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Abdullah the Butcher
Butcher
Birth name Lawrence Robert Shreve
Born January 11 1941 (1941-01-11) (age 79)
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Resides Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Abdullah the Butcher
Kuroi Jujutsushi
Saladin Pikens
The Madman from the Sudan
Zeras Amala
Height 6 ft 0 in
Weight 330 lb
Billed from Sudan
Debut 1958

  Lawrence Robert "Larry" Shreve[1] (born January 11, 1941), better known by the ring name Abdullah the Butcher, is a semi-retired Canadian professional wrestler. He has a reputation for being involved in some of the most violent and bloody hardcore wrestling matches of all time.

One of Shreve's trademarks is a series of divot-like scars on his head that he has due to excessive use of blading during his career. The scars are so deep that, according to Mick Foley, Shreve is able to put gambling chips into them. An amateur martial artist, Shreve also has knowledge of judo and karate, often including this knowledge in his wrestling matches. This knowledge was mainly displayed by him using judo throws and karate chops.

Early lifeEdit

Shreve was born on January 11, 1941[2][3][4] and raised in Windsor, Ontario, as part of a family of ten people in a deeply impoverished household.[4] He learned karate and judo as a youth and, teaching fellow children in the backyard, claims to have eventually earned the title of seventh-degree grandmaster.[4]

Professional wrestling careerEdit

Standing 6 feet tall and weighing 360 pounds, Shreve caught the attention of Montreal promoter Jack Britton,[4] and he soon made his professional wrestling debut at age 17 in 1958. He initially competed in numerous independent territories in Canada under such various monikers as Pussycat Pickens, Kuroi Jujutsushi (The Black Wizard) and Zelis Amara. However, he ultimately created his gimmick of an evil Arabian sadist; and in a match against Gino Brito[4] (Jack Britton’s real-life son), the Abdullah the Butcher character first distinguished himself as one of the world’s most feared rule breakers when he broke a chair over Brito’s head and then beat him senseless with the leg.

Since his gimmick required that he speak no English (though it was in actuality his native tongue), he possessed a number of managers over the course of his long career, including Gary Hart, Paul Jones, Eddie Creatchman, Black Baron, The Grand Wizard, J.J. Dillon, Damien Kane, Larry Sharpe, Chicky Starr, Oliver Humperdink, Buddy Colt, George Cannon, Bearcat Wright, Big Bad John, Gentleman Jim Holiday, and Rock Hunter, who were all portrayed as “handlers” commissioned to control the Sudanese madman, while also doing most of the talking in promos and interviews. He has, however, spoken for himself in promos while in Japan.

As a result of his frequent traveling, Abdullah the Butcher usually served as more of a special attraction than as a consistent championship contender. Abdullah also established himself as one of the premier attractions in Japan, where he competed as part of the round-robin tournament that ultimately crowned Giant Baba as All-Japan’s inaugural PWF Heavyweight Champion in February 1973. On October 18, 1978, Abdullah won that same PWF belt when he defeated European former AWA champion Billy Robinson; and then on October 13, 1980, he also beat Jumbo Tsuruta to capture the NWA United National Heavyweight Title. His also feuded with Terry Funk in Japan, and Funk claims to have had one of his top three all-time greatest matches with Abdullah the Butcher.

He arrived in World Class Championship Wrestling in 1986, where he defeated The Great Kabuki for the Texas Brass Knuckles Title and waged war against the equally wild Bruiser Brody.

During July 2009, he wrestled in Dragon Gate and HUSTLE. He also wrestled at the New Japan Pro Wrestling supershow Wrestle Kingdom IV in Tokyo Dome on January 4, 2010, as well as wrestling for Japanese independent promotion Osaka Pro Wrestling.

Personal lifeEdit

Shreve previously owned two restaurants (one in Atlanta, Georgia and one in Japan) called Abdullah the Butcher's House of Ribs and Chinese Food.[5][6] Shreve was often on hand to meet fans and sign autographs. The restaurant and Shreve appear in the music video for the 2003 song "Damn!" by Atlanta hip hop group YoungBloodZ. It was referenced in the 2006 film ATL during a scene where three characters argue over a local barbecue. On July 24, 2016, it was reported that Shreve had quietly closed his restaurant in Atlanta.[7]

Following Shreve's WWE Hall of Fame induction in 2011, Superstar Billy Graham requested his name be removed from the Hall, saying: "It is a shameless organization to induct a bloodthirsty animal such as Abdullah the Butcher into their worthless and embarrassing Hall of Fame and I want the name of Superstar Billy Graham to be no part of it."[8] Graham's outrage was due to longstanding accusations that Shreve had infected other wrestlers with hepatitis C through sharing a blade and/or cutting wrestlers without their knowledge.[9][10] In Shreve's response to Graham, he mentioned their earlier friendship, questioned his outburst, and claimed that he was not infected with the disease.[10] The same year, Canadian wrestler Devon Nicholson, who said he contracted hepatitis C when Shreve bladed him without consent, pursued legal action.[9] On June 3, 2014, an Ontario court ruled in favor of Nicholson and ordered Shreve to pay $2.3 million in damages.[11] The Fulton County Court of Georgia ruled that the Canadian Judgement would be upheld in the state of Georgia where Shreve resides. [12]

In February, 2015, Shreve announced on his Facebook page that he would be selling his WWE Hall of Fame ring.[13] The statement accompanying the video posted read "I'm selling my Hall of Fame ring because I've been in the wrestling business for fifty-two years, and was given the ring three years ago. Vince has been selling my tapes for many years, and I have not gotten a dime from him. He's filling his pockets off our hard work and the ring is useless to me. I build my career without Vince and the ring. With my track record and legacy in the wrestling business, I am a hall of famer in my own right, and I don't need Vince's ring to determine who and what I am. Abdullah the Butcher made himself with God and the help of my fans. Thank you."

