lakes Pro Wrestling School. After the school began experiencing difficulties, he travelled to Windsor, Ontario and completed his training under Scott D'Amore and "Amazing" N8 Mattson at the Can-Am Wrestling School. He debuted in 2000 after four months training as "Chris Sabin", and began working for D'Amore's Border City Wrestling promotion and for independent promotions in Michigan.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
X Division Champion (2003–2007)
Sabin joined Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in April 2003 and won the TNA X Division Championship just a month later on May 14 by defeating champion Amazing Red and Jerry Lynn in a three–way dance, after an assist from Triple X. After the match Sabin turned heel and joined Triple X in Sports Entertainment Xtreme. His reign ended after three months when he lost to Michael Shane in the first ever Ultimate X match on August 20.
On September 3 of that year, Sabin, now a face, won the 2003 Super X Cup, thus becoming the number one contender to the X Division Championship. He regained the X Division Championship on January 7, 2004, defeating Shane, Christopher Daniels and Low Ki in the second Ultimate X match. He was stripped of the title on March 31, 2004 after a knee injury left him unable to defend it.
After returning from injury, Sabin took part in the World X Cup in May 2004, forming Team TNA with Jerry Lynn, Christopher Daniels and Elix Skipper. On May 26, Team USA defeated Team Mexico, Team Canada and Team Japan in a two-hour pay-per-view event which saw the teams fight one another in a variety of matches. The finals saw Sabin wrestle the Canadian Petey Williams and the Mexican Héctor Garza in an Ultimate X match, which Sabin won when he retrieved a large red "X" which had been suspended above the ring on steel cables.
For the remainder of 2004, Sabin contended for the X Division Championship. He won another Ultimate X match on November 9 to win a title shot at Petey Williams. At Turning Point 2004 on December 5, however, Williams was able to secure a victory with the help of a pair of brass knuckles. Sabin got another shot at the title at Final Resolution on January 16, 2005, in an Ultimate X match with Williams and A.J. Styles, but the match and title were won by Styles.
Throughout 2005, Sabin feuded with Michael Shane, by now wrestling as Matt Bentley. In September 2005 he began a feud with Shocker that was killed when Shocker was unable to return from Mexico for their scheduled match at Unbreakable on September 11, instead Sabin faced Petey Williams and won after hitting the Cradle Shock.
The Motor City Machine Guns (2007–2012)
In the summer of 2007 Sabin formed a tag team with Alex Shelley, known as the Motor City Machine Guns. The two had been teaming in several independent promotions prior to their formation as a team in TNA. Sabin and Shelley started a feud with Team 3D, turning face, which stemmed from Team 3D constantly attacking the X division every week. They defeated 3D at Genesis 2007. He competed in TNA's World X Cup as a part of Team USA/TNA along with Alex Shelley and went undefeated as a tag team throughout winning two tag team matches and the 12 man elimination tag team match.Sabin and Shelley turned heel, when, after a match with B.G. James and Eric Young, Sabin slapped James in the face. Sabin and Shelley lost a TNA World Tag Team Championship match at Turning Point to Beer Money, Inc.
