Abdullah the Butcher
Real Name: Larry Shreeve
Stats: 6'  360 lbs.
Born: November 2, 1936


Abdullah the Butcher

By Steve Slagle

By its violent nature, pro wrestling has attracted to its ranks some of the most vicious, sadistic, and toughest men in the world. However, of the dozens of bloodthirsty, psychotic personalities our sport has been home to, few can rival the shear violence, insanity and chaos created by the "Madman from the Sudan", Abdullah the Butcher. Abdullah has spent nearly 5 decades inside of the squared circle, bloodying and battering his opponents with a vengence like few others in the history of the business. Never mistaken as a scientific wrestler, Abdullah wrestled those many decades without ever changing his primitive, simplistic, barbaric style. But what he lacked in finesse and technical knowledge, he made up for in shear brutality. During his decades-long span of terror, Abdullah drew blood from nearly every opponent he faced...and influenced generations of wrestling brawlers to come.

His crimson-soaked feuds with the equally deranged (and hated) Shiek, Buddy Rogers, Bobo Brazil, Carlos Colon, Dusty Rhodes, Harley Race, Terry & Dory Funk, Jack Brisco, Sting, Cactus Jack, and so many others created a well-deserved reputation of sadism for Abdullah. Fans, fame, championships, or even winning never meant much to "The Madman from the Sudan" during his career. However, being known as the craziest, most violent and unpredictable pro wrestler in the world did. He thrived on it, and it was the driving force in his career... 


"The Butcher" influenced more than a few generations of wrestling "wildmen", through his never-ending bookings, and determination to put on a show -- despite utilizing a mere handful of unchanging holds -- and disregard for not only his opponent's, but his own safety. From the likes of Pampera Firpo and "Maniac" Mark Lewin to "Mad Dog" Buzz Sawyer, The Iron Shiek and Kamala to Cactus Jack and dozens of brawlers in between -- Abdullah's unpredictable, straight-forward, ultra-violent approach to the ring has been mirrored often over the years. However, it's safe to say that no one has ever made more from a Karate-thrust to the throat (his primary weapon, which was usually delivered dozens of times throughout one of his matches) than Abdullah. He also possessed a surprisingly quick and accurate dropkick -- a truly impressive move when delivered by as man his size. His pointed-toe boots were also a prime weapon, one that other "mad Arabs" would later adopt as their own.

But, obviously, the man known as the bloodthirsty Abdullah the Butcher was not always the crazed lunatic he portrayed in (and often, outside) the ring. In fact, Abdullah was born Lawrence Shreeve, and not in the sandy barrens of the Sudan, but rather in The Great White North -- Windsor, Ontario, Canada to be exact. He began his career in 1958, wrestling in various Canadian indy circuits. It didn't take long for Abdullah's evil Arabian gimmick, and his extremely violent style, to make him one of the premier villians in pro wrestling. After "cutting his teeth" in Canada, Abdullah went on to travel the world like few other wrestlers. He seemed intent on never staying in one territory for too long -- a practice that showed Larry Shreeve was much smarter than the savage madman that he portrayed in the ring. 

Abdullah was often used as a hired "hitman", called in to destroy a particular territory's top babyface. However, he also feuded with many "bad guys" as well -- something that was somewhat rare for many years. His battles with the equally deranged Sheik were bloodbaths from bell to bell, and the bitter rivalry between the two madmen lasted for years. To Abdullah, blood was blood...and it all ran red. He moved constantly within the various territories of the NWA and AWA throughout the 60's, `70's, `80', and through the `90's. He was a prime star (and draw) for promoters in Japan, Puerto Rico, Australia/New Zealand, Europe, and his (unbeknownst by the fans) home country of Canada. Along with Andre the Giant, Bruiser Brody, and a few others, Abdullah was a true international wrestling superstar during a time when the sport was very regionalized. By positioning himself as the most insane, violent, and (most importantly) hated wrestler in promotions all across the globe, Abdullah influenced future wrestlers in countries literally all over the world -- something most wrestling legends cannot claim. Even more impressive is that he did so despite rarely, if ever, doing a "traditional" (ie: Abdullah speaks in English, Japanese, or Spanish) interview in the various countries he wrestled in. His consistent blood-letting, and many "handlers" (The Great Mephisto, Scandor Akbar, Cactus Jack, etc.) said everything Abdullah wanted to convey to the fans. Violence was his language, and it translated to any dialect...

Despite the fact that he never stayed in one territory for too long, his championship list is nevertheless impressive: He won the NWA Canadian Tag Team title October 23, 1967 with the legendary Dr. Jerry Graham, the IWA International Heavyweight championship three times between 1969-71, and the NWA North American Heavyweight (Calgary) title on four separate occassions between 1970-73. Abdullah was wore the once-prestigous NWF Heavyweight title, twice, by defeating Ernie Ladd and Victor Rivera for his two NWF championships. An even more impressive addition to his title resume is his PWF Heavyweight title reign in Shohei "Giant" Baba's All Japan Pro Wrestling. Abdullah defeated former AWA great Billy Robison for the PWF title in 1978, and was subsequently defeated for the title by Baba himself on February 10, 1979 in the unlikely host city of Chicago, IL. Abdullah made many (bloody) tours of Puerto Rico, and collected several important championships during the early 1980's, such as: the Puerto Rican Heavyweight title, NWA United National Heavyweight title, the Caribbean Heavyweight title (three times) and the Island's top prize, the WWC Universal Heavyweight championship in 1982. Back in the States, Adbullah defeated The Great Kabuki for the Texas Brass Knuckles championship in the Dallas-based World Class Championship Wrestling in 1986. "The Madman from the Sudan" also wore the Canadian International Heavyweight title in 1987, nearly 30 years after his debut. In 1996, nearly forty years after the world was first introduced to the blood-crazed lunatic known as Abdullah the Butcher, he teamed with Benkei Daikokuboh to win the TWA Tag Team championship. 


Although he has never officially retired, despite passing the age of 60 several years ago, he has cut his once daily wrestling schedule down to a few select appearances, mainly for the "new" NWA. Much like fellow veteran wildman Terry Funk, Abdullah just can't seem to stay out of the ring...no matter how many times he "retires". During the 4 decades Abdullah the Butcher has been involved in the sport, wrestling skill or a large repertoire of moves was never the focus...violence, mayhem, and shocking the fans was. We at The Ring Chronicle salute Abdullah's unique and long-lasting contributions to wrestling, and induct him into the TRC Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.....



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