In wrestlingEdit

  • Finishing moves
    • Bottom rope splash
    • Jumping headbutt
    • The Freight Train / The Butcher's Axe / Sudanese Meat Cleaver (Running pointed elbow drop to the throat)[1]
  • Signature moves
    • Diving double foot stomp
    • Dropkick[1]
    • Throat thrust[1]
  • Nicknames
    • "Kuroi Jyujyutsushi" (Japanese for the Black Shaman)
  • Entrance themes
    • "One of These Days" by Pink Floyd (Japan)

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit

In popular cultureEdit

  • Shreve has appeared in Japanese TV commercials for Suntory, Daikin Industries, Denon, and Sapporo Ichiban.
  • Shreve starred with Hiroyuki Sanada in the kung fu action film Roaring Fire.
  • Characters in Japanese anime or manga are frequently designed to resemble Abdullah the Butcher, often with his signature scars. Examples include Abdullah from Kinnikuman, Abdullah the Criminal from One Piece, and Mr. Heart from Fist of the North Star.
  • The character of Butcher in Tiger Mask 2 is inspired by Shreve.
  • Abdullah the Butcher appeared in the Acclaim video game Legends of Wrestling II and its sequel Showdown: Legends of Wrestling as well as Spike's King of Colosseum.
  • The character Saladin in the 1997 Nintendo 64 game WCW vs. nWo: World Tour is based on Shreve's likeness.
  • The character and final boss, of the Genesis game Wrestle War, Grand Kong, is based on Shreve.
  • In the 1994 Super NES game HammerLock Wrestling Abdullah appears as "Sid Bieniek". In the Japanese version, he is known as "Killer."

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Abdullah The Butcher profile at OWW . onlineworldofwrestling.com. Archived from the original on 2008-07-25. Retrieved on 2008-07-18.
  2. [1]
  3. Abdullah the Butcher, Ring Chronicle Hall of Fame
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Man or Madman? Abdullah in Hull . slam.canoe.ca. Retrieved on 2008-07-18.
  5. Alas, only plastic forks at Abdullah's restaurant . SLAM! Sports. Retrieved on 2008-07-18.
  6. Foley, Mick (2000). Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. HarperCollins, 201. ISBN 0-06-103101-1. 
  7. Abdullah the Butcher shutters restaurant . Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved on 2016-07-24.
  8. Superstar Graham would spit on Jericho's grave, wants out of WWE HOF . SLAM! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved on 2014-09-03.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Ottawa wrestler claims WWE legend gave him hep C . CBC News (2011-07-29). Retrieved on 2014-09-03.
  10. 10.0 10.1 http://www.wrestlinginc.com/wi/news/2011/0425/538962/the-undertaker/
  11. Ottawa wrestler 'Hannibal' wins $2.3M hepatitis C lawsuit . CBC News (2014-06-03). Retrieved on 2014-09-03.
  12. http://www.f4wonline.com/daily-updates/daily-update-wwe-returns-smackdown-ratings-roh-matches-217401
  13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlAZRUVrCcc
  14. ALL JAPAN/NATIONAL WRESTLING ALLIANCE INTERNATIONAL TAG TEAM TITLE HISTORY . solie.org. Retrieved on 2008-07-18.
  15. ALL JAPAN/NATIONAL WRESTLING ALLIANCE UNITED NATIONAL HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE HISTORY . solie.org. Retrieved on 2008-07-18.
  16. PWF United States Heavyweight Title . wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved on 2008-07-18.
  17. ALL JAPAN/PACIFIC WRESTLING FEDERATION HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE HISTORY . solie.org. Retrieved on 2008-07-18.
  18. Champion Carnival 1976 . prowrestlinghistory.com. Archived from the original on 2008-08-28. Retrieved on 2008-07-18.
  19. Champion Carnival 1979 . prowrestlinghistory.com. Archived from the original on 2008-08-28. Retrieved on 2008-07-18.
  20. http://www.purolove.com/ajpw/results/08nyshiningseries.php
  21. BJPW DEATH MATCH HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE HISTORY . solie.org. Retrieved on 2008-07-18.
  22. PWI 500 1991 . Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Retrieved on 2013-05-12.
  23. 23.0 23.1 ja:東京スポーツ プロレス大賞 (in Japanese). Tokyo Sports. Retrieved on 2014-01-20.
  24. ja:東京スポーツ プロレス大賞 (in Japanese). Tokyo Sports. Retrieved on 2014-01-20.
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