Sabu had a chance to work for the WWE in the mid-1990s, but a change of gimmick was what prevented him from coming into the company.
In a 2016 interview with Title Match Wrestling, Sabu revealed that after a couple of tryout matches with WWE, he was offered a chance to work with the company, but not as Sabu. Sabu said he would have to take The Sultan gimmick if he had joined the company.
“What they had in mind with me was the Sultan character,” Sabu said. “The Sultan was this Samoan who had his tongue cut out, supposedly and wore a thing over his mouth. His uncle was his manager, The Iron Sheik. It was kind of like my gimmick. I didn’t speak and the mouth is The Sheik. He had the baggy pants, made him look me. That was kind of the idea they had for me. I didn’t want to change anything. I’m happy the way I am. Vince was like, ‘no we don’t hire talent. We create talent.’ That’s when I knew they weren’t hiring me for Sabu. they were hiring me for a body.”
The Sultan character was then given to Rikishi, with The Iron Sheik as his manager. After turning down the offer to join WWE, Sabu would sign with Paul Heyman’s ECW, winning the ECW World Heavyweight Championship twice. Sabu would eventually go to the WWE in 2006 where he would be a part of the rebranded ECW brand.
Sabu also said that referring to The Iron Sheik as his "uncle" would have broken his real uncle's heart -- the original Sheik.
Sabu’s comments can be seen in the video above.