Sabin and Shelley turned face then joined The Frontline. During December 2008 Sabin qualified for the finals in the X Division title tournament after defeating Sonjay Dutt and Kiyoshi. On January 11, 2009, at the Genesis pay-per-view, Sabin was defeated by his tag team partner Alex Shelley for the X Division title. Sabin and Shelley floated through various storylines, not seen or heard for a while. Sabin and Shelley eventually began popping up in the crowd with various signs, such as "Yes, we still work here". Sabin and Shelley would then be given their own broadcast table and would occasionally do commentary for various matches. On the October 22 episode of Impact!, Sabin and Shelley would win an Ultimate X match against Lethal Consequences to become the number one contenders for the TNA World Tag Team Championship. On the October 29 episode of Impact!, Sabin suffered a concussion during a match with Team 3D after landing on his head, but it was announced he was not injured. At Turning Point The British Invasion (Doug Williams and Brutus Magnus) defeated Sabin and Shelley and Beer Money, Inc. in a three-way match to retain the TNA Tag Team Titles. The following month at Final Resolution the British Invasion defeated Sabin and Shelley to once again retain their titles. At Destination X Sabin and Shelley defeated Generation Me (Jeremy Buck and Max Buck) in an Ultimate X match to earn another shot at the TNA World Tag Team Championship. Sabin and Shelley received their title shot on the April 12 episode of Impact!, but were defeated by World Tag Team Champion Matt Morgan and Amazing Red, who replaced the injured Hernandez in the match. The following month at Sacrifice the Motor City Machine Guns defeated Beer Money, Inc. and Team 3D in a three-way match to earn another shot at the Tag Team Championship. On July 11 at Victory Road the Motor City Machine Guns defeated Beer Money, Inc. to win the vacant TNA World Tag Team Championship for the first time. After Victory Road the Motor City Machine Guns entered a Best of Five Series with Beer Money, Inc., contested for the TNA World Tag Team Championship. Beer Money won the first two matches, a ladder match and a Street Fight, after knocking their opponents out with beer bottles. However, Sabin and Shelley came back to win the two following matches, a steel cage match and an Ultimate X match, to even the score to 2–2 and set up a deciding match for the August 12 episode of Impact!. On the August 12 episode of Impact! the Motor City Machine Guns defeated Beer Money, Inc. in a Two Out of Three Falls match to win the Best of Five Series and retain the TNA World Tag Team Championship. The following month at No Surrender, the Motor City Machine Guns retained their titles in a match against Generation Me. After the match Generation Me turned heel by attacking the Machine Guns and injuring Shelley. On the following episode of Impact! Generation Me laid claim to the TNA World Tag Team Championship, claiming that the champions would not be able to defend them for 30 days, due to Shelley's injury, before stealing Sabin's title belt. Shelley would however make his return two weeks later and promised Generation Me a rematch for the World Tag Team Championship at Bound for Glory. At the pay–per–view the Motor City Machine Guns defeated Generation Me to retain the TNA World Tag Team Championship. Also at Bound for Glory, Team 3D announced their retirement from professional wrestling, but requested one final match against the Motor City Machine Guns, whom they called the best tag team in wrestling. The Motor City Machine Guns accepted and the match took place on November 7, 2010, at Turning Point, where they defeated Team 3D to retain the TNA World Tag Team Championship. Sabin also became one of only 2 people to kick out of the Dudley's 3D Finisher, along with Masato Tanaka. After Jeremy Buck pinned Sabin in an eight-person tag team match, where the Motor City Machine Guns teamed with Jay Lethal and Velvet Sky and Generation Me with Robbie E and Cookie, on the November 18 episode of Impact!, the Motor City Machine Guns challenged Generation Me to an Empty Arena match. The match took place later that same night on Reaction with the Motor City Machine Guns coming out victorious. On December 5 at Final Resolution the Motor City Machine Guns defeated Generation Me in a Full Metal Mayhem match to retain the World Tag Team Championship. The following month at Genesis, Sabin and Shelley lost the World Tag Team Championship to Beer Money, Inc., after Robert Roode rolled up Sabin, following a miscommunication between the Machine Guns. Sabin and Shelley received their rematch for the title on the following episode of Impact!, but lost again due to a miscommunication. For the next three months, the Motor City Machine Guns went inactive, as Shelley suffered a collarbone injury and Sabin returned to the X Division. On the April 28 episode of Impact!, Shelley made his return, saving Sabin from a beatdown at the hands of Mexican America (Anarquia and Hernandez). Ironically, the same day Shelley made his return, Sabin suffered a knee injury in his match with Anarquia. Sabin underwent surgery on his right knee in early May. On the June 2 episode of Impact Wrestling, Shelley announced that Sabin had torn his ACL and MCL and would be out for the rest of 2011.
