Abdullah the Butcher

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Abdullah the Butcher
Abdullah the Butcher in a match in 2004.
Birth name Lawrence Robert Shreve
Born (1941-01-11) January 11, 1941 (age 74)
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Residence Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Abdullah the Butcher
Kuroi Jujutsushi[1]
Saladin Pikens[1]
The Madman from the Sudan[1]
Zeras Amala[1]
Billed height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)[1]
Billed weight 360 lb (163 kg)[1]
Billed from Sudan[1]
Debut 1958[1]

Lawrence Robert "Larry" Shreve[1] (born January 11, 1941),[1] 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 razor blades during his career. The scars are so deep that, according to Mick Foley, Shreve was able to put gambling chips into them. Foley said Shreve would do this at casinos to get a rise out of patrons. 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 life[edit]

Shreve was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario, as part of a family of ten people in a deeply impoverished household.[2] 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.[2]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Standing 6 feet tall and weighing a robust 360 pounds, Shreve caught the attention of Montreal promoter Jack Britton,[2] and he soon made his professional wrestling debut at age 17 in 1958. He initially competed in numerous independent territories north of the border 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[2] (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.

Shreve at his WWE Hall of Fame induction in 2011.

As a result of his frequent traveling, Abdullah the Butcher usually served as more of a special attraction than as a consistent championship contender. Accordingly, Abdullah never did win a World Heavyweight Championship, though he would capture a myriad of regional titles during his career. He won his first major championship on October 23, 1967 when he teamed with Dr. Jerry Graham to defeat John & Carlos Tolos for the NWA's Canadian Tag Team Titles in Vancouver. A few years later, he ventured to the Montreal region, where he had three reigns as the IWA International Heavyweight Champion between 1969 and 1972, feuding against Ivan Koloff and Johnny Rougeau. He later served as one of the premier rule breakers in Calgary’s Stampede territory, capturing the NWA Canadian Championship, as well as having six North American Heavyweight Title reigns during the early 1970s. On June 24, 1972, he defeated Ernie Ladd in Akron, Ohio to capture his first of two NWF World Heavyweight Titles. During the mid-1970s, he frequently performed in Detroit, Michigan’s Big-Time Wrestling territory, where he engaged in a rivalry against The Sheik. He teamed with “Killer” Tim Brooks to win the region’s version of the NWA World Tag Team Titles before defeating Bobo Brazil on February 8, 1975 for the NWA United States Championship.

In addition to his successes in North America, Abdullah the Butcher also performed in the Far East, Europe, the Caribbean, Australia, and Africa. On March 12, 1974, he traveled all the way to New Zealand, where he captured the British Empire Commonwealth Title by defeating the nation’s champion John DaSilva. 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.

Shreve with Dru Onyx.

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. In Puerto Rico, he was declared the very first WWC Universal Heavyweight Champion in July 1982 following three reigns as the Puerto Rican champion between 1978 and 1981.

He was introduced in World Championship Wrestling in a giant, gift-wrapped box.[3] This giant box was to be Sting's birthday gift from Cactus Jack.[3] Sting unwrapped his gift and Abdullah attacked him, leading to both Abdullah and Cactus feuding with Sting after the incident. The feud culminated in a "Chamber of Horrors" match at Halloween Havoc 1991, in which Cactus accidentally electrocuted Abdullah in an electric chair, leading to a brief feud between the former allies.

In 1993, Abdullah arrived in ECW, where he participated in a storyline with Kevin Sullivan, Terry Funk and Stan Hansen, and wrestled at Ultra Clash and Bloodfest.

In late 2002, Abdullah made a one-night appearance in Ring of Honor as Homicide's partner, facing the Carnage Crew in a bloody Bunkhouse Brawl at ROH's Night of the Butcher.

In 2007, the WWE and Jakks Pacific released an Abdullah the Butcher "WWE Classic Superstars" figure complete with the blade marks on top of his head. A DVD was also released named The Triumph and Tragedy of World Class Wrestling which included a bloody cage match between Abdullah and his famous rival Bruiser Brody.

The 2007, WWC's anniversary show was dedicated to Abdullah the Butcher's contributions to WWC. On December 13, 2008, Shreve wrestled against Balls Mahoney in Bayamon Puerto Rico during the annual event WWC Lockout.

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.

In 2009, Abdullah made an appearance at the Decatur Book Festival, facing off against author Michael Muhammad Knight. Abdullah pummeled Knight with chairs, forks, and a water cooler, not even stepping into the ring. Knight was taken from the festival in an ambulance and received 46 stitches. It was Right After Wrestling in March 2011, hosted by Arda Ocal and Jimmy Korderas, that Abdullah admitted his favorite wrestler to face was actually Lou Thesz.[4]

On April 2, 2011, Abdullah the Butcher was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia. Also in 2011, Abdullah returned to Georgia Championship Wrestling as a mentor and adviser to a local wrestler known as The Congo Warrior.

In early 2012, Abdullah the Butcher appeared on the Wrestling Marks of Excellence radio show and said that he had given away his Hall of Fame ring to his brother, saying that he had been in the business and drew people from all over the world and should have been inducted decades ago.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Shreve owns two restaurants (one in Atlanta, Georgia and one in Japan) called Abdullah the Butcher's House of Ribs and Chinese Food. Reviews of the Atlanta restaurant have been mixed, with most diners preferring the ribs.[6][7] Shreve is 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.

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]

In wrestling[edit]

Finishing moves

Signature moves


Entrance themes

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • Midwest Wrestling Federation
    • MWWF Heavyweight Championship (2 times)[26]

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Abdullah The Butcher profile at OWW". onlineworldofwrestling.com. Archived from the original on 25 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Man or Madman? Abdullah in Hull". slam.canoe.ca. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  3. ^ a b Mick Foley (2000). Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. HarperCollins. p. 202. ISBN 0-06-103101-1. 
  4. ^ http://radio.thescore.com/episodes/abdullah-the-butcher-raw-feb-28-2011
  5. ^ http://www.wrestlezone.com/news/249119-wwe-hall-of-famer-gave-away-ring-jr-confirms-raw-status
  6. ^ "Alas, only plastic forks at Abdullah's restaurant". SLAM! Sports. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  7. ^ Foley, Mick (2000). Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. HarperCollins. p. 201. ISBN 0-06-103101-1. 
  8. ^ "Superstar Graham would spit on Jericho's grave, wants out of WWE HOF". SLAM! Sports. Retrieved 2014-09-03. 
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  10. ^ a b http://www.wrestlinginc.com/wi/news/2011/0425/538962/the-undertaker/
  11. ^ "Ottawa wrestler 'Hannibal' wins $2.3M hepatitis C lawsuit". CBC. June 3, 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-03. 
  12. ^ "Gary Hart profile". Online World of Wrestling. Archived from the original on 30 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  13. ^ Matt Mackinder (January 17, 2008). "Sir Oliver Humperdink recalls career of yesteryear". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  14. ^ "House of Humperdink". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-09-08. 
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  19. ^ "Champion Carnival 1976". prowrestlinghistory.com. Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  20. ^ "Champion Carnival 1979". prowrestlinghistory.com. Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  21. ^ http://www.purolove.com/ajpw/results/08nyshiningseries.php
  22. ^ "BJPW DEATH MATCH HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE HISTORY". solie.org. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
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  30. ^ "PWI 500 1991". Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Retrieved 2013-05-12. 
  31. ^ "N.W.A. Canadian Heavyweight Title". wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  32. ^ "NORTH AMERICAN HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE HISTORY". solie.org. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  33. ^ a b 東京スポーツ プロレス大賞. Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  34. ^ 東京スポーツ プロレス大賞. Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  35. ^ "WWC CARIBBEAN HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE". solie.org. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  36. ^ "WWC North American Heavyweight Title". wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  37. ^ "WWC PUERTO RICAN HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE". solie.org. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  38. ^ "WWC WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT/UNIVERSAL HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE". solie.org. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  39. ^ "Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame". pwi-online.com. Archived from the original on 14 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 

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