On March 18, 2012, at Victory Road, TNA started promoting the returns of Sabin and the Motor City Machine Guns. On March 27, TNA president Dixie Carter announced that Sabin had been cleared to return to the ring. Sabin returned on the April 5 episode of Impact Wrestling, where he and Shelley defeated Mexican America in a tag team match, before announcing their intention of going for the TNA World Tag Team Championship, held by Magnus and Samoa Joe. On April 15 at Lockdown, The Motor City Machine Guns unsuccessfully challenged Magnus and Joe for the TNA World Tag Team Championship in a steel cage match. On May 21, it was reported that Shelley had left TNA, disbanding the Motor City Machine Guns.
Injuries & Championship Reigns (2012–2013)
Sabin made his first appearance since Shelley's departure from TNA on the live May 31 episode of Impact Wrestling, unsuccessfully challenging Austin Aries for the X Division Championship. On the June 14 episode of Impact Wrestling, Sabin unsuccessfully challenged Aries for the X Division Championship in an Ultimate X match, which also included Zema Ion, during which Sabin appeared to injure his left knee. The following day, it was announced that Sabin had torn his left ACL during the match. On the July 5 episode of Impact Wrestling, Sabin returned to talk about his injury, but was interrupted and eventually attacked by TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Roode. Sabin underwent surgery on his ACL the following day.
Sabin returned to Impact Wrestling on May 2, 2013, defeating Sonjay Dutt and Zema Ion in a number one contender's match for the X Division Championship. Sabin received his title shot on the May 16 episode of Impact Wrestling, but was defeated by defending champion Kenny King in a three-way match, also involving Petey Williams. On June 2 at Slammiversary XI, Sabin defeated King and Suicide in an Ultimate X match to win his fifth X Division Championship. Afterwards, Hulk Hogan came out and announced to Sabin that sometime during the summer he may trade in the X Division title for a World Heavyweight Championship match. On the June 27 episode of Impact Wrestling, he lost the X Division title to an impostor Suicide (who was later revealed to be Austin Aries) in a three-way match, which also included Kenny King, but defeated Aries and the newly christened Manik the following week, to regain the title for a record-tying sixth time. On the July 11 episode of Impact Wrestling, Sabin vacated the title in exchange for a shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. The following week, Sabin defeated Bully Ray on the Destination X episode of Impact Wrestling, to win the World Heavyweight Championship, making him TNA's sixth Triple Crown Champion in the process. However, Sabin thought it was too soon to give him the title. On August 15 at Impact Wrestling: Hardcore Justice, Sabin lost the World Heavyweight Championship back to Ray in his first title defense, contested inside a steel cage, following interference from Mr. Anderson and Tito Ortiz.
Storyline with Velvet Sky (2013–2014)
On the September 19 episode of Impact Wrestling, Sabin turned heel after he attacked X Division Champion Manik after a match before being chased off by Jeff Hardy. The following week, Sabin unsuccessfully challenged Manik for his title. On October 20 at Bound for Glory, Sabin defeated Austin Aries, Jeff Hardy, Manik, and Samoa Joe in an Ultimate X Match to win the X Division Championship for a record-breaking seventh time.
Sabin lost the X Division title to Austin Aries at the November 23, 2013 Impact Wrestling tapings (airing December 12), but then won it back in a rematch at the December 5, 2013 tapings (airing January 2, 2014) for his record breaking eighth reign. However, he lost the title against Aries on TNA Impact Wrestling:Genesis, on January 16, 2014, after Velvet Sky turned on him. During the TNA Maximun Impact tour, Sabin attacked Sky, aligned himself with Alpha Female. Then, he disappeared from TV until May 9, 2014, when his departure from the promotion was confirmed.
Ring of Honor (2003–2010)
Sabin made his debut for Ring of Honor on June 14, 2003, in a four-way match, won by Homicide. He would wrestle for the company sporadically before leaving in February 2004. He would return on November 4, 2005, to unsuccessfully challenge Bryan Danielson for the ROH World Championship. He returned to ROH along with tag team partner Alex Shelley on March 30, 2007, following the Briscoe Brothers winning the ROH World Tag Team Championship. The two challenged Jay Briscoe for a shot at the title on April 28 in Chicago, then attacked him after he accepted. The two would ultimately lose the match and leave the company. They also worked for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, and challenged for the PWG World Tag Team Championship, although they never won.
In April 2008 Sabin and Shelley returned to ROH, losing to The Age of the Fall (Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black) and defeating the Briscoe Brothers (Jay and Mark) on the 18 and 19 respectively. In August 2008 Sabin and Shelley once again returned to ROH, wrestling Austin Aries and Bryan Danielson to a 25-minute time limit draw and losing to Kevin Steen and El Generico on the 1st and 2nd respectively. They were scheduled to return to ROH on October 24 and 25, but were pulled from the events by TNA and replaced by The Latin American Xchange.
On February 13, 2010, Ring of Honor announced at their 8th Anniversary Show that the Motor City Machine Guns would return to the company on May 8 in New York City. On May 8 the Motor City Machine Guns were defeated by the ROH World Tag Team Champions The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli) via disqualification, when the Briscoe Brothers interfered in the match.
Pro Wrestling Zero and New Japan (2006–2010)
On August 25, 2006 at Korauken Hall's ZERO-1 MAX show, Sabin and Alex Shelley became ZERO-1 MAX International Lightweight Tag Team Champions, when they defeated former champions, Ikuto Hidaka and Minoru Fujita. They held the titles for nearly two years, before dropping them to Minoru Fujita, and his new tag team partner, Takuya Sugawara, on April 6, 2008.
On January 4, 2009, Sabin and Shelley defeated No Limit (Tetsuya Naito and Yujiro) at New Japan Pro Wrestling's Wrestle Kingdom III to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. After three successful title defenses, two of which took place in TNA, Sabin and Shelley lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles to Apollo 55 (Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi) on July 5, 2009, at New Japan Pro Wrestling's Circuit 2009 New Japan Soul. On November 8, 2010, New Japan Pro Wrestling announced that the Motor City Machine Guns would be returning to the promotion the following month, competing at events on December 11 and 12. On December 11 the Motor City Machine Guns were defeated by No Limit in their New Japan return match. The following day they defeated Apollo 55 in the fourth match between the two teams.
Return to ROH (2015–present)
Sabin would return to Ring of Honor in early 2015 during some of their TV tapings. On the April 25 episode of Ring of Honor television, Sabin was revealed to be a member of the Knights of the Rising Dawn (KRD) a group that have been interfering in championship matches in Ring of Honor in early 2015. He helped The Addiction (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) defeat reDRagon to become the new ROH World Tag Team Champions. On the May 9 episode of Ring of Honor, Sabin made his in-ring return to ROH in a match against Kyle O'Reilly. Sabin would win the match with help from both Daniels and Kazarian.
Global Force Wrestling (2015–present)
On May 18, 2015, Sabin was announced as part of the roster of the Global Force Wrestling (GFW) promotion.
Harter was inspired by Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart. Harter used the money he earned from working at Subway to pay to attend a wrestling school, but also took classes at a community college.
Harter plays bass in a band called The High Crusade, which also includes former TNA wrestlers Petey Williams and Alex Shelley, and their friends Adam Tatro and Chris Plumb. The band released their debut album, It's Not What You Think, on September 7, 2010.
In 2008, Sabin, along with Alex Shelley, appeared in an episode of MTV MADE, teaching a school boy the basics of professional wrestling.
An avid gamer, Sabin's ring name is derived from the character Sabin Rene Figaro from the video game Final Fantasy VI (originally released in America as Final Fantasy III).